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Sound cards and head phones

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July 22, 2008 9:26:54 AM

I plan on upgrading the sound on my new build when it comes it some time next month. I have been doing a lot of shopping for sound cards, and I am not sure what quality is really "worth it". I want excellent sound, but I don't want to pay for more then I could reasonably use or even notice. I also want to buy a good set of headphones for my system as well.

Here are a few products I am looking at:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I am in to gaming, but I also want these to work well for movies and other media. To be honest though, I don't know jack **** about sound cards or quality head phones, so I don't really know what it is I would be getting with this. I have tried to figure out which ones were good based on the numbers (couldn't find any for the headphones), and it seems the best cards use 24 bit digital audio, have a 192khz sample rate, and 7.1 audio channels. However, cards with a 96khz sample rate and identical everything else come as low as 30 dollars or less. How much of a difference in sound quality is that?

Also, buying a pair of headphones like the one above, how much of my sound quality would I really be getting? If I bought an expensive sound card, would I need a two hundred dollar pair of headphones (or higher) to experience it fully? Would a 20 dollar pair of headphones paired together with a 30 dollar sound card provide close to the same (noticeable) performance?

Uh... so much to consider :ouch:  Thanks for any help.
July 22, 2008 2:59:50 PM

The world of audio is (after a point) a world of diminishing returns. However at what point these diminishing returns on expenditure kick in is personal preference.

For me spending £20k on a Stereo is not stupid, it will get me the sound i want and that I'M happy with. Some people aren't happy even when they've spent upwards of £50k on their stereo.

With computer audio i'd go with either the new Asus Xonar or an M-Audio card with some Sennheiser cans as imo they deliver brilliant value for money. However it's all up to you about how much you want to spend and what sound YOU will be happy with.

Hope that could be some help to ya!
July 22, 2008 6:49:26 PM

I have heard some good things about m-audio, but the numbers and reviews haven't really impressed me. The price seems a little steep too... Although if I have learned anything about computer shopping, advertised numbers means little along side personal experience. What makes the m-audio cards so good?

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July 22, 2008 8:48:50 PM

Hi,

I really do not understand in this, but if you use headphones (2 channels), what an advance audio card will help anyway?

Basically I'm almost in the same situation, i am about to buy a new computer and thought of using the on board sound.
I have a Senn HD 515 head phones.

Thanks.
July 23, 2008 9:47:36 AM

second what quantumsheep said about the sound card.

headphonewise, what you picked is a good choice. In my opinion the type of music you listen can also determine the type of headphones you might want to get. But Sennheiser is usually good for all around. some other headphones you might want to look at are:

Sony MDR-V6 (this headphones been around for ages 10+ years but still one of the best classic headphones you can get) - around ~$80
Sennheiser HD280PRO - ~$80-100
Grado SR-60/80 - SR60 is better value for money in my opinion

Looking at what you picked, these are the recommendations; you probably will be happy with the sound qualities. good luck :) 
July 24, 2008 6:48:46 AM

I own a pair of the HD555's and the Fatality edition with the I/O front panel and am extremely happy with the purchase. Note that youll have to use the 3.5mm adapter to use that sound card.

I would maybe suggest along the same lines as strangestranger, and maybe go with the cheaper x-fi (extreme audio) and then put that extra into say the next Sennheiser model up from the HD-555's
July 24, 2008 6:49:25 AM

Quote:
second what quantumsheep said about the sound card.

headphonewise, what you picked is a good choice. In my opinion the type of music you listen can also determine the type of headphones you might want to get. But Sennheiser is usually good for all around. some other headphones you might want to look at are:

Sony MDR-V6 (this headphones been around for ages 10+ years but still one of the best classic headphones you can get) - around ~$80
Sennheiser HD280PRO - ~$80-100
Grado SR-60/80 - SR60 is better value for money in my opinion

Looking at what you picked, these are the recommendations; you probably will be happy with the sound qualities. good luck :) 


Your probably right. I'll just get what ever makes me feel like I am getting the best sound, and not notice the difference anyway. I think I am spending enough money that I will be happy with the sound quality. Thanks for the advice :) 
July 24, 2008 7:00:48 AM

The best sound for the money will almost always come from splurging on the headphones, even if you have to bump down the quality of the sound card to do so. I can almost guarantee you that good headphones with a fairly low end sound card will sound better than the opposite scenario.

Oh, and senns are amazing. I have EH350s, and I love them. Great sound for quite a cheap price.
August 6, 2008 7:42:53 PM

First off, don't buy anything from creative, especially if you have a nForce mobo. I'm 100% dissatisfied with my extremeGamer card, and an using my onboard sound, and guess what? The onboard sounds better.

Secondly, unless you are running a surroundsound system, theres no point in a soundcard. You can't tell the diffrence.
August 27, 2008 4:53:35 AM

To add to your confusion, I have these headphones and they sound as good as any headset I have owned. The best thing about these headphones are they are force feedback. If you are gaming or watching a movie you will be looking over your shoulder to see who is there and when you get hit in a game the headset vibrates.

It also vibrates during watching a movie. You talk about being sucked into a movie, thats about as much realism you can handle.

The downside to these headphones are they are usb and it takes over the sound once you plug them in You can remove them and it returns the sound to your external speakers. This isnt really a problem for me but is the negativity I see others post about it.

Heres the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ESrRZsXQD1s

So get out your wallet and order this baby:

http://cgi.ebay.com/EDIMENSIONAL-AUDIO-FX-PRO-5-1-HEADP...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

I would try these headphones with the onboard sound 1st. I think if you have a motherboard with good sound you will be happy with that. If you are eager to spend your money you could get these to listen to when you take out the headphones:

http://www.ecrater.com/product.php?pid=27294

I dont know about this vendor but its a great price considering they are usually 200.00. Super sounding speakers and a great price. I have these installed on my media center setup and it vibrates the 2nd floor above and my basement.

!