need help with headphones/soundcard/amp build
Oct 29, 2008 at 9:37 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

ggNoRe

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Hi to all.
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I am by no means an audiophile in fact I never even have heard of the word til' today. However, I have decided that it's time for my 30$ plantronics headset to hit the road and thus have spent the past 6-7 hours doing research on which headset/build I should purchase. First a little background, my #1 concern is gaming, specifically cs1.6 and a mmorpg I play which means good directional sq as well as comforbality to wear for long periods. My system is a Vista32Home, 4gigs memory, AMD64X X2 Dual Core, KA3MVP motherboard, 550 or 600watt PSU(iirc), and all I get when looking at my audio device in device manager is High Def. Audio Device which has Realtek 8-channel audio Codec/Compliant with High Def. Audio Codec. My last headphones where really uncomfortable mainly due to he fact that I wear glasses so they hurt me wear the glasses go behind my ears as well as pressing them down on my nose which I'm trying to avoid from reoccuring.


I have came down to 2 prospects as far as a headset goes Amazon.com: Beyerdynamic MMX 2 PC Gaming Multimedia Digital Headset with Microphone: Video Games and Amazon.com: Audio Technica ATH-AD700 Open-air Dynamic Headphones: Electronics. From what I've read the ad-700 is probably the better headphones overall however I really like having a headset which makes it easier for me to talk w/o disturbing my parents. This is what most of the 6-7 hours compromised of and I'm still undecided on which..
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I wasn't planning on buying a soundcard but after my research I'm now considering buying a $50-$100 one and this is the one I stumbled upon Amazon.com: Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic Card: Electronics ($250 new but can get for $60
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). I'm a complete n00b to these things so any advice on 1. Do I really need a soundcard? 2. Is this a good one for my criteria? 3. Will I have any compatibility issues or problems installing it?.. would be appreciated.


Lastly, I have seen that people are also using amplifiers for their headphones. From what I've read this is probably unnesseccary for the grade of headphones I'm looking to purchase but if I'm wrong please inform me and maybe point me to a cheap amp that would significantly increase SQ. Thanks for your time and congrats for making it through my horridly long post.
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Oct 29, 2008 at 9:57 AM Post #3 of 15

ggNoRe

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Such a quick reply
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. I initialy only planned to spend about $100 and only get a headset but depending on views of how needed a soundcard and amp is I'm willing to spend up to $250 maybe. DOn't want to buy a $100 headphones only to have it limited to what a $30-$50 headphones can do due to my onboard sound.
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Oct 29, 2008 at 10:02 AM Post #4 of 15

Maxvla

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If you are willing to go to $250, Sennheiser PC350 ($250 MSRP) might be a good option. Circumaural (around your ear) makes for the most comfortable and most natural way to listen to sound. Sennheiser is no slouch in quality, and at this price I'd expect very high performance. They also make professional quality microphones so I would guess the noise canceling mic is quality also.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:08 AM Post #5 of 15

ggNoRe

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Thanks for the reply and I have considered those quite a bit but decided I rather not 1. because the extra $50 and 2. because the design looks a litlle bulky to me. I'm down to the two pairs I listed pretty much exclusively. haha This has gone from "hm.. I think I should go online and buy some $50-$100 headphones real quick" to 5:12 A.M. considering buying headphones as well as maybe a soundcard and amp.. damn these forums.
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j/k though I'm much more confident that I will be satisfied for years to come due to the great info here.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:15 AM Post #6 of 15

Maxvla

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They may appear bulky, but the comfort is very much worth it. I use the same size but standard headphones (no mic) and I just finished a 7 hour listening session only taking them off for bathroom breaks and I never even felt them on me. I also wear glasses and this style of headphone doesn't cause any discomfort.

