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PC (Gaming) sound setup

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hello guys, am looking for some advice on what parts to buy for my gaming PC that'll be most suitable to get the best sound out of games (and in particular dota 2) for a budget of ~180GBP/230Euro/300Dollars..Am currently looking for a combination of the CREATIVE Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium 7.1 PCI Sound Card + ATH AD700 headphones, but would also like to hear opinions of others!

I've also been suggested to buy an external USB ?sound card? instead of a PCI/PCI-E one..

post #2 of 9

You can't get surround sound (even simulated) with stereo headphones. If you want surround sound, you will probably need a dedicated gaming headset from brands such as Logitech, Astro or Turtle Beach. I have tried to do what you are doing now, which is to get a headset for music and use it to game at the same time, and in my experience, it isn't going to work out well for either.

 

I use an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card, and I originally wanted to use it with my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros for music and gaming, but there was too much of a noise floor with the Beyers when listening to music, and since they were stereo headphones, I couldn't use them to play any competitive FPS like Battlefield or CoD.

 

I purchased Astro A40s and the Mixamp that comes with it to play Xbox, and later hooked it up to my computer via optical TOSLink out from my sound card into the Mixamp, with USB connection for power. I also bought an external DAC/Amp, a Yulong D100, which I connect via USB to my MacBook Pro, and I listen to music with the DT770 off that. It is far better to separate the two, because if you have neither a surround sound headset to take advantage of your sound card with, nor a dedicated (external or internal) DAC and amp to listen to music, you end up having rather poor results for both music and gaming.

 

If anything, the simplest thing for you to do now is to get a dedicated gaming headset and use that with your PC's soundcard.

You should read this really informative post about the subject if you haven't already. It covers much more than what I can tell you.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-9-4-2012-headzone-added-revised-layout-links

 

Keep in mind this is just from my personal experience, and you may not have the same issues that I faced (high noise floor, lack of surround sound an issue) and you may be perfectly able to listen to music and play DoTA satisfactorily with that sound card and the AD700s. Good luck.


Edited by Peculier - 9/9/12 at 4:44am
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peculier View Post

You can't get surround sound (even simulated) with stereo headphones. If you want surround sound, you will probably need a dedicated gaming headset from brands such as Logitech, Astro or Turtle Beach. I have tried to do what you are doing now, which is to get a headset for music and use it to game at the same time, and in my experience, it isn't going to work out well for either.

 

I use an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card, and I originally wanted to use it with my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros for music and gaming, but there was too much of a noise floor with the Beyers when listening to music, and since they were stereo headphones, I couldn't use them to play any competitive FPS like Battlefield or CoD.

 

I purchased Astro A40s and the Mixamp that comes with it to play Xbox, and later hooked it up to my computer via optical TOSLink out from my sound card into the Mixamp, with USB connection for power. I also bought an external DAC/Amp, a Yulong D100, which I connect via USB to my MacBook Pro, and I listen to music with the DT770 off that. It is far better to separate the two, because if you have neither a surround sound headset to take advantage of your sound card with, nor a dedicated (external or internal) DAC and amp to listen to music, you end up having rather poor results for both music and gaming.

 

If anything, the simplest thing for you to do now is to get a dedicated gaming headset and use that with your PC's soundcard.

You should read this really informative post about the subject if you haven't already. It covers much more than what I can tell you.
http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-9-4-2012-headzone-added-revised-layout-links

 

Keep in mind this is just from my personal experience, and you may not have the same issues that I faced (high noise floor, lack of surround sound an issue) and you may be perfectly able to listen to music and play DoTA satisfactorily with that sound card and the AD700s. Good luck.

 

 

I've went over the gaming thread (http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-9-4-2012-headzone-added-revised-layout-links) which states that the OP discusses about Dolby Headphone virtual surround and not stereo. Maybe you didnt manage to set it up well to get the surround effect?

 

As for the cans, am leaning more and more towards the AD700 although the lack of bass annoys me a bit; which can be rectified to some extent I understand through the EQ. Although I am competitevely playing DotA 2, I'd love to be able to use them for some FPS sessions, or while listening to music (heavy metal). Note: That would be an exception, so that's why am focusing on buying stuff for gaming.

 

As for the sound card/external DAC, am leaning towards the 'cheap' Asus Xonar DG,and could buy a MixAmp in the future to use with my Xbox 360.

 

So to sum things up (and ask for your opinion about it), here's what we have with a 1-10 scale of importance.

