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Please help me choose the gear I need for a gaming, blu-ray movie, and "lossless" music PC.

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Hi everybody! I am new to this community and can't wait to start learning more about audio. A couple of days ago I was completely clueless about cables and different signals but I am starting to understand some of it. Please forgive me if I don't understand what you are trying to tell me.

 

I have been planning for an enthusiast gaming, work, and media computer for a while and need to finalize the parts. This system will NOT be used for music production.

 

The motherboard I will be using is a Rampage IV Black Edition. It is supposed to have extremely good on-board audio but from looking at a few random comments it may not be enough for what I want. 

 

I have checked out the gaming headphone thread a couple of times over the last few months. (It was suggested on reddit). 

I am 100% certain that I want AKG Pro Audio K712PROStudio Headphones, a ModMic, and Corsair Gaming Audio Series SP2500 232W 2.1ch speakers. 

 

Now I need to know how I will hook it all up and what extra gear I need. Should I get an internal sound card like the Xonar Phoebus? Do I need something external? Do I need an amp? Would the FIIO E17 Amp and FIIO E09K dock combo be enough to "drive" the AKG headphones and give me a good experience in music, movies, and games? Should I buy extra software? 

 

The FIIO E17/E09K amp and dock combo seem like the easiest and nicest looking setup I have seen but I still have no idea what they even do or why I would need them. I did pick out a nice LED usb cable for them so I guess that is something..... I do like that the FIIO can be used as a mobile amp for a cell phone. If these are too weak and there is a similar combo that is strong enough I would be really grateful if you mentioned it. 

 

 

If you have a suggestion for a gear or cables PLEASE give me a specific item name. Please don't say "get an amp." I am trying to stay below $300 with the amp, sound card, or whatever I need. If I need to go higher I will. 

 

Note: I listen to every genre of music except Country, Dance, and Metal.

Examples from my library:

1. Woman - Maroon 5

2. The Hics - Cold Air

3. The Hics - Tangle

4. Sade - The Sweetest Taboo 

5. SZA - Advil 

6. Proofsound - Thirst No More

7. Proofsound - Momentum

8. A Perfect Circle - Weak and Powerless 

9. Tool - Right In Two

10. Jason Derulo - Talk Dirty

11. Lil Wayne - Lollipop 

12. Metallica - Frantic 

13. Metallica - Master of Puppets

14. Staind - Outside

15. Silent Code - Spell Bound

16. Slow Roosevelt - Boys Lie Girls Steal

17. Brand X Music - Decimate

18. Anthony Hamilton-Can't Let Go

19. Benny Benassi - Satisfaction 

20. Linkin Park - Shadow of The Day

21. 2AM Club - Mary

22. William Arcane - Departed 

 

If you need more I can give them to you! 

 

Thank you for visiting my post!

 

Edit: On the right side bar there is a picture over "What's Your MOMENTUM?" - Participate To Win!" 
Who is the DJ(?) in the bottom right corner?

 

Edit: With those FIIO products above... Why are they both called amps and what do they do when together?

 

Edit: Updated purchase list: AKG Pro Audio K712PROStudio Headphones, Xonar DGX Sound Card, Schiit Modi (optical version), Schiit Magni, Schiit PYST RCA cables, and AmazonBasics Digital Optical Audio Toslink Cable (6ft).


Edited by TheLawless - 5/7/14 at 2:06pm
post #2 of 24

Are you going to want to use dolby surround sound when gaming?

post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Koteric View Post
 

Are you going to want to use dolby surround sound when gaming?

Yes! 100%. Thank you for reminding me. I am trying to get as much feature compatibility as I possibly can out of everything. Things like the FIIO would make me give up certain features for the portability. I could also buy an extra piece of gear on the side just for that if necessary.


Edited by TheLawless - 5/6/14 at 11:16pm
post #4 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLawless View Post
 

Yes! 100%. Thank you for reminding me. I am trying to get as much feature compatibility as I possibly can out of everything. Things like the FIIO would make me give up certain features for the portability. 


