Gaming/ Music/ Movie all-around solution from scratch?
Jan 7, 2013 at 2:10 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 10

gnomad33

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I've been trying to find the answer in the forums, but there is just so much info and my time is limited. I will gladly welcome simple pointers to other threads. Sorry if this is an overly redundant topic, I'm still a noob in audiophilia. 
 
I use a Desktop PC for gaming, a laptop PC for movies and music, and iPod for music.
Play some FPS.
I listen mostly to Indie Rock, Jazz, and Classical, occasionally Indie Country, Hip Hop and Electronica (inc. Dubstep).
Watch movies in bed on the laptop.
Small apartment with thin walls. Good speakers are not an option.
 
From Mad Lust's Gaming Audio Guide and other reviews here, I've decided on the 
Beyerdynamic DT 990s Pro ... 250 Ohm?
 
I've seen some reviews that say their computers are driving the 250s just fine. Is this accurate? I question this because *sometimes I'll be watching a movie on my laptop with my Yamaha EP-100 earbuds and wish for more volume.
 
I've got a bit of extra money, so I was wondering what to do with it.
 
I'm confused about Surround sound.
Do I need it on my Desktop to get the best positioning when playing FPSs?
I figure I need it on my laptop to get the most out of movies, yes?
So is the Creative Soundblaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro USB a viable option to share between the systems?
Will I get any volume boost?

If that is a good solution, does it work with portable amps that I could use on the laptop and iPod with either my Yamaha earbuds or the Beyerdynamics?

I kind of like the options on the Fiio E7, in that it has two outputs to share with someone, and also has the DAC. I currently have no use for the DAC, but recently learned about the Compression problems with digital music and now also want to buy a turntable and start a vinyl collection. Would the E7 help me out there without having to purchase another amp to use with a future turntable?
 
I appreciate any and all inputs.
 
Cheers!
Kevin
 
Jan 7, 2013 at 4:07 PM Post #3 of 10

loki993

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You always need a DAC. Its what converts the digital music/sound that's coming from your computer to analog music/sound so you can hear it in your headphones. 
 
Are you using onboard audio on the desktop? Im assuming you are on the laptop, there isnt really much choice with that. 
 
 
Now the soundcards on the desktop and laptop have their own DACs so you could use them and just use an amp, but generally the external ones are better quality when geared towards the audiophile. Thats a totally general statement though as I have no idea what motherboard your using or if you have a soundcard in the desktop. If you do have a sound card in the desktop you could be ok with that. 
 
there are people that Im sure will come in that know far more about it then I do but thats the basic gist......
 
Jan 7, 2013 at 4:29 PM Post #4 of 10

gnomad33

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No soundcard on the desktop. I was planning on the Titanium until I realized I don't have another PCI-e slot on my motherboard.
(MSI 785GTM-E45)
 
from msi website:
• Chipset integrated by Realtek® High-End Audio chipset
- True Blu-ray Audio Support
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
 
Jan 11, 2013 at 1:54 AM Post #5 of 10

gnomad33

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I'm still very confused.
 
Let's say that I buy the Fiio E17 to go along with the DT-990s.
From what I can gather, I will be fairly satisfied with music on the desktop, the laptop and the iPod, and if I were inclined, could even plug a turntable into it.

So how do I get the full effect of Dolby?
For movies on the laptop, which has no Dolby signal processing, I'll need something like the Soundblaster X-Fi Surround 5.1, right? 
But what happens when I pass the signal through the E17?

And is it a similar situation for gaming on the desktop?

Can someone point me to a good intro guide to how this works?
 
Jan 11, 2013 at 1:38 PM Post #6 of 10

NamelessPFG

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For movies, you can just pay up for PowerDVD or WinDVD and get Dolby Headphone that way. Won't help you at all with games, though.
 
Do you at least have a PCI slot free in your desktop? There are plenty of proper X-Fi cards with the PCI interface that are pretty cheap these days, and if the stock analog output quality isn't enough for you, you can use S/PDIF output to a DAC and keep all the gaming audio benefits.
 
