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Setup for speakers and a pair of headphones? + Picking Gaming Headphones

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Hi,

I've got a pair of Audiotechnica ATH-M50x headphones and ordered a set of Harman/Kardon Soundsticks III speakers (got em for $150 CAD and I really don't have the room for studio monitors, so I bought 'em). I didn't realise until now that I only have 1 audio out on my PC because of my motherboard's front panel audio connector is badly placed and I was unable to hook it up. I would grab an entry-level soundcard, but I've got an ITX rig (ASUS P8Z77-V P8Z77-I Deluxe) and the only PCI slot is taken by the GPU. So now I need to figure a (relatively) cheap audio setup that will allow me to keep my speakers connected at all times because I plan on tight cable management. I'd really like to spend less than $50 CAD but I can set some money aside and buy something more expensive in the months to come. I wouldn't mind spending ~$200 on a DAC or AMP if it would allow me to do this.

 

I'm looking towards a Schiit Magni/Moda Combo or O2+ODAC but they look like they only have 1 output.


Edited by ROK1 - 5/21/14 at 3:01pm
post #2 of 21

You could always just get a high-quality splitter (make sure it's high quality, otherwise the SQ decreases), like from monster cable for $15? Otherwise I don't know of any DAC/AMPS under $50 that would do this...

post #3 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROK1 View Post
 

Hi,

I've got a pair of Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones and ordered a set of Harman/Kardon Soundsticks III speakers (got em for $150 CAD and I really don't have the room for studio monitors, so I bought 'em). I didn't realize until now that I only have 1 audio out on my PC because of my motherboard's front panel audio connector is badly placed and I was unable to hook it up. I would grab an entry-level sound card, but I've got an ITX rig (ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe) and the only PCI slot is taken by the GPU. So now I need to figure a (relatively) cheap audio setup that will allow me to keep my speakers connected at all times because I plan on tight cable management. I'd really like to spend less than $50 CAD but I can set some money aside and buy something more expensive in the months to come. I wouldn't mind spending ~$200 on a DAC or AMP if it would allow me to do this.

 

I'm looking towards a Schiit Magni/Moda Combo or O2+ODAC but they look like they only have 1 output.

 

It appears your motherboard (ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe) comes with zero PCI slots, just comes with three PCI-E X16 slots and four PCI-E X1 slots.

So you graphics card, which I'm assuming is PCI-E, would hopefully be seated in the Blue or White X16 slot.

 

The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (PCI-E) with a separate amplified headphone jack and a line-out jack (for the speakers).

Here in the USA the Sound Blaster Z sells for $85 US.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

My only concern with a 3.5mm splitter is a decrease in loudness as I already find my M50s to be more quiet than I'd like using the onboard audio on my mobo. Would an AMP/DAC combo like the Schiit Magni and Moda be appropriate with a splitter coming off the Moda into a RCA to 3.5mm for the H/K speakers and the other RCA going into the Magni? Or would I be able to run the speakers off my onboard sound and my headphones off an amp/dac?

 

I'm comfortable spending $200 if I'll be getting an AMP/DAC, just not comfortable spending it on a simple splitter or another elaborate solution.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

It appears your motherboard (ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe) comes with zero PCI slots, just comes with three PCI-E X16 slots and four PCI-E X1 slots.

So you graphics card, which I'm assuming is PCI-E, would hopefully be seated in the Blue or White X16 slot.

 

The Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (PCI-E) with a separate amplified headphone jack and a line-out jack (for the speakers).

Here in the USA the Sound Blaster Z sells for $85 US.


Mistype, I'm using a P8Z77-I Deluxe.

post #6 of 21
It looks like you have a mic port, headphone out, and line out on your board. You should be fine.

Hook your speakers to the line out (blue) and M50X to the headphone out (green). 1/4"-to-1/8" adapters are on the Sennheiser site for $6+S/H.
Edited by pbui44 - 5/21/14 at 2:03pm
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROK1 View Post
 


Mistype, I'm using a P8Z77-I Deluxe.

 

Wow, tiny motherboard, only comes with a slot (PCI-E) which is taken up by your graphics card.

 

Check out the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB sound card ($80 in the USA), comes with separate headphone and line-out.

With the $120 you save going with the Omni, over the $200+ Modi/Magni, you could sell off the ATH-M50Xs and put all the cash towards better headphones.

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Wow, tiny motherboard, only comes with a slot (PCI-E) which is taken up by your graphics card.

 

Check out the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 USB sound card ($80 in the USA), comes with separate headphone and line-out.

With the $120 you save going with the Omni, over the $200+ Modi/Magni, you could sell off the ATH-M50Xs and put all the cash towards better headphones.

