Do I need a sound card?

Soldato
Joined
20 Mar 2004
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3,990
I got a pair of Sennheiser PC 38X for Christmas. I tried them today and I've noticed that with everything cranked up, volume control on the headphones and control panel in Windows, the sound is disappointly low.
I'm using the built in sound on my Asus motherboard.

I've just tried them through my HyperX USB and they sound ALOT louder, still not ear bleeding, but much better.

I'm assuming my motherboard sound is just too weedy to do the job.
Will a proper soundcard fix that?
How much would I need to spend?
Or should I just keep using my HyperX USB?
 
Soldato
Joined
6 Jun 2008
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Finland
Any Realtek should be able to drive such low impedance headphones to hearing dangerous in long term volumes.
But basing on earlier complaints Asus probably has some screwed up marketing hype BS implementations.
Might want to try to check Asus software in case of some headphone outptu settings there.

Separate sound card would easily drive those to very hearing dangerous dBs.
(£70 at B-stock Sound BlasterX G6 certainly)
That HyperX dongle is probably just standard level device.
They certainly won't sacrifice profit margins for any above that level hardware in those.
 
Soldato
Joined
19 Jun 2009
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3,493
Re motherboard audio, the issue is limited budget for the actual audio components. Say you spend £200 on a motherboard, I expect there will be $5-10 worth of audio components on that board.

Then compare above to an external DAC or sound card, much more of the actual budget is going into components to produce sound. This is why even a mid range sound card or DAC, should easy outperform motherboard audio.
 
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Associate
Joined
18 Sep 2012
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176
I've got a Sound Blaster Z which I find very good, especially for the money. Their software is pretty good as well, especially custom eq.

I use it with my Steelseries Arctis 5 headset, which I originally bought for USB connection before I got the SB. But now I use the 3.5mm in the SB card and the sound is excellent and I can't turn them up anywhere near max volume. When I come to replace the headset it will be with a lighter non USB kind though.
 
Associate
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the younger lot on the discord i use laugh at me because i have a soundcard in my PC. I've got a asus xonar dx2, i can hear the difference in quality if i use onboard. i know that's not what you were actually asking but.. :D
 
Associate
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18 Jul 2009
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Tividale, West Midlands
the younger lot on the discord i use laugh at me because i have a soundcard in my PC. I've got a asus xonar dx2, i can hear the difference in quality if i use onboard. i know that's not what you were actually asking but.. :D

I never touch onboard sound. I know its improved a lot, but a dedicated card for me is always best. I to own a Creative Sound blaster Z. It is a great card, but very red!
 
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