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Best gaming/musical speakers and headset for complete noob :(

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February 10, 2012 1:42:54 AM

Like the title says, I am a complete noob when it comes to audio. I can handle understanding most other computer hardware, but not audio. Unfortunately, I just purchased parts for a new rig I will build soon, and I need some sort of audio out for it. My system is used almost exclusively for gaming/listening to music/ internet, and therefore it goes without saying that my speakers, headset, whatever it is I need will be playing game sound and music. I have absolutely no where to start though. I looked on newegg for some ideas, and I get to the details and I get completely lost. Hz frequency, decibel range, all of this stuff means literally nothing to me so I was hoping some of you guys could help me out. I'm already 100$ over budget with my pc (thats a lot :/ ), so I'm not trying to buy something amazingly good. Which, speaking of, is there honestly a difference between audio quality of speakers / headsets??

Bass and 2 speakers honestly will most likely fit the bill if its good for gaming and music. I saw these logitechs on newegg on sale with some pretty solid reviews and was tempted to buy them. I don't have a clue what I'm doing or looking for though so I passed them up. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

Honestly though, I'm not sure if it's speakers I need, or headphones. I like not being wired in, and I have a cheap 20$ rocketfish mic that I use for VOiP and ventrilo, but who knows, that could break anyday. Sometimes when I'm just studying or what not, it would be nice to just sit on my couch with speakers on for music. For headsets though, I have heard that turtlebeach and razer make good ones.

Trying to give you guys as much info to help me out with, but honestly I don't know what all to give you. I'll admit, I'm a complete noob at this stuff, so please be patient and go slow with me. Like I said, I'm already 100$ over budget and I'm a college student, and honestly I shouldn't be spending any more money. But I'm buying a new rig, and without sound it would just be a waste :/ . Please, all of your advice is useful to me.

Thanks for reading.

Specs: Asrock z68 extreme3 Gen3
i5 2500k
cooler master 212+
msi 6950 2gb twin frozr II
OCZ ZS 750w
8GB G. Skill 1600 DDR3 Ripjaws
LG dvd-rw optical
win 7
rosewill challenger u3
western digital blue caviar 500gb
February 11, 2012 5:23:16 PM

Anyone out there that can help me?
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February 12, 2012 5:40:00 PM

So what is the budget, $25 are not good speakers.

$50 will fit the bill better, but expectation should not be high : )
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February 12, 2012 5:45:08 PM

1 dual RCA jack and a 3.5 mm jack:

Let you easily connect a Logitech Squeezebox network music player, DVD player, gaming console, or iPod.

Integrated headphone jack: Lets you listen in private whenever you want.
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February 12, 2012 6:21:48 PM

Aw, those 20 dollar ones are so cheap though! And have so many reviews :( . Is 17W vs 30w really that much of a difference?

My budget is really anything less than 100$, as cheap as possible. I'm way over budget, but I realize that I can't really game without audio haha. Headsets are not outruled either, if there are any good recommendations on that end, then by all means let me know if you know any. Preferably with some kind of surround sound.

If I go up to $60, I think I would rather just go all out and get those 5.1 speakers I showed you.http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
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February 12, 2012 6:26:28 PM

hedshotx said:
Aw, those 20 dollar ones are so cheap though! And have so many reviews :( . Is 17W vs 30w really that much of a difference?

My budget is really anything less than 100$, as cheap as possible. I'm way over budget, but I realize that I can't really game without audio haha. Headsets are not outruled either, if there are any good recommendations on that end, then by all means let me know if you know any. Preferably with some kind of surround sound.

If I go up to $60, I think I would rather just go all out and get those 5.1 speakers I showed you. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


Yes, get those, u will hate the $30 ones. There would be so much distortion, u would want to throw them out.
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February 12, 2012 7:09:34 PM

Mmk. With those 80$ 5.1 speakers, will I even notice the quality of sound with the mobo sound vs a sound card? If not I'll just stick with the mobo.

