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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 120

post #1786 of 3042

Hey folks. I was poking around in Mad Lust Envy's thread looking for soundcards, but they didn't seem to have many ideas, I was hoping this thread might be a better fit.

 

I'm looking at purchasing Sennheiser PC 360s to use for PC gaming on Windows 7. It is my understanding that I need Dolby Headphone. I believe the Realtek ALC889 on my motherboard does not provide Dolby Headphone, and therefor I need a sound card. I have done two hours worth of Googling and searching and I am still drowning. I tried looking at the OP of this thread, but didn't see much about sound cards.

 

Can anyone help me out here on recommending and picking a sound card?

post #1787 of 3042

Asus Xonar DG is a good choice , it has a decent headphone amp and does have Dolby headphone amp, But is PCI. There is a PCI-E ver called the Xonar DGX which is the same card but for PCI-E slots. So if you dont have any free PCI slots or they are covered up. The DGX would be the alt choice. Both are very affordable, I have seen Cheap DG's on amazon used for like 20 dollar some times on ebay as well.

post #1788 of 3042
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0verlord View Post

Hey folks. I was poking around in Mad Lust Envy's thread looking for soundcards, but they didn't seem to have many ideas, I was hoping this thread might be a better fit.

 

I'm looking at purchasing Sennheiser PC 360s to use for PC gaming on Windows 7. It is my understanding that I need Dolby Headphone. I believe the Realtek ALC889 on my motherboard does not provide Dolby Headphone, and therefor I need a sound card. I have done two hours worth of Googling and searching and I am still drowning. I tried looking at the OP of this thread, but didn't see much about sound cards.

 

Can anyone help me out here on recommending and picking a sound card?

 

Geez, now I really do need to rewrite the guide whenever I've got free time.

 

I thought it was clear to everyone here that I'm a bit of an X-Fi/CMSS-3D Headphone advocate (specifically, X-Fi Titanium non-HD at $50 or less, X-Fi Titanium HD or X-Fi Forte at $100-120), though I don't hesitate to recommend the Xonar DG(X) for someone in need of an affordable sound card under $45.

post #1789 of 3042

I looked under soundcard chipsets and didn't see anything, perhaps I skimmed too quickly. Regardless, I appreciate the resource and I'd hate for anyone to feel undervalued do

 

Thank you both for your recommendations, I will be researching the X-Fi Titanium and the Xonar DG. Will report back.


Edited by 0verlord - 9/8/13 at 10:59pm
post #1790 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by OP20 View Post
 

Im a bit new to audio at this level. 7.1 from the Xonar U3 via optical to a dac like the audio engine D1 is going to retain the 7.1 correct? As I understand it the U3 isnt good enough by itself to drive the philips X1 headphones? Sorry if the question sounded silly. I'm a PC only gamer without room for a sound card. would an amp be required for the X1's in addition to the U3 and DAC?

 

Thankyou for any and all responses. I'm so thankful for the community here otherwise I would be 100% lost :P

The Xonar U3 can easily drive the 30-Ohm Philips X1 headphones, but the D1 would offer improved audio quality (and the D1 can easily plug into the U3's S/PDIF optical output).

post #1791 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0verlord View Post
 

Hey folks. I was poking around in Mad Lust Envy's thread looking for sound cards, but they didn't seem to have many ideas, I was hoping this thread might be a better fit.

I'm looking at purchasing Sennheiser PC 360s to use for PC gaming on Windows 7. It is my understanding that I need Dolby Headphone. I believe the Realtek ALC889 on my motherboard does not provide Dolby Headphone, and therefor I need a sound card. I have done two hours worth of Googling and searching and I am still drowning. I tried looking at the OP of this thread, but didn't see much about sound cards.

Can anyone help me out here on recommending and picking a sound card?

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $28, the DG's headphone amplifier can easily drive the 50-Ohm PC360,

decent CS4245 DAC chip, comes with Dolby Headphone.

 

Creative Sound Blaster Z, $80, better DAC (CS4398) then the DG's

and the Z's headphone amplifier should have no problem driving the 50-Ohm PC360.

