Headphone + Soundcard combo suggestions and some help

Mar 14, 2018
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Alright so I've been through Corsair, logitech and steelseries headsets and have confirmed that "gaming headsets" are complete and utter junk.

Basically I'm DONE with gaming headsets and I'd like to try a soundcard/audiophile headset combo.

+I want a great 3D soundscape experience for gaming.

This is pretty much all I'm after. Digital (simulated) surround sound.

I dont know what else I need. Help me. I don't know jack about soundcards. And I don't want waste any more time experimenting, their returns department is going to put me on a list haha.

I've got 250$ to spend on this.

Asus Z97 motherboard.
windows 7

 

anort3

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Moderator
Soundcard - $92. It's a gaming card and has all the bells and whistles including Sonic Radar. It will also drive pretty much any headphones.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/LmkwrH/asus-sound-card-strixsoar

Headphones. Here's where it gets harder. There are a bunch of good choices.

HD 598 SR. I own the original 598s and these are only different in color and a slightly revised, more comfortable headband. Great soundstage and plenty of detail. Not much bass. The 'go to' gaming recommendation for many people.

https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-598-SR-Open-Back/dp/B06WRMZZ45/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1

HD 599. A newer model I haven't heard. Well reviewed and very similar to the 598 but adds a little bass.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L1IICR2/ref=psdc_172541_t1_B06WRMZZ45

Completely different than the more neutral Sennheisers is the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. Very 'bright' and exciting. A V shaped sound signature with boosted highs and lows. Some people can find them fatiguing due to the bright highs.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0011UB9CQ/ref=psdc_9059092011_t1_B00193FT26

Then a little cheaper but also VERY well reviewed are the Philips SHP9500S. These are generally favorably compared to the ( ~$300 ) Sennheiser HD 600s. Lots of detail. More neutral like the Sennheisers.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENMK1DW/ref=psdc_12097479011_t1_B009S332TQ

Start there and read and watch some reviews.

Edit: Should add that the Sennheisers are completely modular and you can replace every part of them. That's a plus. I replaced the ear pads on my 598s after using them for a few years and they're like new again.
 

anort3

Distinguished
Moderator
Soundcard - $92. It's a gaming card and has all the bells and whistles including Sonic Radar. It will also drive pretty much any headphones.

https://pcpartpicker.com/product/LmkwrH/asus-sound-card-strixsoar

Headphones. Here's where it gets harder. There are a bunch of good choices.

HD 598 SR. I own the original 598s and these are only different in color and a slightly revised, more comfortable headband. Great soundstage and plenty of detail. Not much bass. The 'go to' gaming recommendation for many people.

https://www.amazon.com/Sennheiser-HD-598-SR-Open-Back/dp/B06WRMZZ45/ref=dp_ob_title_ce?th=1

HD 599. A newer model I haven't heard. Well reviewed and very similar to the 598 but adds a little bass.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01L1IICR2/ref=psdc_172541_t1_B06WRMZZ45

Completely different than the more neutral Sennheisers is the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO. Very 'bright' and exciting. A V shaped sound signature with boosted highs and lows. Some people can find them fatiguing due to the bright highs.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0011UB9CQ/ref=psdc_9059092011_t1_B00193FT26

Then a little cheaper but also VERY well reviewed are the Philips SHP9500S. These are generally favorably compared to the ( ~$300 ) Sennheiser HD 600s. Lots of detail. More neutral like the Sennheisers.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENMK1DW/ref=psdc_12097479011_t1_B009S332TQ

Start there and read and watch some reviews.

Edit: Should add that the Sennheisers are completely modular and you can replace every part of them. That's a plus. I replaced the ear pads on my 598s after using them for a few years and they're like new again.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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Thank you very much my friend. I decided on that overkill soundcard. I guess when I plug in some quality headphones it wont seem like overkill anymore hahaha. It just sucks knowing that I will never use 6 of those 7 jacks.

Whats the difference between closed back and open back on those Sennheiser's?
 

anort3

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Open back have a larger, more open soundstage. Closed back is better if you need isolation. I haven't heard the 598C but they're still very good from everything I've read.

There's not a cheaper card with that many features. You can always look at Creative cards but after using them all through the 2000s I swore I'd never buy another one. I hate their drivers. I've had an Asus Xonar STX for close to 7 years and it's been trouble free in addition to sounding amazing.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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Well after thoroughly checking out all of the headphones I went with HD 598 SR's. They just seem so skookum. That branding and everything is all about quality and I'm a big fan of "buy it nice or buy it twice". I can't wait to try out this combo. I was a little over what I wanted to spend but thinking about how long these will last me, and not to mention being able to just pop the soundcard into whatever else I build down the line It felt like a good future-proof investment for sure. Thanks again anort3
 
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