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Old 11th Nov 2012, 18:43   #1
PowerPie5000
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5.1 vs 7.1 Gaming Headset...

I'm looking for a reasonably priced gaming headset which must have surround sound... Is the difference between 5.1 and 7.1 very noticeable? Are there actually any games that make full use of 7.1 sound?

I don't really want to spend more than 80 and have mainly been looking at the Corsair Vengeance 1500, Roccat Kave 5.1 and Plantronics Gamecom 780 headsets. Does anyone know if the Chinese brand 'Somic' are any good? They certainly seem to offer a nice range of surround headsets .

Please feel free to recommend something, cheers
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 21:21   #2
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I'm not bothering with the Plantronics Gamecom 780 as i've just found out it's 'virtual' surround and not true surround . I'm looking for either a 5.1 or 7.1 'true' surround headset for no more than 80... Not bothered about branding as long as it's good quality (i'm not bothered about audiophile quality either, hence the reason i'm not spending 's on a headset ).
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 23:02   #3
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I had the Roccat Kaves before and they're pretty good, only thing I would say is that after a couple years of use the headband became weak and snapped...

I've since upgraded them to the Razer Tiamat Elite 7.1 headset... They're very good, but tbh so far (i've only had them a couple days though) I'm not sure I can really tell the difference between the 2 and in having 7.1 over 5.1.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 23:03   #4
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5.1 and 7.1 is a gimmick in headphones.

Please look into getting yourself a real pair.
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 23:37   #5
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Originally Posted by icehot666 View Post
I had the Roccat Kaves before and they're pretty good, only thing I would say is that after a couple years of use the headband became weak and snapped...

I've since upgraded them to the Razer Tiamat Elite 7.1 headset... They're very good, but tbh so far (i've only had them a couple days though) I'm not sure I can really tell the difference between the 2 and in having 7.1 over 5.1.
I'll probably end up getting the Corsair Vengeance 1500 headset... Reviews seem good and it's 7.1 (although there's probably no real difference over 5.1, but they're within my budget).


Quote:
Originally Posted by IronWarrior View Post
5.1 and 7.1 is a gimmick in headphones.

Please look into getting yourself a real pair.
I have a 'real' pair for listening to music (Sennheiser HD 600 ), and i personally don't think 5.1 (or 7.1) headsets are a gimmick when it comes to gaming... I borrowed a friends 5.1 headset a while back and was quite impressed (I think they were Tritton branded, i can remember them being white).

It's not a gimmick as long as they have well placed seperate speakers for each channel (none of this virtual surround rubbish) .
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Old 11th Nov 2012, 23:50   #6
melmac
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You have a pair of Senn HD 600 and are looking for another headset for gaming?

Are you using onboard audio to drive the HD600 while gaming or something? I know the HD 600 doesn't have the widest soundstage in the world, but combine with some of the "virtual" surrounds like dolby headphone or cmss3d it's positional audio should be as good as any of the 5.1 headsets and it should sound better too!!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 03:37   #7
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Originally Posted by melmac View Post
You have a pair of Senn HD 600 and are looking for another headset for gaming?

Are you using onboard audio to drive the HD600 while gaming or something? I know the HD 600 doesn't have the widest soundstage in the world, but combine with some of the "virtual" surrounds like dolby headphone or cmss3d it's positional audio should be as good as any of the 5.1 headsets and it should sound better too!!
I don't use my HD 600's with the PC (the onboard Realtek ALC892 won't do them any justice anyway)... I know i can use Dolby, CMSS3D or Rapture3D software to create 'virtual' surround sound, but it's just not the same as true surround using seperate channels and multiple speakers in the headset. The HD 600's are fantastic when it comes to music, but i'm pretty sure they're not designed for gaming or positional audio.

Is it best to get a USB headset (i think they have a built-in sound chip) or one that connects to the seperate audio outputs (front, rear, center etc...) on my motherboard?
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 12:08   #8
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Well, you made your mind up, but, a good stereo headset should give just as good positional audio as any 5.1 headsets. Actually they will give better positional audio.

