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Will a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD power Q701? PLEASE HELP

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

I've had headache after headache all week long. Why? Because I'm brand new to all of this and I've been trying to cram as much information as I possibly can in order to learn all of this stuff.  So, after all of this over whelming knowledge of audio equipment, I think I've decided for sure what I want...

 

I decided I want the AKG Q701's for PC gaming with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD Sound Card. From all the research I've done comparing headphones, sound cards, DACs, and amps; I've decided on these two.  I'm pretty sold on them, so I'm open to any opinions if you have any, but you may not change my mind.

 

My main question is this: If I buy the Q701's with the X-Fi HD, will I also need an amp?  Will the X-Fi HD sound card provide enough power to adequately and properly drive these headphones to sound their best? I've heard conflicting stories and the last thing I want to do is drop all of this very, very hard earned money and be disappointed in sub par audio that doesn't sound any better than my Tritton AX Pros.  If I do have to have an amp on top of all of this I may just have to settle on Astro a40's because of the price.

 

I've spent the last 3 hours on this site and google trying to find a definitive answer.  Its like no one on this planet has these headphones and this card.


Edited by Sierra419 - 2/28/13 at 4:18pm
post #2 of 20

I have kind of similar setup. A previous generation X-Fi sound card and an AKG K-702 headphone. For gaming, it satisfies me. Nice reproduction of in game sound effects, gun sound, in game music. also a satisfying experience of directional sound. However, without an amp(i have a cheap hand made amp), you won't hear what the headphone is capable of. With an amp, there is more kick to bass and stronger hearing of game dialogues. With amp, both bass and dialogues are not necessarily clearer, but stronger. 

post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I was also wondering if I would be better off getting a Sound Blaster card and a fiio e9, or if I should get the fiio e9 and e17 combo. Will mobo audio to amp and DAC to headphones give me the same experience as a Sound Blaster card to amp to headphones? That's where I'm confused....If I went with an external amp/ dac would I still get simulated surround sound audio like Dolby Headphone? How would that effect the soundstage of the phones? Or will it? I don't want to get these nice phones and an amp and a dac just to get plain old stereo sound while gaming.
Edited by Sierra419 - 3/1/13 at 11:00am
post #4 of 20
For gaming audio it's pretty hard to beat the Xfi TiHD. The Xonar STX comes close but I feel that CMSS is better for positional audio than Dolby Headphone.
Grab the Xfi and get a small analog only Amp. The DAC in the TiHD is as good or better than any entry level DAC you'll find.
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blotto80 View Post

For gaming audio it's pretty hard to beat the Xfi TiHD. The Xonar STX comes close but I feel that CMSS is better for positional audio than Dolby Headphone.
Grab the Xfi and get a small analog only Amp. The DAC in the TiHD is as good or better than any entry level DAC you'll find.
Obviously, you recommend the TiHD over most cards, but what about the new Zx or Zxr? I'm not sure if I should go with the very dated Titanium HD or Zxr.
post #6 of 20

X-Fi Titanium HD, without question.

 

I doubt the Z-series cards corrected the flaws of the Recon3D line, as they're still Sound Core3D-based.

post #7 of 20
The Z series cards seem like a step backwards from the TiHD. For the price you can get one for now, I wouldn't look at anything else.
post #8 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yeah but they're so old and the Zxr is the model replacing them. I've also heard that the surround sound programing and hardware it uses is antiquated and in many new releases, dead. For the price, it seems like a good buy. But technologically it seems likes I would have to replace it with the Zxr in a couple years, if that. Right?

I also don't have an amp, but the Zx and Zxr have a built in 600 Ohm amp
post #9 of 20

You'll most likely want an external amp to go with that setup. The amp inside the TiHD or the Z are not particularly powerful despite the claim that they can run 600 ohm headphones. Even then, the general consensus is that amps that work well with 600 ohm headphones are not very suitable for <80 ohm ones, and the Q701 is 62.

post #10 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra419 View Post Its like no one on this planet has these headphones and this card.

I have the Titanium HD and the Q701's.  You'll need an amp.

