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Need help on my new gaming rig.

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi there.
This is my first post after a long time of reading through the forums.
My knowledge of audio is really poor still, so bear with me.

I recently decided I was going to build a new gaming rig. I won't spare any expenses as I want this unit to be my childhood dream (got money now).

After reading for hours after hours I am next to done on deciding what I need. All that's left is audio. Boy did I not know what I was in for. All the time I spent on research for my rig, double that and it's what I put into reading about audio.

Still I feel like I know nothing.
Right now there are several options I deem enough for my goal; 80% gaming and 20% music.
I decided I wanted to have the DT990 headphones. I read these need to be amped to get to their full potential and decided on an Objective 2 amp.
My question is, since I want to experience awesome virtual surround and take the games to the next level, which sound card would I need?

The SB Titanium HD supposedly has a good DAC and the CMSS3D DSP. Yet it's outdated as in bad driver support for newer OSes like Win8.1

This got me looking at the Z series soundcards. Apparently these have SBX Pro DSP, worse quality components but a better built-in amp.

Like I said, I just want a nice working DSP that'll actually give me 3d sound. I don't mind getting the o2 amp for performance, but if the Z series will save me money and the DSP on it works like a charm, that'll be the decisive factor since the driver support is probably guaranteed (newer card).

The more I read, the more I'm confused because everyone seems to be complaining on here all the time about stuff not working. I feel like I can't buy any soundcard because it will either not work, suck or there's something else I should have bought.
This is why I've started my own thread, so the guru brothers on here can give me advice suited to MY situation. I hope I made any sense and I realllly look forward to the advice of this community.

Thanks!
Edited by Lowquality - 5/22/14 at 6:55pm
post #2 of 13

I own and really like my O2 headphone amplifier.

But you could buy the $85 Sound Blaster Z, with have a nice CS4398 DAC chip :) and a decent headphone amplifier (good enough for the DT990 Pro 250-Ohm headphones).

I tested the SB-Z, good value at $85.

(Technically the O2 is a better headphone amplifier, but you would still want to buy a sound card to go with it).

For a few dollars more, you might find a used Essence STX sound card, the same headphone amplifier and functionally the same DAC chip as the Sound Blaster ZxR.

 

All sound cards have had "driver" issues at one time or another, I prefer Asus Xonar card, others like the Creative cards

post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

I own and really like my O2 headphone amplifier.

But you could buy the $85 Sound Blaster Z, with have a nice CS4398 DAC chip :) and a decent headphone amplifier (good enough for the DT990 Pro 250-Ohm headphones).

I tested the SB-Z, good value at $85.

(Technically the O2 is a better headphone amplifier, but you would still want to buy a sound card to go with it).

For a few dollars more, you might find a used Essence STX sound card, the same headphone amplifier and functionally the same DAC chip as the Sound Blaster ZxR.

 

All sound cards have had "driver" issues at one time or another, I prefer Asus Xonar card, others like the Creative cards

I'd go with the sound blaster, then pair your DT 990 with a Schiit Vali, the vali works great for higher ohm cans and It sounds very good with the DT 990, I had the two for a short time and I enjoyed it very much 

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I own and really like my O2 headphone amplifier.
But you could buy the $85 Sound Blaster Z, with have a nice CS4398 DAC chip smily_headphones1.gif and a decent headphone amplifier (good enough for the DT990 Pro 250-Ohm headphones).
I tested the SB-Z, good value at $85.
(Technically the O2 is a better headphone amplifier, but you would still want to buy a sound card to go with it).
For a few dollars more, you might find a used Essence STX sound card, the same headphone amplifier and functionally the same DAC chip as the Sound Blaster ZxR.

