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New Sound Card and Headphone suggestions?

Last response: in Components
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July 14, 2011 11:21:17 PM

I am getting some money next month and wanted to buy a new sound card and a set of headphones for heavy music listening.

What I was thinking of buying: (Budget:~400 )

Asus Xonar essence STX for $186.98:

http://www.amazon.com/Essence-STX-Channels-Interface-He...

Sennheiser HD598 for $234.95:

http://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-598-Audiophile-Head...

My reason for picking these, is that I need a sound card that has PCI-E because I don't have a PCI port, and I want good seperation between instruments/singers.

If you have any suggestions at all fire away
July 14, 2011 11:42:45 PM

what type of music do you listen too?
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July 14, 2011 11:49:32 PM

A bit of everything. I mostly listen to rock but I grew up playing a few different instruments so I have an ear for classical and jazz too. I suggested the ones above purely based on the price of the Sennheiser's you picked out. Hope it gives you some comparables!
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July 14, 2011 11:50:08 PM

That looks interesting, the A900s get good ratings but the reviews also mention the 595s which are the previous editon to the 598s

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July 14, 2011 11:53:03 PM

Cool I listen to Zeppelin mostly, can't wait to hear what "Stairway" sounds with good gear. I'm venturing off into other styles at the moment since Classic Rock is already old and I don't like new music.
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July 14, 2011 11:54:46 PM

I'm not really familiar with the 598s they looks great as well. The frequency range is a bit higher on the A900s so you might get a bit more bass out of them. In either case I think you'll get a great set of cans no matter what you choose.
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July 14, 2011 11:57:29 PM

yeah, I might switch just because they are cheaper but a little research is in order
*googles more reviews of Audio technica A900*
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July 15, 2011 12:01:53 AM

Haha I don't blame you one bit for that. I'm the same way. Just another thing to point out that I just realized. The A900s have a bit lower impedance (40 ohms) than the 598s (50 ohms) which will also help with the sound quality

Edit: Maybe scratch that about the impedance. I might be wrong. I'm seeing conflicting reports on google!
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July 15, 2011 12:07:59 AM

I didn't think it would matter what the impedance was becouse the sound card I picked can handle up to 600 ohms
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July 15, 2011 12:10:43 AM

Yeah I misread some info and thought I saw something about lower impedance being better. Either way good luck with the selection!
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July 15, 2011 12:11:57 AM

yeah the frequency of the 598's is 12-38,500

the A900's are 5 to 40,000

so more bass and a brighter top?
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July 15, 2011 12:41:58 AM

anyone have any other suggestions concerning Asus xonar essence stx, Sennheiser 598, or Audiotechnica ATH-A900's
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July 15, 2011 12:48:12 AM

Ok new plan best Headphones and Soundcards with individual budgets of 200-250 for each
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July 15, 2011 1:21:58 AM

Headphones: which one would suit an all around listener better:
Beyerdynamic DT 880
Sennheiser HD598
AKG 702
Audiotechnica ATH-A900

and I'm still looking for suggestions for the sound card currently looking at an
Asus Essence Xonar STX
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July 15, 2011 6:58:27 PM

Ok does anyone have anything bad to say about anything, I'm welcoming all the critics becouse I want these 4 headphones singled out, which headphones are better!
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July 15, 2011 7:03:56 PM

Well I'm a big fan of Sennheiser. Using PC 350s myself, which have the same drivers as... um.. 580? I forgot which model, but they're pretty top notch. Only, the bass is a little lacking due to being enclosed, while most of their headphones are open aural.

Anyway as for a sound card, AuzenTech Bravura 7.1 is really good. It can push up to 600ohm headphones.
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July 15, 2011 7:38:10 PM

Ok, thank you but as the Headphones go can I just take an equalizer inside the soundcard's software and up the bass and be happy, I'm not a bass head after all. I would rather hear everything then bump up what isn't as forward as I wanted.
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July 15, 2011 7:40:33 PM

...or is it a case that the bass from the Sennheisers are so muddled behind the mid-range that it is un retreavable, I've heard of sennheisers not having a lot of bass but nobody on the reviews went into detail about how much it was actually lacking.
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July 15, 2011 7:51:51 PM

Oh the bass isn't bad. Rock music sounds awesome but I can tell the very low end isn't as "rumbly" as it might be when I listen to electronic stuff. However, the 350s are specifically for gaming (they have a mic) and for that, they rule.

The actual problem is specifically with the PC 350's design, as the speaker "cabinet" is entirely enclosed. I was on some audiophile website a while back and by using a dremel to make 3 or 4 little tiny holes in the enclosure, they increased the bass dramatically. The actual open aural speakers you're looking at (598) won't have the issue at all.
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July 16, 2011 1:25:41 PM

oh ok, that sounds great thanks for your help!
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July 16, 2011 5:32:05 PM

How on earth can impedance affect sound quality? High impedance just means it takes more power to produce the same amplitude of sound...



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July 17, 2011 1:47:21 PM

Correct, but the difference is when you have people that try to use headphones with Ipods rather than Amps or Amp Cards which doesn't provide enough power to the speakers resulting in poor sound quality.

Long story short is that impedance is important but not when you are talking about a sound card that can handle 600ohms of resistance and your headphones are only 50 ohms.
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!