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Do I need a gaming sound card with a headphone amp?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

Hey guys, I just bought the BD DT 770 pro 80s, I was reading articles on how gaming soundcards with built in headphone amps would greatly improve the quality of my gaming audio. I asked myself if I should get one myself since i was still on onboard. I would say 80% gaming,20% Music and movies, for music genres I usually just turn on the radio station whether it be z100 or 103.5 ktu, For price I would not go higher than $150 USD. 

Specs: Win7, DT 770 pro 80 ohms, mobo: ASUS P8Z86-V LGA intel 1155 

Thanks for all reccomendations!

post #2 of 26

The first thing I could suggest would be the $45 X-Fi Titanium coupled with whatever headphone amp you could afford with the rest of your budget, probably something like a FiiO E9.

 

The other thing I could suggest is the $120-130 X-Fi Titanium HD, but I'm not certain that it would drive a DT770 adequately by itself without some sort of dedicated amp connected to it, and given how expensive the card is already, you don't have enough left over to buy any sort of amp.

 

I do have to ask, though...what games do you play?

post #3 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well, the games I'm playing right now  are BF3, Guild wars 2, Starcraft, Torchlight 2, Borderlands 2, Dota 2 and League of legends, yeah the genres are all over the place haha.I was pretty interested at the Auzentech X-fi Forte 7.1 but i couldn't find any stores that had it, (micro center, zzounds, amazon and newegg no luck).

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 

I was trying to stay away from dedicated headphone amps and sticking with a gaming sound card from Asus or Auzentech with a headphone amp.


Edited by aznkid24 - 10/2/12 at 1:34pm
post #5 of 26

What's wrong with dedicated headphone amps? You'll probably end up better off that way, since you can more easily match the amp to your headphones instead of the other way around.

 

I found an X-Fi Forte, but it'll eat up most of your budget. I just hope it's one of those newer-revision cards with the heatsink on the DSP, which I can't tell with a stock photo.

post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 

hmm well one reason I don't like is cause my desk isn't the biggest of desks so yeah not really that much room for a dedicated headphone amp such as the E9.

post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The first thing I could suggest would be the $45 X-Fi Titanium coupled with whatever headphone amp you could afford with the rest of your budget, probably something like a FiiO E9.

 

The other thing I could suggest is the $120-130 X-Fi Titanium HD, but I'm not certain that it would drive a DT770 adequately by itself without some sort of dedicated amp connected to it, and given how expensive the card is already, you don't have enough left over to buy any sort of amp.

 

I do have to ask, though...what games do you play?

 

According to specs, the X-fi ti HD is able to drive headphones up to 300+ ohms, it should be fine with the 80ohm beyer right? 

post #8 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aznkid24 View Post

hmm well one reason I don't like is cause my desk isn't the biggest of desks so yeah not really that much room for a dedicated headphone amp such as the E9.

The Asus Xonar DG sound card ($20-$30) comes with a half-way decent headphone amplifier and Dolby Headphone surround sound.

It should better then whatever audio is built into the motherboard.

Some even use the DG to drive their 250-Ohm headphone (half-way decently).

So 80-Ohm should be fine.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorgan View Post

According to specs, the X-fi ti HD is able to drive headphones up to 300+ ohms, it should be fine with the 80ohm beyer right? 

 

Only one way to find out...

 

I don't have a DT770 or any other significantly demanding dynamics, hence why I haven't tested it myself. (My headphones of choice can't be driven by sound cards anyway.) But I wouldn't expect them to sound horrible straight out of the Titanium HD.

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aznkid24 View Post

hmm well one reason I don't like is cause my desk isn't the biggest of desks so yeah not really that much room for a dedicated headphone amp such as the E9.

 

 

If size is a concern, try the FiiO E17. It's a DAC and headphone amp rolled into one that is smaller than an iPhone. You can use it with an mp3 player as a headphone amp. 

 

However, if you have computer desktop speakers or plan to get some, then it definitely makes good sense to get the new card so that they can benefit from the improved sound, too. 

post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 

Well even though the TiHD doesnt have a headphone amp, i've read some reviews about it and I'm compelled to believe its just as good as people but there are rumors that is has a life expectancy of 1 year is that true?

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aznkid24 View Post

Well even though the TiHD doesnt have a headphone amp, i've read some reviews about it and I'm compelled to believe its just as good as people but there are rumors that is has a life expectancy of 1 year is that true?

I think the current Titanium HD is on it's third revision (C?), so I would guess it would be more reliable then the previous versions.

post #13 of 26

I got my Titanium HD back in November 2011, and it already had some time clocked on it since I traded my X-Fi Forte for it.

 

The box says Revision C, and it's still going strong. Not quite a year, but close enough.

post #14 of 26
Thread Starter 

How about the drivers? is it a big chance the card will give me problems like lockups and crashes with my current specs?

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by aznkid24 View Post

How about the drivers? is it a big chance the card will give me problems like lockups and crashes with my current specs?

No, definitely not. I wouldn't worry about that.

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