Just purchased Sennheiser G4ME ZERO headphones. Sound quality isn't very good.

Benj14

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I would assume that I am missing something very obvious because Sennheiser are usually very good in terms of audio quality, however these sound very tinny and there is no depth at all. Would I need a sound card to run these headphones?

I have an ASRock Z77 Extreme4 ATX LGA1155 Motherboard, and I have tried plugging the headphones into the back of my computer and the front.

I am completely new to pretty much anything audio related and this is my first pair of expensive headphones. Yes, they are gaming headphones but I know they aren't supposed to sound this way.

What could be the problem? At the moment, my brothers £30 Skullcandy headphones are a hell of a lot better in terms of quality. That can't be right...
 

random stalker

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Well, well, well... Not quite - having a amp won't help much, since the source sucks.
Integrated audio is by far the worst way to 'enjoy' sound. Because, face it, there is no way in nine hells that a small chip /that costs several cents/ can be of same build quality as a dedicated sound card or an external dac /both worth about a 100 bucks/. Any component costs money and if you're building cheap crap, you will be skimping on everything extra. The result of that will kick in as distorted sound, no mids, flat bass, cut off highs, clarity drops /f.e. voices can be quite hard to follow, especially in old english movies, instruments are not punchy/...
As to have quote myself here: "as long as you use integrated audio, you won't hear a difference between decent and sub-par headphones."

But back to you, you have three options:
one - get an DAC+AMP - http://www.jdslabs.com/products/48/o2-odac-combo/
two - get a sound card that can power up your headphones - http://www.soundblaster.com/products/Sound-Blaster-X-Fi-Titanium-HD.aspx
three - use integrated on-board audio and 'enjoy' crappy sound.
 

YoHey

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Pfffft.... Errrmmmm... Do the reviews comply with your views? If not, they could be faulty or you may need a somewhat decent sound card.
 

Benj14

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The reviews would suggest that these headphones are great. I have only ever heard good things about sennheiser and I have some £20 Sennheiser earbuds that sound better than these at the moment!.
 

OriginalCadaver

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I have the exact same mobo and I get wonderful sound through my Polk Audio headset using the on-board sound. Have you checked your sound profile in the control panel?
 

random stalker

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well, as long as you use integrated audio, you won't hear a difference between decent and sub-par headphones. and yes integrated audio is bad, do not trust anyone who will tell otherwise.
my advice would be - get a decent sound card xonar /for movies, music and crap like that/ or sound blaster /for games/ and the difference will be heard. also, any headphones require some time to break in - 100 or so hours and after that time they will shine to their true potential :D
 

tiny voices

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No, you do not need a sound card. I own multiple $150+ headphones and there is little to no difference at all between the integrated audio on my board and a Soundblaster Z.

The integrated sound on that specific board in question is actually quite good.
 

sizzling

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Thought so, they are very high impedance 150ohm, it could well be you mobo audio amplifier is not up to driving them. Can you try then on another source and compare, ideally a proper amp.
 

kittle

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Try plugging the headphones into something other than your PC, and see what it sounds like. if it STILL sounds nasty, then you may need to send them back for replacement.

Also keep in mind that "sounds good" is VERY VERY subjective. What sounds good to a reviewer may not sound good to you, or may sound bad. And the sound you like may cause a reviewer to cringe. Its YOUR ears, so get something that you like to listen to.

Best option is to try listening to some of the headphones in store before you buy them.

lastly: +1 to what @niteOwl said -- high quality headphones (and speakers) need burn in time before they sound really nice.
 

tiny voices

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If you go to youtube and search PINK NOISE you can find a 10 hour video of it. Play that through the headphones at SLIGHTLY higher than normal listening volume (comfortable, but not loud) for like 4-5 10 hour sessions and they headphones will start to sound ALOT better.

Do this at night or during the day while you are gone. Once you get 40-50hours on them they will sound ALOT warmer. Also what model headphones do you have?
 

YoHey

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try them out on another device (phone, ipod etc) and see if you get the same results. If it is the same, then maybe your standards were too high or they are faulty, if they are better, it is a fault with your motherboard.
 

Benj14

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I tried the headphones with a television and also my iPhone, as I have nothing else to try it with. I maxed the volume on the phone/television and the headphones and it wasn't very loud, at all. I would tend to listen to my music louder than that which was possible with these headphones and for this reason I've returned them as faulty and requested a replacement.

I will test the replacements and hopefully they will work a lot better. I have read that to run these headphones properly you do need an amp. Other reviews also suggest that you may need a sound card. The headphones are 150ohm if that makes a difference?
 

Benj14

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I hope they were faulty. I cannot imagine they were anything but faulty, but certain reviews have led me to believe that these headphones have a dependancy on an amp/sound card. Anyhow, i'll have to test my replacements. I'll be sure to comment and let you know how I get on.

Cheers for all the help so far guys.
 

Benj14

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Right so I have a replacement pair and there is absolutely no difference, so I doubt it's the headphones at fault.
Estimated wattage of my computer is 366W and my Power Supply is SeaSonic 520W 80+ Bronze Certified Semi-Modular ATX Power Supply. Could that be a factor?

I'm currently looking at reviews etc and a few people suggest that you would need a soundcard to use these headphones. I don't know much about headphones, I just wanted to plug and play but meh.
 

OriginalCadaver

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Did you test these headphones on another device and get the same result? You mentioned earlier that you tried them on you TV and iphone and it didn't sound right. Have you done the same with this set?
 

Benj14

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Yeah i've tried the replacements with my iPhone and I would atleast expect a decent sound quality but it is quiet when set to max volume and it sounds flat and tinny.

 

Benj14

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I do indeed. Unless it's a fault batch on Amazon's part, I would assume that these headphones require an amp/soundcard. I'm going to ask somebody at work if i can borrow an amp just to test them and see if it makes a difference. Whether it will or not I don't know, but it's worth a try.
 
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