Plug in your HD600's into your PC and go listen to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmL-YRxC6Y8&hd=1

IF I was you I would buy a sound card that can drive those headphones. The new creative Z is in your budget of 80 and has a 600Ohm headphone amp, so will open up those HD600's a lot :-) Buy it, try it out and return it under DSR if you aren't happy.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 15:30   #9
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Originally Posted by melmac View Post
Well, you made your mind up, but, a good stereo headset should give just as good positional audio as any 5.1 headsets. Actually they will give better positional audio.

Plug in your HD600's into your PC and go listen to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmL-YRxC6Y8&hd=1.
I'm not sure how a stereo headset could possibly give better positional/surround audio than one with dedicated speakers for each channel? I must admit that Youtube link sounded brilliant as far as Youtube quality goes (it did have a slight echo and the rear sound was slightly weak - but maybe it's just me).


Quote:
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IF I was you I would buy a sound card that can drive those headphones. The new creative Z is in your budget of 80 and has a 600Ohm headphone amp, so will open up those HD600's a lot :-) Buy it, try it out and return it under DSR if you aren't happy.
I think i'd prefer the X-Fi Titanium or a decent Xonar card over anything that uses the Sound Core3D chip... I used to have an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude a few years ago, but i ended up selling it as i never really listen to music on my PC and the Windows 7 x64 drivers at the time were a bit shoddy for gaming (i got it cheap anyway as it was used and actually made a small profit by selling it on ebay ).

The onboard Realtek ALC892 (7.1 THX certified) does an admirable job when it comes to gaming, albeit i'm using an average pair of Creative Gigaworks T20 speakers (which are still quite good for their size)... I'll look into getting another dedicated sound card if i have space next to the massive GPU in my Micro-ATX gaming rig!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 17:00   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PowerPie5000 View Post
I'm not sure how a stereo headset could possibly give better positional/surround audio than one with dedicated speakers for each channel? I must admit that Youtube link sounded brilliant as far as Youtube quality goes (it did have a slight echo and the rear sound was slightly weak - but maybe it's just me).




I think i'd prefer the X-Fi Titanium or a decent Xonar card over anything that uses the Sound Core3D chip... I used to have an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude a few years ago, but i ended up selling it as i never really listen to music on my PC and the Windows 7 x64 drivers at the time were a bit shoddy for gaming (i got it cheap anyway as it was used and actually made a small profit by selling it on ebay ).

The onboard Realtek ALC892 (7.1 THX certified) does an admirable job when it comes to gaming, albeit i'm using an average pair of Creative Gigaworks T20 speakers (which are still quite good for their size)... I'll look into getting another dedicated sound card if i have space next to the massive GPU in my Micro-ATX gaming rig!
Do you have a headphone amp with an optical input? Or how are you listening to music on the HD 600's?

IF you do have an optical input on the headphone amp, then connect your PC to the amp using optical and try that demo again. It sounds weak because the computers onboard audio can't drive those headphones right at all.

Basically, you have only 2 ears, your brain works out distance based on stereo. HEadphones with a good soundstage will be as good or better than any 5.1 headset. Some people would even go further and say if you have a great pair of stereo headphones than you don't even need any virtual surround like cmss3d or dolby headphone.

Well, about the sound card, don't base the Z on the recon3d, they are two entirely different animals. The Z sounds a lot better than the Titanium according to a user on another forum who compared the two. And I know that the positional audio on the Z is a better than the dolby headphone on the Asus DG and the cmss3d on the creative xifi fatality.

I moved from the same realtek alc892 chip as you have to the Xonar DG. Didn't realise how bad the sound was until I changed.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 17:10   #11
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Oh, sorry you mentioned the Corsair vengance 1500 earlier in the thread. I am not 100% sure, but I think it uses virtual sound through it's USB card? Not sure if it has the true surround sound you are looking for. I think the Roccat Kave might be what you are looking for though.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 17:41   #12
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I don't think USB has anything to do with real or virtual surround (i could be wrong though?). If i get another sound card then it'll have to be PCI as my GPU is blocking the small PCIe x1 slot and i don't want to use the other full sized PCIe x16 slot (otherwise it will reduce my GPU's PCIe slot to x8)... I don't think there's any difference between PCIe and PCI when it comes to sound cards anyway.