That just leaves your laptop, for which you need a USB audio device with some gaming audio support if you're going to be gaming on it. Note that USB "X-Fi" devices don't have the EMU20k1/20k2 of true X-Fi cards, so they won't be as ideally suited to older games as internal X-Fi cards packing the DSP.
 
In light of that, the X-Fi Surround 5.1 may still be a decent option, provided it's the older version that has CMSS-3D Headphone instead of THX TruStudio Surround (which I just don't like as much). Alternatively, there's the Xonar U3.
 
Also, here's a nice PC gaming audio guide to read. Let me know if there's anything that you're still confused with, and I'll try to explain it better.
 
Jan 12, 2013 at 3:36 PM Post #7 of 10

gnomad33

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Thanks for replying NamlessPFG, I know you end up repeating yourself constantly.
I appreciate all of your efforts.

Since I don't game on the laptop, and am only looking to enhance movies and music, it looks like I'll be good with the Fiio E17 and the DT990s once I add WinDVD.
They have a free trial which I'll test once my new equipment comes in.
 
But it doesn't look like I'm off the hook to get the most out of the games on the desktop.
The integrated chipset specs say:
• Chipset integrated by Realtek® High-End Audio chipset
- True Blu-ray Audio Support
- Flexible 8-channel audio with jack sensing
- Compliant with Azalia 1.0 Spec
 
From your guide, it doesn't seem like that is going to do anything for gaming.
I have no PCI-e slots, but I do have a PCI slot available.
 
For final clarity, adding a new card, even if it is just the Creative Labs Audigy, (EAX) is needed to get enhanced positioning in FPSs, right?.

Proposed Total Solution:
Fiio E17
Beyerdynamic DT-990s
WinDVD for laptop movies
Audigy for desktop gaming
and AntLion ModMic

Set for Entry-level Computer Audiophila?
 
Much Gratitude
 
Jan 12, 2013 at 7:38 PM Post #8 of 10

NamelessPFG

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For desktop cards, there's really no point in buying anything pre-X-Fi for general gaming. Just find yourself a PCI X-Fi card with a heatsink on it (this indicates which cards have the EMU20k1 in most cases), install Daniel_K's X-Fi Support Pack, and you should be good to go. eBay's got plenty of 'em floating around for $40 or less.
 
The most important reason is that it wasn't 'til the X-Fi line that they implemented CMSS-3D Headphone based on all that Aureal and Sensaura tech they acquired. That will deliver the headphone surround you seek. EAX is more for reverb/chorus/occlusion effects in older games.
 
Other than that, everything else seems all right. Never heard a DT990/E17 combo myself, but by most accounts, it's a competent headphone setup.
 
Jan 13, 2013 at 8:50 AM Post #9 of 10

Sraitsa

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Just a word in EAX5, it is great but you only get the benefit from games that actually support EAX5 which is rather small. Also the chance of new games coming out with it are slim to none since Windows 7.
Not saying it is a bad card for gaming sound, just do not get it solely based off EAX5.
 
I personally did not like the E17->DT990 combo myself. I found that the E17 further increased the DT990's sound signature. That is bringing you a headphone with crazy amounts of bass and treble. Some people would actually like this, but I have found that natural bass to be more enjoyable.
 
Jan 13, 2013 at 10:51 AM Post #10 of 10

gnomad33

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NamelessPFG, Thanks again, for steering me away from an uneducated decision. :wink:

Straitsa, what have you found that works for you in that price range? (I'm already over budget.)
 
I'm choosing the E17 primarily for its versatility on input options, and the DT990s based on Mad Lust Envy's computer gaming guide coupled with other reviews.
 
re: sound signatures. I miss bass when it's not represented well. I'm less annoyed when it is dominant. I'm not the type of person that would say there's never too much bass, but I figured with the tone controls on the E17, I could adjust if needed.
 
I'm new to audiophile equipment. my Yamaha EP-100s are the highest quality products I've heard, so I cannot make a fair estimate of my preferences on gear that actually makes a difference. but when I use equalizers, I almost invariably end up with some type of a "V" pattern, so it seemed like the reviews I was reading on the E17 and DT990s indicated I was looking at the right products for me. But I welcome more insight. 
 

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