New to high end sound. Need advice.
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Razyn

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Like the title says I am new to higher end solutions for audio. I've always loved great quality sound especially in music and gaming which is my focus in this thread. I did try to look around to see if this question has been answered somewhere else but I just couldn't so forgive me if this has been answered somewhere else. 
 
So basically right now I am using Razer Megalodon 7.1  headset which has served me well for a long time, but im sure there are better solutions that can provide a much better experience as I'vve noticed that the sound seems a bit off at times. 
 
Right now money isn't a big issue but I would like to keep it under $500 if possible. 
 
The question: What is the best combination of headphones and sound card for music and gaming with an emphasis on gaming?
 
I've been looking around and researching/reading various reviews and articles and so far I'm leaning towards the following:
 
Sound card: Asus Xonar Essence STX
Headset : Astro A40
 
 
That seems like a good choice to me, but ive also been looking at Sennheiser PC350 which seem to have good reviews. 
 
I welcome any advice or recommendations on combos or what I should be looking for. Again I am new to the scene so if theres any extra cables I would need or hardware please let me know to use the previously mention hardware or any that you may recommend. 
 
Thanks alot for the help and looking forward to lots of ideas.
 
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ninjames

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Avoid the Astro like the plague if music is even a little important to you. Most headphones are serviceable for gaming, while most headsets are awful for just music listening. Have not heard those Sennheisers but I'm sure someone else can steer you in the right direction.
 
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Lovla

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Inb4 get headphones and a cheap desktop mic
 
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MalVeauX

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Heya,
 
You don't need to spend $500 for sure.
 
I would suggest the following:
 
Sony MA900 (warm, balanced, huge sound stage)
Antlion ModMic (unless you use the mic with the Z card below)
SoundBlaster Z
 
Other headphones to consider:
 
Open:
 
Beyer DT880 (warm, balanced, neutral)
Beyer DT990 (bassy, bright)
Hifiman HE-400 (warm, balanced, neutral)
AKG Q701 (warm, neutral)
 
Closed:
 
Beyer DT770 (warmer, a little bright)
AKG K167 (warm, neutral, balanced)
Ultrasone PRO 750 (warm balanced)
Brainwavz HM5 (warm neutral balanced)
AudioTechnica A900X (bassy, warm)
 
Very best,
 
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chewy4

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Look into antlion microphones if you need a headset. They're microphones that you can attach to the side of any pair of headphones. As it's been said time and time again on here, headphones>headsets.
 
Also remember if you are getting a soundcard with Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D, you no longer need a headset with 7.1 processing. The soundcard does that for you.
 
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Razyn

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Thanks alot for the quick response guys I think I'm going to go with the ultrasone pro 750 and the cost stx card then get that attachable mic. Only question is is that a good combination and investment?
 
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