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Advice needed: Gaming and movies setup

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by mkuitra, Apr 13, 2012.
  1. MkUItra
    Hi :)
    I'll start by saying I've been reading this forums for a while now, and it's been amazing, no place makes me feel as dumb (in a good way [​IMG])
    I use my PC (specs below) for gaming (Battlefield 3) movies (just DTS at the moment) and music. I've been looking to improve my experience
    as well as save those around me from the noise created by my Z-5500. it's impossible to chat mid game with speakers and a mic (ptt is extremely annoying).
    now It became apparent to me very early on that simply getting Astro's A40 etc is not the way to go for me.
    I don't know about you, but when I spend my money I like to know I'm getting the best I can from it and not just in hardware terms, but in my use of it - and I game and watch movies  a lot.
    now since I'd like to enjoy it as much as possible (and I am on a budget) I'll obviously have to compromise, and I want GREAT headphones that will perform great both in games - Battlefield 3 to be specific, as well as in movies and music (I listen to anything from Reggae to Rock, Metal, Dubstep, Rap etc). I know it's asking 2 different things, but that's where the compromise begins :)
    to make it simple we'll start with my current PC specs:
    Motherboard: Asus Maximus IV GENE-Z
    PSU: Corsair AX750
    GPU: PNY GTX 580
    RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3 1600MHz
    CPU: Intel i5 2500K
    all cased inside a Lian Li PC-A04
    now that we got that out the way we can get to the heart of the matter[​IMG][​IMG]
    I was thinking of upgrading my onboard SupremeFX X-Fi 2 with an Asus Xonar Essence STX, and here starts the "trouble".
    so far in the headphones category I've been looking at:
    Philips Fidelio L1, AKG K702\Q701, Sennheiser HD 558, Shure SRH840, Audio-Technica ATH-M50s/LE, Fischer Audio FA-003, and of course Beyerdynamic DT880. is the STX amp powerful enough to drive the 600ohm version? on their website Asus claim it can... would I need an external amp? would a DAC do a better job than the STX? would the STX benefit from an amp with any of the other headphones? what hardware would you recommend - soundcard, headphones, amp or DAC wise?
    I should note that the STX+DT880 is really pushing my budget (I'm a student after all).
    I'm very sorry for the very long post, but if i'll try and figure this out by myself without any help from the best source possible (asking here) I'll never be able to start that paper I have to turn in on sunday[​IMG]
    PS- my entire Hi-Fi Experience can be summarized with a pair of $100 Bose earbuds which I thought sounded great until they were stolen a few weeks later and I replaced them with the far superior sounding (imho) Shure SE210.
  2. PurpleAngel Contributor
    The Asus Xonar Essence STX with the Sennheiser HD558 would do a fine job.
  3. MkUItra
    The only thing really keeping me with just going with the 558's is the plastic construction and the fact that many people had the same cracking problem..
    has this issue been fixed? are they the best choice for me in that $150-$250 price point (cheaper is great, but would the DT880 be worth the extra $ for my needs?)
  4. LiquidMusic
    I haven't been here that long and the 558's are some of the most highly praised 'phones on here. Never heard anything about shoddy construction, hope this helps!
  5. PurpleAngel Contributor


    I believe the "cracking" issue is old news, I have not seen any cracking reported in months and months.
    And the plastic on the HD558 is fairly thick.
    My HD558s have had no problems.
  6. MkUItra
    Thanks for the input guys!
  7. Roller
    MkUltra, how far can you stretch your budget?
  8. MkUItra
    about $500 at the most. but I much prefer to keep it at around $350
  9. Roller
    Considering your budget, I think a setup with a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, an Objective2 (or a FiiO E9) and Beyerdynamic DT990 would be very close to ideal for your listening habits.
    Since you do plan on doing a fair share of gaming, that puts soundcards with a X-Fi DSP chip on the top of your list, cards such as Auzentech X-Fi Forte/Prelude and Creative X-Fi Titanium HD. Despite Battlefield 3 not using a proper audio renderer based on OpenAL or DirectSound3D, its audio can still be improved (such as better positional cues) when using the audio renderer agnostic algorithms present on the X-Fi DSP chip, something that all other manufacturers lack.
    Aside from its gaming capabilities, the Titanium HD has an overall signature that is easy to the ears, meaning none of the harsh sound that's present on the Asus Xonar Essence STX, although that's mainly due to the harsh headphone amp within.
    The Objective2 represents a great bang for your buck, being able to deliver clean power to a wide range of headphones. The FiiO E9 is also a valid alternative.
    I recommend the Beyerdynamic DT990 rather than the DT880 due to the former being a more fun set, which do benefit both gaming and movies. The DT990 also handle a wide range of genres without much compromise, contrary to what happens with genre specific headphones.
  10. MkUItra
    I really appreciate it roller! Thanks!!
    P.S - which DT990? there are more then a few models.. :)
  11. Roller
    If I can help, then I'm glad to :)
    Well, perhaps a valid option, considering the rest of the gear used, would be the DT990 250Ohm.
  12. PurpleAngel Contributor

    Get the DT990 Pro 250-Ohm, it's the cheapest.

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