New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

~$200 Gaming Setup

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

So I have a pair of M50's that are nothing but great that I use daily and take with me everywhere. I have had Astro A40's for the last few years and just recently the left headphone has basically snapped off. After doing a small amount of research I think I've decided on getting a good pair of headphones and a head microphone that I plan on velcro-ing to the new headphones instead of a branded "gaming" headset as they now seem to me as quite a ripoff and more of a marketing ploy. I plan on using my Astro MixAmp with the new cans to give simulated surround. This will work with just about any headphones right? My question to you wonderful people of head-fi is what pair of cans would you recommend to be a "leave at the desk" pair that plugs into an Astro MixAmp? I don't have a separate sound card but my mobo (Extreme4) I think has decent integrated sound (unless the MixAmp serves this purpose???), and if not is it worth getting one? I wanna spend preferably under 200$ for the headphones but if it's really worth it, I'd be willing to spend more. Thanks in advance!

post #2 of 24

You can get an Asus Xonar DG (PCI) sound card for $26.80 and there is a $10 mail in rebate this month (Dec).

It offers the same Dolby Headphone surround sound features as the Astro Mix-amp.

http://www.amazon.com/ASUS-XONAR-Headphone-Audio-Card/dp/B0045JHJSS

(Sell off the Astro mix-amp)

Headphones that work with the Xonar DG, Sennheiser HD558($130), Sony MDR-MA900 ($200), AKG K612 Pro ($200).


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/5/13 at 9:40pm
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 

What would the Asus PCI card offer me over the Astro MixAmp? How much could someone realistically get for a used MixAmp on Craigslist or eBay?

 

Edit: How do you think AD700/x or AD900/x fair compared to the AKG's? I'm not really a big Sony fan especially for audio.


Edited by MuhammadLlama - 12/5/13 at 9:43pm
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

What would the Asus PCI card offer me over the Astro MixAmp? How much could someone realistically get for a used MixAmp on Craigslist or eBay?

 

Edit: How do you think AD700/x or AD900/x fair compared to the AKG's? I'm not really a big Sony fan especially for audio.

The Astro-mix-amp need audio sent to it using DDL (Dolby Digital Live) for the surround sound to work.

I believe your motherboard does not come with DDL.

So one advantage the Xonar DG has is it will actualy work with your Extreme4 motherboard.

Not sure how much you could sell the Astro Mix-amp for, but put it up on Cragislist, ask for a slightly higher price that what a used mix-amp will sell for(?), and see what offers come in.

Or just put it up for bid on eBay.

 

I would take the AD900X over the AD700X, not because the AD900X would be any better for surround sound gaming, but the AD900X should offer better music audio quality. (I own the ATH-A900X closed version).

The AKG K612 Pro will sometimes go on sale for $160, the AD900X is around $210.

Sony offers a lot of different models of headphones, and I'm sure some are not that great. But the MA900 really seems to be getting a lot of positive feedback.

post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 

I just looked into what you said about DDL and now I feel like I've been fooled by my Astros for the past three years. So was I not getting true simulated 5.1 just using the MixAmp? What exactly did it do then? Would there be any benefit to a nicer internal sound card or even a nicer external sound card? Thanks for all your help!

post #6 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

I just looked into what you said about DDL and now I feel like I've been fooled by my Astros for the past three years. So was I not getting true simulated 5.1 just using the MixAmp? What exactly did it do then? Would there be any benefit to a nicer internal sound card or even a nicer external sound card? Thanks for all your help!

I would assume you were getting 2-channels of stereo audio from your mix-amp, as you do not need DDL for only 2-channel of audio thru the optical,

Surround sound would be 6-channel (5.1) of compressed digital audio being sent to the Mix-amp, thru optical.

The next step up from the Xonar DG would be the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500) sound card, $80.

So I guess it depends on what your willing to budget for headphones and a sound card.

I think internal sound cards are a better choice, over external sound cards, for a desktop computer.

post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 

After reading up on this point it seems like I would still need a MixAmp to decode the Dolby audio into 5.1 or 7.1?

post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

After reading up on this point it seems like I would still need a MixAmp to decode the Dolby audio into 5.1 or 7.1?

The Sound Blaster Z uses SBX, not Dolby, so it would be a different type of headphone surround sound.

But i would think you would be better off just getting the Xonar DG and selling of the mix-amp.

