Need help with headphones and sound card please!

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#1 Posted by Sa1nT_Ch3wy (116 posts) -

Hi everyone, so i am currently looking at upgrading my headphones for my pc and getting a new sound card to go with it. My current headphones are the Astro a40s. I originally bought them for my xbox but I have now gotten rid of it and use my pc exclusively. I mainly play games and listen to a little bit of music. Not to much into watching movies and my monitor when i have a 55in LED tv to do that. So as of right now im looking at the Sennheiser HD 598's and i really like them. But i would also need to get a good enough sound card to take full advantage of them. And for that im looking at the ASUS Xonar Essence ST sound card.

So my question is, is this a good combo? Any recommendations? Does anyone have either the headset and sound card and recommend it? Just looking for advice so thank you for helping me out.

#2 Posted by MonsieurX (30469 posts) -
Currently with the same soundcard but with the hd555 and couldnt be happier :)
#3 Posted by Mozelleple112 (6695 posts) -

Hi everyone, so i am currently looking at upgrading my headphones for my pc and getting a new sound card to go with it. My current headphones are the Astro a40s. I originally bought them for my xbox but I have now gotten rid of it and use my pc exclusively. I mainly play games and listen to a little bit of music. Not to much into watching movies and my monitor when i have a 55in LED tv to do that. So as of right now im looking at the Sennheiser HD 598's and i really like them. But i would also need to get a good enough sound card to take full advantage of them. And for that im looking at the ASUS Xonar Essence ST sound card.

So my question is, is this a good combo? Any recommendations? Does anyone have either the headset and sound card and recommend it? Just looking for advice so thank you for helping me out.

Sa1nT_Ch3wy
That's a nice pair of headphones and sound card, can't see why not.
#4 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -

Music preferences? Budget? Other headphones to look at:

BeyerDynamic DT880

AKG Q701

Grado SR225i

Sennheiser HD600(I would highly recommend these. Some people think that these sound better then the HD800(With the right amp of course. They work best with tube amps. Best to look at the Schiit Valhalla and the Schiit Bifrost or the Maverick Audio A1)

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Also if you get any of these headphones you will need to get FLAC or Lossless audio files.

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Just thought of another set up. This is the one I would recommend the most. Get a Hifiman HE-400 and a FiiO E10. Will be a very good set up. They are orthodynamic headphones, very comfortable, and are very good for gaming.

http://www.head-direct.com/Products/?act=detail&id=115

http://www.amazon.com/FiiO-E10-USB-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B005VO7LG6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347845705&sr=8-1&keywords=FiiO+E10

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Make a account at Head-Fi. I am a member there and other people will help you a lot. They know more than me. Just post what type of games you play, budget, and what type of music you play.

#5 Posted by Sa1nT_Ch3wy (116 posts) -

Well i just wanted to say thank you for the replies everyone. And for a budget im trying my best to keep it under $400. The games i mainly play at the moment are Battlefield 3, Skyrim and Sims (my wife plays that lol). And for music just about everything besides country. I I've also been looking at the Sennheiser PC360's as well. I can get a used one for about $150. Now are those as good as the HD598s? Better? Again thanks for all the help :D

#6 Posted by Sa1nT_Ch3wy (116 posts) -

Currently with the same soundcard but with the hd555 and couldnt be happier :)MonsieurX

Do you use those for gaming? And did you have any troubles setting up the drivers for the card?

#7 Posted by MonsieurX (30469 posts) -

[QUOTE="MonsieurX"]Currently with the same soundcard but with the hd555 and couldnt be happier :)Sa1nT_Ch3wy

Do you use those for gaming? And did you have any troubles setting up the drivers for the card?

Yup and I didn't get any problems.
#8 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -

Get the Hifiman HE-400 and FiiO E10. Trust me.

#9 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -

Go onto head-fi and make a thread!!

#10 Posted by Bozanimal (2483 posts) -

Get the Hifiman HE-400 and FiiO E10. Trust me.

Wolfetan
If this is primarily for gaming - heck, if he's listening primarily on his computer in general - he's better off with the Asus sound card than the FiiO E10. Also, the Hifiman HE-400 is much more expensive than the Sennheiser HD598; it's not really a fair comparison. He'd have to go down to the Hifiman HE-300 for a comparable price point. I can't speak to the HE-400 or HE-300, though users on Head-Fi love them. I have used the HD598's, though: They are an excellent open-back headphone, super-comfortable, and look great. I think your original setup sounds perfect; enjoy. Boz
#11 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -
[QUOTE="Wolfetan"]

Get the Hifiman HE-400 and FiiO E10. Trust me.

Bozanimal
If this is primarily for gaming - heck, if he's listening primarily on his computer in general - he's better off with the Asus sound card than the FiiO E10. Also, the Hifiman HE-400 is much more expensive than the Sennheiser HD598; it's not really a fair comparison. He'd have to go down to the Hifiman HE-300 for a comparable price point. I can't speak to the HE-400 or HE-300, though users on Head-Fi love them. I have used the HD598's, though: They are an excellent open-back headphone, super-comfortable, and look great. I think your original setup sounds perfect; enjoy. Boz

But the HE400 would be on par with the 600 and 650.. And you dont need a amazing amp. But I said the FiiO E10 because it would lower the cost to $460 because he said his budget is $400. Only $60 more but a night and day difference in sound.
#12 Posted by Bozanimal (2483 posts) -
The FiiO E10 doesn't support game effects like Dolby Headphone and environmental audio effects. Will the HifiMan and FiiO E10 sound great? Yes. But since this is primarily for gaming, I'd still go with the HD598 and Asus Xonar combo, which will still sound excellent for music and movies, but offer better support for games and movies. Happy gaming, Boz
#13 Posted by Sa1nT_Ch3wy (116 posts) -

Well the more i look around the more i quesion if i really need to upgrade my Astros? I mean i know they're not the best, but i mean they work? I've also look at a different sound card that are a tad bit cheaper. The Asus Xonar DX and they have Dolby Digital Live which is what i need to really get the most out of them? How does that look? I mean the less i spend the more my wife will be happy :P

Oh and everyone thanks for the feed back!

