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Compatibility with Sennheiser PC 350 headset

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August 6, 2011 3:29:05 PM

I just purchased the Sennheiser PC 350 headset ( with a thirty day return policy). The sound volume appears very low, and the quality on the audio is sub-par for a 200 dollar headset.

I tried altering all the normal audio settings, and playing with all the audio options of the headset aswell to no avail. I'm lead to believe this could be a result of my sound card? or lack there of?

In my hardware info, it shows my sound card as ATI High Definition Audio Device, with a second tab showing Realtek High Definition Audio. For both, the location in the properties is listed as an Internal High Definition Audio Bus.

So do I have a sound card? If so is it good enough? If what I'm reading isn't my sound card, where do I check?

I currently have a set of logitech speakers plugged into my computer monitor, which is connected to my computer via HDMI cord.
I'm on windows 7.
August 6, 2011 8:00:49 PM

You have bought a very awesome product. Congratulations for that first. Now, where are you taking the audio output from. With the two options available to you, the Realtek one is better here. Disable the ATI audio and make Realtek as the default. Connect your headset to the rear audio slots properly and check again.
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August 6, 2011 9:00:45 PM

Emperus said:
You have bought a very awesome product. Congratulations for that first. Now, where are you taking the audio output from. With the two options available to you, the Realtek one is better here. Disable the ATI audio and make Realtek as the default. Connect your headset to the rear audio slots properly and check again.


I did. Still not very loud, still not very good sound quality.

edit: I tried both the rear and front connections to my PC. Realtek, and ATI respectively. I also tried plugging directly into monitor audio slot that connects to PC via HDMI. My 80 dollar USB wireless logitech headset from 2 and a half years ago is offering better quality and volume.

I know that this isn't the fault of the product, as I just exchanged it to ensure it was not defective. And I have heard many good reviews. Is it possible my sound card just doesn't cut it?
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August 7, 2011 4:40:02 AM

Possible. However, have you checked with the system volume properties?
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August 7, 2011 4:59:57 AM

I have the PC333D and trust me, you definitely want to get a dedicated sound card. Something like the Asus Xonar DG that I'm running will run you just over $20 USD and it's well worth more than that. The built in sound card on the motherboard doesn't have the necessary power to drive a high-end headset.
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August 7, 2011 3:27:42 PM

I have went into every audio option available, through the headset tab, general volume, realtek manager, etc etc. Enabling the "Loudness Equalization" option increases the volume quite a bit, but kills the quality and creates a constant buzz.


axipher said:
I have the PC333D and trust me, you definitely want to get a dedicated sound card. Something like the Asus Xonar DG that I'm running will run you just over $20 USD and it's well worth more than that. The built in sound card on the motherboard doesn't have the necessary power to drive a high-end headset.


So do I not have a dedicated sound card right now? In terms of installation will there likely be room in my rig, or is that something I should check?
I've also been reading into USB soundcards, are they any good?
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August 7, 2011 5:05:04 PM

+1 for axipher

onboard audio is OK but only for cheap speakers/headsets... it is not powerful enough to drive the PC350 (or any other high-end headphones)
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August 7, 2011 6:12:26 PM

Stupido said:
+1 for axipher

onboard audio is OK but only for cheap speakers/headsets... it is not powerful enough to drive the PC350 (or any other high-end headphones)



Would you agree the card he recommended would enable the PC350 to it's full potential?

Also, I only have PCI-E slots. This card is only compatible with PCI slots, correct?
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August 7, 2011 10:31:36 PM

I bought a soundcard that did not fit into the available slots in my computer, it was much too big, and was PCI rather than PCI-E.

As a desperation attempt I plugged my headphone jack into the available slot on my logictech Z523 speakers, which are plugged into my onboard sound.

It enhanced the quality and volume greatly, but I don't want to keep this headset if the effect given by plugging into the speakers only brings this 200 dollars set on par with that of a 120 dollar one. Is it possible plugging into the speaker jack would solve all my problems, bringing the PC350 to it's full potential, or am I better off to just by a less expensive headset since my onboard sound can't support this one to it's potential.
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August 8, 2011 1:48:38 AM

Congrats, you have one of the best headsets on the market. Your also using onboard audio, which while sufficient for cheap desktop speakers, are totally incapable of driving that headset you have.

The cheapest PCI-E card avaliable is the ASUS Xonar DX, which is actually a very good card for its price. Just be aware it requires a 4-pin power connector.
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August 8, 2011 3:28:34 AM

Does the Asus Xonar DX have the built-in headphone amp? And to answer the questions regarding space concerns, it's a half-height card for both options that will fit in a lot profile case or a full-size case and takes up only one slot. My PC333D came with a USB suondcard and even it was better then the built-in motherboard sound card, but no where near as good as a dedicated sound card in your computer.
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August 8, 2011 12:09:03 PM

No, the DX does not come with an amp. The Cheapest PCI-E card with an amp built in is the Auzentech Forte. Other PCI-E cards with an amp:

Auzentech Forte
Creative Titanium HD
ASUS Xonar Xense
ASUS Essence STX
HT Omega Claro XT
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August 8, 2011 11:19:13 PM

Best answer selected by Harshe.
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August 8, 2011 11:28:55 PM

Well if Harshe has a free PCI slot which most boards still do other than the crazy high-end ones, I think the Asus Xonar DG might be the best upgrade if they want to get the most out of their headset.
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August 14, 2011 8:40:00 PM

Just incase anyone ever looks at this to solve their similar problem, I'll post what ended up happening here.


Although my speakers acted as an adequate amp for my headset, plugging through them, the sound quality was still sub par, with some distortion as it got louder. I purchased a generic home theater receiver for 350 dollars, and the appropriate jacks to connect it with my computer and headset, with the intention to build a speaker setup in the future through the receiver , while I use it to get this headset working in the short-term. Again, it acted as an even greater amplifier of volume, but the louder it went, the poorer the PC350 would preform.

I realized my onboard sound must still be doing the sound processing, so took back the receiver, and purchased a 90 dollar external sound card.

I plugged my logitech speakers into the left and right, red and white ports of the sound card with the included 3.5MM adapter, then my headset into the speakers built in 3.5mm jack. The speakers in conjunction with the soundcard provided the AMP I needed, and the sound quality increased dramatically. I then purchased a steel-series 5hv headset, with built in USB sound compatibility, and compared the quality. (much worse than the sennheiser 350 , when the 350 was through soundcard). Then plugged the Steelseries headset through the soundcard and my speakers, and it still preformed noteably worse than the sennheiser.


So, overall I would say the Sennheiser PC350 headset is definitly worth the money, if you're looking for that extra quality compared to other gaming headsets. Just a sound card AND amp, or a sound card with built in AMP functionality is required.
Also, this soundcard I bought is very good. Great interface, THX certified, lots of updates (good sign). Built in remote. I do not think it has a build in amp however, if you don't have the work around as I do (my speakers)
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