Help me choose new sound card + headphones

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by z997, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. z997

    z997 New Member

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    1070 GTX

    My current sound card is dying (SB1356) so I'm looking for something new which would also be at least a small upgrade. Currently I have only bookshelf speakers (Edifier R2600; probably low-mid end stuff). My main consumption of audio is video games and movies.

    I checked out what is available at local stores and some reviews online and thought Creative Sound Blaster X AE-5 might be a good choice. Are there any known issues with this card? Perhaps there's something better I can get in similar price range?

    Additionally I would like to get some headphones since I don't own any and they would be useful for more immersive experience, lower noise pollution, and privacy ( ͡• ͜ʖ ͡• ). I know almost nothing about headphones so my choice was mostly based on people's comments and reviews. I'm currently looking at Beyerdynamic DT 990 (600 ohm) but I'm not sure how well AE-5 can handle 600 ohm headphones (or even what's the difference). Any thoughts if this is a good choice? Are there any other good choices for similar price?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    If you plan to get headphones, I'd rather suggest to get headphones dac/amp instead of soundcard.
    It will output cleaner stereo sound and won't be affected by internal PC parts.
    Current audiophile go to DAC/AMP setup is Topping D10 + JDS Atom labs. It will drive all headphones without issue with crystal clean sound.
    Basically as good as it gets for the price. If you live outside of USA, consider Topping A30 for the AMP. It will do work just as good.

    DT990 are not bad. However they might sound very unpleasant due to bright sound signature, causing sibilant sound.
    You probably will want to use EQ to balance the sound of DT990.
    Also keep in mind DT990 are open headphones, so it will leak some sound. Not as much as speakers, but if there someone in the same room, they might hear it.

    For your first open headphones, I'd rather recommend Sennheisers HD599. It has less crazy sound than DT990 and it won't need much power to be driven properly, so you can safe money on dac/amp.
    If you prefer to stick with Beyerdynamics, I'd rather suggest to check DT880. Those are more balanced sounding and won't murder your ears with treble.

    I can recommend many other headphones, if you tell me about your sound preferences (more bass quantity or more bass quality, how relaxed it should sound, etc....)
  3. theoneofgod

    theoneofgod Ancient Guru

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    Without knowing your budget, I think sverek has you covered for now with the DAC/AMP. I agree with them, I'd go that route for purely headphone usage.
    The Philips Fidelio X2 headphones are quite impactful for games and movies, but can be sibilant, on occasion, which can be fixed with a bit of EQ.
  4. insp1re2600

    insp1re2600 Maha Guru

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    RTX 2080TI OC H20
    on a decent budget the ae-5 is great, never had issues with it and it can be loud and clear.
    for headphones you may prefer a separate dac / amp but its depending how much you wish to spend and effort involved.

    youll be fine with the ae-5, or if you are feeling flush, go for the ae-9

  5. warlord

    warlord Ancient Guru

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    Get s-xfi amp. It is the best for any phones only. It destroys ae5,7,9 and g6,x3,x7. But it is for headphones and such usage. Each to his own.

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