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Need help with choosing soundcard and clarification of sound tech

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fi i needs some help from you regarding choosing a sound card for my new computer that i will built later in 2013.

 

Right now i have a X-Fi extreme fatality gamer PCI soundcard but since im going to switch to a socket 2011 motherboard without a PCI slot i have to change my sound card. Onboard sound is not an option.

 

I have had problems with creative drivers in the past but supposely this has been more or less fixed now since win 7.  So i guess i could still go with Creative if the drivers work nowadays.

 

but i have also heard alot of good things about Asus Xonar cards so that is why i ask for your input.

 

Right now the cards i have looked at the most is:

 

Creative SoundBlaster X-fi Titanium HD since the reviews i have read about the Recon3D Pro is not that stellar and the new Sound Blaster Z  does not seems like that much of a upgrade from the Titanium HD.

 

from the Asus camp i have looked at:

 

Asus Xonar Essence STX (PCI-E) which seems like a very very good card

 

ASUS ROG Xonar Phoebus heard mixed reviews about this card.. also could not find any mention of dolby headphone in any reviews about it but in the manual is does say it has dolby headphone.

 

I will use the card for gaming at around 80% music at 10% and movies at 10%. Since i live in a small 40 square meter apartment with the living room being around 20 square meter and the fact that i will be having the computer in a corner i will most likely have trouble to set up a 5.1 or 7.1 surround speaker set for listening to music and movies. Please tell me if im wrong regarding this.

 

So based on that fact im looking at using a headset or headphones for all my audio needs.

 

So far im looking at the Sennheiser PC 360 headset.

 

Will that headset work well with any of these cards?

 

im using a steelseries 5H V2 right now so not the best set in the world.  when im listening to music i use Sony MDR-XB700

 

Another question will be sennheiser PC 360 work well with positioning in games? becasue that is important for me

 

As far as i can tell the sennheiser headset should be able to use virtual surround from either CMSS 3D or Dolby headphone

 

for older games i have heard that CMSS 3D is superior but with the reconstruction of the audio stack in Vista are the two technologies on par with each other nowadays?

 

How does Asus software emulation of EAX 5.0 compare to the creative Titanium HD and its hardware Eax 5.0?

 

As far as i have understood it Asus use the GX 3.0 game audio engine to simulate EAX.

 

I dont play many old games and those i do play are mostly point and click and rpgs not fps in that regard is EAX support an essential tech if you are mostly playing newer games or can it be disregarded since very few games today even use EAX?

 

I am thankful for any feedback

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #2 of 20
Thread Starter 

So after further research and input taken from The Nameless Guide to PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) i am down to 2 soundcards.

 

Either Creative X-FI Titanium HD for 1.449 sek about 220 dollar

 

or the ASUS Xonar Phoebus for 1645 sek about 249.5 dollar which is a bit more expensive.

 

Combined with the Sennheiser PC 360 for 1430 sek about 218 dollar

 

so either i pay 438 dollar for the X-FI Titanium HD and Sennheiser PC 360 or  467.5 dollar for the Phoebus and Sennheiser PC 360.

 

my budget for this is around 3000 sek or 455 dollar so either combination is within budget.

 

Condering that i will be using the card for gaming 80% or more is there any reason not to go with the creative card?

post #3 of 20
I love my TiHD. Drivers were rock solid under Win7 and after some initial bumps they seem to have Win8 sorted out. Gaming sounds fantastic, music sounds fantastic.
Used to have a Xonar DX and while it also sounded great, had driver issues. Blue screens and lock ups were frequent.
post #4 of 20

Considering most of your listening will go through gaming, then skip Asus cards entirely, their partial gaming audio support isn't worth getting. Also, the GX feature doesn't emulate any EAX version higher than version 2, EAX 3 up to 5 is exclusive to Creative.

 

The Creative X-Fi Titanium HD is the highest performing soundcard for gaming, with full gaming audio support as well as positional cue improvement algorithms that help to further improve gaming, and its high quality DAC and components also make it an excellent card for music and movies.

 

Do get the Sennheiser PC360 (open model), as it is the best headset for gaming currently available, and you will have a stellar gaming sound system.

 

CMSS-3D is a Creative surround virtualization tech that can be used on any game, and depending on the quality of the audio renderer used, its results vary, from some improvement to a significant improvement.

 

About Creative drivers, they stopped being an issue for a rather long time, they're quite stable, and you won't find them to be an issue.

post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 

That is good to hear Blotto80 i had severe driver issues when vista came out and it took me a while to sort them out. But i guess most people had some sort of driver issues with vista considering how many people i helped downgrade to XP. So thanks for lessening my worry about the drivers.

 

Thanks for the info Roller the positional cue improvement is very important for meand the full legacy support from the Titanium HD is icing on the cake. However you write:

 

"Do get the Sennheiser PC360 (open model)"

 

As far as i know all Senheiser PC360 are of an open model while PC350 is closed or have i missed something?

 

Good to hear from you too that the driver issues have been taken care of.