If your really set on using the mix-amp, you could get a Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60), the DX/D1 come with DDL.

post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 

Ohhhhhh wow I was confused thanks! Do only certain headphones work with Dolby and certain ones with SBX? Or could any stereo headphones support either simulated surround? Thinking back, I guess my Astros sounded much much better on my Xbox when I still used that.

post #10 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

Ohhhhhh wow I was confused thanks! Do only certain headphones work with Dolby and certain ones with SBX? Or could any stereo headphones support either simulated surround? Thinking back, I guess my Astros sounded much much better on my Xbox when I still used that.

Just about any (maybe all) stereo headphones can equally work well with Dolby and SBX and any other headphone surround sound technology.

There are some "gaming" headsets with 4 or 5 really cheap diaphragms in each cup, but hopefully you will say clear of those.

The Xbox comes with DDL.

post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 

That's what I figured... I would never go for individual drivers. Yeah I realized that with the Xbox. Are there any distinct advantages to Dolby or SBX?

post #12 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

That's what I figured... I would never go for individual drivers. Yeah I realized that with the Xbox. Are there any distinct advantages to Dolby or SBX?


Advantages between Dolby or SBX?  might depend on who you talk to.

I get the feeling SBX is a little better for FPS gaming.

post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 

One final question (I think), what would be the best quality setup: 

 

Dedicated sound card (THX, SBX, Dolby Headphones) with amp and maybe DAC -> New headphones (I'm thinking HD 598 right now)

 

Dedicated sound card (Dolby Digital Live) -> Astro MixAmp -> New headphones

 

Some other setup involving an external DAC/amp

 

My mobo supports 5.1/7.1 but the only way to get that is to have that many individual speakers or a headset that has that many drivers (gross) correct? I would need a card for simulated right?

 

Between HD598, AD700x, and K612 which do you think would provide the best experience? I would like a decent amount of bass. Open stage cans are basically an obvious choice for gaming right? Any input on Gratos for gaming? You're such a help!

 

EDIT: Cyber Monday week deal on Amazon right now for the AKG Q 701 for 175$, worth it? Seems to be a great deal!

 

Double EDIT: I bought the 701's on Amazon as they seemed like a pretty good deal. I can always return them if I feel it's necessary. What would be the optimal setup for these for gaming and the optimal setup for music.


Edited by MuhammadLlama - 12/6/13 at 6:02pm
post #14 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by MuhammadLlama View Post
 

One final question (I think), what would be the best quality setup: 

Dedicated sound card (THX, SBX, Dolby Headphones) with amp and maybe DAC -> New headphones (I'm thinking HD 598 right now)

Dedicated sound card (Dolby Digital Live) -> Astro MixAmp -> New headphones

Some other setup involving an external DAC/amp

My mobo supports 5.1/7.1 but the only way to get that is to have that many individual speakers or a headset that has that many drivers (gross) correct? I would need a card for simulated right?

Between HD598, AD700x, and K612 which do you think would provide the best experience? I would like a decent amount of bass. Open stage cans are basically an obvious choice for gaming right? Any input on Gratos for gaming? You're such a help!

EDIT: Cyber Monday week deal on Amazon right now for the AKG Q 701 for 175$, worth it? Seems to be a great deal!

To me personally, a Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60) and a Schiit Magni (or Vali) headphone amplifier, $99. makes a nice setup,

The Xonar DX/D1 comes with a CS4398 DAC chip and Dolby Headphone surround sound and the Magni (or Vali) is a versatile headphone amplifier that give you a volume knob at your finger tips.

You could also use the Astro mix-amp (instead of an external head amp) with the Xonar DX/D1, but I'm guessing the Schiit would do a better job at driving headphones.

I own the HD558 and AD700s, but I would try to talk you into the K612 Pro, as there seems to be a lot of positive feedback on them.

 

With the Sound Blaster Z, you might have to hook up the external amp to the Z's headphone output, which means double amping, no sure if that would effect the audio quality or not.

But then again the Sound Blaster Z does come with it's own headphone amplifier (I'm guess not as good as the Magni or Vali).

The AKG Q701 for a $175 is a really good price, if you like the idea of a wide sound stage for music, it might be your best choice (gamers like it too).


Edited by PurpleAngel - 12/6/13 at 6:47pm
post #15 of 24
Thread Starter 

If I were to get Xonar DX and a Schiit Magni, I would have sufficient power for Q701's and Dolby headphone surround sound? What advantage does the Magni have over say a Fiio E9? How would surround transfer into the Schiit of the Fiio? I think I've decided...

 

EDIT: Would this card work for what I want? I found it cheap on craigslist.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative-SB1040-Sound-Blaster-Xtreme/dp/B000W7PNZI


Edited by MuhammadLlama - 12/6/13 at 10:36pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home