#14 Posted by Bozanimal (2483 posts) -
You don't want Dolby Digital Live, that's for real-time encoding of Dolby Digital to your home theater. What you want is Dolby Headphone. The card for that is the Xonar DG. Further, if you're happy with your Astros, just stick with 'em. Are there lots of better headphones out there? Sure, but no reason to upgrade unless you're dissatisfied with your existing equipment. Good luck whatever you decide, Happy gaming, Boz
#15 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -
[QUOTE="Bozanimal"]The FiiO E10 doesn't support game effects like Dolby Headphone and environmental audio effects. Will the HifiMan and FiiO E10 sound great? Yes. But since this is primarily for gaming, I'd still go with the HD598 and Asus Xonar combo, which will still sound excellent for music and movies, but offer better support for games and movies. Happy gaming, Boz

Heck, They'd still sound better than the HD598 and Asus Xonar.. There 250 ohms they don't need that kind of amp for them.
#16 Posted by kraken2109 (13075 posts) -

Well the more i look around the more i quesion if i really need to upgrade my Astros? I mean i know they're not the best, but i mean they work? I've also look at a different sound card that are a tad bit cheaper. The Asus Xonar DX and they have Dolby Digital Live which is what i need to really get the most out of them? How does that look? I mean the less i spend the more my wife will be happy :P

Oh and everyone thanks for the feed back!

Sa1nT_Ch3wy
You only need DDL or DTS connect if you actually have a 5.1 set of speakers connected with optical.
#17 Posted by Bozanimal (2483 posts) -

Heck, They'd still sound better than the HD598 and Asus Xonar.. There 250 ohms they don't need that kind of amp for them. Wolfetan

Not sure which is 250 ohms; the HE-400 is 35 ohms and the HD598 is 50 ohms.

Let's get to it: I haven't heard the HiFiMan HE-400 personally. Let's just get that out there. That said, I have used the HD598 at length. They sound very, very good- as good as the AKG Q701's, in my experience without requiring an amp to shine, but benefitting from one (as do the HE-400's, I understand). And I would agree that the Xonar Essence is probably more than is necessary to power the HD598's, but both headphones will benefit from the cleaner amp and better isolation the card offers.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb, a bit: I would personally get the HD598 over the HE-400, again, without having listened to the HE-400. This hurts my argument, but my understanding is that the HD598 is a more accurate and more comfrotable headphone at a lower cost, to boot:

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2

The HD598 is going to offer more detailed mid- and upper-range response, and a more neutral sound, overall. I can also vouch for its comfort and performance, where the HE-400 is supposed to be heavier and doesn't offer the comfy velour pads of the HD598s.

I'm not saying the HE-400 is a bad headphone, but for the price and purpose of the OP, I think they'll be happier with a sound card that supports environmental audio effects, Dolby Headphone, and offers a bit of amplification (which both the Xonar DG and Essence cards do) paired with less-expensive, more comfortable headphones.

Happy gaming,

Boz

#18 Posted by Wolfetan (7522 posts) -

[QUOTE="Wolfetan"] Heck, They'd still sound better than the HD598 and Asus Xonar.. There 250 ohms they don't need that kind of amp for them. Bozanimal

Not sure which is 250 ohms; the HE-400 is 35 ohms and the HD598 is 50 ohms.

Let's get to it: I haven't heard the HiFiMan HE-400 personally. Let's just get that out there. That said, I have used the HD598 at length. They sound very, very good- as good as the AKG Q701's, in my experience without requiring an amp to shine, but benefitting from one (as do the HE-400's, I understand). And I would agree that the Xonar Essence is probably more than is necessary to power the HD598's, but both headphones will benefit from the cleaner amp and better isolation the card offers.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb, a bit: I would personally get the HD598 over the HE-400, again, without having listened to the HE-400. This hurts my argument, but my understanding is that the HD598 is a more accurate and more comfrotable headphone at a lower cost, to boot:

graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID[]=2

The HD598 is going to offer more detailed mid- and upper-range response, and a more neutral sound, overall. I can also vouch for its comfort and performance, where the HE-400 is supposed to be heavier and doesn't offer the comfy velour pads of the HD598s.

I'm not saying the HE-400 is a bad headphone, but for the price and purpose of the OP, I think they'll be happier with a sound card that supports environmental audio effects, Dolby Headphone, and offers a bit of amplification (which both the Xonar DG and Essence cards do) paired with less-expensive, more comfortable headphones.

Happy gaming,

Boz

Woah, woah. Bro. Planar headphones have the best mids in the business. You can buy velour pads for $10 from Hifiman-direct. Damn, I always get the HD600 and HD598 mixed up with the ohms. Anyways. The HE400 are heavy. But they do not NEED a amp to be very good. But will benefit from one. Anyways, you would regret getting the 598 over the HE400:P