The HD 600's do sound great on my PC, but unfortunately they don't have a mic (i prefer the mic to be attached to the headset).

What PCI card would you recommend?
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 17:51   #13
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The corsair 1500 is a usb headset. It has a sound card that provides the audio to the headphones. I think it uses virtual surround. Maybe someone who has one can correct me :-)

You are right, there are no differences between pci and pci-e. Just that pci cards are starting to get a bit thin on the ground!!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 18:13   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melmac View Post
Well, you made your mind up, but, a good stereo headset should give just as good positional audio as any 5.1 headsets. Actually they will give better positional audio.

Plug in your HD600's into your PC and go listen to this

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmL-YRxC6Y8&hd=1

IF I was you I would buy a sound card that can drive those headphones. The new creative Z is in your budget of 80 and has a 600Ohm headphone amp, so will open up those HD600's a lot :-) Buy it, try it out and return it under DSR if you aren't happy.
Just heard that youtube video, wow, amazing. Got me listening to more vids, this is another with some good 360 degree moving sounds and also includes the above barber shop experience.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPTa...eature=related


Based on melmacs advice I'm going to try gaming in stereo and leave my 5.1 Tritons aside (which I think sound great BTW) and hear the difference. Obviously this means setting games to run in stereo rather than 5.1.

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Old 12th Nov 2012, 18:49   #15
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Yeah, that demo really does sound amazing. I will give your link a listen to later on, currently listening to some tunes, don't want to ruin my ambience :-)

what headphones do you have Herman? And what sound card? I set all games to 5.1 and set the windows control panel to 5.1 as well. I only change to headphone my creative z control panel.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 18:56   #16
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No fancy headphones here, just good old in ear sennheiser cx300II. Also on board sound on my mobo - very basic I know!

If you use stereo headphones then why do you still set your games & windows to 5.1? Presumably that would output sound to each analogue output and you will miss out on non-stereo sounds (ie rear, centre, subwoofer), or have I misunderstood something?

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Old 12th Nov 2012, 19:44   #17
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I think you are in for a disappointment Not sure how good the sound stage is on those headphones. hehe sorry a funny analogy just crossed my mind there. I have just convinced a man of the advantages of mobile phones but he has only access to two cans on a piece of string

PLease try out a few games, try setting the sound to headphone out and then try setting to 5.1 and see which gives you the best result. Don't set the game to stereo, set it to headphones or 5.1.

But as I said, the headphones aren't the best. Your tritons will probably sound way better!!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 20:50   #18
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Ok, if i get the Roccat Kave headset then i'll need a splitter so that i don't have to keep swapping speaker and headset cables . Do all Xonar cards have a header for front panel audio? Also, do all Xonar cards support 'Dolby Headphone' incase i decide to use my HD 600's? There seem to be many variants with different features!

Cheers!
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 21:09   #19
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yeah, it's a confusing mess sometimes!! Not all xonar cards have the front panel audio connector, the DG is the only one under 100 with a headphone amp and it has a front panel connector too.

It's a pain switching between speakers and headphone all right, it's part of the reason I went for the creative Z. But, for you, I think you need to decide if you want to go with the senns and a sound card or to get a 5.1 headset? I think you are too focused on this "true" 5.1 surround thing.

Going with a USB headset might be the simplest and easiest thing for you to do, so maybe your choice of the Corsair vengance 1500 is the right one. You could leave these plugged in and use your speakers as well. Since you don't listen to music on your computer audio quality isn't as much of a problem. And you will probably more than happy with this.

Of course there is another option :-) Just keeping you on your toes!! Get the Xonar DG and an external headphone amp which has an optical input. That's why I was asking what you were using to drive the HD600s. You can output the dolby headphone through the spdif to the external amp. This option means you can leave speakers and headphones plugged in at the same time.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 21:50   #20
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yeah, it's a confusing mess sometimes!! Not all xonar cards have the front panel audio connector, the DG is the only one under 100 with a headphone amp and it has a front panel connector too.

