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Old August 3, 2012, 08:18 PM
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Default First Sound Card and Proper Headset, would like High end good value, please advise :)

Hi all,

Okay so I've decided to take the plunge and treat myself to my very first sound card and headset experience. I've got a very nice rig, with the AS Rock Extreme7Gen3 MOBO and two gtx 580's with an i7 2700k cpu and ax 1200 psu. What I would like to add to my system........ is a sound card! I nearly bought the Creative Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD card earlier today at the bestbuy in town, but soon discovered a far superior Computer store in town called Canada Computers that had this card on clearance for $99.99. They had a very exciting inventory of sound cards and headsets, so I decided to come home and do some research tonight before making my big purchase. I would like to get both a sound card and a headset!

Is this soundcard a steal, or are there better options?

The primary usage will be for gaming and music, but also for watching videos, and ultimately, I may incorporate into future plans of getting a full blown audio system (my speakers now are dismal, but one step at a time, yes?)

Headset wise, I would like a great gaming headset, AND a headset that is great for hiphop music with nice bass. To have one headset to cover both those grounds is probably asking too much,.. I spent hours researching music headsets/gaming headsets already today.

If you guys could offer suggestions or a short list of decent sound cards and headsets, I would be very excited to hear what you experienced ppls recommendation.

My original plan was to get the Sound Blaster X-FI Titanium HD Card, with the Senheiser PC 350 or PC360 (for gaming headset) and a Monster Inspirations headset (for music with good bass). Now I understand this is probably a lowsy choice for music, but I was limiting my research to bestbuy inventory at the time. The Canada Computers has all the superior brands like grado, audio-technica, akg, maybe ultrasone and shure, to name a few.

I don't mind spending around $300 for a good music headset, and maybe $200 ish for a gaming headset. I am assuming I can get a great sound card for $200, but I am not sure and am flexible.

I was also looking at the Bose quiet comfort 3, but I heard that the bass was not that amazing and something tells me that I can do better. If I did go this option, however, I could get a discount.

Thank you for your feedback, I am going to do some more research tonight/tomorrow morning and hopefully make my purchase sometime tomrrow afternoo < depending on results >

Oh and also, there was also a combo deal at the store for the ASUS Xonar Xense Premium Gaming PCI - E Audio Set with Senheiser PC 350 Xtreme Edition Headset for $280.00. But it was on clearance and no returns if purchased. Please advise
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Old August 3, 2012, 08:35 PM
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What about the new ASUS Xonar Phoebus 24-bit 96KHz PCI Express x1 Interface Gaming Soundcard Set?

I JUST saw a youtube unboxing of this and INSTANTLY fell in love. It even comes with a device that acts as a microphone without the need for having one on your headset. It looks sooooo cool, is this a good choice? Omg it loooks sooooo amazing, am I wrong??!!


Canada Computers | Sound Cards | Asus ROG Xonar Phoebus PCI-E Audio Gaming Soundcard Set -- 118dB / Headphone Amp

It's also only $200!! and if I got this, I could probably do away with bothering to get a headset with a mic, since this sound card comes with a microphone that sits on your desk, and then I could just opt for one really good headset for music, bass, and gaming all in one for around $300. I am not sure what headset is a good option though, what do you guys think so far? Thanks!

(Ps yes I will be reading the thread created on this sound card, I just noticed it. ) Still need a headset choice too
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Old August 3, 2012, 09:14 PM
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If your going for 2 headsets (or better a headset and a set of cans for music) then consider a 5.1 set..

I'm currently in the same position as you (though with much less of a budget) looking at Tritton ax pro or 510 hda (same headset but AX pro takes digital input) and the Roccat Kave..
At your budget the 7.1 Razer tiamat are an option too..


Just something to consider..
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Old August 3, 2012, 10:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dzzope View Post
If your going for 2 headsets (or better a headset and a set of cans for music) then consider a 5.1 set..
Not sure what you mean by a set of cans for music.. basically i want a headset that will really deliver for the phoebus sound card. I guess it doesn't need to have a mic, so I can go for a really nice music headset that's also good for hiphop music as well

I know there are more than a couple out there around the $300 range, should i go for 5.1 with the asus phoebus?
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Old August 3, 2012, 10:52 PM
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Read AkG's review. The Phoebus only outputs 2 channel sound over the desktop dongle. If you are decided on a 5.1 headset, it will be plugged directly into the card.

It all depends what your focus is. Most 5.1 headsets are great for gaming, but lacking for music. Most seem designed to highlight the mid range (for picking out footsteps) but lack clear highs or bass. I use a set of Audio-Technica ATH-AD700's with a Zalman clip on mic but they are open cans and might not have enough bass for your liking.

There's also some other good soundcards in the 70-100 range, like the Xonar DX and Auzentech Forte. Shameless plug: I've got a Forte up in the BST. Any one of the cards listed will be a noticeable improvement over your onboard sound.

