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Sennheiser PC 350 SE and X-Fi Titanium (no amp)

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March 26, 2013 1:16:40 PM

Hey everyone. Here's my situation.

  • PC/rig specs: DELL XPS 730x
  • O/S: Windows 7 (64-bit) SP1 (Service Pack 1)
  • Memory: 6GB
  • Drives: (300GB velociraptor @10k rpm; 1 TB Western Digital @7.2k rpm)
  • Sound card: Creative Labs Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium PCI Express Sound Card
  • Video card: nVidia GeForce GTX 280 1GB
  • Headphone set w/mic (previous): Logitech ClearChat Pro Wireless (USB)
  • Headphone set w/mic (current): Sennheiser PC 350 SE (Special Edition) Wired

  • I originally bought the Logitech because I was using them for conference calls at home using VoIP and using GoToMeeting on my PC. Using them for gaming was not in mind at the moment. But they worked out well. Bought them in 2010. Now what I did notice while playing solo a year or 2 later was some "warping" or "warbling" of music and or in-game temporarily (a few seconds) then back to normal. Though if I walked further than say 20-30 ft, signal would degraded but that wasn't an issue.

    Then when playing with people on line using TeamSpeak or Mumble they would mention to me that I was "popping" alot. I didn't hear popping but they did. It turns out this is a KNOWN issue with the Logitech ClearChat Pro Wireless USB headsets. So finally after a year later, I decided to upgrade or replace the Logitech with the Sennheiser.

    I plugged the 2 3.5mm connectors to the front inputs of my DELL (which I assumed with be directly getting sound from my card as opposed to the on-board sound, and also plugged into the back of the sound card directly) and was "underwhelmed" by the sound. My Logitech's had the OOMPH and bass of explosions, and I could sense surround-sound while in-game whereas the Sennheiser sound like I'm playing inside a big empty cardboard box (as others have mentioned in other threads).

    Now after reading various threads about the Sennheisers they are quality sets (not that my Logitechs weren't but these are a higher grade quality) but my question is, do I really need a sound card WITH an amp to power these? And which card is good for Windows 7? I've read the the ASUS Xonar Essence STX Virtual 7.1 Channels PCI Express x1 Interface 124 dB SNR / Headphone AMP Card
    may have some issues in Windows 7.

    Also do I need to do this mod on my headsets (drilling a few holes that I read on Head-Fi.org? Would suck if I have to and I just got them so don't want to void the 2yr warranty. And finally, do I really need to "warm them up" or "burn them in" for a few hours/days before they sound like they're supposed to?

    I play mostly FPS (1st-person shooters, either SP single-player and/or MP multi-player) like COD:BO2 (Call of Duty: Black Ops 2).

    Thanks
    May 17, 2013 6:39:56 PM

    Hello. I own the predecessor to the Sennheiser PC 350 SE, the PC 360, and it's always produced incredible sound.

    Could you link your specific sound card so I can be sure of the one you are talking about?

    Quote:
    I plugged the 2 3.5mm connectors to the front inputs of my DELL....


    Are these the same inputs that you connected your Logitech headset with?

    Generally speaking, a sound card does not need an amp, as it connects to speakers that are already powered (which is the way computer speakers are designed). The X-Fi Titanium HD is a bit different in that it has RCA outputs (as opposed to 3.5mm), so you need either powered speakers or an amp. Thus, this is why I'm asking which specific sound card you have.

    I would suggest you connect your headset to the sound card directly, on the back of the PC, as there is no way to be sure what your front audio jacks are actually connected to.

    With all due respect to the Head-Fi boards, I would absolutely not drill holes into the headset. If you believe your headset is malfunctioning you should make a warranty claim, not void the warranty in hopes that it improves the sound.

    I would suggest you burn them in, but I like doing things like that because I'm kinda geeky.



    May 19, 2013 5:00:50 PM

    Hey Heath how are you. Thanks for the reply. Here's the link to the "old" card I had in my PC

    http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-XFi....

    As for my previous headset (Logitech ClearChat Pro Wireless-USB), no there were no inputs I used, as I just had the USB antenna connected to the back of the PC using any of the available USB slots.

    The current speakers I have are oldie but goodie Altec Lansing ACS-495 speakers. I did plug-in my Sennheisers to the back of the soundcard and the output was fine [sound coming out from pc to speakers] but input was not [sound from my mic to the pc]. But when using the front jacks on the PC (which were also wired to the sound card, I did have some static feedback.

    But end result was that my headphones sounded a bit "tin-can" like at the beginning. Well as most did suggest, I let them "burn-in" (i.e. use them for a few days/weeks). And it turns out that was the case. Headphones are fine as-is and no hole drilling to be done. That made no sense after spending a lot for these. Now as for my card well I upgrade to this one WITH an amp:

    http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-ZxR...

    The SoundBlaster ZxR and let me say that when playing CoD-BO2 (Call of Duty - Black Ops 2) and someone dropped an EMP bomb (my headphones REALLY had bass that completely shocked me and startled me!). Now that's what I'm talking about!

    Thanks again for your reply Heath.
    Related resources
    May 19, 2013 5:23:18 PM

    jaramill,

    I'm doing well, thanks for asking.

    Quote:
    But when using the front jacks on the PC (which were also wired to the sound card, I did have some static feedback....


    I would surmise that your front stereo connector cable was either not properly connected, had a short, etc.

    Quote:
    Now as for my card well I upgrade to this one WITH an amp:

    http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-ZxR...


    I see you have one-upped me again with newer tech. What amp did you go with? Pardon, while I wipe the drool from my chin, I've been reading about that sweet card.

    Cheers!
    !