If you go with something like a Xonar/computer soundcard ( which usually has Dolby surround) the consensus I've got hanging out around here is the sound will not be near as good for music as with other dedicated DAC options. 

 

However (i don't know how well it works) I know Razer has software that can do 5.1 dolby surround which may work just as good for what I know. 

 

Popular for desktop setups at low cost are the JDS labs ODAC and Obj2 amp, as well as the stack from Schiit (200 for dac/amp). The FIIO E17/E09K as the added benefit of the E17 being portable.  Not sure how important that is to you. 

 

Hopefully you get some of the really experienced guys in her to make some recommendations.  I have the Schiit Magni/Modi stack, that I really really like, but i don't really care for Dolby surround when gaming. 

post #5 of 24
If you want Dolby Headphone for virtual surround for gaming and movies, often the best route is to go with a Xonar DG or DGX sound card and then an external optical DAC and headphone amp. The sound card can still do digital signal processing before sending the signal the to the DAC. You don't need a more expensive card than the DG or DGX since the card is not doing anything but the digital processing part.

Now, you are going to have speakers, so you might want a headphone amp (or combined DAC/headphone amp) with pre-amp outs so that you can plug your speakers up and use the same volume control. The E17/E09K could do this. But if you don't need the portability of the E17, there are other options you might choose, such as the Maverick Tubemagic D1 Plus. Or for a little more than your budget, get the Schiit Modi (optical version) and the Schiit Asgard. Or an Audio-GD dac/headphone amp/pre-amp (they ship from China factory direct).

If you want good sound from speakers, I would skip the Corsairs and save a little more for the JBL LSR305s. Since they came out last fall, they have had rave reviews and testimonials. They have also been on sale occasionally for under $300, so you wouldn't have to spend that much more if you are patient and watch Amazon and slickdelas. Sure, the Corsairs are popular among gamers, but you are going to have great headphones for gaming. The Corsairs are not that well regarded for music. Get speakers that are good for music for when you aren't gaming.

Finally, most open headphones are very good for gaming (about the only ones that aren't are Grados). Since you are into music, research open headphones and find one that you feel fits your listening tastes for music. And of course a pair that is comfortable for long gaming sessions. Check out these two resources for reviews of open headphones:

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/innerfidelitys-wall-fame-full-size-open (this is a best of)
http://www.head-fi.org/t/634201/battle-of-the-flagships-58-headphones-compared-update-audeze-lcd-2-revision-2-6-4-13#user_index2 (these are top headphones with rankings)

Good luck! You have lots of research to do smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by cel4145 - 5/6/14 at 11:53pm
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

"If you want Dolby Headphone for virtual surround for gaming and movies, often the best route is to go with a Xonar DG or DGX sound card and then an external optical DAC and headphone amp. The sound card can still do digital signal processing before sending the signal the to the DAC. You don't need a more expensive card than the DG or DGX since the card is not doing anything but the digital processing part." 
 

Is there a Dolby Headphone sound card or amp with a USB IN port so that I could plug in the E17/E09K through it? I really want to use that illuminated USB cable.

post #7 of 24
USB DACs completely bypass a sound card all together because they plug into the computer, not the sound card. So no.
post #8 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

USB DACs completely bypass a sound card all together because they plug into the computer, not the sound card. So no.

Okay. It looks like I can keep the cable attached but still use another audio source. Which cable and ports would I use to connect the Xonar DX sound card and the FIIO E09K dock? 

post #9 of 24
So you have decided to go with the Xonar DX and the E09K (the DX is different from the DG/DGX)? You would connect the two using the front left/right analog output on the DX to the RCA inputs on the E09K. You would not be able to use the E17 with the E09K in this setup.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

So you have decided to go with the Xonar DX and the E09K (the DX is different from the DG/DGX)? You would connect the two using the front left/right analog output on the DX to the RCA inputs on the E09K. You would not be able to use the E17 with the E09K in this setup.

