View Full Version : New Sound Card and Headphones. Question?

2013-04-13, 04:47 PM
I plan on getting this sound card (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102048) and a new headphone. However I want to get a 5.1 headphones so I can hear exactly where the footsteps or gun shots are coming from. But I noticed that 5.1 headphones use USB, doesn't connect directly to the sound card, while Analog use 3.5mm which directly connects to the sound card.

According to alot of people who post performance improvements, they say that reducing the sound quality will help increase CPU performance and this sound card is suppose to reduce the CPU processing of sound. So I guess my questions are:

1) Does the soundcard still process and outputs the sound to your 3.5 (direct connect to the sound card) or USB headset?

2) Does this sound card actually help reduce the load on the CPU by processing the sound on the sound card itself?

3) Will I get 5.1 on an analog (3.5mm) headset?

2013-04-13, 04:59 PM
You're referring to an USB headset not a pair of headphones. Headphones don't have simulated surround sound, nor does small gimmicky drivers.
Getting an USB headset and a sound card seems rather pointless, since USB headsets come with their built-in sound card, which it will use over anything else. The reason you get a dedicated sound card, in this case, is so that it will produce a higher quality simulation than either your onboard audio or any headset.
So you don't need to get a headset that can simulate 5.1, just get a pair of headphones and a sound card that can also do it. Which I would also suggest that you do, only reason why you would get a headset would be for the built-in microphone.

To answer your second question. Yes it does.
Third question. Yes, if you're running your headset/headphones through your sound card.

Edit: Can't help you with feedback about the card since I've never heard about it before now:p
Hope my poor explanation wasn't too confusing.

2013-04-13, 05:42 PM
Ah thank you very much.

I do want to get a new sound card more than simulated headset.

I also use a laptop for my Teamspeak, so I want to get a headset that goes around my ears and not on top. The ones I have hurt my ears after about 30min use, I guess I have big ears. Any suggestions on headset?

I found http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16826816004 and they seem big enough to go around my big ears.

2013-04-14, 04:33 AM
I would recommend a good pair of headphones and click-on-mic combo. What kind of budget are you looking at for your headphones/headset?

Edit: For sound cards I would recommend going with ASUS XONAR DG (http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_DG/#overview) or DGX (http://www.asus.com/Sound_Cards_and_DigitaltoAnalog_Converters/Xonar_DGX/). They are cheap and provide good quality when compared to their price.
You could also go with a mixamp, if you want something that's more mobile.

Here's a guide that you might find useful, will certainly explain things better than myself.

2013-04-14, 05:12 PM
A sound card won't produce significant improvement in frame rate.
You really only want one if you're looking for increased sound quality or the extra ports (like optical S/PDIF, though some mobos have that now)

I vastly prefer a decent set of headphones and a mic compared to any headset I've ever used, simulated surround or not. Especially because I have quite a bit of music at higher bit rates.

For just straight up headphones:

Then a clip on mic like this

2013-04-14, 07:45 PM
Then a clip on mic like this

I HATED this clip on mic. Damn thing would always get tangled up with my headset and drive me nuts. I got to the point one day where I raged and ripped the damn thing apart :mad:. I have since moved onto this desktop microphone (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16836186004). Doesn't get tangled up and people have no issues hearing me at all.

Moving on from my rant I prefer sound cards. I personally do notice the difference and I have been using one for years. I have the ASUS Xonar DX that I got on sale for $50. However I don't think you need to spend $90 on a sound card as thats a bit much.

I can vouch for Audio Techinca as well. I have been using the AD700 (http://www.amazon.com/Technica-ATH-AD700-Open-air-Audiophile-Headphones/dp/B000CMS0XU/ref=sr_1_1?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1365986542&sr=1-1&keywords=ad-700) for awhile now and love it. The earphone section is huge and goes over the years. Its a "open" style, not closed aka you don't hear yourself breathing wearing these.

2013-04-14, 09:22 PM
I just clip it to the cord and it stays nice and in-line with the headphones.

But yeah, whatever mic is fine, pretty much.

2013-04-15, 10:28 AM
I'm also a fan of headphones with the desktop mic. I prefer Sennheiser headphones(HD555's are open, over the ear) and I use a cheap ole logitech usb desktop mic that they probably don't even sell anymore!

