Would i need a sound card(my onbard is a Realtek ALC662) to properly drive a Sennheiser HD201 ? If so could you recommend me one ? Doesn't matter if it's internal or external. I'm going to use it for mostly movies and some music and gaming occasionally. Thanks in advance.
I did some research on my own right now i'm thinking about buying a ASUS Xonar DX 7.1 PCI-E here's a review
Your HD 201's are pretty low impedance and should not need a dedicated amplifier.
As such, a Xonar Dx should work great for you!
The Essence ST(X) is also a great option, especially if you are planning on getting a higher end set of cans later on.
The onboard amp should also add a little more life to your current cans.
Yeah essence is pretty awesome but my budget is 100$ max. I'm kinda surprised though, there seems to be very little support for sound cards, the mid and low level cards available today are several years old and from what i've been reading most of them don't even have working vista driver and win7 drivers are a pipedream.
It's weird that we get 2 new generations of video cards each year and driver updates almost monthly now but sound cards are treated like this.
The sound market evolves quite a bit slower than most any other computer segment.
New sound standards that requite new hardware are pretty rare, most everything is processed in software, the sound card being not much more than a glorified DAC.
Because of this software processing, new drivers are only needed for new OS' and to fix any specific bugs that pop up.
Still, it is evolving, especially at the bottom end.
Compare an integrated codec from a few years back to a more current one and you will hear major improvements.
Not quite up to the standards of a dedicated card but close.
Most of the evolution in the dedicated market is with the DACs and ADCs used at a price point.
If you compare a current generation Xonar D1/Dx to a previous generation X-Fi card, you would see that the Xonar has higher specked parts, and therefor a cleaner sound, than any X-Fi card.
In fact, the D1/Dx is only matched in quality by the $300ish X-Fi Elite Pro.
This from a current generation mainstream card!
No worries about the drivers either, all current cards are covered.
The only manufacturer you may have driver issues from is Creative.
Of course, their driver issues are mainly intentional, intended to force sales of 'new' cards (actually just re-bagged).
I can say for sure that the Xonar line has proper drivers for both Vista and Win 7.