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Old 07-16-2009, 01:19 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Sound card specifically for headset?

On-board sound fails of course... so I'm looking for a sound card that is specifically for headset use... I'm probably not asking the right question, but do these exist? or should I be more concerned with something else?

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Old 07-16-2009, 09:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sound card specifically for headset?

I don't mind the newer onboard sound, to be honest. For general use it is really quite nice for something that comes included.

However, if you're in need of higher quality sound, there are a few affordable options out there. I don't know of any cards designed specifically for headset use, but I have used a couple cards that I know worked well with both speakers and headsets. - Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer 7.1 Channels 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface Sound Card - Sound Cards

This card is basically a stripped down X-Fi Titanium, but rest assured it has the same chipset. It replaced the Xtreme Music cards in the lineup since so many people used them to game they just renamed it. I used this card for a couple years until I got my current card for home studio recording.

A quote from the advertisement, "The card's audio processor, with help from Creative's CMSS-3D technology, is able to remix your stereo audio into surround sound—even through stereo headphones. This is ideal for playing first-person shooters so you can hear your enemies before it's too late. EAX Advanced HD technology further improves game audio tracks providing a more immersive experience."

I thought headsets sounded pretty great on this card, even when I was using cheapo 20 dollar sets.

Avoid "X-Fi Xtreme Audio" cards, as they don't have the same chipset as the higher end X-Fi's.

Years ago I used a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card and liked it quite a bit, but I can't comment on their current line-up.

My current card, if you're looking for home studio recording, is an M-Audio. - M-AUDIO Delta 1010LT 24-bit 96KHz PCI Interface 10-In-10-Out PCI Virtual Studio - Sound Cards

It really sounds great, both in and out. Games and music sound wonderful through my Altec Lansing 4.1 speakers that are 9 years old, and through my headphones (currently using relatively cheap 40 dollar pair for games). You might have problems with the input and output options, but if this is a route you'd like you take you can check out their full lineup for various options.

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Old 07-22-2009, 09:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sound card specifically for headset?

Originally Posted by up-smash View Post
On-board sound fails of course... so I'm looking for a sound card that is specifically for headset use... I'm probably not asking the right question, but do these exist? or should I be more concerned with something else?
There are audiophile sound cards with powerful headphone amplifiers able to drive high impedance headphones. It is bit of a mixed bag though as current generations of low impedance headphones are as good as high impedance headphones. So unless you have high impedance headphones and I mean 400 Ohm or more you do not really need a card specifically designed for that. Examples of such cards are Xonar Essence STX and Auzentech Forte. I am using Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card and it can drive my Beyerdynamic headphones (rated 250 Ohm) with no problems. To me it sounds better than listening through the headphone jack on my standalone CD player with the same headphones. As Thilly mentioned already the CMSS-3D is a great thing too
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Old 07-23-2009, 11:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Sound card specifically for headset?

I would suggest the Xonar Essence STX, even if you aren't using high impedance headphones.
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