Headphones/headset and PCIE sound card for GW2
Update: I ordered the headset (Tritton PC51U) and I'm waiting on that to arrive. I'll see about that sound card when there is no more MIR + when I test the headset with my Auzentech X-Raider. (I don't buy products if there's an MIR by principle :whistle:)
As per the title, I want to upgrade my audio setup with the release of Guild Wars 2 (GW2). For the 3-day preview happening now, I'm using a default XBOX360 headset attached through an XBOX360 controller for TeamSpeak (TS) and 9-year-old speakers for the rest of the audio, and not surprisingly everything coming through the XBOX360 headset (both the guild chatter and TS default sounds) is close to incomprehensible. I know my guild's TS is decent, because when I used to play GW1 with them on a Shure SRH550DJ headphone, I was fine hearing all the chatter. I gave away the SRH550DJ to a family member because it was too heavy for gaming - the thing felt like a helmet!
My budget is $225 before taxes and shipping (actually, that's my GPU upgrade budget that I'm transferring to audio as horrible audio is bugging me more than having to drop anti-aliasing). Note I have a Zalman ZM-MIC1 if there's good performance that can be had from an entry "audiophile" headphone + using the Zalman for the mic. My sound cards both have their issues (one with crash-happy drivers, the other getting disrupted by my GPU whine), so I'll likely need another sound card.
I'd like recommendations for headphones, headset, (inclusive) or sound card in my budget for pure gaming. My primary concern is better performance with TS, although the way GW2 is, I wouldn't mind being able to better hear combat and environmental sounds, since every skill activation has its unique sound. I'll also use this for audio in "casual" FPS gaming. As for non-game music and movie listening on the headphones, as long as they equal or beat $25 earbuds I'll be fine.
EDIT: I mainly buy from NCIX (with price matching of course), Newegg.ca, and Canada Computers.
Asus DX and your choice of headphones/headset.. Just got a D1 myself and it's noticeably better than on-board (which wasn't terrible) on my OK speakers... waiting on my Tritton HDA 510's now :)
If you want audiophile stuff.. then your looking over my head. :P
Thanks for the advice - Asus Xonars seem to be recommended all over this forum. Does the DX use a better driver than the U3? I currently have a Xonar U3 (USB variant) and pressing the "GX" button for the 3D sound in the driver's config GUI will guarantee a crash on most games.
Is the Tritton HDA 510 missing in action or something? CanadaComputer has it in stock in a couple random stores, while NCIX doesn't list it at all. There are these however:
Tritton AX 720 Dolby Digital True 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset With Microphone PC XBox PS3 - Tritton Technologies - TRI90202N001/02/1 (PM DirectCanada to $138.23)
Roccat Kave ROC-14-500 Real 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset W/ Tip "N" Control Desktop Remote - Roccat - ROC-14-500 ($119)
The Trittons are true 5.1 (as are the Kaves) which will guarrentee they are heavy for a headset..
This can be countered somewhat by how comfortable they are (which the Kaves are reported as not being)
If you don't like heavy headsets they probably aren't for you..
I think the Trittons HDA 510's are near their end of life as I found the same as you.. hard to find..
The ones you listed I think are the digital & analogue ones (the 510's are analogue only) though I'm not sure..
As for the USB card you have.. I'm not sure what chip they have, but usb generally doesn't provide the same quality as a card..
As for the crashes, Just remember to set 3D before you start your games?
I just found that the AX720s are not an actual surround headset - I'd probably be better served with a good sound card + a Steelseries headset or something if it's just virtual. The AXPro is a true surround although it comes with an external DAC (in which case I'd just use it off onboard or my X-Raider).
Hmm thanks for the note about the weight. What really made the SRH550s uncomfortable for me was the headband - it had two metal wires with something like 2mm of padding, so it concentrated the weight of the headset on two small points on the top of my head. That said, I probably won't want a headset weight much more than the SRH550 I used to have, which is 250 grams not counting the cord.
I do all my audio settings before entering a game, since changing any sound card settings usually doesn't help anything. The "GX" mode on the Xonar U3 is the EAX emulation, and if I have it on, the game usually will crash after 20 minutes or so (either leaky driver or a combination of sounds that causes a crash - could never be too sure).
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