I've owned a Logitech G35 for a few years now, and it's good, but it's a bit worn and the bass distorts playing videos on flash based videos sometimes (like youtube), so I kind of want to upgrade to something newer. I've been eyeing the Corsair Vengeance 1500v2 and the Logitech G430, I'm leaning towards the corsair but I trust you guys more than I for audio, so any input on the two of those?
From what I've heard, stay away from the Corsair. The v2 may have fixed the problems it had, so I don't know. There was a fairly favorable review for the G430 with an amp added to the chain posted a while back. From his experience they perform fairly poorly with just the USB soundcard alone.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Posted by derbigpr
So....I've bought a Logitech G430 headset. Don't ask me why, impulse purchase. I payed like 100 dollars for it, and its the weirdest, most failed, but at the same time amazing product I've ever bought. Let me explain, in the package you get the Headset, with a typical 3,5 mm headphone jack, and you get a small USB soundcard with a 3,5 mm output in it. The soundcard works with Logitech's own drivers that gives you ability to EQ sound, set up the 7.1 surround sound in detail...you can adjust each of the speakers, their loudness, etc.
Anyway, the headset and the USB sound card don't work properly together. The headset is just to hard to power. Its 50 ohms and has 90 db/v sensitivity. It's almost as hard to get it loud as my Beyerdynamic T1's. Ridiculous. Plugged into a Musical Fidelity M1HPAP amp, I have to turn it up almost as far as with the T1's to get same loudness. When plugged into the USB soundcard, its just not loud, at all. On the loudest setting, it barely on a decent usable volume level. And then when you play something dynamic or bass heavy, or you hear and explosion in a game or a movie, the headphone distorts, because it's not getting enough power. Pretty much, the package is useless. BUT, get this. When you plug the Logitech headphones in a headphone amp, man does it sound good. Seriously, for 100 dollars (60 or less in the US) these are actually seriously good headphones. They're quite balanced and very natural sounding. They naturally have a big soundstage, very good imaging and central image. They're not mid-bass heavy, but are slightly sub-bass heavy. They have a thumping, deep bass, subwoofer like bass, not overly lifted though, still very tight and controlled.
So headphones on their own are worth the buy, but don't get the G430, get the G230 instead, they're identical.
Now to the star of the show. The USB soundcard. I have no clue what it does, how it does it, but this thing walks all over my Asus Xonar Essence ST soundcard. This thing can be worth 15-20 dollars most, but the surround sound, the feeling of space, the imaging, the depth of space around you, and the fact it does not significantly change the tonality of the sound when surround sound is enabled, is just amazing. Quite simply put, this is the best surround sound I've ever heard on headphones. The good thing is, you can plug any headphone into it, since its 3,5 mm. Even when I use my cheapest headphone, Sennheiser HD202, it turns them into a gaming and movie watching beasts. Soundstage and feeling of space, the experience and dynamics, the REALITY of the sound, the detail, everything about this USB stick is amazing. HD202 + Logitech USB sound card sound better in games than T1's or K701's plugged into the Asus ST with dolby headphone enabled. I don't know how, it just does. Another thing, when you enable the dolby on Asus, it changes the sound. It changes tonality, for the worse. The Logitech drivers do it for better. Human voices actually sound MORE realistic with the surround enabled. It actually feels like a person is standing in front of you. The behind surround channel are amazing. You know the dolby headphone video on youtube with the match stick box shaking around you? You know that feeling of the sound coming directly behind you and then it goes down and back up? This is what this Logitech sound card does to EVERYTHING. It just makes it sound real, not different, doesn't change tonality too much, don't add loads of echo or boom like most surround sound effects do, it just takes the flat, boring sounds, and arranges them in a very precise virtual space around you. AND, it actually works with music, because it improves it. I was listening to some DSP jazz albums on the HD202's, and it sounds amazing. The resolution of the sound goes up, detail goes up, imaging is over the top, feeling of space insane, you can almost touch the instruments. I feel like my main headphone setup that consists of T1's M1HPAP and M1DAC was destroyed in anything surround sound related.
Honestly, I would pay 100$ for the Logitech USB soundcard alone, because it beats any other soundcard or surround sound in headphones I've ever tried before. Sure it doesn't have a lot of power, but add a headphone amp between the headphones and the USB stick, and you have a winner. So, what to take out of this....when you buy the Logitech G430 package, you get a great headphones and an AMAZING sound card, but they don't work properly together without the addition of the headphone amp.