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Which sound card will suit my needs best?

Tags:
  • Sound Cards
  • Headphones
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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January 3, 2012 1:29:05 AM

I have just purchased some headphones in order that I can listen to music while studying to cancel out background noise from the house. However I did not forsee the sound being so shockingly bad through the headphones as the sound is just fine through my speakers.

I am assuming it is due to me only having onboard sound, so I've decided to invest in a dedicated sound card. The headphones are good quality ones that I put research into before buying so I know they aren't the problem.

Sound cards is probably the one component I know nothing about.

My needs from the soundcard is to be able to listen to music in good solid quality through my headphones. I also play a few games so the sound for those would need to be solid through the headphones too. I don't need the best of the best top quality as I am not an audiophile, but I do want the sound to be of good quality as stated

These are the three that I have come across as I am wanting to spend no more than $150NZ:

http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentvie...
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentvie...
http://www.computerlounge.co.nz/components/componentvie...

There are cheaper options on this site if any of those would be the most I would need also. These 3 seemed to be the most suitable for my needs from what I could work out myself though.

I don't know about compatability issues with sound cards and other compenents so here is a list of my components just in case:

OS: MS Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit SP1
CPU: Intel Core i7 930 @ 2.80GHz
RAM: 12.0 GB Triple-Channel DDR3 @ 534MHz (8-8-8-20)
MOBO: ASUS P6X58D PREMIUM
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 480
HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300GB 10000RPM SATAII
Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB 64MB Cache SATA3

More about : sound card suit

January 3, 2012 1:42:41 AM

Which headphones did you buy?
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January 3, 2012 1:55:16 AM

Headphones: Sennheiser HD205.
Speakers: Logitech Z320 Speaker System 2.0
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January 3, 2012 2:16:03 AM

The same on board sound is driving both the Headphones and Speakers. Either rthere's a config issue or ya HP are boinky.
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January 3, 2012 2:35:27 AM

The sound is terrible through both my standard iPod headphones and high quality LE Ultimate ears heapdhones, so I don't think its the headphones?
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Best solution

January 3, 2012 2:38:28 AM

an easy way to check is to plug your headphones into a different audio output. Try them in an ipod or through a cd player/amp, etc. if they spring to life through another source then it's your sound card, if not then it's the headphones. :) 

are you running the sound system and headphones through the same jack on your computer? different jack's have different quality.
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January 3, 2012 2:44:20 AM

blakphoenix said:
are you running the sound system and headphones through the same jack on your computer? different jack's have different quality.


This is the problem, thanks! Don't know why I didn't think of checking that myself.

When I unplug the speakers and plug the headphones into the rear jack they work perfectly fine just like my speakers. Before I was plugging them into the front jack which is meant for the convenience of headphones.

How do I get the same quality coming out the front jack? Considering it is meant for headphones, surely they should be made so the quality will be the same through headphones in that jack? Strange.
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January 4, 2012 9:31:51 AM

If your front panel cable has AC97 and HD connecters, make sure to use the HD and that it is inserted into the proper mobo pins.
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January 4, 2012 10:58:36 AM

Well, the ASUS Xonar DS is slightly lower quality then the D1/DX, which is my recommend base card for most people.

The key differences between the D1 and DX:

*D1 is PCI, and DX is PCI-E
*The DX requires a 4-pin power connector
*The DX is a newer model

Other then that, they are virtually identical.

That being said, the prices on that site are jacked up; the D1/DX rarely goes over $79, and the DS goes for about $40.
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January 5, 2012 12:49:03 AM

The prices are jacked up because here in New Zealand they have to pay the import prices. All PC components are more expensive here than in the US unfortunately.

Not sure I will end up getting one now, I will see if I'm happy with the current on board sound through the headphones now I know I have to plug them into the rear jack. Thank you for your advice though. I will go for the D1/DX if I eventually decide to get one.

Is there no way to get the sound coming through the front jack the same quality as the rear?
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January 5, 2012 3:28:33 AM

^^ Usually not; the front jack is subject to more EMI, so its almost always a noticably lower quality.
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January 5, 2012 9:53:36 AM

for those speakers & headphones I will say Xonar DS or DG.

most important thing is the source file quality.
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January 6, 2012 4:51:13 PM

gamerk316 said:
Well, the ASUS Xonar DS is slightly lower quality then the D1/DX, which is my recommend base card for most people.

The key differences between the D1 and DX:

*D1 is PCI, and DX is PCI-E
*The DX requires a 4-pin power connector
*The DX is a newer model

Other then that, they are virtually identical.

That being said, the prices on that site are jacked up; the D1/DX rarely goes over $79, and the DS goes for about $40.



I just bought the DX version from (yesterday) from: . Paid $80 with shipping, but the manufacturer is offering a $20.00 rebate.

Waiting for delivery. Other sites are also offering the rebate.

Happy listening.

Tom
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October 14, 2012 9:27:32 AM

Best answer selected by rikishi19.
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