 

Now the question is if i should get the Titanium HD and Sennheiser PC360 now or wait until the sales between xmas and new years eve.

 

Anyway thanks for the feedback

post #6 of 20

You're quite right. I just added "(open model)" to indicate the PC360 is an open model, not a closed model, which the PC350 is.

 

Well, the Titanium HD is currently going for $109.99, so I would get it now rather than later, where it's bound to go back to the $125 average.

post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 

Aha ok well i gathered that much from the 6 reviews of the headset i read before i ended up on it as my next gaming headset. Since it is open it should allow me to hear my regular surroundings like if a phone rings etc which i prefer.

 

As for the price at amazon well it would be awsome, to get it at such a low price. But i dont know if amazon ships to Sweden nor do i know what kind of vat(value added tax) i might have to pay. I will have to look into it, but thanks for the tip.

Here in Sweden the average for the Titanium HD is around 220 dollar and that would count as cheap as it has gone for more then 300 dollar in the past

post #8 of 20

It's curious that people often refer to open headphones natural lack of isolation as an issue, but on the other hand it can be useful for such situations as the one you've pointed out.

 

I do understand how some countries have something very high prices for some products, which are made worse due to VAT being added up.

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ghostshade View Post

Aha ok well i gathered that much from the 6 reviews of the headset i read before i ended up on it as my next gaming headset. Since it is open it should allow me to hear my regular surroundings like if a phone rings etc which i prefer.

 

As for the price at amazon well it would be awsome, to get it at such a low price. But I don't know if Amazon ships to Sweden nor do i know what kind of vat(value added tax) i might have to pay. I will have to look into it, but thanks for the tip.

Here in Sweden the average for the Titanium HD is around 220 dollar and that would count as cheap as it has gone for more then 300 dollar in the past

How about looking for a used Creative Labs X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) PCI-E sound card, here in the U.S.A, a company called Newegg sell the refurnished ones for $44.99.

Do you have any locals stores that sell used computer hardware? maybe they have used Titanium (non-HD) for sale.

It may not have the same audio quality as the Titanium HD, but should have all the same "gaming" features.

 

Headphone wise, try to find a used Sennheiser HD558 (open) headphone, then add a separate add-on microphone,

here in the USA, a used Sennheiser HD558 can sell from $110-$150

post #10 of 20

So - for the awesome price on the X-Fi Titanium HD right now - is there a better external DAC/Amp setup that would be better for music, for the same price?  I do like gaming but music quality is #1, and there are lots of good comments on that card on this board.  I'm probably going to be using it with a pair of m50's or the akg k167's (80ohms, iirc)

post #11 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozarkcdn View Post

So - for the awesome price on the X-Fi Titanium HD right now - is there a better external DAC/Amp setup that would be better for music, for the same price?  I do like gaming but music quality is #1, and there are lots of good comments on that card on this board.  I'm probably going to be using it with a pair of m50's or the akg k167's (80ohms, iirc)

 

The Titanium HD has a very good DAC, and in order for an external DAC to outperform it, it would cost more than twice its price, not to mention external DACs basically have zero processing features for games and movies, with most not having any for music as well.

post #12 of 20

Ghostshade, I'm actually using the PC360 with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro (PCI-Express version) as my current setup.  Positional audio using CMSS 3D on the card is fantastic, and the clarity of sound for gaming is amazing.

post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 

Well PurpleAngel we dont really have any dedicated used hardware stories around here that i know of. however the stores around here throw a sale between xmas and new years eve that works like black friday so i might be able to buy it cheaper by then. 

 

there are some trader sites where you can buy used sound cards but the warranty goes from sketchy at best to none. Also the titanium is hardly in stock over here and i want the headphone amplifier of the HD variant. But thanks for the tip.

 

The sennheiser HD558 looks good but im already set on the sennheiser PC360 since it fits how i play and i have a habit of always destroying any click on mics i have ever had....so a headset works better for me.

 

I am curious however how you would rate my Sony MDR-XB700 when it comes to music.

 

Nice to hear that the setup i will buy is working good for you Optochip. How is the CMSS 3D working in games that are not fps since most people i have talked to and see on videos have al tested it with fps games. 

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

The Titanium HD has a very good DAC, and in order for an external DAC to outperform it, it would cost more than twice its price, not to mention external DACs basically have zero processing features for games and movies, with most not having any for music as well.

Do you run the hp out of the headphone jack?  I was reading a review on the card and it looked like the jack was 1vrms and the rca's were 2vrms - do you run some kind of adapter out of the rca's -> phono plug (female) or just use the jack?  I don't think my cord is long enough to reach from my sitting position so I would probably try to run it off the rca's anyways..

post #15 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozarkcdn View Post

Do you run the hp out of the headphone jack?  I was reading a review on the card and it looked like the jack was 1vrms and the rca's were 2vrms - do you run some kind of adapter out of the rca's -> phono plug (female) or just use the jack?  I don't think my cord is long enough to reach from my sitting position so I would probably try to run it off the rca's anyways..

 

Do you have a headphone amp?

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