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Looking to upgrade to a sound card.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

As of now, I use Sennheiser HD558's connected to a Denon E300 AVR. Which feeds from the HDMI out of the video card, into the receiver getting both audio and video. For me, it's been fine this way. Would there be any SQ difference upgrading to a soundcard with a headphone amp? I'm looking to get a soundcard since I also have a condenser mic/mixer that goes into the onboard realtek mic/line in input. I'm starting to notice hiss, especially with cheaper quality mics that aren't as sensitive and need boost to get to listening volume. 

 

What would be a good soundcard to buy? I just bought a set of Astro A40's, just to use the mic in game and output all audio to the recording software. I plan on buying another set of headphones in the future, but the 558's are so good I can't get used to the DT770's which I really wanted. What are some good cards out now days?


Edited by Sundown - 3/22/14 at 10:50pm
post #2 of 10

What's your budget?

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joshua277456 View Post
 

What's your budget?

$250

post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
 

As of now, I use Sennheiser HD558's connected to a Denon E300 AVR. Which feeds from the HDMI out of the video card, into the receiver getting both audio and video. For me, it's been fine this way. Would there be any SQ difference upgrading to a sound card with a headphone amp? I'm looking to get a sound card since I also have a condenser mic/mixer that goes into the on board Realtek mic/line in input. I'm starting to notice hiss, especially with cheaper quality mics that aren't as sensitive and need boost to get to listening volume. 

 

What would be a good sound card to buy? I just bought a set of Astro A40's, just to use the mic in game and output all audio to the recording software. I plan on buying another set of headphones in the future, but the 558's are so good I can't get used to the DT770's which I really wanted. What are some good cards out now days?

 

A low cost idea is to get an Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60).

You can connect the Xonar DX/D1 to the Denon using both optical and analog, use which ever connection sound better to your ears.

This way you could still plug the HD558s into the Denon and still be able to use the Xonar's Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound.

In the future you can get an external headphone amplifier (O2 or Magni) and plug it into the Xonar DX/D1 (plug headphones into ext amp)

 

 

Next opinion is a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card, $75-$95.

Comes with a decent headphone amplifier and Creative's SBX headphone surround sound.

 

Next options, Asus Xonar Essence STX, $180 or Creative ZxR sound card, $225.

post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

A low cost idea is to get an Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used $60).

You can connect the Xonar DX/D1 to the Denon using both optical and analog, use which ever connection sound better to your ears.

This way you could still plug the HD558s into the Denon and still be able to use the Xonar's Dolby Headphone 7.1 surround sound.

In the future you can get an external headphone amplifier (O2 or Magni) and plug it into the Xonar DX/D1 (plug headphones into ext amp)

 

 

Next opinion is a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card, $75-$95.

Comes with a decent headphone amplifier and Creative's SBX headphone surround sound.

 

Next options, Asus Xonar Essence STX, $180 or Creative ZxR sound card, $225.

Any opinions about the HT Omega Claro Halo? I've been looking at this one. I may go with the DX or D1 just to get a better microphone input with no hiss hopefully.

post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundown View Post
 

Any opinions about the HT Omega Claro Halo? I've been looking at this one. I may go with the DX or D1 just to get a better microphone input with no hiss hopefully.

 

HT Omega Clara Halo uses the same audio processor and headphone amplifier chip as the Essence STX & ST.

post #7 of 10

Xonar Essence STX is a very very good card for around 200USD new.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

I think I may go with the HT Claro Halo. More inputs/outputs that I may or may not need in the future. I hope it doesn't cause a hissing noise on the microphone.

post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundown View Post

I think I may go with the HT Claro Halo. More inputs/outputs that I may or may not need in the future. I hope it doesn't cause a hissing noise on the microphone.

I can't imagine the extra input/output jacks would cause that problem.
post #10 of 10
Quote:
I also have a condenser mic/mixer

 

Then you might want to consider something with a dedicated quality microphone input. DAC output quality is now so good almost all units sound the same or very similar to one another. Inputs on the other hand can be less impressive.

 

For $250 this MOTU Microbook would seem to be an ideal match for your needs and it looks cool too!

 

http://www.motu.com/products/motuaudio/microbook/specs.html

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