I have a $300 budget to get a sound card, cans, a mic, and an amp if necessary. I had a couple of setups I'm starting to lean towards, but I wanted to run them by you guys first. I've read about CMSS-3D Headphone vs Dolby Headphone, and I think I'd prefer CMSS-3D. I don't really know much about THX TruStudio or SBX Studio Pro (though my understanding is that they're the same thing, just rebranded). I know that I'd love to have good positional audio when I hop onto TF2 or Planetside 2, and I hear CMSS-3D tends to edge out Dolby Headphone. For the mic I think I'm probably going to roll with the Antlion modmic, though the Samson Go mic is starting to tempt me as well. Soundstage is pretty much my biggest priority for the headphones.
Anyway, the options that I'm looking at are:
- Card:$60, X-Fi Xtreme Audio (linked because I honestly can't tell most of these cards apart).
- Cans: $205, Sennheiser 598s from Amazon.
- Mic: $40ish, modmic.
- Card: $27, Asus Xonar DG
- Cans: $205, Sennheiser 598s from Amazon
- Mic: 40ish, modmic
OPTION 3: (Overkill?)
- Card: $150, X-Fi Titanium HD
- Cans: $100, AD700s from Amazon
- Mic: modmic
I had also thought about picking up the Q701s witht he Xonar DG, but if I'm not mistaken they kinda need to be amped. I don't really know where I could fit an amp into my budget. $230 seemed like a nice price, though. Musically, I listen to a few different genres of metal, electronica, and hard rock. I think the Q701s would be better for my music of choice, but the amp thing becomes an issue then. 598s are the next choice for me I think, but if gaming will benefit tremendously from the X-Fi Ti HD, then I can sacrifice a bit of bass and get the AD700s instead.
Anyway, I wanted to get some input from people more knowledgeable than I on this stuff. I'm very, very open to suggestions. I think right now I'm leaning most strongly towards Option 1, but I don't really know if it's reasonable. I likely won't be upgrading my sound setup for a good four years or so, if that changes things.