All sound cards have had "driver" issues at one time or another, I prefer Asus Xonar card, others like the Creative cards
going for the asus card would mean going for Dolby Headphone DSP am I right?
I've read good things about the o2 and am definitely not hesitant to buy it, it's just that if I do I would really like the 3D DSP of whatever sound card to still work. If I were to get the essence stx OR the Z, would you recommend an ext. amp anyways?
Thanks for your reply
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowquality View Post


going for the asus card would mean going for Dolby Headphone DSP am I right?
I've read good things about the o2 and am definitely not hesitant to buy it, it's just that if I do I would really like the 3D DSP of whatever sound card to still work. If I were to get the essence stx OR the Z, would you recommend an ext. amp anyways?
Thanks for your reply

If you'd like get a sound card with a decent dac chip and which ever DSD software you want, feed that sound card into an external amp via the Line out on teh card, take it from me the DT 990 and O2 don't pair well together, a bright headphone with a bright amp q.q no me gusta , but The sound card is digitial, the 3D DSP is digital, once it hits the line out it's analog, the amp won't change the digital effects of the analog wave, so yes if you feed your sound card into an amp you will NOT lose the 3D dsp, and again at $120 the Schiit vali is a really great amp for the Dt 990! 

post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Figur
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mshenay View Post

If you'd like get a sound card with a decent dac chip and which ever DSD software you want, feed that sound card into an external amp via the Line out on teh card, take it from me the DT 990 and O2 don't pair well together, a bright headphone with a bright amp q.q no me gusta , but The sound card is digitial, the 3D DSP is digital, once it hits the line out it's analog, the amp won't change the digital effects of the analog wave, so yes if you feed your sound card into an amp you will NOT lose the 3D dsp, and again at $120 the Schiit vali is a really great amp for the Dt 990! 
Figured as much, read that using tube amps is a wise choice for the dt 990. I'll look into it. I just have a hard time understanding your first sentence. I do like to have a nice sound card with a good dac, but which card is recommended for my purpose (good 3d dsp, good dac)?
post #7 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowquality View Post

Going for the Asus card would mean going for Dolby Headphone DSP am I right?
I've read good things about the o2 and am definitely not hesitant to buy it, it's just that if I do I would really like the 3D DSP of whatever sound card to still work. If I were to get the Essence STX OR the Z, would you recommend an ext. amp anyways?
Thanks for your reply

 

Getting an Asus Xonar card (DG, DGX, D1, DX, STX, ST) would have Dolby Headphone surround sound, Creative Labs Z, Zx, ZxR cards use Creative's own SBX for Headphone surround sound.

To get the best sound quality from a internal sound card that is connected to an external amp, you want to hook the external amp to the line-out on the sound card, which bypasses the headphone surround sound features of a sound card (STX, ST, Z, Zx, ZxR).

(you can plug an external amp into the STX, ST, Z, Zx, ZxR headphone output jack, but your double amping, which is not recommended, but sometimes works fine)

A cheaper card like the Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used, $60) can connect it's line-out jack (which also fundtions as the headphone jack) to an external amp and still provide Dolby Headphone surround sound.

You could also get a really low cost card, like the Xonar DG & DGX ($20-$40) and connect an external (optical input) DAC like the Schiit Modi ($99) and maybe also get the Schiit Magni headphone amplifier ($99).

You can also get the (optical) Modi/Magni ($200+tax/shipping) and connect it to the optical output jack on the motherboard and use the built in on-board audio sound card.

post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Getting an Asus Xonar card (DG, DGX, D1, DX, STX, ST) would have Dolby Headphone surround sound, Creative Labs Z, Zx, ZxR cards use Creative's own SBX for Headphone surround sound.
To get the best sound quality from a internal sound card that is connected to an external amp, you want to hook the external amp to the line-out on the sound card, which bypasses the headphone surround sound features of a sound card (STX, ST, Z, Zx, ZxR).
(you can plug an external amp into the STX, ST, Z, Zx, ZxR headphone output jack, but your double amping, which is not recommended, but sometimes works fine)
A cheaper card like the Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used, $60) can connect it's line-out jack (which also fundtions as the headphone jack) to an external amp and still provide Dolby Headphone surround sound.
You could also get a really low cost card, like the Xonar DG & DGX ($20-$40) and connect an external (optical input) DAC like the Schiit Modi ($99) and maybe also get the Schiit Magni headphone amplifier ($99).
You can also get the (optical) Modi/Magni ($200+tax/shipping) and connect it to the optical output jack on the motherboard and use the built in on-board audio sound card.
So you're actually telling me that what I want is impossible.
Double amping is required to make use of the DSP.
Sounds to me like what I need is for the DSP to go through line-out.
And I appreciate all the options you're giving but as you might understand, the problem is there are a thousand options and I just want to know maybe the single best one or two.

