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Aspiring audiophile top be looking for advice

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

First off I want to say that I'm pretty new to the "high quaility" audio scene if you want to call it that but I'm trying to learn everything I can.  I have spent the last few days searching about headphones, amps and sound cards.  I feel I have a pretty good grasp on somethings, however other stuff I can't find an answer I fully understand.


I don't really know how to start but ill try my best to provide all the information I can. 


(I hope I don't get flamed for this seems like alot of people around here don't like gaming as much)

I am a home PC gamer so I don't need anything that is for ipods/consoles/on the move.  I need something that is more focus for gaming headphones.  I read that usually for gaming you want more low bass headphones with I think a big soundstage.  Also after looking at Mad Lust Envy's Guide Dolby Headphone looks really nice as well.  I am a big fan of 5.1/7.1, I almost consider it a must.  Like I said gaming is my primary focus so stuff like that is important.  With that I said, I do listen to music a fair bit, so I still want that to be decent.


My next major question is amps.  I am very new to amps and not even 100% on what they do.  I read that some headphones need amps while other don't.  I am not sure if they are only used for console/ipods etc.  If I have a sound card do I still need an amp? 


I was thinking of getting an ASUS Xonar series sound card (not sure on exactly which one).  I have heard pretty good thing about them, I know some of them have amps built in as well.  I am just not sure on which one is the best to get for my needs.  If I get one built in, is that all I need?


As for the actual headphones that is another thing I am at a loss as well.  I have a general idea of what I need for quailty gaming headset as I stated above but I am not sure and would love some more opinions.


I am really not looking to spend much more the 300$ total for everything just as a general price range.


Thanks in advance for all the opinions and help.  I hope I gave enough information on what I am looking for but if you have any questions please ask.  Sorry for being a noob at this trying my best to learn.

post #2 of 3

Hmm for gaming i would consider a X-Fi Titanium HD and if needed for demanding cans a seperate desktop headphone amp tongue_smile.gif

post #3 of 3

I'm kind of a noob myself but here goes:

Some headphones need "more juice" than others (I put it in quotes because that's a simple way of putting it), these headphones are High Impedance becase the Impede the signal and need more juice. Most sources, like an iPod, can't output enough juice for high impedance cans so you get an  Amplifier, amp for short, to amplify the signal and make it powerful enough to drive your high impedance cans.

The impedance of you headphones is rated in Ohms. For instance, my Low Impedance Audio Technica ATH AD-700's are rated at 30 Ohms of impedance, so they don't need an amp. However, something like a Beyer DT990 is rated at 300 Ohms and is high impedance.


For headphones, i would recommend the aforementioned Audio-Technica ATH AD700, I got mine for 110 off of amazon and they have a nice sound stage for gaming. The sound stage is how much space is available to the sound. For instance, if I have a wide sound stage, I can hear a guy approaching me from 9 oclock, however if the sound stage is narrow, I just hear that he's to the left of me. However the 


I wouldn't recommend getting a sound card for 2 reasons:

1)Interference from your computers components. since you're gaming i'll assume you have a decent, high-power graphics card. Those can introduce static into your sound!

2) A sound card limits you to your pc, with a portable/desktop option, you can enjoy hifi anywher from the portable or from other sources with the desktop. Even if you don't plan on it, it's better not to have to invest more money later for some portable hifi. Or maybe you feel like listening to audio on your bed or something, the desktop gives you that option because it's not stuck in your computer! :D



So, instead of a soundcard, you should buy something called a DAC, or Digital to Analog converter. What it does, is take all the 1's and 0's your computer has the audio file stored as and turns it into electrical signals that the headphone can understand. That's basically what a sound card does -although some sound cards have amps that boost the sound as well. The dac bypasses your computers internal soundcard(Whether it's built into your machine or not).


For my DAC, I'm running a Fiio E10 and it's amazing! The ATH-700's that I recommend don't have very good bass, which most gamers like, but the Fiio e10 has a bass boost that adds just the perfect amount of bass to balance out the headphones. The e10 is only 80$! That leaves you 120$ below you budget. You could find higher quality gear with that extra, however the synergy between the AD700 and the E10 is just astounding! It's definitely a good choice for aspiring audiophiles however audio is subjective so you have to find something you like! If you have an audio shop near by, even it's more expensive than amazon, it's always a better option because you can test the gear before you buy it and all the reviews in the world can't tell you how you'll like an audio components sound!


Welcome to audiophila :D It's really amazing what good quality components do! When was the last time you almost cried because of how beautiful your music sounded? Like never! Hifi makes it happen! :D

Edited by DFXLuna - 7/11/12 at 11:28pm
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