Found the PC350 at Amazon for $157 Amazon.com: Sennheiser PC 350 Gaming Headset: Electronics

On another note, the ATH-AD700s you linked are open headphones, meaning no isolation from fan/hard drive noise or people talking (a big issue if you go to noisy lans).

regarding your edit: You probably don't NEED an amp, as any gaming headphone is designed around not having one. That said it might improve performance, but less so than for higher end audiophile headphones (typically harder to drive).
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:21 AM Post #7 of 15

1Time

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Quote:

Originally Posted by ggNoRe /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Such a quick reply
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. I initialy only planned to spend about $100 and only get a headset but depending on views of how needed a soundcard and amp is I'm willing to spend up to $250 maybe. DOn't want to buy a $100 headphones only to have it limited to what a $30-$50 headphones can do due to my onboard sound.
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FWIR, I suggest considering the JVC HP-M1000, a Zalman ZM-MIC1 mic, and what ever ever X-Fi card you think is best for gaming. No amp needed.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:24 AM Post #8 of 15

chinesekiwi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Maxvla /img/forum/go_quote.gif
If you are willing to go to $250, Sennheiser PC350 ($250 MSRP) might be a good option. Circumaural (around your ear) makes for the most comfortable and most natural way to listen to sound. Sennheiser is no slouch in quality, and at this price I'd expect very high performance. They also make professional quality microphones so I would guess the noise canceling mic is quality also.


You'd expect it, but it doesn't deliver at all.

Just read Marcus' review of them at headphones.com.au.
He's known for his downright honest opinion.

Headphonic: Review | Headphonic: Australian Headphone Specialists: Buy Etymotic, Alessandro, Audio Technica, Ultimate Ears, Talisman, Meier Audio and more

Don't get the PC350!!

Much better getting a headphone and a clip-on mic.
The AD700 is the best bang-for-buck headphone for both music and gaming full stop really.
 
Oct 29, 2008 at 10:26 AM Post #9 of 15

Maxvla

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Oct 29, 2008 at 10:31 AM Post #10 of 15

ggNoRe

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The HD555 or 515 were tied for my 3rd choice and the PC350's were my fourth. Decided to stick with $100> for a headset since I figured if I don't limit myself it will get out of hand. If I go with the AD-700 I plan to buy the zalman mic for it. Figured I wouldn't need an amp from what I've read so far but thanks for reassuring me on that. In a nutshell just looking on pro's and con's for the two headsets listed and details on whether the sound card I picked is a good choice and compatibl with my comp.

edit: just saw your post chinesekiwi, your numerous other praises of the AD-700 as long as others are the main reason the AD-700 is one of my two picks. Also, I chose open since fwir open is better for directional help which is crutial in FPS'. Guess I'll try and sleep on it now. Thank you all so much for your help it's really appreciated, I will probably be making my purchase/s tomorrow.
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Oct 30, 2008 at 1:56 AM Post #12 of 15

ggNoRe

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I went ahead and purchased the MMX2's today. I'm holding off on buying a new sound card since it comes with a USB and I'm clueless about soundcards really. If anyone who reads this thinks that buying one will significantly increase the sound I will get out of my new headset please let me know.
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After reading some bad reviews of the soundcard I previously posted problems with compatibility issues with Vistaand several motherboards I think I'm definitely gunna stay away from it.
 
Oct 30, 2008 at 6:57 AM Post #13 of 15

tintin47

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For the type of phones you are referencing you certainly don't need an amp but it would probably boost both of them a little. I would buy the phones and decide on a small amp at a later time, perhaps a fiio ($10) or a cmoy mint-tin amp (25-50). The soundcard is a personal preference, too. I would say that if you can get an x-fi for $60, go for it! No opinion on the phones. Hope that helps.

***Just read your last post. The soundcard boosts SQ a little but you probably won't notice it too much. If you're worried about the specific soundcard, you can look into Digital to Analog Converters (dac), which are basically outboard usb soundcards that bypass the one in your computer. I don't know how well they do with games, though.
 
Oct 31, 2008 at 3:18 PM Post #15 of 15

chinesekiwi

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Quote:

Originally Posted by tintin47 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
For the type of phones you are referencing you certainly don't need an amp but it would probably boost both of them a little. I would buy the phones and decide on a small amp at a later time, perhaps a fiio ($10) or a cmoy mint-tin amp (25-50). The soundcard is a personal preference, too. I would say that if you can get an x-fi for $60, go for it! No opinion on the phones. Hope that helps.

***Just read your last post. The soundcard boosts SQ a little but you probably won't notice it too much. If you're worried about the specific soundcard, you can look into Digital to Analog Converters (dac), which are basically outboard usb soundcards that bypass the one in your computer. I don't know how well they do with games, though.



Depends on the quality of the soundcard DAC. The lower end X-fi ones are rubbish while the X-fi Prelude's one is not the best of the best but definitely up there. The opamp on a sound device changes the sound more than anything else.
 

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