I want to buy either a new soundcard + headphone (headset) or a usb gaming headset.
If I go for a soundcard, I will probably get the Senheiser HD555 at ~150$ or something equivalent, so I need an amp in the soundcard.
Also, I need analogue outputs for my 5.1 speakers, unless I buy a usb headset. In that case, I would keep the onboard output that isn't too bad for my speakers (Logitech X-540)
I did some research and I think that my choices are:
ASUS Xonar Essence ST + H6 card - The best card but it is quite expensive. (180$ + 60$)
ASUS Xonar Xense - Not that good and expensive, but includes headphones. (300$)
AuzenTech Forte - Headphone amp is nice. (100$ deal on ebay)
Logitech Wireless USB G930 7.1 - Wireless is nice and it's 7.1 (140$)
I will use it mostly for gaming and watching videos, through the headphones. Which one should I get? Or do you have better / more economical suggestions?
You won't need any amp for the HD 555.. Having said that, I won't recommend the HD 555 for gaming use.. Its good for casual music listening purposes.. You can get yourself a Logitech G35 and be happy.. Use your on-board for your speakers.. My recommendation would however be a combination of Asus Xonar DX and Audio Technica AD700..
I've read that the components are a little better and it has an EMF shield. Also, I kinda like the midi port since I have a usb/midi keyboard, and I like the LEDs. But I'm not sure it's really worth paying an extra 100$ when I can get the DX for 60$.
Unless I get some confirmation that it is worth 100$, I'll probably go with the DX and I'll shop for some headphones. The AD7000 are a little expensive, but I like the "no pressure on the ears" feature.
Had it been worth the extra bucks, i'd have recommended it in the first place.. IMO, its only worth its looks when you've a side window case.. Other than that, there is the Essence STX at the same price point.. It misses out from recommendation due to your requirement for analog 5.1..
The Xense is an OK card; kinda a mis-mash of the D1/DX and D2/D2X, with the headphones thrown in.
The only problem I have with the D2/D2X is its price; with the DX going for $89, and the Forte hanging around at ~$160, its kinda at that wierd price point where its hard to reccomend.
The ST + H6 is the BEST combo, but a bit overkill if you don't need the headphone amp. Even then, you have stiff competition from the Forte [At $100, the Forte is competing against the ASUS Xonar D1/DX and HT Omega Striker, which is a clear win for the Forte].
I think I'll go with the DX + AD700. From what I've read, it the best combo for the money and I don't think I really need the amp since I don't plan on listening to music. I can get the combo for 60$ + 150$, which is really nice and fits well in my budget.