2013-05-03, 07:37 AM
There are some really good an inexpensive headsets like the ones from creative (I prefer the Fatal1ty Gaming Headset, cost 40 €, ~ 50 $ and totally worth it).

You should read the specs of the soundcards. Most cards don't have much output and you should use an amplifier or send it through some kind of active system, otherwise it's far too quiet.

With the creative headset and the ASUS V Crosshair mainboard the standard mic and headset-jacks are ok.

2013-05-03, 10:03 AM
The thing is the $50 "good, inexpensive" headset pales in comparison to the $50 "good, inexpensive" pair of headphones. And the stand alone mic is a negligible cost.

2013-05-04, 07:56 PM
Soundcards will not show a noteworthy decrease in CPU load if you don't have an old Intel 386 or something.

It's not going to help one bit with USB-powered headphones as explained above. The signal determined for the headphones does at no point pass the soundcard.

However, you do not need "surround" headphones for optimal spatiality. Heck you don't even really need a DSP like Dolby Headphone or its Creative competitor for that.

I use a regular stereo headphone without any particular settings and when I played Serious Sam 3 I noticed I was the consistently first to successfully localise a certain kind of enemy based on the sound cues and shoot at it before the others even turned around, and I regularly make out "surprise" attacks from behind with aerial vehicles or harassers in PS2 long before they even come into sight, no sweat.

The headphones weren't cheap, admittedly, they cost me ~160€, but it was more than worth the price considering its all around excellent performance, build quality and comfortability. I can wear those all day if I want. It's a shame they're not produced anymore, and I think they were just taken out of the portfolio to aid the sales of its bigger brother, which is to some extend actually inferiorly designed. The people at AKG are going bonkers again.

Anyway, I can't imagine that you wouldn't be able to do this with a more moderately priced headphone, as the basic principles are the same. Get one that is well-engineered and you should be good to go. From a certain point on it's really just a matter of taste, not of vastly superior engineering. Diminishing returns kick in very fast, so don't worry.

I would argue the average regular stereo headphone offers a better price/performance ratio over the average "surround" headphone, depending on the soundcard accompanying it. As for those, an inexpensive Asus Xonar DG is really sufficient for most headphones, so that's not really an issue unless you need to cut corners like you're allergic to them.

BTW, 3.5mm isn't always 3.5mm. A line-out is inadequate for headphones as it has completely different electronical properties than a designated headphone jack, so keep that in mind.

Also, aside of the guide posted above, head-fi is definitely the worst place to inform yourself about anything related to headphones ever, it's really more like misinforming yourself at that place. It's the worst example of a "need to throw my money out for luxury bling bling bullshit and manipulate everyone into doing the same" community I ever saw. Snake oil sellers really have a field day because of that site. The audio science subforum is cool I guess, but beyond that it's really a minefield. Very few gems in a huge pile of donkey poo.

2013-05-05, 03:44 PM
2) Does this sound card actually help reduce the load on the CPU by processing the sound on the sound card itself?

To answer your second question. Yes it does.

It does and it doesn't. Windows will use the sound card as the audio output device but unless the game was coded to use hardware accelerated audio all the audio will be processed in software on the CPU and simply sent to the sound card to be played back.

While yes, most CPUs now are indeed powerful enough to process the audio on the fly in software, it just doesn't seem to sound as good. Most games use pre-made audio environments that just apply a pre-made audio effect (such as reverb, echo and etc) to the audio to be played, as opposed to performing real-time ray-tracing and bouncing the audio waves off of and through the world geometry to produce a phonorealistic experience.

Planetside 2 doesn't even take full advantage of 3D audio positioning. For example the first-person sounds of firing your weapon are played in flat quad-mono 2D if you're running a 6 channel setup.

2013-05-24, 08:25 AM
Don't get a USB Headset, they're garbage. If you want a headset get a Sennheiser PC360. If you want simulated surround at 7.1 I'd get the ATH-AD700's which hover at around $100 on Amazon and get a ASUS Xonar STX from Newegg, its about $190 but the combination is totally worth it.