Current options for gaming?

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by AMD4Life, Feb 10, 2017.

  1. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    It has been several years since I've looked into & compared sound cards and onboard audio chips. My main focus is gaming (online FPS mostly) and occasionally listening to some music. I am currently using an X-Fi Titanium PCI-E sound card with the Klipsch Promedia 2.1 speaker set as well as Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones. I am curious to know if it would be worth buying a brand new sound card or even just using the onboard motherboard audio when I build my next gaming rig. I understand that onboard audio chips have come a long way since 8-10 years ago.

    Any input/advice would be appreciated!
     
  2. Agent-A01

    Agent-A01 Ancient Guru

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    Keep what you have.
    Onboard still has a long way to go to beat any good sound card.

    Not worth buying a new soundcard either.
     
  3. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    Good to know. My X-Fi has been hassle free over the years and seems to be holding up just fine. No complaints about the sound quality and the directional audio has been spot on during FPS gaming, even in new titles. I only use the basic control panel software from Creative and the support on Windows 10 seems fine.
     
  4. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    The only reason to really do it if you want the functional of newer cards such as a stronger in-graded headphone amp or the option to change the sound signature by swapping op-amps. Or you had problems which you mentioned that you don't. But any thing else you would be better off upgrading your headphones or speakers first before you ever upgrade your source.
     

  5. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    Speaking of upgrading headphones, what would be a worthwhile Sennheiser brand upgrade from my current HD280 Pros? Preferably something my X-Fi can drive without an amp.
     
  6. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    It really depends on the type of sound that you want, there are headphones like the HD 380 pro and the HD 598 CS(closed back) but it best to see if you can find an store like that will let you demo the headphones first, and pick from the ones you like. Also there are other headphone's that not part of the sennheiser brand like the audio Technica A900X which does an very good job in games, when I had them and will work with your X-Fi without needing an hp amp. It just that you have to look around to find an good deal on them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2017
  7. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Headphones is your weakeat link now. "Soundcard" upgrade would be worth if you switch to standalone DAC/AMP and drive headphones from it.

    Try listening to open headphones if you havent. HD558 / HD598 and other models.
     
  8. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    I've been looking around and reading some reviews for closed back Sennheiser headphones with good bass (not super punchy.) I liked what I saw with the HD558 and HD598 CS. Thinking I may go with the HD598 CS from Amazon. I have no reason to suspect that I won't like them and can always return it if I'm not happy.

    Any input on the HD558 vs HD598 CS?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  9. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    HD558 are open, sound is more balanced and neutral.

    If you prefer some bass, HD598 CS should fit you better.
     
  10. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    I stand corrected. For some reason I thought the HD558 was a closed design. Amazon has the HD598 CS available right now with free same day shipping. Just placed the order ($114.48 total with taxes.) My apartment can be noisy at times and I definitely think I'll be happier with these closed headphones. Always have the option to return if they aren't what I expected.
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017

  11. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Unless you have strong preference for sound, you won't be disappointed.

    Just... if you happy with them... try to keep them for a while.
    If you found yourself hovering over HD800s "purchase" button, please ask us to stop you. Sound perfection is one hella of a drug.
     
  12. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    Not too strong of a preference for sound really, as long as they have good bass without muddying everything else up they should do just fine.

    I also just saw that the HD 598 CS has a cable for mobile devices and the other cable uses a 6.3mm connector so I also ordered the Sennheiser 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter. Thankfully that also had free one day shipping available! Unfortunately my X-Fi only has standard 3.5mm and optical connections.

    As far as the HD 800s are concerned, it would be great to have them but no way I can bring myself to spend $1k+ on headphones. I am simply not that much of an audiophile! These are definitely the most high end headphones I have ever bought and about to use.
     
  13. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Wait, I am pretty sure HD598cs comes with 3.5mm adapter.

    Check https://en-us.sennheiser.com/headphone-around-ear-home-mobile-hd-598-cs to be sure
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  14. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    From what I see on Amazon and Sennheiser's site, this is all it comes with:

    WHAT'S IN THE BOX?

    HD 598 Cs headset
    1.2 m cable with 1-button remote / 3.5 mm straight plug <- For mobile devices
    3 m cable / 6.3 mm straight plug
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2017
  15. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Right, they include different cables instead of adapter. My bad.
    I got used to old not detachable cables...
    Guess you need longer cable to reach soundcard.
     

  16. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    I can also plug into my case's front panel jacks. I personally just didn't want to use the cable with the remote on it. I control music, volume, mute etc with my keyboard.
     
  17. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    The HD598 CS and 6.3mm to 3.5 mm adapter arrived and I was able to play around with them for a bit.

    First off, it is unquestionably more comfortable than the HD280 Pro, which is tight fitting and becomes uncomfortable after an hour or two. This fatigue was non existent with the HD598 CS. The fabric ear pads also kept my ears cooler. Also worth mentioning is the straight cord on the 598 is much easier to deal with than the coiled cord on the 280.

    Initial thoughts on sound are that the bass isn't as punchy as the HD280 Pro, but overall the HD598 CS is much more pleasant to listen to. Music simply sounds warmer and more lively. I feel like the new headphones might benefit from some break in time, so I will be running them overnight a few times over the next week. I'll report back with my finding after the break in.
     
  18. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    After a couple days of listening & breaking in overnight, I am really enjoying these new cans. I'm sure the major part of it was my ears & brain getting used to them, but if you ask me the sound has cleaned up a bit at the highs & lows since the first use out of the box. Nothing major of course, but I don't have any real proof other than what I'm hearing.

    Overall, I am very happy with the HD 598 Cs. Thanks for the suggestions everyone!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2017
  19. Agent-A01

    Agent-A01 Ancient Guru

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    That is quite normal, that's what you call burn in.

    Many people let them play songs/sounds on loop with varying sounds to burn in them.
    Sound signature will change slightly.

    Kinda like when you break in a new car's engine.
     
  20. AMD4Life

    AMD4Life Member Guru

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    Found something else interesting with my setup after switching to the HD 598 Cs. I had been using the X-Fi Crystalizer at 50% with other headphones for quite some time. With the new cans, certain rock songs with thrashing guitar segments/solos sometimes sounded a bit harsh and distorted when I had the Crystalizer enabled. I believe some of that is due to the quality of the recording or compression of the source file, but mostly due to the dynamic equalizer function of the Crystalizer. Turned off the Crystalizer and it cleared up the harshness and distortion. Needless to say, I am no longer using the Crystalizer.

    I'm sure this is nothing new to the seasoned audiophiles out there, but it was an eye opener for me. The extra settings & effects on the X-Fi clearly aren't always everything they are cracked up to be if you have a set of high quality speakers or headphones. I can see now why so many people choose DAC & amp setups instead of soundcards for their headphones.
     

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