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Hello everyone my name is Busted, AKA Robert.  When it comes to audio I am pretty much a noob, I know what most think are the good brands and which are not, and I can tell the difference in quality(to my ears) when it comes to sampling equipment.  Other than that, nothing special at all.  I am looking to replace my extremely old Turtle Beach EarForce X1's.  They have been taped, epoxied, and JB Welded back together over the years and the padding is wore out.  If you don't know anything about them here are the specs from the website.


Turtle Beach EarForce X1

Specs (Click to show)

Speakers: 40mm diameter speakers with neodymium magnets
Condenser Microphone Frequency Response: 50Hz - 15kHz
Weight: 6.4 oz (233g)
Speaker Frequency Response: 30Hz - 20kHz, >120dB SPL @ 1kHz
Cable length: 16 ft. (4.87m)


In-line Amp
Dimensions: Height .5
Maximum analog input level with volume control on maximum setting: 2Vpp (700mVrms)
Input jack: XBOX controller with 2.5mm input jack
Headphone Amplifier: Stereo DC-coupled, 35mW/ch, THD <1%, Frequency Response: DC - 30kHz
Mute switch: Mic mute switch
USB connector for power: 5VDC @ <60mA max
Expander switch: Stereo expander switch


I love these things or did till they started sounding bad recently.  I think the left driver is blown, and they overall just sound... cluttered.  I was able to sample some Turtle Beach EarForce X12's which are a MAJOR improvement in comfort.  I love the fit of the X12, but the sound is alright except the bass seems weak and turning the volume up the bass distorts quickly leaving the mid's and high's without much bass when you adjust to fix the distortion.  This lack of bass at high volume pushed me away even though they are comfortable.



As far as replacements go I am considering the Monoprice 8323, along with them I was planning to use this cable might drop the length to 6ft though.  I have picked this because of the price/performance seems to be amazing everyone.  Plus they are also being compared to higher-end sets and standing well.  I'd like to keep the price under $50 which is quite limiting I know.


Some info on what will be powering them and how I plan to use them:

- Desktop PC use, motherboard is a Gigabyte GA-970A-UD3P, Audio Chipset is VIA VT2021 (onboard)

- I am a gamer, from MMORPG's to FPS, they will see a lot of use here.

- I listen to music pretty much all day everyday, genres include rock, hard rock, metal of all flavors, some hip-hop, some rap, some classical... a bit of everything really.

- Music formats are typicall .mp3 at high rates, I do have several .flac and of course prefer this for my favorite songs/bands

- Media players I typically use, VLC & recently started using Foobar2000 for it's much better EQ (18 band I think).

- Having a mic isn't that important.


My questions:

- Will using the onboard audio perform well or would a cheap DAC/AMP like the FiiO D5 work better?

- For these DAC/AMPs, is the audio sent via USB or Coaxial/Optical while the USB is only for power?

- Will using the linked cable provide any sound improvement?

- I was also looking at the Kicker HP541 ($44.99 on Newegg) the Monoprices seem to be the same design, but are the drivers the same?  If the Kickers are better should I swing for them or stick with the Monoprice?



I hope I provided enough information about what I have and what I am looking for.  I know it's a lot to ask for on a budget of $50 or less.