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Upgrading from motherboard sound, Also: competitive FPS gaming

post #1 of 35
Thread Starter 

Hi all, 

 

I want to upgrade from my stock motherboard sound. Im looking to keep it low budget, but I think the sound can get much better than stock motherboard sound.

 

  1. Motherboard: Asus M5A78L-M/USB3
  2. Headphone gaming: Superlux HD 668B
  3. Headphone music: Fischer Audio FA-003
  4. Other sources: Lumia 520 and Archos A43

 

- Important: Competitive FPS gaming. No bass is needed for this, just footstept. Footsteps only. 

And knowing from which direction these footsteps are coming.

My current gaming headphone is a Superlux 668B. (Im looking into a new one, possibly Pioneer SE-A1000 or Takstar Hi 2050).

 

- Music: For music my motherboard sound isnt very good at the moment.

The headphone I'm using for music is a Fischer Audio FA-003

The bass sounds way to soft. On my Archos A43 its not bad. On my Lumia 520 its decent but the sound is very collored and not so clear as on the A43.

 

 

Is there something like a good basic set up? 

An internal PCI card is possible but I'm also interested in a seperate desktop setup so I can use it with other sound sources. Unless an PCI card is much better for gaming.

 

So AMP's and DAC's etc, I dont know what I need :p

 

Thanks for looking.

Greetings,

post #2 of 35

Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card, $27.99 and their is a $10 mail in rebate this month.

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card, $95.

post #3 of 35
Thread Starter 

- Internal option: Xonar DG

 

- External option: FiiO E10??

 

I'm also looking for an external possibility in case I switch to a m-itx motherboard.

I've read about the FiiO E10, is it a good option for gaming also? http://www.amazon.fr/FiiO-E10-USB-Ampli-casque/dp/B005VO7LG6/ref=pd_sim_ce_3

 

Are there other good AMP/DAC setups or external sound cards for gaming?

 

EDIT: for example: Creative Sound Blaster X-FI USB http://www.amazon.de/Creative-Blaster-Surround-externe-Soundkarte/dp/B0042RUEQW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1379446507&sr=8-3&keywords=Sound+Blaster+usb

 

I know that the Xonar has digital surround, which might be fun for some movie like experience in gaming but I'm not sure about it for competitive. Any thoughts?

 

 

Greetings,

BTW I'm from europe.


Edited by Flumphy - 9/17/13 at 12:37pm
post #4 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flumphy View Post
 

- Internal option: Xonar DG

- External option: FiiO E10??

I'm also looking for an external possibility in case I switch to a m-itx motherboard.

I've read about the FiiO E10, is it a good option for gaming also? http://www.amazon.fr/FiiO-E10-USB-Ampli-casque/dp/B005VO7LG6/ref=pd_sim_ce_3

Are there other good AMP/DAC setups or external sound cards for gaming?

EDIT: for example: Creative Sound Blaster X-FI USB http://www.amazon.de/Creative-Blaster-Surround-externe-Soundkarte/dp/B0042RUEQW/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1379446507&sr=8-3&keywords=Sound+Blaster+usb

I know that the Xonar has digital surround, which might be fun for some movie like experience in gaming but I'm not sure about it for competitive. Any thoughts?

The Fiio E10 offer zero surround sound for gaming and movies.

The Sound blaster USB sound card would be a better choice, over the E10 for gaming.

But I would guess(?) the Fiio E10 and Asus DG would have at least have a little better sound quality for music.

The Asus Xonar DGX, is the PCI-E version of the DG.

post #5 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

The Fiio E10 offer zero surround sound for gaming and movies.

The Sound blaster USB sound card would be a better choice, over the E10 for gaming.

But I would guess(?) the Fiio E10 and Asus DG would have at least have a little better sound quality for music.

The Asus Xonar DGX, is the PCI-E version of the DG.

 

I will do some research on surround sound tomorrow when I have time.

 
Thanks for helping me so far.
post #6 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The Fiio E10 offer zero surround sound for gaming and movies.
The Sound blaster USB sound card would be a better choice, over the E10 for gaming.
But I would guess(?) the Fiio E10 and Asus DG would have at least have a little better sound quality for music.
The Asus Xonar DGX, is the PCI-E version of the DG.

Agreed.

Plus, m-itx motherboards are not the greatest choice for a gaming rig. The small size of many of the cases limits your ability to use a big graphics card, may have dubious air flow, and then some of the cases can't accept larger PSUs. So you'll be restricting yourself in more ways than just the sound card. Much easier to stay with micro ATX. Although that wasn't the advice you were looking for smily_headphones1.gif
post #7 of 35

At this point a sound card is definitely not going to make or break any computer in my opinion. Very few games (especially FPS's) put any load on the computer in the sound department. The only difference I've ever seen (assuming everything was operating correctly with correct drivers) was in WOW when I used to try to use my laptop's internal sound card. It was limited in terms of the number of channels and sounds it could "render" simultaneously, so going external would clear up the sound. Still, it never caused any significant lag in my game, just caused the sound quality to suffer or sounds to disappear under heavy load. With my newest computers (the past three have all been mid-ATX Intel machines) I just use the onboard sound for gaming and I've never had a single problem. I think that modern CPU's and onboard sound cards are getting so good that they're no longer capable of bottlenecking any rig. Now, don't get me wrong, some of them sound like crap for music, but some of them are actually getting OK! Even the "cheap" DACs are rocking 24-bit now...times have changed.

