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Need advice on getting a soundcard and headphones on a budget

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November 9, 2012 9:21:01 PM

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 
November 10, 2012 5:57:21 AM

What motherboard do you have??? Most modern boards have decent built in sound cards anyway? That leaves you with $150 for just a headset.
November 10, 2012 6:06:35 AM

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.
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November 10, 2012 3:18:23 PM

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.
November 10, 2012 3:28:32 PM

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?
November 10, 2012 5:26:55 PM

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=N82E168...

Review :
http://techreport.com/review/23358/asus-budget-xonar-dg...

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.
November 10, 2012 9:21:42 PM

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=N82E168...

Review :
http://techreport.com/review/23358/asus-budget-xonar-dg...

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?
November 11, 2012 11:15:47 AM

Seems Ok, I am not familiar with Audio Technica as a brand. How much can you get that for?
November 11, 2012 3:57:13 PM

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.
November 11, 2012 4:57:58 PM

Novuake said:
Seems quiet expensive.
http://www.head-fi.org/products/audio-technica-ath-ad70...

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?

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November 11, 2012 6:03:18 PM
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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-previ...



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=N82E168...

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

November 11, 2012 7:14:32 PM

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-previ...



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=N82E168...

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

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.
November 11, 2012 7:16:13 PM

Best answer selected by Phenis.
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