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USB soundcard recommendations please

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by david25, 12 Sep 2021.

  1. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    Hello, thanks for the recent cable help.

    I'm now looking for an external USB soundcard
    • Budget 50-150
    • Happy to look at a DAC but must have mic input
    • Good stable driver support, Creative reviews on Amazon are all over the place
    • It will be driving headphones/headset under £100
    Overall, looking for something better than onboard RealTek ALC897.

    Thank you
     
  2. Guest2

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 May 2009

    Posts: 17,309

  3. Jenz

    Gangster

    Joined: 14 Aug 2005

    Posts: 295

    Location: Near Milton Keynes

    Other consideration is a Schiit Fulla 3 but finding one is hard. Schiit Fulla 3
     
  4. Guest2

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 May 2009

    Posts: 17,309

    I also had these on my list, but went with Soundblaster when it was on B grade

    Fiio K5 Pro
    iFi Zen DAC
    Sennheiser gsx 1000
     
  5. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    Many thanks for the suggestions!

    Time to do some research.
     
  6. EsaT

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 Jun 2008

    Posts: 10,501

    Location: Finland

    Definitely entirely whacked up prioritities, if some expensive "DAC" is used with cheap propably gamer headphones.
     
  7. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    Sorry, I just mentioned 50-150 as a guideline to give experts on here some flexibility in their recommendations. Of course if I buy something over 100, then I can consider better headphones to match!
     
  8. EsaT

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 Jun 2008

    Posts: 10,501

    Location: Finland

    What the usage?

    That affects lot to what you need.
    For gaming sound card has usefull extra features over DAC especially for headphone use.


    In headphones feature/"performance" variation is even greater:
    For start there's difference between closed and open headphone design.
    Closed design is mandatory for isolating environment's noises and great for lowest "rumbling" bass immersion.
    But otherwise it's harder to balance and isolates also heat more increasing risk of ears sweating.
    Open design allows more easy balancing of sound for "open" sound and with fabric/velour pads isolates the least heat.
    But it just doesn't block any noises and you'll basically hear things completely unmuffled through it.
    (for example noisy mechanical keyboard...)​
    Then there's the tuning/sound signature.
    If purpose is balanced/normal gaming you'll likely want some above neutral bass for good "fun factor".
    Again for pure max competitiviness in say fps gaming you'll want at most neutral bass, without much of that fun.​
    Also headphones tuned for so called "warm" sound in music aren't front contenders for gaming, because of rolled off treble hinders spatial and other details.

    Not that much above £100 actually gets some very good headphones for gaming from actual audio makers.
    Compared to what we gamers have to pay for graphics cards sound cards and headphones are really semi free for their usage life...
     
  9. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    Usage is Skype, Zoom, Youtube, compressed music and images of 44Khz CDs
     
  10. Guest2

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 May 2009

    Posts: 17,309

    Do you need / want sound isolation?
    This will dictate open/closed

    Do you need / want wireless or happy with wired headphones?
     
  11. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    I'm happy with open wired headphones, currently using semi-closed ones, Sennheiser Century SC 665 https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B078GN8NWP/
     
  12. Guest2

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 May 2009

    Posts: 17,309

    So already have a £146 headset.

    To answer your original question the Creative G6 meets all these points.

    I'm now looking for an external USB soundcard
    • Budget 50-150
    • Happy to look at a DAC but must have mic input
    • Good stable driver support, Creative reviews on Amazon are all over the place
    • It will be driving headphones/headset under £100

    It does not have USB inputs
     
  13. david25

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,031

    That's OK, this headset is dual use, the 3.5mm jack plugs into an optional USB cable. I am guessing a proper USB device will have better sound compared to the electronics built into the volume control.
     
    Last edited: 17 Sep 2021 at 18:51
  14. Guest2

    Capodecina

    Joined: 6 May 2009

    Posts: 17,309

    Can't say im up to scratch with USB devices, i'm sure there are some good ones now.

    Whenever I look at what I call 'professional' headphones and mics, they are never USB. Don't think Neumann sell USB mics
    Personally I use a 3.5mm V-Moda Boompro Mic connected into some Beyerdynamic headphones