 

Competitive DotA 2 (RTS/Strategy) Gaming - 9

Casual Gaming (on Xbox 360/PC) - 6

Listening to music (heavy metal) - 3

 

 

And a question a bit out of context; I have a 2.1 stereo system which am currently using, is it possible to hook both the Headphones and the stereo system on the Asus Xonar DG (through some kind of switch?) and switch between gaming and 'daily activites'?

 

 

And the proposed set-up is as follows:

 

-Asus Xonar DG

-ATH AD700

-3.5mm Jack Switch (to switch from 2.1 stereo system to headphones without the need to plugging and unplugging cables)

post #4 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ombadboy View Post

I've went over the gaming thread (http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-9-4-2012-headzone-added-revised-layout-links) which states that the OP discusses about Dolby Headphone virtual surround and not stereo. Maybe you didnt manage to set it up well to get the surround effect?

As for the cans, am leaning more and more towards the AD700 although the lack of bass annoys me a bit; which can be rectified to some extent I understand through the EQ. Although I am competitevely playing DotA 2, I'd love to be able to use them for some FPS sessions, or while listening to music (heavy metal). Note: That would be an exception, so that's why am focusing on buying stuff for gaming.

As for the sound card/external DAC, am leaning towards the 'cheap' Asus Xonar DG,and could buy a MixAmp in the future to use with my Xbox 360.

So to sum things up (and ask for your opinion about it), here's what we have with a 1-10 scale of importance.

Competitive DotA 2 (RTS/Strategy) Gaming - 9

Casual Gaming (on Xbox 360/PC) - 6

Listening to music (heavy metal) - 3

And a question a bit out of context; I have a 2.1 stereo system which am currently using, is it possible to hook both the Headphones and the stereo system on the Asus Xonar DG (through some kind of switch?) and switch between gaming and 'daily activites'?

And the proposed set-up is as follows:

-Asus Xonar DG

-ATH AD700

-3.5mm Jack Switch (to switch from 2.1 stereo system to headphones without the need to plugging and unplugging cables)

Plug the 2.1 speakers into the back panel of the Xonar DG and the headphones into the computer case's front panel headphone jack.

Manual switch using the Xonar's control panel.

post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 

Nice.. no need for a switch then, and hopefully my case's front panel doesnt have any noise!

 

How about the set-up what are your opinions on that?
 

post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peculier View Post
You can't get surround sound (even simulated) with stereo headphones. If you want surround sound, you will probably need a dedicated gaming headset from brands such as Logitech, Astro or Turtle Beach. I have tried to do what you are doing now, which is to get a headset for music and use it to game at the same time, and in my experience, it isn't going to work out well for either.

 

I use an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card, and I originally wanted to use it with my Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pros for music and gaming, but there was too much of a noise floor with the Beyers when listening to music, and since they were stereo headphones, I couldn't use them to play any competitive FPS like Battlefield or CoD.

 

I purchased Astro A40s and the Mixamp that comes with it to play Xbox, and later hooked it up to my computer via optical TOSLink out from my sound card into the Mixamp, with USB connection for power. I also bought an external DAC/Amp, a Yulong D100, which I connect via USB to my MacBook Pro, and I listen to music with the DT770 off that. It is far better to separate the two, because if you have neither a surround sound headset to take advantage of your sound card with, nor a dedicated (external or internal) DAC and amp to listen to music, you end up having rather poor results for both music and gaming.

 

You clearly didn't know how to set up CMSS-3D Headphone properly with that card. Otherwise, you'd have all the surround sound you'd need for PC gaming with any pair of stereo headphones.

 

Or maybe your HRTF deviates too much from the average for it to work, but that's not a problem for most of us. I doubt that, though, given that you said that you're using an Astro A40 with its Mixamp with no complaints, and that's a STEREO headset that gets its surround through Dolby Headphone.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 9/9/12 at 7:43pm
post #7 of 9

In regards to getting a "dedicated surround headset", here's my thoughts on one in particular, the Logitech G35:

 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/529963/logitech-g35-gaming-headset-review

 

*Spoiler*: It's not a good impression.

 

I used to have the ATH AD700s connected to an X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty, good setup for gaming.

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 

Any other suggestions for a sound card in the 'cheap' price-range? Apparently the Xonar DG is really good for music, but the Xi-Fi chips (Creative Titanium for example) are better for gaming?
 

post #9 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by ombadboy View Post

Any other suggestions for a sound card in the 'cheap' price-range? Apparently the Xonar DG is really good for music, but the Xi-Fi chips (Creative Titanium for example) are better for gaming?
 

Refurb Creative Titanium (non-HD) will sometimes sell for $45-$50.

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