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PC -> Asus U3 -> O2 -> DT 990/600? Any reason to buy a sound card?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Just wondering if, based on the above "chain", there would be any need to buy a "better" sound card like the STX or Titanium HD?

 

I *think* the answer is "no", since the U3 is the "DAC" and provides Dolby Digital Live for surround sound gaming through the headphones, and the O2 drives the headphones (assuming the U3 isn't sufficient to drive the 600 Ohm Beyerdynamic DT 990)?

 

Also, I'd be plugging a clip-on mic into the U3 for Teamspeak.

 

 

Just want to make sure I'm not missing anything here. 

 

Thanks for all the help!

 

p.s., not sure if anyone here can help with this, but I'd like to drive a pair of buttkickers (through a separate power amp).  I'm guessing I can either split the signal from the U3 to the O2, or possibly use the onboard sound card to send a signal to the buttkickers' power amp?  

 

Thanks again!!

post #2 of 7

The Xonar U3 provides some basic gaming DSP features like Dolby Headphone, enough to get you by for most current games with software-processed audio.

 

X-Fi cards do have better support for games that use the DirectSound3D and OpenAL APIs, but only the internal sound card variants have the proper DSP for that.

post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the info!  So I understand that I would only need another sound card/DAC to the extent that the sound card/DAC provides a DSP that's not on the U3.

 

Hopefully not the case, but I'll definitely pay better attention to the type of sound processing that's used by the games that I'm playing.

post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeinLA View Post

Thanks for the info!  So I understand that I would only need another sound card/DAC to the extent that the sound card/DAC provides a DSP that's not on the U3.

 

Hopefully not the case, but I'll definitely pay better attention to the type of sound processing that's used by the games that I'm playing.

 

That's the gist of it, yes.

 

If you want to go into the details, read my PC gaming audio guide. (I'd also appreciate any feedback on how to make the guide more readable, if anything leaves you feeling confused.)

post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
I definitely read that guide, more than once. My comments would be that: 1. It's a bit technical - that's why I read it a few times and, frankly, didn't really understand much of it :P For example, I don't know what an API is or a "binaural audio technology" :P I'm too much of a noob, I guess. 2. You recommend the Stax Lamba but it's not mentioned in the MLE thread. I wasn't sure about the Stax Lamba system, and when I google it, it's not exactly easy to figure out what it is and how much. It's a really great, detailed writeup, for sure - but probably a little too advanced for noobs and the "tell me what to do"-types... :) But it's VERY clear you know WTF you're talking about, which is why noobs like me bug you guys with our dumb questions :)
post #6 of 7

I'm a technical person by nature. The problem I have is putting all the technical details in layman's terms...

 

API: Application Programming Interface. Basically, they determine how software interacts with hardware. It used to be that game engines more or less talked directly to sound cards to process the sounds, do the final mixing and put the sounds in their places, but now they do everything internally, for better or for worse.

 

Binaural HRTF mixing simulates the way we hear sounds in real life coming from all directions with only two ears. "Binaural" basically means "hearing with two ears" and is generally associated with dummy head recordings, but I couldn't think of a better comparison for the type of mixing that things like CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone do.

 

Mad Lust Envy hasn't auditioned a Stax setup before, sadly. I hope to correct that eventually, but I'm not going to part with my only Stax system just for him to review. (Not until I have another to fall back on, anyway.) Note that I bought a Stax system because of word of mouth here on Head-Fi from people other than MLE that said they excelled at gaming, so it isn't just me who would recommend them if the budget permits. I just think everyone should audition an electrostatic system, Stax or otherwise, at least once to find out if it's for them.

 

Does any of that make more sense?

post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Yes!  thanks again for the explanations. 

 

It's very surprising to me how unintuitive and un-user friendly the PC audio systems are.  You'd think someone would have come up with a SIMPLE "plug and play" solution by now.

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