Help on buying headphones + DAC/AMP/SoundCard setup for PC-gaming for less than $1000.
May 4, 2015 at 1:08 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 4

NinjaNymo

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Hi,
 
After I bought a pair of Beyer Dynamic Custom One Pro (for portable use), I've realized that pretty much every gaming headphone I've tried (Logitechs, Razers etc) are complete garbage when compared to anything with a hint of quality.
 
Hence, I am now looking for a decent setup for my computer which nowadays is more or less used only for gaming, but it should be mentioned that I almost always listen to music when I game, except in more competetive titles where listening closely to footsteps is really important, such as Counter Strike.
 
To start my quest for finding a new setup, I started researching, but I quickly found out that there is a lot of contradicting information floating out there. An example would be the discussion about whether you should get a sound card or not. I also found that there were very little information to be found about combining the world of audiphile with the world of gaming.
 
But enough about that, and let's get to my questions:
 
Sound cards. Should I get one or not? I do like good positional audio, which is really nice for games such as Counter Strike. However, some people claim that they are completely worthless, and getting a good DAC is a lot smarter. I now looking at a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD, an external sollution, which is nice as I don't have any availiable PCIE slots in my computer. Thoughts on this soundcard? Should I just get a DAC instead?
 
Headphones. Which ones would you recommend? I've heard open-backs usually have a wider sound stage, which should be nice for gaming.
 
Disclaimer:
I realize that a good DAC propably will sound better than a sound card made with gaming in mind. As long as it sounds reasonable compared to the alternatives I'll propably manage apprieciate it. Also (trying not to sound too arrogant here), I guess you guys get a lot of people that don't know too much about audio technology. However, I'm now 3 years into my masters degree in electrical engineering, which have thought me to appreciate well engineered digital to analog converters and high quality components, and I've learned a thing or two about how a lot of this stuff works.
 
Thank you, and I hope my first post to Head-Fi goes well!
 
May 4, 2015 at 1:47 AM Post #2 of 4

hoo7h

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What genres do you usually listen to? initially the best option I think is an O2+ODAC and your choice of headphones(For example DT700, DT990, Pro900). Visit a store and see what you like best. When you try them you will know what sound signature you want/comfort level/isolation etc.
 
1000$ for gaming is a great overkill though.
 
May 4, 2015 at 2:14 AM Post #3 of 4

NinjaNymo

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  What genres do you usually listen to? initially the best option I think is an O2+ODAC and your choice of headphones(For example DT700, DT990, Pro900). Visit a store and see what you like best. When you try them you will know what sound signature you want/comfort level/isolation etc.
 
1000$ for gaming is a great overkill though.

 
Mostly EDM, the really bassy kind (Glitch hop, old school dubstep etc). As I said, I got the Beyerdynamic Custom One Pro, and it's sound signature is perfect for my type of music.
 
The O2+ODAC looks sweet, and I guess you can't go wrong with Head-Fi's #1 rated desktop amp. It has a neat history as well.
 
I guess $1000 might be overkill. However, it's my maximum budget and I wouldn't mind spending less than that.
 
Thanks for the answer btw!
 
May 4, 2015 at 3:59 AM Post #4 of 4

PurpleAngel

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Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z sound card (OEM is fine, $65?).
Some games may come with their own built in surround sound processing, so with the SB-Z you can try each game with the SB-Z headphone surround sound enabled and headphone surround sound disable, see which works better.
 
Audio-GD NFB-15 external DAC/amp, $270 + shipping ($45?).
Dual WM8741 DAC chips :)
USB, optical, coaxial inputs :)
http://www.audio-gd.com/Pro/Headphoneamp/NFB1532/NFB15.32EN.htm
 
Plug the NFB-15 into the sound card's optical port, this way you have the option of headphone gaming with Creative SBX Headphone surround sound.
You would have the option of bypassing the sound cards features, using windows settings in the Playback tab.
 

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