Also do you have any suggestions for a headset with surround sound? Idc if it's virtual or true 5.1
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February 13, 2012 3:24:45 AM

hedshotx said:
Mmk. With those 80$ 5.1 speakers, will I even notice the quality of sound with the mobo sound vs a sound card? If not I'll just stick with the mobo.

Also do you have any suggestions for a headset with surround sound? Idc if it's virtual or true 5.1

Yes, the quality will be, that u can play it louder without any distortion, than those weaker ones.
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February 13, 2012 3:36:55 AM

Alright I think I've decided on going for headphones instead of speakers. I was trying to figure out how in the world I would setup a 5.1 system in my room and it isn't totally possible! So it's either 2.1 or 3.1, or headphones, and I think I'd rather get headphones that can give me some kind of surround sound, since 2.1 and 3.1 probably can't give me much pinpoint awareness in games.

Do you have any suggestions for headphones? They don't really have to have a mic since I have a webcam mic that works to be honest. They do need some kind of surround sound though, and I've heard that the 50 mm drivers are the best?

Take a look at some I've found. Trying to keep under 60$.

http://www.frys.com/product/5827773

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041OQKIC/ref=ox_sc_a...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t39360...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671793-REG/Plantr...
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February 13, 2012 3:40:49 PM

Can anyone help me out here?
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February 13, 2012 3:47:37 PM

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February 13, 2012 3:48:18 PM

Best Budget Choice: Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Sigma



Creative’s $63 entry isn’t going to win any quality awards. It looks a little cheap, it has a thin ribbon cable, and we struggled to keep its microphone sponge cover from falling off. The ear cups are clearly designed to show off illuminated accents, but this model doesn't have them.

Like Han Solo said, though, "...she's got it where it counts, kid." The Tactic3D Sigma is armed with powerful 50 mm drivers that can be made to sound better than most of the competition, especially when you dial in the equalizer and THX TruStudio Pro virtual surround settings you like best. Accessing all of that software is easy thanks to Creative's clean, attractive interface.

At 10 oz, this is a very light headset, which makes it easier to also be quite comfortable. A simple, effective inline controller features a clip for your clothes. Moreover, you can use it on the USB bus or attached to analog outputs on your discrete sound card. Do you take real-time voice effects more seriously than you’d care to admit? Creative includes 19 unique voice profiles, plus the ability to customize and create your own with eight slider controls.

Bottom line, though: when you take the time to configure it properly, this headset sounds very good. It boasts deep bass, good mids, and crisp highs that rival competing models that cost twice as much. For its ability to perform well at an affordable price point, we're happy to award Creative's Tactic 3D Sigma our nod of approval.
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February 13, 2012 4:12:36 PM

I did see that! Actually newegg had the same sale on it ($50), and I was really close to impulse buying it haha. I read a bunch of reviews and the durability of it worried me. I know the toms crew really favors it, but if it's something that I'll have to rma a couple times a year, Idk if it's worth it to me :( . If that's the best headset I can find though, I'll definitely go with it. I know sennheiser makes 2 year warranty headsets, I was trying to find one with a similar warranty so I can hopefully keep it a bit longer.
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February 13, 2012 4:29:07 PM

hedshotx said:
I did see that! Actually newegg had the same sale on it ($50), and I was really close to impulse buying it haha. I read a bunch of reviews and the durability of it worried me. I know the toms crew really favors it, but if it's something that I'll have to rma a couple times a year, Idk if it's worth it to me :( . If that's the best headset I can find though, I'll definitely go with it. I know sennheiser makes 2 year warranty headsets, I was trying to find one with a similar warranty so I can hopefully keep it a bit longer.

I agree, but the quality of the sound would count for me. I love sennheiser, that's what they do, and it is done right.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...
SENNHEISER PC151 Binaural Headset
$59.95

or http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?SID=u0t39360...
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February 13, 2012 4:58:18 PM

Alright, I've got it narrowed down to these. Let me know what you think.

