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Looking for advice: soundcard/headphone combo for gaming

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  • Sound Cards
  • Gaming
  • Components
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Last response: in Components
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October 7, 2011 2:57:27 PM

Hello all,

I am hoping to get some advice on a good soundcard/headphone combo for gaming.

A few points:

- The solution must be able to support good quality positional audio for gaming.
- I will listen to music on the solution too, so good quality musicial audio would be a definite plus.
- I don't really watch movies or TV shows on my PC so that's not really important to me.
- I already own some Sennheiser HD555s.
- My current sound card is onboard.

I have done some looking around on this forum, and I found this thread, which contained a lot of useful info:

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/310205-28-audio-gamin...

In this thread, a particular combo deal for a soundcard/headphone was linked to on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Asus-Xonar-Xense-Acoustics-Sennhe...

It seems like a really good option, although I appreciate that some things might have changed in the 3 months since that thread was created.

Is that advice in the linked thread still good? Is the sound card/headphone combo still a good one?

And does the fact I already own the HD555s change anything?

I'm afraid I'm not particularly knowledgeable on audio matters, so I'm hoping some of the more clued in folks here can help. Many thanks in advance for your responses. :) 

More about : advice soundcard headphone combo gaming

a b 4 Gaming
October 7, 2011 6:05:08 PM

If you already own HD555's, its hard to recommend the Xense, because the Xense [typically] comes with a pair of PC-350's. Given you already have a decent headset, I'd go down just one notch to one of:

ASUS Xonar D1/DX
HT Omega Claro+
Auzentech Meridain 2G
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October 7, 2011 6:23:45 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, I will look into those models.

Between the three models you listed, which one do you feel is the best option?

Is one of them markedly better on positional audio for gaming? Do they match up well on music?

And is there a significant difference between the HD555s and the 350s? The HD555s are very audible to the outside world, which can be irritating for other people. Furthermore, my HD555s don't have a mic (not sure if they have a version which does), and since I do a lot of online gaming, it would be convenient to have an attached boom the 350s offer. I wouldn't want to pick up that feature if they don't sound as good as the HD555s though.

Many thanks for your time!

EDIT: one more additional question: while researching the Meridian card, I saw some people recommend the Auzentech X-fi Forte for gaming focused machines. How do you feel it matches up to the Meridian?
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a b 4 Gaming
October 7, 2011 7:42:17 PM

Personally, I love the Xense+PC-350 combo. The HD 555's are good, but I think the PC-350's are better.

As for the Forte and Meridian [2G, not the old model], the Forte is based on the X-fi chipset, that according to *some* people, automatically makes it better for gaming. The Meridian 2G is flat out a better card though, and personally, the whole "gaming soundcard" argument is a myth.

Right now, of the three cards I listed, I believe the Claro+ is the best all around, though the D1/DX [and all ASUS soundcards, like the Xense] DOES have the added advantage of EAX 5.0 emulation...
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October 7, 2011 7:55:25 PM

That is fantastic info - thank you!

A couple more questions, if I may:

If we did a flat out comparison of just the Xense against the other three cards you mentioned, ignoring price and forgetting the bundled headphones (or assuming headphones of equal quality for the other three), how well does the card measure up against the others?

The Xense seems fairly future proof, with a PCI-E connector, and I like that it has a 1/4" jack and EMI shield. Is there anything else I should be aware of? How does it measure up to the likes of the Essence STX?
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October 14, 2011 1:09:43 AM

Best answer selected by saxtell.
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October 14, 2011 1:11:15 AM

I decided to go ahead with the Xense; although I have some decent headphones already, a closed unit with a built in mic is a net plus, so I don't feel the investment is wasted.

Many thanks for the help!
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