Help choosing headphones for computer. MDRHW700DS/Fidelio x2/PC 363
May 5, 2015 at 6:20 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 13

JamesK852

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I've just finish building my computer and need some headphones to go with it. It will be used for mostly music and games with the occasional movie I initially decided on the Fidelio x2 based on the reviews here but I can't figure out how to create a virtual surround through the soundcard on my motherboard (Realtek ACL1150) since it didn't come with a digital processor like the Astro/turtle beach/Sennheiser PC 363D I'm not entirely sure how to achieve this. Is there a software based solution? Which headphones are most suitable? The reviews of the Sony make me a little apprehensive but surround sound is fairly high on my list but worried I'll be disappointed for the price.

Any help/advice would be appreciated...thanks I'm advance

James
 
May 5, 2015 at 1:48 PM Post #2 of 13

cel4145

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Razer Surround is a free to use program for that.

For not too much money, you could get a Xonar DG or DGX which has Dolby Headphone
 
May 5, 2015 at 5:00 PM Post #3 of 13

Chancho2

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The ALC1150 can do virtual surround. Open up the realtek audio manager program. In the speaker configuration tab choose stereo then near the bottom check the headphone virtualization box. I don't use it so I don't know how well it works, I just know that it's there.

RAZR has some software that probably works beter, I think it's somewhere around $20.

Generally open cans will give you the best positional awareness as they have a wider soundstage. Some games are setup for headphones so you don't need virtualization as it's built into the game. I don't play a ton of fps games but when I play borderlands 2 I can tell where the sound is coming from great without virtualization.
 
May 5, 2015 at 8:32 PM Post #7 of 13

cel4145

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You might get the X2s first, try them with your motherboard audio and the free Razer Surround and see what you think first.
 
May 6, 2015 at 9:22 PM Post #8 of 13

Chancho2

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You might get the X2s first, try them with your motherboard audio and the free Razer Surround and see what you think first.

 
+1
 
The ALC1150 really is quite good. I couldn't tell any difference between the Sound Blaster Z and the ALC1150 with $300 headphones. The Z is louder and has better hardware based virtualization and it does come with a cool little mic that works pretty well. When I sold my comp and built a new one I didn't feel any need to get a soundcard.
 
The X2s are nice, I don't think you'll regret them. Other suggestions might be the Shure SRH1440 or the NAD HP50. Maybe order 2 of them to try out and send 1 back?
 
May 6, 2015 at 9:46 PM Post #9 of 13

PurpleAngel

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I was thinking something along the lines of a sound blaster but worried it would be over kill for headphones. Would this be a reasonable alternative?

 
The SB-Z does come with a better DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chip, then the Xonar DG/DGX.
How much are you budgeting for the whole headphone/sound card audio setup?
 
May 8, 2015 at 10:35 PM Post #10 of 13

JamesK852

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Thanks for all the great replies and assitance guys. The most ideal situation would be to use the ACL1150 which came with my ASROCK m99x the only problem I see is that there does not seem to be any support for Dolby or DTS headphone support. From the Realtek HD Audio Manager App the only option I am given for headphones is Enable "Virtual Surround" which doesn't seem very convincing to me it will be any good. Since I do enjoy the good sound from movies I was considering the Sony's but seems pricey for what they are and worried I will loose out for music because of that I was leaning to the Fidelio's but I come back to the VSS problem. As for budget Purple Angel I haven't really thought about it basically if I think the device is worth it I would probably buy it but I would probably put a cap of around $700? But as I said if they are tested, proven with a good reputation and expected to last me a good long while I can justify the extra splurging.
 
Thanks again for all the help guys
 
James
 
May 9, 2015 at 12:00 AM Post #11 of 13

PurpleAngel

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  Thanks for all the great replies and assistance guys. The most ideal situation would be to use the ACL1150 which came with my ASROCK m99x the only problem I see is that there does not seem to be any support for Dolby or DTS headphone support. From the Realtek HD Audio Manager App the only option I am given for headphones is Enable "Virtual Surround" which doesn't seem very convincing to me it will be any good. Since I do enjoy the good sound from movies I was considering the Sony's but seems pricey for what they are and worried I will loose out for music because of that I was leaning to the Fidelio's but I come back to the VSS problem. As for budget Purple Angel I haven't really thought about it basically if I think the device is worth it I would probably buy it but I would probably put a cap of around $700? But as I said if they are tested, proven with a good reputation and expected to last me a good long while I can justify the extra splurging.

 
So your motherboard is the Asrock M99X Killer/3.1?
http://www.asrock.com/mb/Intel/Fatal1ty%20X99M%20Killer3.1/index.us.asp
Looks like fairly good on-board audio, assuming it's has a half-way decent built in headphone amplifier.
 
For Blu-ray (and some DVD) movies I use Cyberlink PowerDVD 11 Ultra
For all other video I use K-Lite Media Player Classic (VLC is good too).
 
You can buy software packages ($29.99) from Creative Labs, that will work with the ALC1150.
Sound Blaster X-Fi MB3 (Not sure how good is works)
http://software.store.creative.com/p/software/sound-blaster-x-fi-mb3
 
Guess for now get whatever headphones you want (Fidelio X2) and plug them straight into the motherboard.
 
Down the line you can always add a Sound Blaster Z and/or an external DAC/amp (plugged into the sound card's optical port)
 
For your motherboard it look like there is a BIOS update only about a month old and the latest versions of the drivers/software are dated April 2nd 2015.
 
May 9, 2015 at 11:07 AM Post #12 of 13

Chancho2

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The virtual surround mode on the 1150 doesn't do much but the sound is still nice and clear which is what I like. I've got a USB sound card from creative that uses their SBX software and although it does a better with the positional the quality of it the sound is degraded quite a bit.
 
I agree that the Sony's would be pretty sweet for movies and games but probably not the best for music. The Asus Xonar DX, the SoundBlaster Z, or a used A/V receiver with Dolby headphone or Yamaha's silent cinema and are probably your best bang for the buck. 
 
May 9, 2015 at 12:05 PM Post #13 of 13

cel4145

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The Xonar DX does not have a headphone amp. Not a good choice for using with headphones unless one buys a separate headphone amp to go with it.
 

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