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Sound card for the Sennheiser PC 360?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hi guys, I am planning on buying the Sennheiser PC 360 headset for mainly gaming. After some research pretty much everyone said that a sound card is a must. The only experience I have with sound cards is a little usb sound card that came with my Siberia V2s. I did some research on sound cards, but I still can't decide on a sound card. Right now I am leaning towards the creative sound blaster z or the Asus xonar essence STX. The sound blaster z seems like a better option to me since it's half the price, but does the STX have extra stuff that makes it worth it? Do you guys recommend any other sound cards (or headsets)?

post #2 of 19

A $30 Asus Xonar DG sound card can drive the 50-Ohm Senn PC360 headphones

So, the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z, $80, should easily do the job.

post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 

So would the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z be the best in that price range, or are there any other sound cards I should consider? Would the STX make a noticeable difference in sound quality for someone who is not an audiophile like me?

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

So would the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z be the best in that price range, or are there any other sound cards I should consider? Would the STX make a noticeable difference in sound quality for someone who is not an audiophile like me?

The STX might sound a little better, but the SB-Z (Sound Blaster Z) should at least be almost as good as the STX and the Z is half the price.

post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 

OK thanks, I'll probably go for the Z then. I mostly game and a lot of people said the STX isn't that great for gaming. This is a noob question, I know I can't use actual 7.1 surround with the SB-Z, but would I be able to use virtual 7.1?

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by timnswede View Post

OK thanks, I'll probably go for the Z then. I mostly game and a lot of people said the STX isn't that great for gaming. This is a noob question, I know I can't use actual 7.1 surround with the SB-Z, but would I be able to use virtual 7.1?

I would assume the SB-Z would come with 7.1 headphone surround sound, most sound card these days do.

post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 

According to their official site, even the their high end ZxR has a maximum playback quality of 5.1. http://us.creative.com/promos/SoundBlasterZseries/

I'm not sure if that means I can't use virtual 7.1 surround though, since I would think that that is software based and not hardware.
 

post #8 of 19

I was just now looking into the Z series and I also cannot find any 7.1 support... o-o

post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by timnswede View Post

According to their official site, even the their high end ZxR has a maximum playback quality of 5.1. http://us.creative.com/promos/SoundBlasterZseries/

I'm not sure if that means I can't use virtual 7.1 surround though, since I would think that that is software based and not hardware.

Wow, I would have thought the Z series supported 7.1 headphone?

 

Creative says that their SBX goes beyond 5.1 or 7.1, got to wonder what that means?

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Wow, I would have thought the Z series supported 7.1 headphone?

 

Creative says that their SBX goes beyond 5.1 or 7.1, got to wonder what that means?

Yeah, I'm also quite confused by that.. 9.1 lol? The general consensus online seems to be that the SB-Z is better than the Asus card for location awareness (couldn't think of a better way to word that, but knowing where sounds are coming from) so I'd still probably go with the SB-Z. I also don't really play shooters competitively, so it's not a big deal.

post #11 of 19

Are you planning on using a separate DAC and amp, or a DAC/amp combo? Do you want virtual surround? What is your price target? Are you on PC or console?

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tus-Chan View Post

Are you planning on using a separate DAC and amp, or a DAC/amp combo? Do you want virtual surround? What is your price target? Are you on PC or console?

I would prefer a sound card with an amp, not really sure what DAC is, but a combo I suppose. (I am an audio noob if you couldn't tell). Definitely want virtual surround, but I thought all sound cards had it anyways. Price target for headset (Sennheiser PC 360) and sound card together is max $400, preferably around $300. I play exclusively on PC.

post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by timnswede View Post

I would prefer a sound card with an amp, not really sure what DAC is, but a combo I suppose. (I am an audio noob if you couldn't tell). Definitely want virtual surround, but I thought all sound cards had it anyways. Price target for headset (Sennheiser PC 360) and sound card together is max $400, preferably around $300. I play exclusively on PC.

DAC - Digital to Analog Converter

Most audio today is stored in a digital format, we humans hear in analog.

So a DAC is need for the converstion, sound cards already come with DAC chips built in.

Usually on Head-Fi, when someone talks about a "DAC" , it is usually referring to an external device dedicated to transforming a digital audio signal into analog audio signal, it may or may not also come with a built in headphone amplifier.

post #14 of 19

Not all sound cards have virtual surround. the Astro Mixamp ($150) is a good example of a soundcard/amp that does. You can also get virtual surround for free through a plugin called "Razer Surround" for your PC (which I personally use).

I would recommend getting Razer Surround and then buying the Magni and Modi combo. Costs $200 and fulfills everything you need.

 

http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=13

http://schiit.com/cart/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=0&products_id=14

 

If you prefer to go the tube route, you can get this and a Little Dot 1+, which is also what I am personally using right now.


Edited by Tus-Chan - 7/29/13 at 7:03pm
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

DAC - Digital to Analog Converter

Most audio today is stored in a digital format, we humans hear in analog.

So a DAC is need for the converstion, sound cards already come with DAC chips built in.

Usually on Head-Fi, when someone talks about a "DAC" , it is usually referring to an external device dedicated to transforming a digital audio signal into analog audio signal, it may or may not also come with a built in headphone amplifier.

Thanks for the explanation.

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