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Q701 question / help

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I'm purchasing a Q701 strictly for PC gaming (please don't try to talk me out of these cans because my mind is made up). I have a few questions because I'm pretty new to all of this.

 

1. I know I need a good amp (open to suggestions < $150), but do I need a good sound card and a DAC? My understanding is that a sound card is just an internal DAC.

 

2. Since this is just for PC gaming and not music, will I hear a difference if I run an optical from the integrated audio card on my mobo (Realtek ALC892 chipset), to the amp, then to my headphones? If there will be an audible quality loss there, then I would definitely get a DAC or quality sound card.

 

3. When I get the headphones, amp, and DAC (if I need one), do I just plug and play?  I know I have to go through EQ settings to get the most out of the headphones, but will they sound amazing like they're supposed to without messing with any settings after plugging them in for the first time? 

 

I'm nervous, since these are my first hifi cans, that I'm not going to set them up properly, they wont sound their best, and  I'll be disappointed to have spent so much money on something that doesn't sound any better than what I have.

 

Thanks for any help you can provide


Edited by Sierra419 - 2/27/13 at 4:33pm
post #2 of 19

Heya,

 

1. You don't need a DAC, the soundcard is the DAC. Most gaming soundcards also have good onboard op amps. So you shouldn't need an amp either. Also, the Q701 is not that difficult to drive. Internet hyped up mythos. It's best with an amp, but it's far from "difficult" to drive unless you're talking about a cell phone from 5 years ago.

 

2. Get a sound card. I would suggest the SoundBlaster Zx. Has everything you need including the amp portion. Comes with a nice terminal that you plug your phones into with a volume knob and a port for your microphone so you're not fooling with the back of your PC. Well under your budget and fantastic.

 

3. Just plug them together. Install drivers (sound card). Enable things and test EQ's just to see what you like. Getting the best/most from them is entirely personal preference on your part.

 

If you set them up and you're disappointed, it's not because you didn't set them up properly, it's because you chose a headphone that underwhelms your expectations. But you already say you're sold on the Q701. So let that be my warning to you. Don't put on the Q701 and play a game and expect to sound like a bass spaceship wonderland with foot steps coming from a 4th dimension into your brain.

 

Very best,

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

 

If you set them up and you're disappointed, it's not because you didn't set them up properly, it's because you chose a headphone that underwhelms your expectations. But you already say you're sold on the Q701. So let that be my warning to you. Don't put on the Q701 and play a game and expect to sound like a bass spaceship wonderland with foot steps coming from a 4th dimension into your brain.

 

Very best

You helped me ALOT! Thanks. However, I was hoping for sound from the fourth dimension going into my brain :(  What would you recommend if the Q701's aren't what I'm looking for? I'm looking for a pair that will immerse me in the experience, not so much for competition, but I really want great sound placement with med-largeish soundstage, and bass just a hair above natural.  I want something that makes my ears say "holy crap" every 5 seconds.

 

I'm wondering if I just should settle for Astro a40's because of the price... what do you think? how do you think they would compare to the Q701?

post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra419 View Post

You helped me ALOT! Thanks. However, I was hoping for sound from the fourth dimension going into my brain :(  What would you recommend if the Q701's aren't what I'm looking for? I'm looking for a pair that will immerse me in the experience, not so much for competition, but I really want great sound placement with med-largeish soundstage, and bass just a hair above natural.  I want something that makes my ears say "holy crap" every 5 seconds.

 

I'm wondering if I just should settle for Astro a40's because of the price... what do you think? how do you think they would compare to the Q701?

 

Heya,

 

There are many headphones with great wide sound stages. Also you'll have to describe immersion because for some, it's one thing, and others it's another. To me, immersion requires isolation so that nothing else can be heard and distract you (like fan noise, clicking, keyboard, house noise, etc). For me, I'm more immersed when I'm using closed headphones. Open headphones offer a wider sound stage, less closed in sounding, and tries to make it sound like the sound is in the room, but not all open headphones really do it that well, some still sound fairly stereo frankly. Since you want bass a hair above neutral, the Q701 will leave you underwhelmed likely. It's not bassy. It's barely bass neutral to me, frankly. Most of AKG line of K701/02/Q701 are polite with bass, there's a lot of misinformation and weird claims that the Q701 is some how more bassy than the K701 and having both, I found the Q701 to maybe be warmer. Emphasis on maybe. I can't decide if it was just my brain or not. They measure virtually the same. End of the day though, you said you want a little more than neutral bass. I would get a different headphone, or be prepared to equalize up the bass to where you want it. You're good either way.

 

Astros are junk phones. I wouldn't even take them from a free rack.

 

Suggestions for some other headphones to consider:

 

Beyer DT880

Sony MA900

Hifiman HE300

 

Those have slightly more warmth than neutral, what you're asking for. And big wide sound stages.

