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Need help with decision on what headphones + soundcard + mixamp(optional) to combine into a optimal headphone surround sound system.

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I am about to go out and buy me a nice pair of headphones for my computer. Because I am only an infant in terms of my experience with headphones and audio systems for the PC, I ran into some problems. Also, it might be an important mention that I, primarily but not only, will be using my headset for gaming, and Immersion/sound quality is the biggest factor in choosing what pair I want to go with.

 

So far I am looking at a nice pair of Sennheiser HD 598 headphones + the Asus Xonar DX dedicated soundcard. I might also be buying the astro mixamp pro in a more distant future, primarily because it can produce Dolby Digital live surround sound.

 

I did my research but I just couldn't find any posts that gave 100% clear answers to the questions I had.

 

My questions are:

 

  • Is there any way to get proper surround sound through the headphones and the soundcard alone, that match the quality of the surround sound produced by the astro mixamp pro + headphones + soundcard?

 

  • How good is the sound quality of the headphone+ sound card combination compared to the quality of headphones + soundcard + mixamp?

 

  • Is there any good alternative to the astro mixamp pro that can: 

- Produce Dolby Digital Live surround sound

- Output good quality sound

- Is in the same price range as the astro mixamp pro (tight budget)

(- Outputs the sound through optical and coaxial cables (I've let myself persuade into thinking that it is crucial to the quality of the sound)

 

  • If I do get a mixamp, is the sennheiser HD 598 headphones still the optimal pair of headphones to get in the same price range and with open-back design?

 

 

 

The reason why I can't include a budget, is because the prices will differs from place to place. If you have any questions, or even other suggestions that deviate ( is that even the right word? I am not a native speaker) from my questions, feel free to constribute them.

 

Also, Thank you for your time.

post #2 of 8
I Think the new creative omni surround does Dolby digital, though I'm not sure.
The mixamp won't really offer anything over an internal sound card unless you'll want to use the mixamp for consoles.

You'll preferably want digital out (coax or optical) if you want to upgrade with an external DAC later on.

Consider the Sony ma900 as well.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

I've heard many places that Dolby digital live is the best surround sound you can get, and that the mixamp is required to achieve Dolby surround sound. However, I am not sure how legitimate that statement is.

 

I'll add a question to the bunch

 

Can a dedicated PC-soundcard produce Dolby digital live surround sound by itself without any external hardware (headphones does not count as external hardware)?

 

 

Thanks for suggesting the Creative sound blaster, Creative state that it can only handle 5.1 surround. I should have mentioned that I wish to achieve 7.1 surround. My bad.

 

 

Also, I don't know what a DAC is.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Apparently, the thing that the astro mixamp pro does, is that it scales the Dolby digital live 5.1 output from the sound card into 7.1 surround sound. The internal sound card can only output 5.1 by itself. 

 

Perhaps Astro is the only company which has produced such a device? 

post #5 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Masterofcakes View Post
 

I've heard many places that Dolby digital live is the best surround sound you can get, and that the mixamp is required to achieve Dolby surround sound. However, I am not sure how legitimate that statement is.

 

I'll add a question to the bunch

 

Can a dedicated PC-soundcard produce Dolby digital live surround sound by itself without any external hardware (headphones does not count as external hardware)?

 

 

Thanks for suggesting the Creative sound blaster, Creative state that it can only handle 5.1 surround. I should have mentioned that I wish to achieve 7.1 surround. My bad.

 

 

Also, I don't know what a DAC is.

A dedicated sound card cannot decode dolby digital live. Most cards can't. In theory the sound blaster omni and recon 3d can. Yet, if you'll only use your pc as source for gaming/watching movies you have no need for dolby digital AFAIK. You only need one of the headphone surround technologies (dolby headphones is one among several). Most sound cards offer that, the xonar dx included.

Go ask NamelessPFG, he is very experienced in this.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Alright, I'll take a closer look at the dolby headphones technology and perhaps contact NamelessPFG.

 

Btw, rød grød med fløde :wink_face:

post #7 of 8
Hehe, your welcome.
post #8 of 8

Looked a little further into it. It seems dolby digital in it's various forms is a way of compressing multi channel audio. The reason to do this is because s/pdif (optical and coaxial) doesn't have enough bandwidth to send an uncompressed 6 channel audio signal. Therefore it needs to be compressed with dolby digital.

 

In short, if you use usb or pci with a computer there is no need for dolby digital. On the other hand, if you use s/pdif output from a dvd player or a console/ some other device that can output surround through s/pdif, you'll want dolby digital decoding.

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