It's a pain switching between speakers and headphone all right, it's part of the reason I went for the creative Z. But, for you, I think you need to decide if you want to go with the senns and a sound card or to get a 5.1 headset? I think you are too focused on this "true" 5.1 surround thing.

Going with a USB headset might be the simplest and easiest thing for you to do, so maybe your choice of the Corsair vengance 1500 is the right one. You could leave these plugged in and use your speakers as well. Since you don't listen to music on your computer audio quality isn't as much of a problem. And you will probably more than happy with this.

Of course there is another option :-) Just keeping you on your toes!! Get the Xonar DG and an external headphone amp which has an optical input. That's why I was asking what you were using to drive the HD600s. You can output the dolby headphone through the spdif to the external amp. This option means you can leave speakers and headphones plugged in at the same time.
I use my HD 600's with my Denon setup (which does have optical)... But it's downstairs and my gaming PC is upstairs! Do you think the cheap Xonar DG will be a noticeable improvement over the onboard Realtek ALC892? It's seems a good price and like you said, it has both a headphone amp and front panel connector. It also supports 'Dolby Headphone' which does seem better than i initially thought... I'll just have to put up with a clip-on mic .

Is there anyway to get a Dolby Headphone utility so that i can properly test it with my onboard audio? Or does it come as part of the Xonar driver package?
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 22:03   #21
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I think you are in for a disappointment Not sure how good the sound stage is on those headphones. hehe sorry a funny analogy just crossed my mind there. I have just convinced a man of the advantages of mobile phones but he has only access to two cans on a piece of string

PLease try out a few games, try setting the sound to headphone out and then try setting to 5.1 and see which gives you the best result. Don't set the game to stereo, set it to headphones or 5.1.

But as I said, the headphones aren't the best. Your tritons will probably sound way better!!
Tried Bioshock a short while ago, love the sound on that. Set to stereo and not 5.1 though with windows also on stereo. Sounds good to me, not sure which I prefer out of them and the Tritons TBH, need to do a direct comparison.
Not sure why you would set to 5.1 when only the stereo jack is being used with stereo headphones, can you elaborate on this please?

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Old 12th Nov 2012, 22:15   #22
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I use my HD 600's with my Denon setup (which does have optical)... But it's downstairs and my gaming PC is upstairs! Do you think the cheap Xonar DG will be a noticeable improvement over the onboard Realtek ALC892? It's seems a good price and like you said, it has both a headphone amp and front panel connector. It also supports 'Dolby Headphone' which does seem better than i initially thought... I'll just have to put up with a clip-on mic .

Is there anyway to get a Dolby Headphone utility so that i can properly test it with my onboard audio? Or does it come as part of the Xonar driver package?
haha I can see the problem there right away Damn stairs!! For me there was quite a jump between the onboard and the ASus DG.

Not sure if there is any way to test it without getting the card, its part of software licensed by Xonar.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 22:23   #23
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Tried Bioshock a short while ago, love the sound on that. Set to stereo and not 5.1 though with windows also on stereo. Sounds good to me, not sure which I prefer out of them and the Tritons TBH, need to do a direct comparison.
Not sure why you would set to 5.1 when only the stereo jack is being used with stereo headphones, can you elaborate on this please?
Some people say the surround effects are better when you enable 5.1 in game while using headphones. It used to be a requirement for cmss3d.

