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Thinking about buying some headphones/soundcard/amp, advice?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Hey guys,

 

First time I've been here, well I've looked around a little over the last day :P

 

So I'm considering getting some headphones, and I decided on the Beyerdynamic: DT880. So now I read they don't really shine until I amplify them, So I decide I'm going to buy a Shiit Audio: Magni (Class A/B?).

 

But when it comes to the soundcard I thought I would go with an Asus Essence STX, and now I've read the Audioengine D1 might be better than the STX (both same price).

Will the D1 have the same features as the STX? I don't really know what a DAC dose :P

 

And now I come to you guys, what do you think would be better for my setup?

 

I listen to music when I'm not playing games and or watching movies, I'd probably say 50% music 25% gaming 25% movies/TV.

 

Thanks for reading

 

, Vak

post #2 of 12

a DAC converts digital signal (whatever you have on your computer as in mp3/flac/wav/etc.. is digital format) to analog signal which means it can be played back through whatever hardware you have such as speakers, headphones, etc..

 

The Xonar STX is a good card to start with I haven't had the chance to hear the AudioEngine D1 but I've also heard it's a great DAC, but then that again - it's a DAC! not a soundcard, it would lack some of the other elements that you might need such as gaming features (STX has Dolby Headphones which I don't use) but then the STX has a little problem with gaming too like they say in other gaming forums where people complain about wrong positional audio which really is true and you can really hear whatever happens behind a wall.

 

Just my 2cents on whatever I can comment.

post #3 of 12

Hmm if u game on cans perhaps a Titanium HD on the cheap if it pops up in retail channel with the option of a seperate desktop heaphone amp later could be an option?

http://www.head-fi.org/t/604763/titanium-hd-beyerdynamic-880-dt-edition-32-or-250-ohm-version

post #4 of 12

For five years I had the asus xonar d2x and just recently upgraded to the Creative and I have to say that the improvement was phenomenal.  Even after 3 months and the diminished placebo effect wore off it still seems like going from mono to stereo.  It has a built in amp that has enough power to drive my Hifiman He500 to earbleedingly high levels.  The Xonar sounds great also but Dolby headphone and virtual speaker just didn't really seem to work well for me.  It was always muddying up the sound and taking a way the detail.  There was always a fake annoying echo and the sound was always on the same level.  There isn't (as far as I can tell) any difference in elevation and the whole virtual speaker thing was prettying dumb.  When playing mass effect with dolby pro logic II on, I would stand next to a burning vehicle and then rotate the camera.  in a circle.  It would get louder the closer you got to the virtual speaker and then get quieter when you were rotating away to the next one.  Its not  really recreating an environment it is recreating a living room lol.  There are people who love pro logic and I respect that but I have to say that it didn't work very well for me while playing games.  Also there was an audible hiss and screeching noise while using my wired mouse (as in not wireless mouse) and also that was terrible plugged into my klipsch ProMedia speakers and also the 2 receivers that I have owned while using this card.  That doesn't happen with the Creative zxr.  I have two theores  why. one being creaive zxr has another daughter card that sits in the slot above the main card and probably blocks the EMI from the Gtx580 since they are both shielded.  The second theory is probably going to ruin my credibility as far as some of the complaints I have about the xonar and that is that when using my more power hungry headphones (I didn't know the Xonar essence was coming out 3 months later :-/)I had to use my AV receiver to amp my headphones (analog out so I was still using the dac not spdif).  The ZXR doesn't use CMSS 3d anymore and instead replaced it with SBX Pro Studio.  Its been about 5 years since I heard CMSS 3d so I don't think that I can really make a fair comparison between CMSS 3d and SBX Pro Studio but when playing games that use EAX there is elevation and its more like being in a sphere of sound than in a circle of sound like Dolby pro logic II.  There is a lot of complaints about the processor in the recon3d sound cards being as powerful as the x-fi cards but from what I understand that will not matter when using vista windows 7,8 because it has to be done in software anyways and needs alchemy.  Hopefully this helps you out and I have to add that I tried to go hdmi out from my gpu after I was having that hissing problem with my asus card and it just doesn't cut it.  The sound card is needed for good sound and anyone who tells you otherwise is either deaf, ignorant, or just to plain cheap to enjoy and experience audio in just settles to listening it.  Good luck.  I'll be back on later if you have any questions and to make sure that my sentences make sense after being up so late lol.  

post #5 of 12
^^

Ugghhh . . . wall of text.

The Xonar D2X is not the same card as the Xonar STX. Not saying that EAX wouldn't be better to have for gaming. Just that your experience with the D2X in overall SQ will not necessarily translate to the STX.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

I might be able to get my hands on a titanium HD for $100, so I'm looking into that.

 

Seems they are the best for gaming, but are they any good for music/movies?

 

Thanks for all the reply to my thread, you guys are great. Still working it all out, won't be buying for a month or so, I've got plenty of time to research.

post #7 of 12

The X-Fi Titanium HD's plenty competent for music and movies, like any good DAC. No worries there.

 

It's just that the gaming features are the thing that sets it apart from most other sound cards and all audiophile DACs.

post #8 of 12

Hey guys.

I'm new here, and don't know, if I should start a new thread for my questions, or write it in someone else's one..so first of all i ask it here.

 

I'm going to buy an external soundcard, and checked Roland UA-55, but something came into my view: there's no single volume knob for the headphones. Is it right ? Or just me who is an idiot ? :)

 

thanks in advance!

post #9 of 12

OK, here is my two cents. The best internal card I've used was the Turtle Beach Aureal II card, however Creative through marketing or buyout, rubbed out that card along with very good others. Keep in mind that the computer is a very noisy place and there are limitations to what can go on an internal card because of space, so you might want to look at external. Now everyone in the pro business is going mobile as in USB which allows the older pci based stuff to get rather cheap. BTW, good USB pro mobile (laptop) stuff is expensive, so don't go there unless you have the $$. A lot of the pro pci stuff may not have Windows 7 drivers and are 1/10 the cost they were then, like Aardvark and Ego WaMi Rack24. If you have an old computer you can turn it into a digital audio workstation and get great sound for low money.

 

I think Echo has Windows 7 drivers, so if you can pick up a Layla20 for ~$100 or a similar product E-MU 1616m, etc. There is a lot of cheap, not used that much, exceptional sound quality stuff out there because of the movement to laptop via USB.

 

post #10 of 12

Very true I never heard the essence STX so I can't fairly comment on which I think is the better card.  I am wondering if my D2x was defective since it had that noise going through my head phones and speakers but also I have heard complaints about the same thing on the Phoebus.  Thats also a problem on some usb head sets and onboard sound so I'm not really sure what the problem is.  I wish i had a friend with an xonar essence stx for me to try out and compare but my friends buy logitech and turtle beach headsets lol. 

post #11 of 12

I agree.and the website says it can handle headphones up to 300 ohms but that's starting to be come the "dynamic contrast ratio" for headphone amps.  

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by krash3x View Post

Very true I never heard the essence STX so I can't fairly comment on which I think is the better card.  I am wondering if my D2x was defective since it had that noise going through my head phones and speakers but also I have heard complaints about the same thing on the Phoebus.  Thats also a problem on some usb head sets and onboard sound so I'm not really sure what the problem is.  I wish i had a friend with an xonar essence stx for me to try out and compare but my friends buy logitech and turtle beach headsets lol. 

Could also be that for whatever reason, your computer and the D2X were noisy together, whereas other cards would not be.
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