What should i upgrade for better audio/microphone quality?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by Avean, Jan 3, 2018.
  1. Avean
    Currently im running a Asus Essence STX soundcard with headphone amp. Using a Sennheiser HD650 with it. When i tried out a more quality microphone like Audio Technica AT2005 through XLR to 6.3mm to the soundcard there was alot of noise, while my USB microphone (Blue Snowball) which is cheap sounds crystal clear.

    For gaming, movies and in general....should i swap out my internal soundcard for an external one or keep it and get something like Line6 UX2 POD as well? So i can use that for my microphone through XLR and still use my internal card for virtual surround emulation in games. I dunno.... i feel there is no need for an upgrade, i think it handles my HD650 headset just fine, the only problem is connecting microphones to it as there is alot of noise.
  2. selvakumar
    go for Burson Audio Play its Excellent in every way
    The ASUS Essence STX II is a good quality sound card, kind of surprised that you are experiencing some issues with it.

    As the Audio Technica AT2005 is a USB/XLR mic you can try running it through USB rather than XLR and see if that sounds better.

    Using USB vs XLR connections for desktop mics is usually not a main consideration. While condenser and dynamic XLR mics are almost a given in pro setups that are constantly being moved about and need solid balanced connections for extended cable runs, gaming use is much less demanding since you are keeping your mic stationary and you only have a few feet of cabling. Also, sometimes more is less as pro mics generally have extended frequency ranges and sensitivity that will pick up room AC, computer fans, mouse movements, keyboarding and all other kinds of ambient noise that you don't want.

    While I think the STX is certainly a good card, I have become a big fan of external USB Audio/Midi interfaces after using lots of internal sound cards. Much less possibility of other PC components affecting the sound, they seem to last longer in constant use and the convenience of a compact desktop interface with immediate access to lots of inputs and outputs certainly makes my life easier.

    External interfaces that have 5.1 or 7.1 outputs, however, are relatively expensive and are mostly used by producers for video and movie soundtracks. You can price them out yourself, looking for interfaces with at least 6 independent outputs that you can use simultaneously.

    The easier and relatively inexpensive approach to 5.1 monitoring and all of the Dolby encode/decode options out there is to run the signal from a relatively simple audio interface into a Dolby/DTS/HDMI enabled A/V receiver that will then do the decoding and then amp and output to your 5.1 speakers. Here I would look for sound balancing capabilities like Audyssey room correction as well.

    Haven't used it myself, but I would probably not go for the Line 6 UX2 POD as it is primarily an instrument interface for guitar players that want to emulate lots of amps and cabs. This particular interface has very mixed reviews with latency and software issues noted as well.

    For what it is worth, I personally use a now discontinued Edirol M-16 DX (16 channels with built in room acoustics correction) as my primary interface and a Behringer U-Phoria UMC404HD USB interface as a backup and for travel.

    The Behringer is a true bargain that costs just US$90 and it can handle a wide range of mics and instruments as well as MIDI if you are musically inclined. Very clean sound both with headphone monitoring as well as mains.
    Avean likes this.
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor
    Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio, in the BIOS, when you installed the Essence STX card?
    Have you tried using Unified Xonar Drivers?
    Maybe look into upgrading the op-amps (operational amplifiers) on the STX?
    Or maybe getting a tube head amp (Darkvoice 336SE OTL tube headphone amplifier) and connect it to the STX's line-output (RCA) jacks?

    For the mic, use whatever USB mic seems the best to you.

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