I can still return the m50x's to amazon.ca if they're that bad. I need(ed) closed-back and portable pair of cans that I could use away from home on the bus etc. so I got the m50x because of their reputation and detachable cables. If I'd be able to get some nicer headphones for home and some on-ears for travel with the refund ($235 CAD) + some extra $, I'll return them right now. Also, will the soundblaster be noticeably worse than a Schiit combo, because I really like the look of the schiit devices and if I get better sound quality I'd rather pay a little extra.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pbui44 View Post

It looks like you have a mic port, headphone out, and line out on your board. You should be fine.

Hook your speakers to the line out (blue) and M50X to the headphone out (green). 1/4"-to-1/8" adapters are on the Sennheiser site for $6+S/H.

http://i.imgur.com/NE1uem6.jpg (Photo of my I/O Panel)

I only have Line out, Line in and a Mic in port.


Edited by ROK1 - 5/21/14 at 2:45pm
post #9 of 21
Your "correction" reminded me of an option that might be available on your board:

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1667837/broken-line-mic-jack-line.html

Read up on this and see if you can make changes.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROK1 View Post
 

I can still return the m50x's to amazon.ca if they're that bad. I need(ed) closed-back and portable pair of cans that I could use away from home on the bus etc. so I got these because of their reputation. If I'd be able to get some nicer headphones for home and some on-ears for travel with the refund ($235 CAD) + some extra $, I'll return them right now. Also,a will the Sound Blaster be noticeably worse than a Schiit combo, because I really like the look of the Schiit devices and if I get better sound quality I'd rather pay a little extra.

 

I've only listen to the original ATH-M50s, so the ATH-M50Xs might be an improvement, so I'm only making a guess that for an extra $120 you would find headphones with a noticeable improvement to the M50Xs.

In the USA the ATH-M50Xs sell for $170 (185 CAD), unless you can find a good deal on used headphones, shipped from the USA, it might be better to keep the ATH-M50Xs

As your looking for headphones for using on the move, the ATH-M50Xs do make a little more sense at keeping them.

 

I'm sure the Modi/Magni is a better DAC/amp, then what is built into the SB-Z.

The M50Xs might not make enough of a noticeable improvement, with the Modi/Magni, over the SB-Z.

 

If you did return the M50Xs, you could spend around $70 for some decent headphones for traveling.

Then maybe spend the rest of your cash for "open" headphones, for use with the computer.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 5/21/14 at 3:03pm
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 

Quote:

Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

I've only listen to the original ATH-M50s, so the ATH-M50Xs might be an improvement, so I'm only making a guess that for an extra $120 you would find headphones with a noticeable improvement to the M50Xs.

In the USA the ATH-M50Xs sell for $170 (185 CAD), unless you can find a good deal on used headphones, shipped from the USA, it might be better to keep the ATH-M50Xs

As your looking for headphones for using on the move, the ATH-M50Xs do make a little more sense at keeping them.

 

I'm sure the Modi/Magni is a better DAC/amp, then what is built into the SB-Z.

The M50Xs might not make enough of a noticeable improvement, with the Modi/Magni, over the SB-Z.


If I were to return the M50x I'd likely spend the $200 on a pair of cans just for home and use my monster turbines to hold me off until I'd be able to afford a pair of on-ears like the V-moda XS for travel.

What would be a good pair of headphones around ~$200 Canadian for (primarily) gaming and some occasional music listening? I'm currently looking at HD558s but I do enjoy some nice bass.

Also not intrested at all in used headphones.


Edited by ROK1 - 5/21/14 at 3:26pm
post #12 of 21
Did you try switching the jack functions, like the tom's hardware link posted?

Also, check this before re-purchasing:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-4-17-2014-akg-k612-and-k712-pro-added-edits

Amping may be important, too.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
I installed the realtek drivers for my board and there's no option to re-task a jack.
I may try and buy my headphones in the states as amazon here adds a few hundred to almost every decent pair of headphones.

ATM I'm looking towards some AKG Q701s ($200 USD), Beyerdynamic DT-880 Pro 250ohm ($230 USD). Also considering the Audio-Technica ATH-AD700X ($160 CAD) and Sennheiser HD 558 ($160 CAD) because they're available in Canada.

I'd likely pair any of these with a Schiit Stack.
Edited by ROK1 - 5/21/14 at 8:36pm
post #14 of 21
post #15 of 21
Thread Starter 

I sort of got this working, the speaker input won't stop after I plug into the "headphone" (Line-In) input. This will definitely hold me off until I can muster up some change for an amp/dac.

 

Still on the fence for what headphones to switch to as I feel robbed with how much I paid for my m50s. I thought they'd be practical but I feel like an idiot with such big headphones out in public, so I'm definitely gonna get some home and outside headphones.

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