Atm decent options for audio are: magni/modi combo, vali/modi combo, o2/odac combo.
Out of these three, I can decide. What I cannot decide on however is which soundcard to use. Not even with your previous posts.

Is it possible to use the Z and SBXPro together with a dac, amp and headphone?
post #9 of 13

A cheaper card like the Asus Xonar DX or D1 sound card (used, $60) can connect it's line-out jack (which also fundtions as the headphone jack) to an external amp and still provide Dolby Headphone surround sound.

 

not quiete, it looks like he is recommending you get something like the DX or D1, 

post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
I understand, but it's already converted to analog then. Seeing as it's a cheap card I assume the built in DAC isn't that great.
Not sure how big of an influence that'd be, to be honest. Just the first time I read about a cheap card having better functionality than a high end card redface.gif!
post #11 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowquality View Post

I understand, but it's already converted to analog then. Seeing as it's a cheap card I assume the built in DAC isn't that great.
Not sure how big of an influence that'd be, to be honest. Just the first time I read about a cheap card having better functionality than a high end card redface.gif!

Honestly, I have a $30 Beringher UAC 202 Dac and you know what... it sounds pretty dang good, I think for your first rig the Dac in the Cheaper card will work just fine, the DT 990 is a very transparent and detailed headphone so it'll bring out the best of a cheaper dac, that's what makes the DT 990 such a good can for the money, it works well with cheaper gear and tubes 

post #12 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lowquality View Post

So you're actually telling me that what I want is impossible.
Double amping is required to make use of the DSP.
Sounds to me like what I need is for the DSP to go through line-out.
And I appreciate all the options you're giving but as you might understand, the problem is there are a thousand options and I just want to know maybe the single best one or two.

Atm decent options for audio are: magni/modi combo, vali/modi combo, o2/odac combo.
Out of these three, I can decide. What I cannot decide on however is which sound card to use. Not even with your previous posts.

Is it possible to use the Z and SBXPro together with a dac, amp and headphone?

 

Sound cards can usually output headphone surround sound thru the headphone jack (amped on not) and the S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output

 

Best setup for good sound quality and gaming, is a sound card connected to an external DAC (using S/PDIF, optical or coaxial), that is then connected to an external headphone amplifier.

Sence you will have no need to use a sound card's DAC or headphone output, you can use a low cost (Dolby) sound card (Xonar DG/DGX), $20-$40.

If you would rather use creative SBX, get a Sound Blaster Z, $85

Schiit Bifrost DAC, $350

Schiit Valhalla amp, $350

So for around $720 to $785 you will have a nice sounding gaming system for your PC.

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Sound cards can usually output headphone surround sound thru the headphone jack (amped on not) and the S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) output

 

Best setup for good sound quality and gaming, is a sound card connected to an external DAC (using S/PDIF, optical or coaxial), that is then connected to an external headphone amplifier.

Sence you will have no need to use a sound card's DAC or headphone output, you can use a low cost (Dolby) sound card (Xonar DG/DGX), $20-$40.

If you would rather use creative SBX, get a Sound Blaster Z, $85

Schiit Bifrost DAC, $350

Schiit Valhalla amp, $350

So for around $720 to $785 you will have a nice sounding gaming system for your PC.

Buying the BiFrost and Valhalla are unessicary, the Modi and Magni work just fine,yes the Modi has Spdif input now, so get the Vali and the schiit Modi for $200, a DT 990 Pro 250 ohm for $150 and the Dolby Card with Spif out for around $50, total cost of like $500, for a great system including headphones 

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