ಥ_ಥ ... Thanks for the correction. Would using the DGX allow me to connect and use both the E17 and E09K? If so how would I connect them? I had only picked the DX because it had 7.1 audio. 

post #11 of 24
7.1 audio is not worth worrying about. 5.1 audio is all you need for gaming and movie watching. Movies don't even have 7.1 audio.

The E09K CANNOT be used with the E17 to connect via optical to the Xonar DG/DGX.

But you could go with the Xonar DX and skip having a DAC like the E17. The DX does not have a headphone amp. It has line output optimized for hooking up to an amp. You could hook it directly to the E09K, but you would be using the the DAC in the DX.

This would probably be easiest if you would say what functionality you want, and then we can tell you what's the best setup for your budget smily_headphones1.gif

Do you want Dolby Headphone?
Do you want to be able to have the speakers hooked up and control them with the same volume control unit as the headphones without having to unplug them to use the headphones?
Do you need a portable DAC/amp?
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
This would probably be easiest if you would say what functionality you want, and then we can tell you what's the best setup for your budget smily_headphones1.gif

Do you want Dolby Headphone?
Do you want to be able to have the speakers hooked up and control them with the same volume control unit as the headphones without having to unplug them to use the headphones?
Do you need a portable DAC/amp?

1. I do want Dolby Headphone/surround.

2. I can use a splitter or do the plug and unplug.

3. I don't "need" it but.... after seeing the E17 and E09K combo I really do want them or something like them on my desk. What do you think about having those connected by USB for music and having a separate Amp/Dac/whatever connected to a sound card for games and movies? I can skip out on new speakers for a little bit to increase my budget. 

 

Would an O2 Amp/Dac all-in-one with the DGX for movies and games give me what I want? 

post #13 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLawless View Post

3. I don't "need" it but.... after seeing the E17 and E09K combo I really do want them or something like them on my desk. What do you think about having those connected by USB for music and having a separate Amp/Dac/whatever connected to a sound card for games and movies? I can skip out on new speakers for a little bit to increase my budget. 

But why would you want that particular combo? I don't understand. And especially why you would want to have that setup and then another DAC/amp???

Assuming you have the Xonar DG/DGX, arguably THE best sounding setup for around $200 gaming, movies, and music is the Schiit Modi (optical version) and the Schiit Magni. You'd have to use a splitter from the Modi to hook up your speakers (or a switch box). But I think most head-fiers would agree that's a better sound quality setup than the E17/E0K combo, even if you weren't using the Xonar.
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


But why would you want that particular combo? I don't understand. And especially why you would want to have that setup and then another DAC/amp???
 

Honestly.... because I saw one of the buyer uploaded images (http://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-media/product-gallery/B0070UFMOW/ref=cm_cr_dp_cust_img_see_all_img0) from amazon.com with the LED cable and it looked REALLY cool. I had also gotten into the idea of having the detachable amp to use with a tablet. 

 

Thanks for helping me choose that Schiit stuff. It will go on the list. I might get that FIIO stuff later on the side or change some things around to fit it inside my budget with the Schiit stuff.. 

 

So the AKG Pro Audio K712PROStudio Headphones, Xonar DGX Sound Card, Schiit Modi (optical version), and the Schiit Magni? Will these come with all the cables I need and what should I plug into what for the best quality? 

post #15 of 24
If you want an additional amp to use with a tablet, read these reviews:
http://www.head-fi.org/t/620775/the-sub-200-portable-amps-shootout-13-11-amps-compared
http://www.head-fi.org/t/596482/the-sub-100-portable-amps-shootout-11-1-amps-compared

You have to buy cables. You'll need an optical cable for connecting the DAC to the computer sound card, and RCA cables to connect the DAC to the headphone amp. Schiit has some small RCA cables for that purpose.
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