Does your onboard audio have the capability to switch to headphone mode? IF it does, then you should set it to headphone, set windows to 5.1 and in game to 5.1 and test that to see if you like it.
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Old 12th Nov 2012, 23:49   #24
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I would stay away from the Roccat Kave personally, while I think they sound great in games (had a pair myself and so did my partner) they have a fatal design flaw with the headband that will give you headaches over time (I believe the weight is the problem as they are pretty heavy), I even tried putting stuff around the headband to create more padding but that didn't help. Such a shame as I did love them and they were still great for music paired with a Xonar card. There's probably better 5.1 alternatives but I just put them in the cupboard and bought 2x Logitech g930's and had done with it - shame as the Xonar card is practicly new and unused.
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Old 13th Nov 2012, 16:01   #25
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I would stay away from the Roccat Kave personally, while I think they sound great in games (had a pair myself and so did my partner) they have a fatal design flaw with the headband that will give you headaches over time (I believe the weight is the problem as they are pretty heavy), I even tried putting stuff around the headband to create more padding but that didn't help. Such a shame as I did love them and they were still great for music paired with a Xonar card. There's probably better 5.1 alternatives but I just put them in the cupboard and bought 2x Logitech g930's and had done with it - shame as the Xonar card is practicly new and unused.

I'm thinking maybe i should just use my Sennhesier HD 600's (and a some sort of clip-on mic) along with the Xonar dolby headphone virtual surround support. The Xonar DG fits the bill for me as it's got a heaphone amp, front panel audio connector, Dolby headphone support and auto jack sensing... I'm sure it will sound ok with my speakers too .

Is virtual surround through a decent pair of headphones the way to go?
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Old 13th Nov 2012, 16:14   #26
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I'm thinking maybe i should just use my Sennhesier HD 600's (and a some sort of clip-on mic) along with the Xonar dolby headphone virtual surround support. The Xonar DG fits the bill for me as it's got a heaphone amp, front panel audio connector, Dolby headphone support and auto jack sensing... I'm sure it will sound ok with my speakers too .

Is virtual surround through a decent pair of headphones the way to go?
Having read through this thread it it is good to see you have seen the light. Use your 600's with a Xonar DG and a decent clip-on, like a Speedlink SPES.

I guarantee it will be better than any 5.1 / 7.1 headset built with crappy parts and will save you a lot of money.

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Old 13th Nov 2012, 18:46   #27
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I'm thinking maybe i should just use my Sennhesier HD 600's (and a some sort of clip-on mic) along with the Xonar dolby headphone virtual surround support. The Xonar DG fits the bill for me as it's got a heaphone amp, front panel audio connector, Dolby headphone support and auto jack sensing... I'm sure it will sound ok with my speakers too .

Is virtual surround through a decent pair of headphones the way to go?
I think that's a good choice. It would seem like a waste of money to me to purchase another pair of headphones when you already have a decent cans in the HD 600.

Some would say that in most games now you don't need virtual sound anymore if you have a good pair of headphones with a large soundstage. Now the HD 600's are an awesome pair of headphones, but they haven't the largest sound stage so the virtual surround should help. Try it both ways and see
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 22:35   #28
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Some people say the surround effects are better when you enable 5.1 in game while using headphones. It used to be a requirement for cmss3d.

Does your onboard audio have the capability to switch to headphone mode? IF it does, then you should set it to headphone, set windows to 5.1 and in game to 5.1 and test that to see if you like it.
Not sure about that option re onboard, but will look into it. Tbh I've been wanting to invest in a dedicated sound card as from what I've read the clarity is much improved.
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Old 14th Nov 2012, 23:20   #29
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you might try a xonar DG or DGX, a great card for the price. And might give you a good insight into what you might expect from a more expensive card.
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Old 21st Nov 2012, 20:37   #30
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you might try a xonar DG or DGX, a great card for the price. And might give you a good insight into what you might expect from a more expensive card.
Forgot about this thread . I bought a Xonar DG in the end and it's a big improvement when using headphones . It also sounds noticeably better with speakers too (there was too much bass with the Realtek and the highs weren't as clear).

Do Asus actually still support the DG? The drivers on their website are dated sometime last year whilst the DGX (same card with PCIe connector instead) has newer drivers dated sometime this year... The card is still being sold and seems quite popular, so why are the drivers so old? The ports on this thing are quite tight too! And i find it strange how it has front left/right, center/sub and side speaker ports, but no mention of rear speaker ports (unless they go in the side speaker port?).

EDIT: i've noticed the default sample rate on the Xonar DG is 96Khz... Isn't it best to use 44.1Khz or 48Khz for gaming?
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