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Hello & Recommendations of how to connect / what to add to my current setup.

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 



I've been reading this site on and off for awhile now (mainly reviews and misc stuff) but never saw the need to really register (I don't consider myself an audiophile, just a regular guy who appreciates good (relatively) sound. Audio - and more specifically gaming and positional audio - has been my interest for a number of years now. I was the guy who got the Aureal Vortex2 "3D Sound" card before a Voodoo2. They guy who - almost always, actually - upgraded my sound card before a graphics card. And yes, the one who had the original Sound Blaster and Sound Blaster 16 before anyone else in a 100km radius and was very happy with that. (also the one who rigged a "3.1" system out of a PC Speaker, but that's probably more than you want to know...:D ) As you can guess, I'm first and foremost a gamer, and a music listener second. (Thus, I've tried a bunch of things you folks here probably don't appreciate :)


That said, most of my systems that I've used have always been speakers, not headphones. Headphones came in late and I've somehow managed to make a hobby out of collecting (lousy) sets of headphones over the years. I've never really had a *good* pair before and never saw the need for a separate headphone amp.


Now, however, the hunger has grown while eating, as they say. I recently changed my speakers around, bought a new set and noticed that I haven't been using those lately that much, and my "big" speaker system haven't even been turned on for years - I've just used headphones. (Must've come with kids, that one. Can't really play loud when small ears are around.)


So, now I'm in the spot of having a bunch of headphones - some of which I actually think are good, but that's just my experience with them, I don't have a reference of "good" other than "best of what I got".


So, I'll have this to ask: If I'll list my current setup (and what is possible to add) and how everything is connected, you'd give recommendations of what I should do with the hardware? At least I'll hope that's what happens :)


So. Currently my output for practically anything is a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium (Fatal1ty) sound card. (I don't really own anything that would need a different device to play, everything I have is digital.) That outputs optically to a Logitech Z-5500 speaker set and analog to a pair of Speed Link Medusa NX 5.1 and [currently, stereo only] to a Sony STR-DB930 A/V receiver. The Medusas are my "gaming 'phones" and I actually like them a lot. I've managed to get the EQ so that sounds are the way I like and the positional audio actually works pretty well (with my ears and head, I know that YMMV).


My "Listening to Music" headphones are connected to the Sony receiver (I used to connect them to the Z5500 headphone -port, but that uses some form of Dolby Headphone that cannot be turned off and it was driving me nuts. I also used to just connect them directly to the analog out on the X-Fi, but when I connected the DB930 in-between, at least to my ears the sound was miles and miles better.)


The headphones I currently use, on and off, I tend to switch every now and then, are Sony MDR-605, Philips SHP2000, Turtle Beach Ear Force X12 (this is also mostly for gaming/communication) and my newest addition; a pair of Sennheiser HD202's.

(I really do like the Senn's but I'd love to have a over-the-ear version of them. My ears are rather big and almost all on-ear phones hurt after awhile - so do the Senn's, unfortunately.)


I've already ordered a toslink to connect X-Fi to the Sony digitally, but that's still in the mail (so the analog stereo-only is really, really temporary). I cannot use the current toslink cable for a mundane fact: it's too short :)


Anyway, digital out from sound card to receiver and/or Z5500, gaming headphones on analog, "music headphones" connected to the receiver.


Is this fine, or should I change something around, lose something altogether, get something new..? (For that, I'm currently unemployed, so I can't justify anything expensive and any and all additions are max 100€ total.)




But, well, yeah. That's me. Hello. My first step on the road for the Headphone Heaven. (I heard that once you start, there's really no going back and you can kiss your money goodbye :D That sounds familiar, somehow.. :)

post #2 of 5
Thread Starter 

Additional info, that's probably relevant:

My musical taste is rather broad and includes pretty much everything that's not rap or opera. Mostly Power Metal though (stuff like Stratovarius, Helloween, Hammerfall) and then 60s-70s rock. 


I can't really say I hear anything above 16kHz, so the upper end is mostly pointless for me. I say mostly, because while I can't hear a lone 16kHz tune, I CAN say when the 16kHz range is turned down from an EQ. I like my bass, but quality over quantity. So while lots of bass is fine, I'll take quality bass over more of it. Mostly I'm concerned that in fast-paced metal bass can sometimes be a .. well, a mess. That's what I''l try to avoid. But I'll just say that I love my subwoofer... :)

post #3 of 5

I suppose you want a decent pair of headphones for a start :)


Not sure what you should get, though. Try something open. Maybe try the sony ma900 if you can push it (know they are little above budget).


Am not too knowledgeable in cheaper headphones..

post #4 of 5
Thread Starter 

These: http://www.head-fi.org/products/sony-mdr-ma900-over-the-head-style-headphones ?


Well, yeah, um. A bit. Like almost double to three times my entire budget if bought new. (for the record, those seems to sell for around 300€ here in Finland. That's about $400.) Cheapest I could find in eBay that delivers to Finland was 180€ (~$250). I can't even dream of something like that currently. And would those really be THAT good? I mean, for half price (new) of that (still over my budget currently) I could get a pair of Sennheiser HD558 new, or a used pair HD595. Or BD's DT 770s. (even DT 990s are cheaper than those Sonys when new!)


But, I managed to get a steal of a deal on (hopefully) decent pair of headphones, the Somic EFI-82MT (paid 18€ for them. 34€ including S&H and a pair of Brainwavz HM5 pads). I'll see what these do and I'll probably just sort out my system myself then.


Annnd, I've been kind of eyeing Creative Aurvana Live!'s for awhile now. I could get one within my budget (about 70€ including S&H from eBay currently). Would those be any good? (I've read a TON of positive feedback about those, so I'm kind of assured that those would be a good choice.)



ps. does anyone know if there is a similar site to this for "regular" Hi-Fi content? I could ask around there for the rest of the desktop setup. I've had that DB930 receiver for 15 years now and while I still love it, nobody around seems to really know anything about. (does it have a headphone amp? no one knows.) With "similar site" I mean "site that has a minimal amount of d*ckheads" :) While reading this site over and over I've come to the conclusion that people here are very nice (compared to the internet in general) and nobody really acts like a giant a**hole, even when "stupid" questions are asked. (which is one of the reasons I decided to register here in the first place.)

post #5 of 5

For gaming you'd want open headphones. Like the hd558 you mention.


Good luck with the somics, remember reading about them.

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