 

Quote:
Yeah but they're so old and the Zxr is the model replacing them. I've also heard that the surround sound programing and hardware it uses is antiquated and in many new releases, dead. For the price, it seems like a good buy. But technologically it seems likes I would have to replace it with the Zxr in a couple years, if that. Right?

 

I was in the same boat as you not too long ago.  I ultimately went with the Titanium HD and an external amp for several reasons: 

 

1.  The Titanium HD uses the same DAC as the ZxR

2.  The Titanium HD was $150.00 cheaper than the ZxR when I bought it

3.  The Creative Recon line sucked, The Z series uses the same cores

4.  The external amp can be used with other devices other than a PC

5.  If you upgrade your sound card again, you'll still have an awesome amp!

 

The Z and Zx are the same cards, the Zx just has a fancy microphone hub/volume knob.  The ZxR has the microphone hub/volume knob, a better DAC than the Z/Zx, and the daughter board.  If you're dead set on a Z series card, I'd choose the one that is most practical to you.  Tbh I'd choose the regular Z, you'd have some money in your pocket and have a nice set up with your Q701's.


Edited by KetchupNinja - 3/4/13 at 2:47am
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Hmmm... This gives me a lot to think about. I'm really torn between the Z series or the TiHD. I wouldn't mind getting the older, cheaper card but its so dated and a lot of talk on cmss3d being replaced and not supported with new titles.
post #12 of 20
CMSS3d isn't something that games support or don't support. The game sends its 5.1 (or whatever) to the sound card and it uses CMSS (or Dolby headphone or THX whatever) to apply virtual surround. The XFI series will fully work for years to come.
The big difference is the DACs and the TiHD has a very high quality DAC that you'd need to step up to the ZxR to match.
post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sierra419 View Post
Hmmm... This gives me a lot to think about. I'm really torn between the Z series or the TiHD. I wouldn't mind getting the older, cheaper card but its so dated and a lot of talk on cmss3d being replaced and not supported with new titles.

 

I thought I made this clear already: not being fully utilized DOES NOT EQUAL not being supported outright. (At this rate, I'm gonna have to rewrite the CMSS-3D Headphone part of the guide or add another misconception to the list.)

 

Let me try to rephrase it: CMSS-3D Headphone gives you what the game gives it to begin with. If the game provides 5.1/7.1, you get 5.1/7.1. If the game provides full 3D audio, you get full 3D audio. It's not completely useless in games with software-mixed audio, and is actually more than capable of holding its own with the other mixing technologies even in that environment.

 

Besides, newer isn't always better. Especially with games, since so many of them have effectively downgraded in terms of audio AND gameplay. (Remember when FPSs didn't force you to unlock all the decent equipment?) But even hardware can be a step back at times; it's happened time and time again in the history of computers.

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

I have the Titanium HD and the Q701's.  You'll need an amp.

 

 

I was in the same boat as you not too long ago.  I ultimately went with the Titanium HD and an external amp for several reasons: 

 

1.  The Titanium HD uses the same DAC as the ZxR

2.  The Titanium HD was $150.00 cheaper than the ZxR when I bought it

3.  The Creative Recon line sucked, The Z series uses the same cores

4.  The external amp can be used with other devices other than a PC

5.  If you upgrade your sound card again, you'll still have an awesome amp!

 

The Z and Zx are the same cards, the Zx just has a fancy microphone hub/volume knob.  The ZxR has the microphone hub/volume knob, a better DAC than the Z/Zx, and the daughter board.  If you're dead set on a Z series card, I'd choose the one that is most practical to you.  Tbh I'd choose the regular Z, you'd have some money in your pocket and have a nice set up with your Q701's.

I also have this exact same set up, the Q701 definitely does not need an amp. The X-fi HD gets loud enough well past the point where it hurts my ears. 

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

I also have this exact same set up, the Q701 definitely does not need an amp. The X-fi HD gets loud enough well past the point where it hurts my ears. 

 

I have this setup as well and while you may not absolutely need an amp its better if you have one.  Depends on the source whether its definitely needed or not.  For example, the optical output of my U-Verse cable box is not nearly loud enough to rock the music channels if you don't have an amp.   Personally, I would not recommend the Q701s without an amp.  Different strokes for different folks.

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