Hello, I'm new to Head-fi (just started browsing yesterday), and I am looking to upgrade the audio setup on my computer. I use it primarily for gaming (not extremely competitive) but movies and TV shows are also something to consider. I really don't listen to music at all.
I'm currently using onboard sound + JVC Marshmallows, so anything will be an upgrade. For the headphones, I'd like something that is comfortable to wear for long periods of time, has good positional audio for games, and also provides good overall quality sound that will immerse me in the game/movie. As for the soundcard, I'm not really sure what I should be looking for, so pretty much any recommendations are welcome.
Overall, I'm looking to spend $100-$150. I should also note that I am in Canada, so headphone prices are quite a bit higher. From doing some research yesterday, I came up with some possible headphones. At the lower end of my budget, there are the JVC HA-RX700s for $57 and Superlux HD668Bs for $60. At the top end of my budget are the Audio Technica ATH-AD700s for at least $130 if shipped from US, or $150 from Canada. I'm curious though, are the AD700s still worth it at that price? Any other suggestions for headphones are welcome.
As I said before, I'm open to most suggestions for a soundcard, but would a Asus Xonar DG be sufficient for my needs?
I think I've covered just about everything, but feel free to ask questions if it would help you give better advice.
With that sort of budget, the Xonar DG would leave a lot of room for the headphones themselves, though a true X-Fi card would add more gaming features (if mostly centric to older games). Given newer game trends, though (software-processed audio pre-mixed to surround speaker positions), I'd suggest to stick to the Xonar DG as your source so you have plenty of flexibility when it comes to headphone choice, at least as much as your budget allows.
I own the AD700s and can definitely vouch for their synergy with HRTF filters like Dolby Headphone and CMSS-3D Headphone; imaging is practically pinpoint. Just don't expect much bass without significant EQ. Even when I do EQ it to basshead settings, something sounds...wrong about the bass, as if EQing it to have more thump takes away significantly from the other frequencies, especially midbass. Can't say exactly how it sounds wrong without other noteworthy headphones to compare it to, though.
I can't vouch for any other noteworthy headphones, though. Might pick up a certain Superlux/Samson offering at a sub-US$40 price since it's also said to work well with HRTF filters for gaming and offers a lot more in the bass department than the AD700s...if I wasn't trying to save up for the expensive $300+ stuff, that is.
I would say go for the Asus Xonar DG, it's appears to be the best sound card at that price range and will support headphones up to 150 Ohms.
if you are using Windows XP and playing older games, a (used) Creative labs Titanium (non-HD) might be better.
There is a $10 mail in rebate (depends where you buy it) this month for the Xonar DG, not sure if rebate valid for Canadians.
Headphone wise get the Superlux HD-668B, seems to offer the best bang for the buck.
You might be able to get the JVC HA-RX700 for $10-$15 cheaper then the HD-668B.
Check out eBay and U.S. on-line retailers, might save a few dollars.