Audio: Headphones & Onboard sound vs Sound Card

Budza

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Oct 14, 2008
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I'd like to upgrade my audio experience.

Looking at less than R1k, all in.

When using on board sound (all much of a muchness?) what's the limit for headphones? IE, when do the phones exceed the capabilities of the source?

Using a laptop, I'd add something like this: Asus Xonar U3 USB Sound Card

Then get something like this: Corsair Vengeance 1300 headset

That U3 has some Dolby stuff:
Dolby® Technologies : Dolby® Digital Live/Dolby® Headphone /Dolby® Virtual Speaker /Dolby® Pro-Logic II
Smart Volume Normalizer™

As does the 1300's big brother, the Vengeance 1500 with built in USB card, though seemingly less Dolby stuff.

R330 for the U3, R570 for the 1300's = R900 vs R765 for the 1500's (built in sound card)

Which would you choose?

Any other similarly priced earphones with mic I could substitute for these Corsairs? Not too worried about 5.1 or 7.1 etc, great stereo is fine :)
 

PostmanPot

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Go for the U3 and 1300's. U3 is versatile and you can expand with it later on.

Honestly though, best thing to try and do is save to R2.2k and get the Asus Xense sound card + headset bundle. Includes a sound card that is basically a Xonar Essence ST/X (proper DAC with amplified 6.3mm ports), and the Sennheiser PC-350 headset (150Ohm). http://www.asus.com.au/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Xense/

We are talking about another league here, so worth it. :)
 

Budza

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Go for the U3 and 1300's. U3 is versatile and you can expand with it later on.

Honestly though, best thing to try and do is save to R2.2k and get the Asus Xense sound card + headset bundle. Includes a sound card that is basically a Xonar Essence ST/X (proper DAC with amplified 6.3mm ports), and the Sennheiser PC-350 headset (150Ohm). http://www.asus.com.au/Multimedia/Audio_Cards/Xonar_Xense/

We are talking about another league here, so worth it. :)

Cool- I was hoping you'd reply :)

SO, the U3 is worth it over built in sound? I can't justify the Xense yet, besides which it won't work with a laptop. U3 is versatile, as you say...

I'm just wondering if it's not better to spend the R900 on a better pair of headphones, and stick with bog-standard on board sound?
 

copacetic

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Nov 22, 2009
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It looks like a 16 bit interface. :sick:

If you want quality audio then buy from manufacturers of audio gear, not general computer manufacturers, aiming at a market segment.
 

PostmanPot

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It looks like a 16 bit interface. :sick:

If you want quality audio then buy from manufacturers of audio gear, not general computer manufacturers, aiming at a market segment.

Have you researched Asus Xonar Essence ST and STX, and Asus Xonar Essence One?

There is a budget here of R1,000, U3 is a fantastic device for R350 that will give a much better experience over onboard audio. It's often recommended to pair with low Ohm headphones when on a budget. Got one myself to test with, excellent value.
 

Budza

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I'm sold on the U3, even if I end up buying it later.

For now, perhaps this is a step up from the Corsair, as they're an audio focused manufacturer: Sennheiser HD 205 I can't see if these will cover my ears completely- they're referred to as "ear-cup" - complete cover is preferable to on ear phones. Should be able to wear them all day this way... The HS 205s are less than R700 :)
 

PostmanPot

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HD205's are very popular, can't go wrong. Will feel better getting 'phones from a premium audio brand. ;)
 

Ipwn 4

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I played COD this weekend on a Asus Maximus IV with a pair of Roccat Kave headphones and IMO they are epic. The headphones connect via your onboard sound card an draw power from USB eliminating the need for any drivers to get 5.1 surround sound.
 
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PostmanPot

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Ag they're gimmick, not bad for the price. My friend upgraded to Sennheiser PC-360 from Kave's. Remember these are 2 channel. But with a good sound card, the surround sound they give blows Kave's out the water. He'll never look back.

Just showing the 'physical 5.1 speaker' is largely gimmick/marketing bs.
 
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