 

If you're still set on the Q701 that's fine, but maybe be ready to equalize the bass up a touch.

 

Very best,

post #5 of 19

Are you going to buy it new or used?

post #6 of 19
Thread Starter 

hmmm.. thats a lot to think about.  I was kinda torn between the Q701's and the DT990 Pro's before ultimately deciding on the Q701.  I might have to reconsider that...

 

Ok, so after a ton of research I think I'm going to go with a Sound Blaster Titanium X-Fi HD Sound Card.  Would this card provide enough power to properly drive the Q701's or the DT990's without having to buy an amp?  I really don't have the money for an amp- I barely have the money for the sound card- BUT I also don't want to have sub par audio with high end components.

post #7 of 19

do check out the new audio technica ad900x, its an open can like the q701. 

very easy to power, huge soundstage, v engaging can. 

post #8 of 19

The Q701 will be good for gaming but may lack the bass that you are expecting. I think the bass is pretty neutral with the rest of the sound. I also agree that they aren't as hard to drive as most people make them out to be. They won't do so well out of an iPod, but they don't require anything overly ridiculous either. 

post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok. I think I'm going to go with a pair of dt990's for more bass and immersion into games. I also want to get a sound blaster xfi hd card. but will the titanium xfi hd card provide enough power to properly drive the dt990's without an external amp? I really don't have the money for an amp
post #10 of 19

DT990 wasn't very good IMHO when I played with it compared to the Q701 for gaming.  

post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Really? Hmmm.. I'm going to have to really look into which set I want. I wish there was a place I could go to listen to them or even try them with a game or movie.

Anyways, do you think the titanium xfi hd would power the dt990's or a q701 properly?
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
With that being said, whether I go with either pair, I don't / won't have the money for a sound card and an amp. Should I get a fiio e9 and use my mother boards audio? Or should I get a fiio e11? which I think is an amp and dac. Or should I get the titanium xfi HD sound card? Will either fiio provide enough power to PROPERLY drive either headset? What about the xfi HD card?

Thanks for putting up with all of my questions. I'm new to think and I'm pulling my hair out trying to figure all this out with my very limited budget
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ok, I need help making a decision then. What's better: a fiio e9 and excellent sound blaster card or fiio e9 and fiio e17 dac? Would they sound the same? What would be different? If I went with an external amp/ dac would I still get simulated surround sound audio like Dolby Headphone?
post #14 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra419 View Post

Ok, I need help making a decision then. What's better: a fiio e9 and excellent sound blaster card or fiio e9 and fiio e17 dac? Would they sound the same? What would be different? If I went with an external amp/ dac would I still get simulated surround sound audio like Dolby Headphone?

 

Heya,

 

You are far better off in your situation getting a sound blaster Zx (gaming) or a Fiio E10 (desktop, not gaming).

 

The E9 is an amp only; outputting from your motherboard to it would be noisy and not worth the cost. You don't need the E9 at all either anyways.

If you get a discreet DAC, you will not be using dolby headphone or surround tech. At all. It will do the processing. Surround tech is emulation and based on software, so it goes hand in hand with a soundcard, not an external DAC. An amp has nothing to do with this.

 

Based on what you're saying and describing everything points towards a sound card for you. I wouldn't even get the Titanium HD. I would get the SoundBlaster Zx. It has a great setup for gaming, a very good DAC onboard, a great opamp onboard that powers headphones just fine, up to 600ohms no problem, and has an external terminal to plug everything into with a volume knob. If I was to get a soundcard, this would be what I would get, for a cross between gaming and good audio in one package. It's not ultra expensive either.

 

Very best,

post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MalVeauX View Post

Heya,

You are far better off in your situation getting a sound blaster Zx (gaming) or a Fiio E10 (desktop, not gaming).

The E9 is an amp only; outputting from your motherboard to it would be noisy and not worth the cost. You don't need the E9 at all either anyways.
If you get a discreet DAC, you will not be using dolby headphone or surround tech. At all. It will do the processing. Surround tech is emulation and based on software, so it goes hand in hand with a soundcard, not an external DAC. An amp has nothing to do with this.

Based on what you're saying and describing everything points towards a sound card for you. I wouldn't even get the Titanium HD. I would get the SoundBlaster Zx. It has a great setup for gaming, a very good DAC onboard, a great opamp onboard that powers headphones just fine, up to 600ohms no problem, and has an external terminal to plug everything into with a volume knob. If I was to get a soundcard, this would be what I would get, for a cross between gaming and good audio in one package. It's not ultra expensive either.

Very best,

Thanks man! I think you've answered every question I've had. I really really appreciate it. This is the route I'm going. I'm getting the Zx and 90% positive on the dt990 pros.... Still might get the q701. Thanks so much!
Edited by Sierra419 - 3/1/13 at 6:53pm
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