 

It might be best to save your money. Saving your money to buy a real dedicated external DAC down the road would really make a huge improvement.

post #8 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MD1032 View Post
 

At this point a sound card is definitely not going to make or break any computer in my opinion. Very few games (especially FPS's) put any load on the computer in the sound department. The only difference I've ever seen (assuming everything was operating correctly with correct drivers) was in WOW when I used to try to use my laptop's internal sound card. It was limited in terms of the number of channels and sounds it could "render" simultaneously, so going external would clear up the sound. Still, it never caused any significant lag in my game, just caused the sound quality to suffer or sounds to disappear under heavy load. With my newest computers (the past three have all been mid-ATX Intel machines) I just use the onboard sound for gaming and I've never had a single problem. I think that modern CPU's and onboard sound cards are getting so good that they're no longer capable of bottlenecking any rig. Now, don't get me wrong, some of them sound like crap for music, but some of them are actually getting OK! Even the "cheap" DACs are rocking 24-bit now...times have changed.

 

It might be best to save your money. Saving your money to buy a real dedicated external DAC down the road would really make a huge improvement.

 

"A real dedicated external DAC" Wont the Fiio E10 do a decent job?

post #9 of 35

Some games like BF3 greatly benefit from third-party sound processing (e.g. Dolby Headphone or Creative CMSS-3D), to the point where you would place yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you stuck with the default in-game sound processing.

 

Stick to a gaming sound card that has one of these features. If you use optical output, you can preserve the software processing when using an external DAC. The USB output with outboard hardware will not be able to avail Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D.

post #10 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3X0 View Post
 

Some games like BF3 greatly benefit from third-party sound processing (e.g. Dolby Headphone or Creative CMSS-3D), to the point where you would place yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you stuck with the default in-game sound processing.

 

Stick to a gaming sound card that has one of these features. If you use optical output, you can preserve the software processing when using an external DAC. The USB output with outboard hardware will not be able to avail Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D.

 

I play competitive cod. Knowing if someone is in front or behind me is not a problem because I know the maps so well and I can rotate my aim a bit to check with stereo from which side the sound is coming.

Because Dolby Headphone is 100% an effect and you still only have L and R (no speakers behind/infront of you) I'm not sold on it yet. Im doing some research and so far I've found 1 competitive player that used a soundcard capable of it, but chose not to because it had negative effects.
 
I'm looking for a used Xonar DG so I can try it. If I like it and still want to spent money I'll just add an E10 unless I get recommendend something else.
 
Greetings,
post #11 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flumphy View Post

I play competitive cod. Knowing if someone is in front or behind me is not a problem because I know the maps so well and I can rotate my aim a bit to check with stereo from which side the sound is coming.
Because Dolby Headphone is 100% an effect and you still only have L and R (no speakers behind/infront of you) I'm not sold on it yet. Im doing some research and so far I've found 1 competitive player that used a soundcard capable of it, but chose not to because it had negative effects.

I've always wondered about that. I'm not a competitive gamer, but I have never liked Dolby Headphone. I felt it muddled the soundfield in comparison to simply using 2 channel audio. After all, it's a software program using algorithms--it has no knowledge of the actual spatial representation of the sounds.

Not surprised, though. I was an amateur UT/UT3 player for a while (can't play as much any more), and some of the best competitive players described turning off many of the visual effects in the game because it decreased their ability to aim quickly and efficiently, which is contrary to what many more amateur (but serious) gamers might think.
post #12 of 35

It depends on the mixing of the game. Some games have terrible positional mixing in stereo (i.e. BF3, which has pretty no directionality besides left/center/right). Other games like Borderlands 2 have absolutely superb audio without any third-party processing. I'm not particularly familiar with the Call of Duty franchise's stereo mixing.

 

It's better to have it available and switched off than to not even have it as an option when you might need it.

post #13 of 35

you're supposed to set the games to output 5.1 or 7.1, and then use that as the input for dolby headphone, so that it effectively actually does have more information than regular stereo.

post #14 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flumphy View Post
 

I play competitive cod. Knowing if someone is in front or behind me is not a problem because I know the maps so well and I can rotate my aim a bit to check with stereo from which side the sound is coming.

Because Dolby Headphone is 100% an effect and you still only have L and R (no speakers behind/infront of you) I'm not sold on it yet. Im doing some research and so far I've found 1 competitive player that used a sound card capable of it, but chose not to because it had negative effects.
I'm looking for a used Xonar DG so I can try it. If I like it and still want to spent money I'll just add an E10 unless I get recommendend something else.

The Xonar DG should provide about the same audio quality as the Fiio E10.

post #15 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by mindbomb View Post
 

you're supposed to set the games to output 5.1 or 7.1, and then use that as the input for dolby headphone, so that it effectively actually does have more information than regular stereo.

You got it, the sound card (DG) will take in 6-channels (6.1) of audio and change over to Headphone Surround Sound, which it feeds as 2-channel audio to headphones.

As we can hear surround sound with our 2-channel input (ears), it only take 2-channel (stereo) headphones to think we are hearing 5.1.

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