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Need advice on getting a soundcard and headphones on a budget

I'm going to be in the market to buy a sound card and a nice pair of headphones soon, but I'm not very experienced when it comes to audio gear.

I mainly game and browse the web on my rig, but I also listen to a bit of music. I would like to keep the entire upgrade under $150 if possible.

From reading around here, I figure the Audio Technica AD700s with an ASUS Xonar DG would suit me well, but I'd like a confirmation just to make sure I get the best bang for my buck.

Thanks :D
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  1. What motherboard do you have??? Most modern boards have decent built in sound cards anyway? That leaves you with $150 for just a headset.
  2. Novuake said:
    What motherboard do you have??? Most modern boards have decent built in sound cards anyway? That leaves you with $150 for just a headset.


    ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3.

    I'd like to spring for a dedicated sound card along with a decent pair of headphones. I've heard the sound card makes a big difference if you have a good pair of headphones.

    I don't see much point in getting $150 headphones while still having onboard audio.
  3. I would say give it a try. The Audio from the Extreme4(same sound tech on) is damn good. But if you insist.

    Are you looking for a Sound card with PCI or PCI-e x 1 interface?

    I prefer PCI-e x1. Some new board do not have PCI anymore so yeah.
  4. Novuake said:
    I would say give it a try. The Audio from the Extreme4(same sound tech on) is damn good. But if you insist.

    Are you looking for a Sound card with PCI or PCI-e x 1 interface?

    I prefer PCI-e x1. Some new board do not have PCI anymore so yeah.


    Either will work for my situation, but I heard that PCI Express has issues with the GPU interfering with the sound card. Is that true?
  5. In a way yes, the GPU has a built in Soundcard for use with HDMI, but this only applies when you are using HDMI to output Sound to a screen or whatever. This is not really an issue. If you run out of PCI-e express lanes by going quad SLI for example the soundcard will not work optimally. But this is not a problem with a one GPU setup, not even an duel card setup.

    Take a look at this :
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132053

    Review :
    http://techreport.com/review/23358/asus-budget-xonar-dgx-and-dsx-sound-cards-reviewed/11

    Basically boils down to being "considerably better than onboard" at a not to expensive price bracket.

    Please keep in mind that you need to get a headset that uses a 3.5inch jack, USB based headsets have in-line soundcards.
  6. Novuake said:
    In a way yes, the GPU has a built in Soundcard for use with HDMI, but this only applies when you are using HDMI to output Sound to a screen or whatever. This is not really an issue. If you run out of PCI-e express lanes by going quad SLI for example the soundcard will not work optimally. But this is not a problem with a one GPU setup, not even an duel card setup.

    Take a look at this :
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829132053

    Review :
    http://techreport.com/review/23358/asus-budget-xonar-dgx-and-dsx-sound-cards-reviewed/11

    Basically boils down to being "considerably better than onboard" at a not to expensive price bracket.

    Please keep in mind that you need to get a headset that uses a 3.5inch jack, USB based headsets have in-line soundcards.

    That sound card looks good to me. I like that you can switch out the amps on it.

    Now, for gaming and listening to music, will the Audio Technica AD 700s suit me well?
  7. Seems Ok, I am not familiar with Audio Technica as a brand. How much can you get that for?
  8. Novuake said:
    Seems Ok, I am not familiar with Audio Technica as a brand. How much can you get that for?

    $110 new, $83 used from Amazon.
  9. Seems quiet expensive.
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-ath-ad700/reviews

    Do you like bass??? Apparently that's their biggest con?
  10. Novuake said:
    Seems quiet expensive.
    http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-ath-ad700/reviews

    Do you like bass??? Apparently that's their biggest con?


    I do like a little bass, but the amount of bass they can deliver should still be more than the $5 earbuds I'm used to currently, right?
  11. Best answer
    Phenis said:
    I do like a little bass, but the amount of bass they can deliver should still be more than the $5 earbuds I'm used to currently, right?


    Definitely. I prefer the Razer stuff, Carcharius is what I have got, its cheaper and has smaller driver and less power, but maybe you should consider a Razer Tiamat 2.2 for example... Also cheaper...

    Reviews :
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/razer-Tiamat-2.2-preview-review-headphones,17824.html


    Has 2 small subs, made for those who love base. It also has software that you can equalize your desired sound. After a bit of tweaking its an epic Headset.

    Product :
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826153088

    http://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/Razer-Tiamat-22/Item3642.aspx
  12. Novuake said:
    Definitely. I prefer the Razer stuff, Carcharius is what I have got, its cheaper and has smaller driver and less power, but maybe you should consider a Razer Tiamat 2.2 for example... Also cheaper...

    Reviews :
    http://www.tomshardware.com/news/razer-Tiamat-2.2-preview-review-headphones,17824.html


    Has 2 small subs, made for those who love base. It also has software that you can equalize your desired sound. After a bit of tweaking its an epic Headset.

    Product :
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826153088

    http://www.gamingnexus.com/Article/Razer-Tiamat-22/Item3642.aspx

    Thanks for all the help. I think I'm going to get the sound card you recommended (especially since I can switch the amp out for another one on it), and the ATH AD700s as they seem to be widely recommended at this price point.
  13. Best answer selected by Phenis.
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