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Looking for Gaming Headset and Soundcard (FPS titles)

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June 15, 2012 1:38:30 PM

I'm moving onto PC soon and want to get the best I can out of my gaming experience. At current I play a variety of fps games on my PS3 such as Battlefield 3, DUST 514 beta, Bad Company 2, MAG, some COD occassionally and as much as I love my Turtlebeach PX21's they don't really give me the positional audio i'm looking out for to help me step up my game and the sound quality is mediocre at best.

Say if i'm playing battlefield on siene crossing and I find a camper in a building who needs to "****" (: I would benefit from being able to hear his footsteps. I'm kind of hoping that the surround sound ability of the headset, should help me pinpoint the floor which the camper is on and the corner he is hiding in. Maybe this is a little too much to ask, but i'm willing to invest towards something of this nature. What i'm trying to say is positional audio and clarity is important to me.

I've read reviews about Razer's new Tiamat 7.1 gaming headset, and the general opinion I've found is that whilst the positional audio of the individual speakers is great it is compromised in sound quality. Now for something worth £155 ish (here in the UK) i'd be expecting sound quality to substantially better than what reviewers have suggested. This then brings me to think whether 7.1 surround is truly the way forward or whether I can get a better experience with stereo or 5.1 surround sound headsets.

More recently i've researched Sennheiser's PC 360. The reviews seem to indiciate that this headset has phenomenal audio quality, which is something to be expected of the £145 price tag. The reviews also go on to say that the sound scape is immersive and rich in detail. I know that inorder to get the best out of a high quality headset such as this it needs to be paired with a soundcard, but i'm still concerned about not getting the positional audio i'm looking for after paying in excess of £200.

Further Information:
Budget limit within reason, but if paying the extra dollar or so is worth it i'd be willing to save that little bit extra I'm looking for around £200 price tag ideally (soundcard+headset);
Blu-ray movies need to sound immersive;
I do amateur music production also, so therefore the quality needs to be sufficient to effective edit audio (metal style things);

What I need:
A headset with great positional audio to give me the best chance in FPS titles (Competitive gameplay);
Sound clarity for blu-ray and music production;
Clear enough mic to communicate with team mates effectively;
A suitable soundcard to pair with the desired headset;


Edit: I like the look of the Sennheiser PC 360 headset after reading several positive reviews. Any advise for a soundcard for positional audio?
a b 4 Gaming
June 15, 2012 1:48:44 PM

First and formost, if you want the best quality, avoid anything branded as "gaming" when it comes to audio. Best bet is usually a lower priced audiophile headphones paired with a clip on microphone.

Trust me, I moved from a Sennheiser PC350 [paired with a Xonar Xense] to a BeyerDymanic DT770 [later an Audio Technical ATH-m50], and the audio quality wasn't even close; the "gaming headset" paired with a specially tuned "gaming" soundcard were blown out of the water by audiophile grade headphones.

At the ~$200 point, the best combination might be something along the lines of an ASUS Xonar DX (~$70) and Audio Technical ATH-m50 headset (~$120). I've also heard good things about the Grado SR80i, which is a bit cheaper.
June 15, 2012 2:00:37 PM

How was the directional audio quality of your new DT770's? Which games were you using them for?
a b 4 Gaming
June 15, 2012 3:31:50 PM

They are stereo, but I used Dolby Headphone on my soundcard to create a virtual 5.1 field. Worked about as well as expected [slightly better then "real" 5.1 headets].

Left 4 Dead 2 was the only FPS title tested though, as I don't have many FPS' installed at the moment.
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