Creative Sigma : http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Tactic-Headset-7... $55

Razer Carcharias: http://www.amazon.com/Razer-Carcharias-Gaming-Headset-B... $70

plantronics 367: 25$ http://www.frys.com/product/5827773

plantronics 777: http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/671793-REG/Plantr... $50

corsair hs1a : http://www.amazon.com/Corsair-CA-HS1ANA-Gaming-Analog-H... $70

creative fatality : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $35

creative fatality mkII : http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... $66

I know there are a lot, but please let me know what you think!
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February 13, 2012 5:22:22 PM

Creative Fatal1ty Professional Series Gaming Headset MKII are good too.
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February 13, 2012 5:40:42 PM

Which are your favorites / recommendations nikorr? You like the mkIIs the most'?
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February 13, 2012 6:09:05 PM

I wish I had that budget :( . Those look nice, plus they are sennheisen
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February 13, 2012 6:14:02 PM

hedshotx said:
I wish I had that budget :( . Those look nice, plus they are sennheisen

They are good, I tried 6 sets : ) Fatality series too ...
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February 13, 2012 6:39:57 PM

Alright so I've narrowed that list down to these...

Creative Sigma: 50$

Creative fatal1ty mkII : 65$

Creative fatal1ty : 35$

Razer Carcharias: 70$

Whatcha think?
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February 13, 2012 6:42:25 PM

I would trust Toms HW reviewer and get the Creative Sigma: 50$ : ))
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February 13, 2012 10:22:44 PM

I have Logitech G35 7.1 headphones and i love them when i have to use headphones and if you saw my home theater i use as my sound u would understand then when i state this; "they sound pretty d*mn good." I use 7.2 surround with polk audio and sony as my home theater/gaming in my "man cave" lol. they are excellent sounding headphones, i think $95 bucks on amazon, just bought a pair for my bro cause his headphones broke and ive had mine for a year and a half been stepped on, run over with my computer chair, dropped, everything and still work great. i know they are close to your max budget but if you like good sound they are very good and it will cost you plenty more for a speaker system that will match the quality of these. PS toms reviewer said they are solid, good pair of headphones, look at their review of all the headphones for more info.
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February 13, 2012 10:47:28 PM

Mhm. They are a bit out of range :/ . I am going for one of these two:

Arctic Sound P531 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

or the Creative Sigmas

Both of these I can get for 50 bucks. I was originally going to go with the sigmas, but the arctic's are getting very good reviews, and feature true 5.1 surround sound instead of virtual surround like the sigmas.

Need to decide tonight, what do you guys think?
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February 14, 2012 3:16:02 AM

I tried a few hrs ago the Creative Sigmas and they feel OK to me.
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February 14, 2012 3:42:36 AM

Comfortability isn't too much of an issue for me. I use pretty much a non-padded mic for vent and I'm used to it haha. How was the sound though? Whichever has the best sound / positional audio is pretty much going to get my money.
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February 14, 2012 3:44:24 AM

hedshotx said:
Comfortability isn't too much of an issue for me. I use pretty much a non-padded mic for vent and I'm used to it haha. How was the sound though? Whichever has the best sound / positional audio is pretty much going to get my money.

I was commenting on the sound, music was great and game sound was great too.

Good piece!
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February 14, 2012 3:54:01 AM

Oh okay. Sorry I misunderstood you, I thought you mean't 'OK' as if they are mediocre.

What are your thoughts on the Arctic set? Also what do you think about all the durability issues that people have been having with the Sigmas? That part worries me the most.
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February 16, 2012 12:04:28 AM

Nikorr had mentioned the Sennheiser PC 151 headphones, and considering you are on a budget (and even if you weren't) I would, without a doubt, recommend these as well.

I have been using these playing Battlefield 2, Bad Company 2, BF3, & COD MW, MW2, & MW3, combined with an X-Fi Xtrememusic soundcard for 6+ years with zero problems. Of course, I have since upgraded my graphics card, motherboard, and ram, but have yet to find a worthy replacement for my Senns, or my soundcard for that matter. (Would there be a noticeable difference in a newer card.....anyone?)