From what I've heard the Xense is supposed to be a great card, packaged with so-so headphones.
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Old August 4, 2012, 12:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RM - Ottawa View Post
Not sure what you mean by a set of cans for music.. basically i want a headset that will really deliver for the phoebus sound card. I guess it doesn't need to have a mic, so I can go for a really nice music headset that's also good for hiphop music as well

I know there are more than a couple out there around the $300 range, should i go for 5.1 with the asus phoebus?
Cans are basically a set of headphones that cup the ear.. eg http://magazine.dv247.com/wp-content...Headphones.jpg
a headset generally means with a mic for use with a computer.

Whats your total budget for everything... Soundcard and headset / cans and mic?

Might be worth going for a good but not too high-end sound card and then getting a headset for gaming AND a set of cans for music..

With good sound it is very much dependant on the person listening..
I know for me I like good clear base.. but most 2.1 / 5.1 systems (in my price range & that I've heard) sound very muddy, which I hate so I tend to stick to 2.0 systems..

Basically I'm suggesting you try before you buy... find something you like (or better a few things) and then ask for alternatives... maybe you'll find something with the same characteristics but at a better price.. or better comfort or whatever.

Also remember that to hear the difference in good sound to great sound.. you'll need high-quality files / recordings to listen to.
Standard mp3's won't cut it.
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Old August 4, 2012, 12:29 AM
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Thanks for the replies guys,

My budget for the sound card and headset is around $600 subtotal. With this budget, I am willing to sacrifice a mic if necessary and to invest in one good headset and one good sound card. I am flexible in going under or over if the value proposition, or 'wow' factor is there. I mainly play starcraft, so in game mic use is not a major concern and will be satisfied in having a superior "cans" headset than 2 medecore headsets. I do have a run of the mill steel series headset with a mic that I can use if I ever feel the need to get on the mic. That being said, if there were a headset that topped the scales in audio and mic it would be bonus.

I do not understand the technical aspects of AkG's review, as my knowledge level is still very very low, but I see that the "Hub" included with the sound card is absolutely useless for volume control, as I am now understanding SugarJ's comment. The upside though is that the hub is still a mic, so that addressed the need for having a mic and I can focus freely on having a great sounding headset with the balance of my budget. ($300ish~)



Quote:
Originally Posted by SugarJ View Post
It all depends what your focus is. Most 5.1 headsets are great for gaming, but lacking for music. Most seem designed to highlight the mid range (for picking out footsteps) but lack clear highs or bass. I use a set of Audio-Technica ATH-AD700's with a Zalman clip on mic but they are open cans and might not have enough bass for your liking.
So if most 5.1 headsets are good for gaming, what headphones are good for music? 7.1's ? Yes I would like something that does a good job with bass and optimizes a decent sound card, so to say.


- Would you guys still recommend to get the Phoebus, or are there plainly more viable options in that price range.. from my newbie perspective I still like like the card due to the integrated mic, though I could see how this could be a poor decision if there are cards for half the price performing as well, or a modestly more expensive card with a large performance increase.
- Can you guys give a short list of some key headphones to consider, or maybe ones to avoid. For example, I am guessing that the Dre Beats and Ludacris Soul cans are something to avoid. I may have to try some out as you say Dzzope..

Thanks for the feedback so far guys, sorry I'm not very good at this stuff at least yet. Feedback is valued <3 :)
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Old August 4, 2012, 01:04 AM
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At present my plan is to go and try out some of the following headsets at my local Canada Computers, I picked out a few that appear to be in stock, and were featured in a cnet review:

-Audio Technica ATH-A900X - Audiophile Closed-back Dynamic Headphones $320.00
-AIAIAI TMA-1 - DJ Headphone w/ Mic (Black) $220.00
-Audio Technica ATH-M50, Professional Closed-Back Studio $180.00
-Sennheiser HD 598 - Open Circumaural Headphones with E.A.R. Technology for Outstanding Sonic Accuracy and Clarity $300.00
-Shure SRH550DJ - Professional Quality DJ Headphones $100

I will assume they are fairly priced and take one of the more expensive ones home for testing. Are these suitable candidates? As for the sound card, I will give a chance for more feedback and either go for the phoebus, or whatever else is proposed. The sound cards are harder to test, so I am hoping I get this one right the first time around.

Look forward to hearing from you guys,

Thanks again,
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Old August 4, 2012, 01:59 AM
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Stereo for the high end audio stuff... 5.1 / 7.1 is for gaming and movies really..

Though if the 5.1 / 7.1 interest you.. nothing stopping you from testing them either.
Just be sure it's proper 5.1 and not virtual.. (eg the Tritton headset has 4 speakers per ear for 5.1)
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Old August 4, 2012, 11:59 AM
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Excellent, I've went with the Razer Tiamat 7.1 and the Phoebus, as posted in akg's thread :)
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