 

Creative Titanium (non-HD), used $50, can decently drive the PC360, The Titanium's DAC audio quality should be somewhere between the DG and the Z, uses CMSS-3D headphone surround sound.

It's a slightly older card with mature drivers.

post #1792 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by AvroArrow View Post

I've been doing some reading on some guy's blog site about matching amps to headphones and while some of the math is a bit over my head, 1 thing did stick out.  The output impedance of the headphone jack of the amp should be 1/8 or less of the headphone impedance.  So assuming that's a good guideline, the 10 Ohm output impedance of the E09k is too high for the 62 Ohm of the K702.65 and even worse for the 32 Ohm of the ATH-AD700.  That and having used the E17 for a while now, I really, really want an amp with an analog volume knob.  The up/down button on the E17 is kinda annoying to use because of the timing.  I initially thought the volume buttons on it where flakey/broken until I figured out that I needed faster timing between presses to change the volume.  Like I mentioned before, if Fiio made a desktop version of the E17 with an analog volume knob, I'd be all over it.  Heck, if there was an ODAC with an optical in, I'd be all over that.   
A certain guy's blog site does provide some insight, and I certainly learned a lot of technical things reading it. However, I honestly don't know what to think about him, or his actions.

Anyway, back on track. if you actually looked at an E09k, you'd see it has a big fat glorious analogue volume knob dominating the front of it, and line-in inputs on the back for other sources on the back and even a USB pass through input so that you can plug your E17 into the computer without mucking about with a mess of wires each time. Yes, it has a 10 Ohm output impedance, very similar to what early iPods had, but if you learn more, you'll find that output impedance matters because on many headphones, their impedance changes with frequency. The K701 variants actually have unusually linear impedance (doesn't change much with frequency), so, even though it already has pretty good damping, that level impedance reaction makes it less reactive to higher output impedances. I thought about getting an E09k for myself before, but I ended up getting an E12 instead, which suits me fine. If you want to spend more on an O2 (which isn't very ergonomicly designed), it sounds very similar. The AD700 doesn't scale up with amping beyond what you already get with your e17, so another amp would mostly just be for convenience with that headphone, and a couple dB of raised bass in the AD700 from a 10 ohm output impedance on the E9 might actually be enjoyable.
post #1793 of 3042

Thankyou for the responses. I was reading there was a slight loss of audio quality going directly from the U3 to the X1. I just want to retain the 7.1 effect while improving the sound quality.

 

I'm not 100% on how these external sound cards work but 30-Ohm Philips X1 headphones rated means it will wont have any kind of loss of audio quality using the U3? 

 

Once again, thankyou for your responses!

post #1794 of 3042
The U3 has a 23-ohm output impedance, and is absolutely not ideal to hook the X1 directly to it, though I've done it and will do fine until you find a real dac/amp to hook up with it.

ALl I can say is that if you're fine with hiding the U3 behind a real spdif dac/amp, that's all you will ever need.

For instance, here are some examples:

PC - U3 - optical - E17

PC - U3 - optical - Nuforce HDP

PC - U3 - optical - Audio-GD NFB 11.32, 15.32, Compass 2

Budget solution: PC - U3 - optical - Fiio D03k spdif dac ($30) - Fiio E5 amp ($20)

Yes, it's external, but it's small, and can be hidden away.

Of course if you can just get an internal soundcard, it's less to tuck away. The U3 is the external equivalent to the Xonar DG, so if you can score the DG, it should be at least on par. Just set the optical out on the DG to keep Dolby Headphone, and do the same things I mentioned above.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 9/9/13 at 3:15am
post #1795 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by 0verlord View Post
 

Hey folks. I was poking around in Mad Lust Envy's thread looking for soundcards, but they didn't seem to have many ideas, I was hoping this thread might be a better fit.

 

I'm looking at purchasing Sennheiser PC 360s to use for PC gaming on Windows 7. It is my understanding that I need Dolby Headphone. I believe the Realtek ALC889 on my motherboard does not provide Dolby Headphone, and therefor I need a sound card. I have done two hours worth of Googling and searching and I am still drowning. I tried looking at the OP of this thread, but didn't see much about sound cards.

