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Need headphones for gaming setup

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

I'm currently using the onboard sound of my motherboard (ASRock Z77 Extreme4) with a cheap pair of Sennheiser HD201s. I'm keen to up the audio quality, as well as get a microphone, so I'm looking at some new audio equipment.

 

First off, I'm considering a soundcard - the Asus Xonar DGX. This is mainly for Dolby Headphone, but it'd be nice if it upped the audio quality a little. Are there any problems with this card or Dolby Headphone at this level of equipment? Will it be significantly better than onboard?

 

Second, there's the headphones themselves. I live in Australia so things are a little pricier and some of the more obscure brands may not be available. My budget is about $70-$120. These will be used pretty much purely for gaming with a few movies on the side. I know "headsets" are usually pretty poor quality compared to what you'd get otherwise for the price, but I'm willing to pay extra for the convenience of an attached microphone. Currently considering the Corsair 1300 - would this be a significant increase in quality over my HD201s? Is the bass particularly powerful? I'm no audiophile, but I'd like some bass a bit more powerful than what I have in my current headphones.

 

If I can get significantly better with audiophile headphones though, then I'm fine with those and a Zalman clipon mic (maybe a modmic later if the Zalmans are really as awful as people say). I'm not a competitive player, so all I'm really interested in is decent audio quality and some nice, rumbly bass.

 

Please let me know any suggestions about the gear I'm considering - if you know anything around the price of the Corsairs that absolutely smashes them, let me know. I am pretty keen on getting some powerful sounding bass, not over-the-top, but better than what I'm currently using. Also, I really don't like on-ear headphones - something like my current set that completely enclose the ear would be nice.


Edited by Uncle Chop Chop - 10/16/12 at 4:54am
post #2 of 30
Thread Starter 

Apologies for the bump, but can anyone help here?

post #3 of 30

You can have better sounding headphones for the money. Usually the "gaming" headsets sound quality is not worth it, take a look at this guide. 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-10-16-12-ps3-bd-playback-in-dolby-digital

 

ask for advice on that thread, there are lots of gamers with experience on that stuff. 

post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amorgan View Post

You can have better sounding headphones for the money. Usually the "gaming" headsets sound quality is not worth it, take a look at this guide. 

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-10-16-12-ps3-bd-playback-in-dolby-digital

 

ask for advice on that thread, there are lots of gamers with experience on that stuff. 

 

That's a console gaming thread, feedback there is console related which doesn't directly translate into PC gaming experience, and the OP plays on a PC. However, that thread can somewhat be used as a very general guide. A more relevant thread is this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/593050/the-nameless-guide-to-pc-gaming-audio-with-binaural-headphone-surround-sound

 

Gaming headphones/headsets are more often than not terrible.

 

Do you have separate budgets for soundcard and headphones?

 

For instance, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is a highly regarded set for competitive FPS gaming, due to good positional cue accuracy, but not so much for immersive gaming due to its signature, being very bass light.

 

Your budget does limit headphone choice quite a bit, but headphones like the Creative Aurvana Live! and the Ultrasone HFI-580 are solid performers for both competitive and immersive gaming, with satisfying quality bass, considering their price point.

Regarding soundcards, you should get a refurbished Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD model), which can be had for around $40, a soundcard that provides a proper gaming audio feature set, something that's severely impaired on other manufacturers, like Asus. But do keep in mind that the gaming audio feature set difference between X-Fi powered cards (Creative and Auzentech, for instance) and regular cards is lessened when playing gaming with simple software audio renderers.

post #5 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Regarding soundcards, you should get a refurbished Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD model), which can be had for around $40, a soundcard that provides a proper gaming audio feature set, something that's severely impaired on other manufacturers, like Asus. But do keep in mind that the gaming audio feature set difference between X-Fi powered cards (Creative and Auzentech, for instance) and regular cards is lessened when playing gaming with simple software audio renderers.

 

There's a problem with that...he lives in Australia, thus Newegg refurb X-Fi Titaniums are not an option (unless he knows someone in the US willing to ship them over), and every time I've looked through a non-US PC parts site selling sound cards, the Creative offerings are always hideously expensive for some reason.

 

We have to consider Australian pricing for everything here...

post #6 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

There's a problem with that...he lives in Australia, thus Newegg refurb X-Fi Titaniums are not an option (unless he knows someone in the US willing to ship them over), and every time I've looked through a non-US PC parts site selling sound cards, the Creative offerings are always hideously expensive for some reason.

 

We have to consider Australian pricing for everything here...

 

Oh, so it's like other electronics devices and retail games over there? Hum, not good.

 

In that case, he either has to pony up for a full priced X-Fi Titanium or compromise on gaming audio features and get the Xonar DGX.

post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 

What's worse about the Xonar DGX? I am by no means an audiophile, I'd just like to get the best value out of my money. Honestly, the clarity of the audio on my Sennheiser HD201s is completely fine to me, it's just the lack of bass (and lack of microphone). Better clarity would always be nice, but I'm not too fussed.

 

By the way, does anyone know a good attachable mic? I like the look of ModMics, but they're quite pricey.

 

Thanks for your help guys.

post #8 of 30

The Asus Xonar DG (DGX for the PCIe version) are the minimum entry soundcards anyone looking to upgrade from onboard audio chips should aim for. They're inexpensive cards with some multimedia features and performance beyond onboard audio chips. It's just that it lacks hardware OpenAL support, is limited to EAX 2.0 and doesn't have algorithms specific to positional cue accuracy (when compared to a X-Fi Titanium, for instance).

