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Sound Card Bottleneck

Hello,
I just ordered Senheisser HD 280 headphones and am planning on using them, for now, with my Audigy SE sound card (I know it's horrible). I'm just curious as to how big of a bottleneck this is going to create. I plan on upgrading my sound card eventually, but I'm reluctant after just spending money on the headphones. Also, what would be the best sound card to eventually get if I want to get the most out of the headphones?
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More about sound card bottleneck
  1. a bottle neck? well that depends on your mobo and what interface your sound card is plugged into and other cards also, but it shouldn't create a bottleneck at all. In fact stand alone sound cards remove processing from the onboard sound, and by transferring the data to PCI, which is fast enough to transfer data from just about any sound card, particularly if you're only using it for stereo sound.

    If you want to upgrade it depends on your mobo again and what interface you have (pci or pci-x) and also how many channels you want (5.1/7.1) but the Creative x-fi series are fine and the Asus Xonar are all fine. but to be fair, even a USB sound card will do you if you're just using it for stereo sound (2 channel). But the best thing to look for is a high SNR (signal to noise ratio) ~100dB is decent but higher is better
  2. Sound cards are very, very, rarly any bottleneck. And even then, we're talking maybe 2-3 FPS MAXIMUM in a few games.

    As or sound cards proper, I refuse to buy anything below 116dB anymore [heck, newer onboard sound chips sport 106dB, which competes against Creative...]. ASUS Xonar DS, D1/DX or HT Omega Striker will suit 99% of all users out there in the sub $100 range, and moving up, you have the ASUS Xonar D2/D2X, Essence ST/STX, and Auznetechs Prelude/Forte.
  3. Sound card is not and won't be a bottleneck unless you have a very old PC.

    For Senheisser HD 280 i would recommend ASUS XONAR audio card. Your setup is like a cart fitted with F1 Tires.
  4. I'm sorry, I probably should have made this clearer. What I intended to say was a bottleneck between the sound card and the headphones as in my sound card isn't good, so the sound quality coming out of my headphones isn't as good as it could be. I'm just wondering how much the sound quality of my Sennheiser HD 280 headphones will be hindered by using a very low end card like an Audigy SE. As for actually choosing a sound card, so far I'm leaning towards HT Omega Striker and and Xonar DX. Is there any noticeable difference between the two?

    Sorry again for the confusion, but thanks a lot for all the help.
  5. ^ YOu should be fine, as the sound card does not have as much of an effect on sound quality as the sperker/headphone does.

    You can go ahead and buy the speakers, that sound card can do it for ya.
  6. marshm68 said:
    I'm sorry, I probably should have made this clearer. What I intended to say was a bottleneck between the sound card and the headphones as in my sound card isn't good, so the sound quality coming out of my headphones isn't as good as it could be. I'm just wondering how much the sound quality of my Sennheiser HD 280 headphones will be hindered by using a very low end card like an Audigy SE. As for actually choosing a sound card, so far I'm leaning towards HT Omega Striker and and Xonar DX. Is there any noticeable difference between the two?

    Sorry again for the confusion, but thanks a lot for all the help.

    Ok for listening to good phones you benifit from a card with a built in head phone amp like the HT|OMEGA Claro Halo XT or an ASUS Xonar Essence STX but they are very expensive the sound card plays a part in the sound quality but its really the amp that is running the headphones that has the final say on the quality. Now eithier of those cards will run you about $200 now the Audigiy SE is a crappy card yes but the problem is that it doesnt have enough power to drive your headphones you could also go a little cheap method for about $100 you can get an external headphone amp which is good way to go for 1 main reason its portable you can use it on anything you can plug them phones into like an Mp3 player, DVD player or a laptop.

    Headphone Amplifiers
    http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/amplifiers.php
  7. I can't belive that whole post was done with only 2 periods!
  8. builderbobftw said:
    I can't belive that whole post was done with only 2 periods!

    LOL now you gonna troll me on my punctuation please are you serious get a life would you.
  9. saaiello said:
    get a life would you.


    Realy?

    ......................................

    What do you know about my social life/lack of it?
  10. builderbobftw said:
    Realy?

    ......................................

    What do you know about my social life/lack of it?

    You really bore me thats all I know about you.

    To the OP I found something kind of intresting for you that you might try if you use your headphones on your computer for mainly listening to music or whatching movies check this out.

    HeadRoom Total BitHead
    http://www.headphone.com/headphone-amps/amplifiers/headroom-total-bithead.php
    This unit has a built in DAC and Amp so it hooks up via USB and will grab the digital signal straight from there. The DAC converts the digital signal to analog and then amplifies it and sends it to the headphones. The unit can be powered via the USB or eliminate all electrical interference from the computer and run it on batteries for crisp, clean and clear sound.

    On that site visit the learning center link it has alot of great information that might help you choose what is best for you.
  11. Hmmm, I hadn't really thought of getting an amp, but if it will increase the sound quality that much with these headphones, then I'm all for it. I have a few questions first though. I'm also using Logitech Z-2300 speakers with my computer, and they have a headphone jack on the volume/bass control remote. Will plugging headphones in through this jack act as an amp to the headphones?

    Thanks again everyone for all the help.
  12. No that is the same as plugging it into the soundcard itself
  13. Damn, I was just curious because I was reading this, and it seems like it's working like an amp for that guy, but I don't really know. Anyway, does the Total BitHead act as an external sound card too, or would I still need to upgrade my internal sound card?
  14. As far as I know it doesn't I have Z 5500's and the headphones sound the same no matter plugged into the controller or the front panel of my computer. Give it a try see if it sounds better but I really dont think it has one but I could be wrong.
  15. Best answer
    marshm68 said:
    I'm sorry, I probably should have made this clearer. What I intended to say was a bottleneck between the sound card and the headphones as in my sound card isn't good, so the sound quality coming out of my headphones isn't as good as it could be. I'm just wondering how much the sound quality of my Sennheiser HD 280 headphones will be hindered by using a very low end card like an Audigy SE. As for actually choosing a sound card, so far I'm leaning towards HT Omega Striker and and Xonar DX. Is there any noticeable difference between the two?

    Sorry again for the confusion, but thanks a lot for all the help.


    The biggest difference is the Striker supports both Dolby Digital and DTS encoding over the digital output [the DX only supports Digital encoding]*. The DX gives EAX 5 support via drivers. Other then that, the two cards are based on the same C-Media chipset, and should give almost identical quality.

    * Encoding, not Decoding. I can't stress this enough.

    Stay away from USB based solutions; the USB port is simply too noisy to be used for any sound device (Hence why "good" usb solutions offer ~60dB quality), and hijack the USB audio stack. If you want an amp that badly, look at either the ASUS Essence ST/STX, Auzentech Forte, or HT Omega Claro. I doubt you need one for a set of Z-5500's though...
  16. +1^ I just saw that USB amp and it looked intresting, I never seen them before.

    You are 100% right about the choice in cards the ASUS Essence ST/STX, Auzentech Forte, or HT Omega Claro all have the built in amps and will really be the best solution for the OP, if you are looking for the absolute best quality.
  17. Best answer selected by marshm68.
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