 

Can anyone help me out here on recommending and picking a sound card?

 

I have a titanium HD and PC360s (Soon to be HE-500s), and I can tell you that audio positioning is great.  I highly recomment the sound card, it looks great (which only matters if you're a DIY PC buff like me) and sounds fine.  The features are a plus, too.

post #1796 of 3042

Hey guys,

 

Ive read here that the titanium HD has cmss-3d but on the creative page they only mention THX TruStudio Pro, can anyone clarify this for me?

 

They dont have any cmss-3d card anymore Oo

post #1797 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The U3 has a 23-ohm output impedance, and is absolutely not ideal to hook the X1 directly to it, though I've done it and will do fine until you find a real dac/amp to hook up with it.

ALl I can say is that if you're fine with hiding the U3 behind a real spdif dac/amp, that's all you will ever need.

For instance, here are some examples:

PC - U3 - optical - E17

PC - U3 - optical - Nuforce HDP

PC - U3 - optical - Audio-GD NFB 11.32, 15.32, Compass 2

Budget solution: PC - U3 - optical - Fiio D03k spdif dac ($30) - Fiio E5 amp ($20)

Yes, it's external, but it's small, and can be hidden away.

Of course if you can just get an internal soundcard, it's less to tuck away. The U3 is the external equivalent to the Xonar DG, so if you can score the DG, it should be at least on par. Just set the optical out on the DG to keep Dolby Headphone, and do the same things I mentioned above.
Woah, I just read that some of the Asus internal soundcards have 100 ohm output impedances! I'll look further into this and report back, hopefully that's just on the line-outs or something!
post #1798 of 3042
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Woah, I just read that some of the Asus internal soundcards have 100 ohm output impedances! I'll look further into this and report back, hopefully that's just on the line-outs or something!

 

That is definitely the case for the Xonar D1, which I have and measured, and therefore very likely also for its PCIe version, the Xonar DX. These cards are not marketed as having a built-in headphone amplifier anyway, but work well as a DAC (or with headphones not affected too much by the output impedance and limited power). The same might be true of the Xonar D2 and D2X, but this is only a guess (based on the fact that these are also targeted at "home theater" applications, and do not advertise a headphone amplifier either). The Essence ST and STX (another card that I actually tested) have 10 Ω output impedance on the headphone jack, and 100 Ω on the line out. I guess the Xonar Phoebus, with similar specs as the ST/STX, have the same output impedance. The Xonar DG uses the same "headphone amplifier" (that is, a chip originally intended for use as a line out buffer) as the U3, and the output impedance might be similar as well, although I have seen 10 Ω resistors on pictures of the board near the DRV601. Finally, I recall someone measuring 10 Ω on the Essence One, it is somewhere in this thread.

 

For Creative cards, goldenears.net measured 35-36 Ω on the Titanium HD, and a Russian review site tested the Sound Blaster ZxR, and measured 40 Ω (despite this card using a TPA6120A2 chip, which is usually implemented with an output impedance of 10 Ω).


Edited by stv014 - 9/9/13 at 9:09am
post #1799 of 3042

Everything but the Xonar DG is over $100 on Amazon and Newegg, or unavailable, so it looks like it's the Xonar DG. Thank you everyone for your time and recommendations. I can't wait to experience positional audio.

post #1800 of 3042

Thankyou for the responses. I just read that the Asus Xonar Essence STX has an output impedance of 10 ohm. I'm not an audiophile with any HiFi experience... am I going to be able to tell the difference between 23 and 10 ohms output impedance?

 

In the past couple days of research I find myself curious if my inexperienced ears would be able to pick up on any audio degradation of going from the U3 directly. I'm always very interested in finding the very best solution from experienced people such as the audiophiles here... but I also enjoy an very clean desk :P It's unfortunate I don't have room for an internal card... and that the Xonar U7 kinda sucks from what I've read as far as positional audio compared to the U3.

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