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What is the best sound card for my headset HD518

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October 22, 2012 3:25:42 PM

As i'm sure you read i have a sennheiser HD-518. and im looking to purchase a sound card for my rig. I mainly use the headset for gaming. My budget is around $100.
Ive done some research but i figured it wouldn't hurt to ask the forums.
October 22, 2012 4:07:28 PM

seasideField said:
As i'm sure you read i have a sennheiser HD-518. and im looking to purchase a sound card for my rig. I mainly use the headset for gaming. My budget is around $100.
Ive done some research but i figured it wouldn't hurt to ask the forums.


AFAIK I know, the sound card built into most motherboards these days are of very good quality. If your really want to push it though, you can but yourself a cheap branded soundcard, but i REALLY doubt you can make out the difference.

When listening to music, make sure the songs are of reasonably high quality, like atleast mp3 ~192kbps and above, or your gonna be doing your headphones some injustice.

BTW, i just tested a friend's bose active noise cancellation headphones worth $325 headphones today, it was just awesome:)  Couldn't hear him yell when the headphones were on, but still i'd never pay that kinda of money for headphones, my $14 Philips one serves me well enough :D 
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October 22, 2012 4:26:55 PM

Soundcards make a significant difference with decent audio gear. For $100, the ASUS Xonar DX, and the cheaper DG(X) are major upgrades over onboard.
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October 23, 2012 3:03:59 AM

gamerk316 said:
Soundcards make a significant difference with decent audio gear. For $100, the ASUS Xonar DX, and the cheaper DG(X) are major upgrades over onboard.


Seriously? I mean the integrated ones can also handle 24bits upto 48Khz, and this is digital equipment we are talking about....so where exactly does the extra "quality" come from?? Better noise suppression and filtering??
I remember reading an article once where they did a blind test with aluminum and gold connector cables, and none of the so called audiophiles could make out the difference!!!
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Best solution

October 23, 2012 12:11:16 PM

Quote:
Seriously? I mean the integrated ones can also handle 24bits upto 48Khz, and this is digital equipment we are talking about....so where exactly does the extra "quality" come from?? Better noise suppression and filtering??


First off, understand how audio works: At some point, the digital sound file on the PC is going to be converted to analog. This can be done by a soundcard, digital receiver, or stand alone DAC.

Whatever device does this conversion is going to have the biggest impact on overall audio quality. For example, if you have a DAC handle converting the audio, soundcards aren't going to have a big huge impact, beacuse you only get the benefits of the soundcards driver layer. If you have the soundcard output direct via analog however, thats where soundcards make a HUGE difference.

Bit rate/sample rate don't make a huge impact in quality overall; harmonic distortion, SnR, correct reproduction of low/mids/highs, and even the specific tuning of various components on the hardware can have a significant impact on how the audio sounds. Replacing a single opamp (which some soundcards allow) can affect the specific sound signature to a significant degree.

Point being: Onboard is flat, muddles the different audio cues together, doesn't have punchy bass, does poor at the high frequency range, and is very inconsistent in the mids. Aside from that, I guess its "ok".

As for cables, its very unlikely you'd notice any difference. In theory, gold would be "better", but I doubt the difference would be distinguishable except on a pair of top tier, $10k headphones.
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October 23, 2012 3:52:28 PM

gamerk316 said:

Bit rate/sample rate don't make a huge impact in quality overall; harmonic distortion, SnR, correct reproduction of low/mids/highs, and even the specific tuning of various components on the hardware can have a significant impact on how the audio sounds. Replacing a single opamp (which some soundcards allow) can affect the specific sound signature to a significant degree.

Point being: Onboard is flat, muddles the different audio cues together, doesn't have punchy bass, does poor at the high frequency range, and is very inconsistent in the mids. Aside from that, I guess its "ok".


Thanx for reminding me of my electronic syllabus during college days :) 
Guess it does make a difference, but i still feel that the difference is negligible considering that most popular mobo makers have tuned their integrated sound card hardware over so many years now.
With today's hardware. I really doubt Seasidefield would be able to notice it. Maybe he could ask some one to set up a blind test for him, and let us know if he can differentiate between the built in and discrete sound card:) 
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October 23, 2012 5:51:04 PM

^^ I disagree 100%. All the time, I hear people who buy a sub$100 soundcard (usually the DG or DX), and they almost always note a significant quality increase.
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November 2, 2012 12:47:11 PM

Best answer selected by seasidefield.
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