Gaming headphones and sound card $400.
Feb 25, 2013 at 9:16 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 3

Bam785

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Hello I am looking for a headphone and sound card combo for around $400 to 450. I have never brought any high end audio hardware before and need your help. I will use this mostly for gaming. games I will be playing are WoW, BF3, Skyrim, and Assassins Creed. I hardly listen to music but when I do it is mostly rock. My usage is  95% games 5% Rock music.
    I'm pretty set on getting the Beyerdynamic DT 880 pro 250ohm or the DT 990 pro 250ohm depending on which is better for gaming. The sound card i was thinking about getting is the ASUS Xonar STX. I am looking for a very accurate sound positioning  and would like to get immersed into the game.
 I have  some questions. Will the built in amp in the STX be enough to power these headphones? If not what amp do I get.  What is Dolby surround sound do I need it? and do these headphones support it. Also I am not to experienced  with having a coiled cable is it a annoyance? dt 880 or dt 990?
  If you have a better suggestion for headphones and a sound card let me know for I am still a noob. 
 
Feb 25, 2013 at 11:15 PM Post #2 of 3

Kodhifi

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Quote:
Hello I am looking for a headphone and sound card combo for around $400 to 450. I have never brought any high end audio hardware before and need your help. I will use this mostly for gaming. games I will be playing are WoW, BF3, Skyrim, and Assassins Creed. I hardly listen to music but when I do it is mostly rock. My usage is  95% games 5% Rock music.
    I'm pretty set on getting the Beyerdynamic DT 880 pro 250ohm or the DT 990 pro 250ohm depending on which is better for gaming. The sound card i was thinking about getting is the ASUS Xonar STX. I am looking for a very accurate sound positioning  and would like to get immersed into the game.
 I have  some questions. Will the built in amp in the STX be enough to power these headphones? If not what amp do I get.  What is Dolby surround sound do I need it? and do these headphones support it. Also I am not to experienced  with having a coiled cable is it a annoyance? dt 880 or dt 990?
  If you have a better suggestion for headphones and a sound card let me know for I am still a noob. 


Cable type: I prefer straight cables, they are easier for me to work with and more comfortable. I have 880's with a straight cable, and 990's and V6 with a coiled. The reason studio headphones use coiled cables is because of the way they are used, usually on a musicians head while they play into a multitrack etc. Since musicans tend to move around a bit, and they are concentrating on their instrument instead of their head, they sometimes get the cord tangled or hung, take a step and either A break the headphone cable, or B pull an incredibly expensive component to it's death if it's not racked. The coiled cables help by giving before being stretched to their limit.
 
I would say sink your money into the best headphone you can afford. The amp has less of a play in quality because the weakest link in any system is the headphone or speaker.
 
That said, I can't tell you what to buy, my preferences may not be your preferences. I'm a big time pc gamer and I use DT990's at the moment and formerly DT880's. The 990's are well suited to games because of their robust bass and fun, musical, presentation.
 
I've used them with and without dedicated headphone amplifiers and with a variety of sources.
 
For your purposes it really comes down to 2 choices. Soundblaster Z, or Asus Xonar. Both have dedicated headphone amps and are highly regarded in the audiophile community for their ability to cleanly drive a headphone. I have not used either though.
 
I have used
 
Soundblaster X-Fi
   A good clean source.
  Can drive 250ohm headphones loud enough on louder material
  Not quite loud enough for some bluray movies or classical music, poor source material etc
  Has excellent audio processing built into the driver like graphic EQ, sound field imagine that make headphones sound like speakers with an improved soundstage, and a dedicated decompressor for dynamic range (crystal audio) that adds some dynamics back into overly processed CD music.
   Works well with games and has driver support up to windows 8
  Downside is no dedicated lineout for use with a headphone amplifier
 
Audioengine D1 USB DAC
  VERY clean source, audiophile quality DAC
  Not made for gaming but works great with every game I've thrown at it
  Has a headphone amp good enough for most headphones built in
  Doesn't have any driver options, no EQ, no audio processing like recreating a stereo soundstage on headphones like the xfi does
 
 
 
The Soundblaster Z takes the best features of the Xfi and improves upon them mostly with a dedicated headphone amp that can drive 600ohm cans they claim. I have not tried them myself.
 
I use a FiiO E9 desktop amp because I like having headroom on demand. It plays decently nice with the X-fi but it's not ideal going speaker out (as opposed to real line out) to headphone in.
 
 
The Xonar from Asus is inexpensive and gets good reviews for it's headphone amp and audio quality.
 
 
 
DT880 $200 to $400 depending on model
DT990 $200 to $400 depending on model
Audioengine D1 $170
Xfi $60
Asus Xonar $20-$400
Soundblaster Z $100 - $150
FiiO E9 $80-$140
 
 
Given your budget I think you would be fine with something like a 990 pro $200 and any of the Asus or Soundblaster cards. You might even have enough left over for a dedicated E9 amp if you want more volume.
 
Feb 25, 2013 at 11:34 PM Post #3 of 3

formula1

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Ask the gamers 
http://www.head-fi.org/f/7775/video-games-discussion
 

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