All in all, the Xonar DGX is a good starting point that will allow you to get familiar with higher quality audio, considering the hardware you were using previously.

About mics, there is the inexpensive Zalman clip-on mic, and the higher quality ModMic. Both are recommended, so it's just a matter of how much you're willing to spend, and getting results accordingly (this isn't a rule of thumb, but does apply to this situation).

post #9 of 30

Takstar Hi2050, $60- $65 (mail order off eBay), semi-open, 60-Ohm headphones

Asus Xonar DG or DGX sound card, local price in Australia?

Add-on mic of your choosing.

This is about as low cost as it gets for something fairly decent.

post #10 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

That's a console gaming thread, feedback there is console related which doesn't directly translate into PC gaming experience, and the OP plays on a PC. However, that thread can somewhat be used as a very general guide. A more relevant thread is this: http://www.head-fi.org/t/593050/the-nameless-guide-to-pc-gaming-audio-with-binaural-headphone-surround-sound

 

Gaming headphones/headsets are more often than not terrible.

 

Do you have separate budgets for soundcard and headphones?

 

For instance, the Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is a highly regarded set for competitive FPS gaming, due to good positional cue accuracy, but not so much for immersive gaming due to its signature, being very bass light.

 

Your budget does limit headphone choice quite a bit, but headphones like the Creative Aurvana Live! and the Ultrasone HFI-580 are solid performers for both competitive and immersive gaming, with satisfying quality bass, considering their price point.

Regarding soundcards, you should get a refurbished Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD model), which can be had for around $40, a soundcard that provides a proper gaming audio feature set, something that's severely impaired on other manufacturers, like Asus. But do keep in mind that the gaming audio feature set difference between X-Fi powered cards (Creative and Auzentech, for instance) and regular cards is lessened when playing gaming with simple software audio renderers.

I think both would be good reads. Read the PC thread for info on the 3d technologies that different sound cards provide then look at mad lust's guide for the actual headphones. 

post #11 of 30
Thread Starter 

I'm really not sure about those Takstars, while I know nothing about audio equipment, they look like some kind of cheap chinese knockoff brand to me...

 

Anyone able to throw some more suggestions at me? I tried out a friend's Bose QuietComfort headphones which were nice, but I hear they're sort of overpriced.

 

Also, for the soundcard, apparently CMSS3D is better and can do true binaural instead of 5.1/7.1 downmixing. Any suggestions on a sub-$50 card that can do this?

 

For any of this stuff, it's heaps convenient if it's available on www.pccasegear.com - but no big deal if I have to get elsewhere, as long as it's a decent Australian retailer. I'd imagine I'd probably end up getting the sound card from there.

post #12 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Chop Chop View Post

I'm really not sure about those Takstars, while I know nothing about audio equipment, they look like some kind of cheap chinese knockoff brand to me...

 

Anyone able to throw some more suggestions at me? I tried out a friend's Bose QuietComfort headphones which were nice, but I hear they're sort of overpriced.

 

Also, for the soundcard, apparently CMSS3D is better and can do true binaural instead of 5.1/7.1 downmixing. Any suggestions on a sub-$50 card that can do this?

 

For any of this stuff, it's heaps convenient if it's available on www.pccasegear.com - but no big deal if I have to get elsewhere, as long as it's a decent Australian retailer. I'd imagine I'd probably end up getting the sound card from there.

For under $50, try to find a used Creative XtremeGamer or used XtremeMusic

Maybe you will find a used Creative Titanium (non-HD) under $50.

post #13 of 30
Thread Starter 

Is there no sub-$50 soundcard you can get new with CMSS3D?

 

What about the headphones? The soundcard is less important, just an additional thing really.

post #14 of 30

From my experience , you should NOT get the px21 from turtle beach , their 3.5mm jack hiss alot and extremely loudly too I don't know if its specific to my laptop or something , but that is what is happening , I would recommend getting either the G35 if you feel your sound card is rather crappy or the Steel series 7h and V2 , those are the gaming headset that I have alot of good experience with . Don't think there are good 50 bucks soundcard in aussie either

post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Chop Chop View Post

Is there no sub-$50 soundcard you can get new with CMSS3D?

 

What about the headphones? The soundcard is less important, just an additional thing really.

 

Unfortunately your budget is too low to get a new X-Fi powered card. Either look for used cards, like the X-Fi XtremeMusic, X-Fi XtremeGamer or X-Fi Titanium, or do stretch your budget a bit. At what price can you get a X-Fi Titanium in your country?

About headphones, I understand you'd like the convenience of the headset with an integrated mic, but there is really one headset worth getting, the Sennheiser PC360, and that's far beyond your specified headphone budget.


The Audio-Technica ATH-AD700 is a great set for competitive gaming, since it provides quite good positional cue accuracy, that gets even better when paired with an X-Fi powered card. However, it's quite bass light, and that goes against your preferences.

 

The Ultrasone HFI-580 is a more bass emphasized set that doesn't sacrifice clarity, and due to S-Logic it handles competitive gaming reasonably, although it's better performing on immersive gaming. For a slightly less bass emphasized and more balanced alternative, the Ultrasone HFI-780 fit the bill.

 

Creative Aurvana Live! is also bass emphasized, but oddly balanced, and would handle both immersive and competitive gaming moderately well.

All these headphones can have a Zalman clip-on mic added (usual price is around 5$), or a ModMic (usually going for 33$). Both mics have been reported all over as performing well, and if you can't stretch your budget to get the ModMic right away, get the Zalman clip-on mic and later on upgrade to the ModMic.

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