I've tried, and promptly returned the Steelseries 7H 7.1 set, and Sennheiser PC350 's (although I have read you need a beast of a soundcard to get the most benefit from the PC350's, otherwise you're wasting money :non:  ) as I found that the sound on these models seemed weak or muffled. The sound volume of your own weapon firing in FPS games wasn't right in front of your face as represented on the screen, including the sounds of all the action around you. The PC 151's simply have awesome sound.

I recently purchased the Corsair Vengeance 1500' s and will be returning them as well. Not because the sound is poor by any means (I still like the Senns sound better), but because I didn't do any research about USB headsets beforehand to learn that they don't make use of your soundcard, as they have their own. If you don't have a soundcard, or are using onboard sound I would highly recommend these. For an analog headset, I stand firm on getting the Sennheiser PC 151's provided they're still available, and you have an aftermarket soundcard to use them with. :sol: 
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February 16, 2012 12:46:27 AM

Good to know I have other options. I do not have an aftermarket soundcard, so it looks like I'll end up sticking with the sigmas or the arctic 5.1s. What are your thoughts on those two Chris?
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February 16, 2012 1:37:19 AM

Unfortunately, I'm afraid I can't give you an accurate review on those two, as I have never tried them.

With the two models I returned, even though they got good reviews, to me the sound was very mediocre. Unfortunately, sometimes what you read vs. what you hear varies. I personally use PC Gamer magazine's reviews (and recently Tom's) as gospel to help me decide on what to buy considering they were the ones who steered me to my present set. I can only recommend reading different reviews from the more well known sites, and come to your own conclusion.

That being said, considering Tom's pointed out the Sigmas as the best budget choice, that would certainly sway me in their direction. The bonus is that they have the option of using either analog or usb connections. That gives you the flexibility of achieving even better sound via analog, if you decide to pair them with a decent soundcard at a later date. :sol:  I'm sure you could find some older X-Fi models for cheap online. As for the Arctic's, you're S.O.L. considering they're USB only, so what you see is what you get. :( 

Best of luck!!
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February 16, 2012 3:15:22 AM

Mhm. Nikorr did point me toward a very cheap but very nice 10$ sound card, but I'm not an audiophile and don't think I would be able to tell the difference between my mobo and a sound card, so I think I'll pass up. The Sigmas I'm pretty sure do sound better than the Arctics, and may even have better sound positioning. What worries me the most, and it's something that Tom's Review didn't really touch on, was it's durability/ lifespan. I've heard of some people having problems with the mic and wiring problems. It may just be a sensitive headset, or people may be careless :p , but I just hope I didn't buy into a mic that is going to fail in a few months :/ .
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February 16, 2012 4:30:16 AM

For a $10 soundcard, no, you wouldn't notice a difference. If anything, it would be a step down in quality vs what your motherboard's onboard sound can offer. You would be better off to wait until you can afford an X-Fi card. There are X-Fi Xtreme Gamer sound cards on Ebay for as low as $45, which would be a significant improvement over onboard sound.

As for the lifespan, I wouldn't particularly worry about that. Tom's review does state about the Sigma's, "Our only concern here is the audio cable. Most of the models in our round-up employ sturdy, braided cable. Creative, however, opts for a thin, flat ribbon cable that seems less durable. Since most of the headsets we've ever owned failed when contacts between the remote and cable wore over time, this is one area where cost-cutting isn't good." <- Just keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

My Senns use just regular old cable, and not the braided type, and they're still functioning just fine. Outside of the 1 year warranty Creative offers, provided they consistently make a smooth trip from your desk to your head and vice versa, I'm sure you would get plenty of years use out of them. I would be concerned in their lifespan if it was a lesser known manufacturer, whereas Creative is one of the more well-known companies.

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February 21, 2012 10:01:11 AM

I ofter met with some hardware defect with my system. it could not completely avoidable........Some time my drive not compatible with my disk so what i can do with this??
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