I finally have all the gear!
I had some troubles installing the soundcard, apparently there are some problems when having a previously installed soundcard etc... Anyways all is working now, i have my headphones and mic.
I didn't have a lot of time to properly test it out this weekend, but i will do so in the coming days.
My observations so far:
1. Having a clip-on mic is sooo much better than a headset kidna thingy. You can just clip it on anything or if you are playing topless just hang it around your neck and it works. The sound quality is great, apparently, and you don't get a huge mic stuck in your face. Costs only about 5 euros or so too, so it's definitely a go-for thingy.
2. The HD555 are great so far.
- They seem quite robust and the materials are definitely high quality. They even have the looks too. Very stylish, nice to touch.
- The comfort level is beyond any other headphone i've had before (which would be low-level, crappy headphones, mind you). They cup my years completely without pressing on them anywhere. The headband does not compress my head in, nor do the cushions. Heat seams to be fine so far, you do feel your ears warming up after a while but there's no sweating or unpleasant feeling from the touch, like leather headphones tend to give.
- The sound quality i've only tested on my PC so far. I received the headphones a couple of days before the soundcard, so i tried them without it. It was unbearable, i used them for like 20 minutes and put them aside - the parasite sounds that my onboard soundcard was producing were so bad that it really was pointless to use. I could hear my mouse moving, my scrollwheel scrolling (no, not the physical sound of doing it, the parasite sound the PC sends through the sound jacks), when cranking up my processor with a game or something i'd get a constant heavy buzzing sound... Never really heard those parasite sounds with my old Creative Fatal1ty. After i installed the Xonar things got better, but there's still some parasite noises when using the front panel jack. I ended up with plugging my headphones at the back and my speakers at the front. That way i get super great sound with the headphones and the speakers are OK since the noise can't really be heard. (Got a decent BOSE 2.1 desktop system for about 300 euros so i guess that helps too)
Other than that, the sound is great. I tested a very bassy song (Nero - Doomsday) and a very highish too (London Symphony Orchestra - Adagio for Strings) and both played great.
- I still have to test the headphones with a real amp though.
- I haven't modded them into HD559s yet, will wait a bit on that but i am definitely doing it.
- As reviews have said, the jack IS huuuuge. Well ok, not that huge but it's really damn long since you have to use the adapter to plug the headphones in the 3.5mm jack.
3. The soundcard boosted all sound output, not just when using headphones. I am not sure if the general sound quality is better, when not using headphones, but the forementioned parasite noises that i would get even on my speakers with the onboard sound are now gone. Installing it was a bitch though, The drivers failed to install, and so did the sound control panel. I had to uninstall and then disable my onboard sound, then run a specific installator from the CD, etc... Nothing all that major really, but it's annoying and something one wouldn't expect from a recent product.
- The Xonar Audio Center is honestly disappointing. I find the interface not very intuitive and kinda clunky. I spent a good deal of time figuring out how to turn off the effects that i had turned on by accident. Maybe i was just being thick...
- As mentioned earlier, my speakers sound better and require less volume cranking too.
- I must do some serious testing on the Dolby Headphones feature before i could comment on it. I have a few questions about that, i will ask them after the conclusion.
Conclusion so far - Do NOT buy high quality headphones unless you have a proper sound card. It's not only not worth it, it actually is WORSE than having low quality ones.
Now the questions, for those who might know:
1. What software settings should i use, outside the Xonar Audio Center? I read that i should setup windows to 7.1 or 5.1 audio, even if using 2.1 desktop speakers, for the Dolby Headphones to work, when using headphones.
2. Is there a reason not to use the maximum channels possible (8, in the Xonar Audio Center) ?
3. What settings to use in games? Some games, like Battlefield 3, offer some "enhanced 3d for when not using surround speakers or headphones", should i keep such options switched ON (since i don't really have surround) or OFF (since i have Dolby Headphones) ? Also, what settings to use for games that allow 7.1, 5.1, "Headphones", etc?
4. Is there a way to make the Xonar DGX play sound through both the front and back panel at the same time? My onboard sound used to be able to do that and it had it's uses, however i can't seem to find such an option with the Xonar...