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PC Headset: USB vs Sound Card Ports

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June 28, 2011 7:21:59 PM

What are some considerations when choosing headsets (with the mic) to be used for gaming as well as for talking through Google Voice and Gmail Talk, if all else is equal, where the only difference is whether it's connected with USB or the audio/stereo connectors (black and pink/green and pink)? What are the sound quality considerations?
June 29, 2011 3:54:33 AM

the digital to analog convertor..
the speaker output quality..
the microphone input quality..
the amplifiers that drive the microphone and the speaker..

every single step is a potential disaster.
a premium digital to analog convertor is enough to drive the headset up to like $700
seriously.
there are usb digital to analog convertors that have insane prices.
ranging from $180 to $10,000 ?
headphone audiophiles go crazy with the products they make available.

but let one not forget..
a specific model of digital to analog convertor can be paired with a specific headphone speaker to work together as a team and form a more solid result.
you might go with that theory, but either one is a gamble.
maybe the dac and the headphone speaker is perfect, and the amplifier is junk.


headphone audiophiles talk about premium digital to analog convertors quite a lot.
since they sell ONLY the digital to analog convertor that plugs into the usb port.. it should provide proof that soundcard or usb is a question of not the jack, but the hardware connected to the jack/port.
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June 29, 2011 8:15:58 PM

if you're going to plug in a $20 mic, and <$200 headphones it doesnt much matter. i get that you don't want "crappy" sound but this is more a case of what products you plug in more than the ports. if you buy no-name junk then you might get what you paid for.

if you already have a decent sound card, theres no reason not to use its ports. pick whichever option you want but this would be my own preference.
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July 6, 2011 1:44:57 AM

anwaypasible said:
the digital to analog convertor..
the speaker output quality..
the microphone input quality..
the amplifiers that drive the microphone and the speaker..

every single step is a potential disaster.
a premium digital to analog convertor is enough to drive the headset up to like $700
seriously.
there are usb digital to analog convertors that have insane prices.
ranging from $180 to $10,000 ?
headphone audiophiles go crazy with the products they make available.

but let one not forget..
a specific model of digital to analog convertor can be paired with a specific headphone speaker to work together as a team and form a more solid result.
you might go with that theory, but either one is a gamble.
maybe the dac and the headphone speaker is perfect, and the amplifier is junk.


headphone audiophiles talk about premium digital to analog convertors quite a lot.
since they sell ONLY the digital to analog convertor that plugs into the usb port.. it should provide proof that soundcard or usb is a question of not the jack, but the hardware connected to the jack/port.


I appreciate the lengthy and technical response; however, there's so much in your post that I don't understand. I should have simplified the question by asking whether I should buy a USB headset or not.

I ended up going with a Logitech G35 Surround Sound Headset.


ssddx said:
if you're going to plug in a $20 mic, and <$200 headphones it doesnt much matter. i get that you don't want "crappy" sound but this is more a case of what products you plug in more than the ports. if you buy no-name junk then you might get what you paid for.

if you already have a decent sound card, theres no reason not to use its ports. pick whichever option you want but this would be my own preference.


Thanks. I saw your response too late. I'm happy with these so far, despite them being USB. Somewhere down the road I'll get a pair (thinking Razer) that are non-USB.

Is it safe to say that USB = non-sound card? Still trying to figure this out.
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July 6, 2011 3:51:12 AM

a soundcard is defined as anything connected to the computer that allows the computer to emit audio.

because the headphones are soldered onto the usb soundcard doesnt make the device on the cord any less of a soundcard.
some people swear by using all connections with solder, and none of the soldered-on spring or screw terminals.
same principle with 3.5mm connections.

one can save money on connectors and adaptors.. but that person might also come to the conclusion that some cords might require the connector be on the end to keep the final result as expected.
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