Question on PC audio, hope this is the right place.


Jun 27, 2013
I couldn't find a specific place for PC based audio - so I hope this is the right place, if it's not please direct me to where I should be looking.

I've got a Soundblaster Z in my computer, with an Astro Mixamp plugged into it, and a pair of Sennheiser HD 598's.

My questions are:
1. Is the MixAmp lugged into the soundcard redundant, and am I throttling my overall power? It seems like I get better sound plugged directly into the sound card.
2. What would you rate these head phones?
3. If this were your system, what would you do?
4. If there are better headphones out there for overall sound clarity with regards to gaming and music, what would you recommend?

1. i've never used the astro mixamp but as far as i can tell its a mini amplifier which gives options for tuning sound to be more game or more voice oriented. you are correct that it is redundant in a way. you might get more output using the mixamp than not however you might be throttling some sounds when you turn the game/voice knob. generally i'd say a fiio desk amp, headphone amp or soundcard with 1/4 amped headphone jack is a better choice.

2. they look to be decent middle level headphones. from what i've read they arent sound isolating meaning you will miss some sound quality and they arent very bassy. better than low end headphones but not the best.

3. depends on the budget. since those headphones dont absolutely require an amp i would likely drop the mixamp since i dont need the silly features it boasts. if i wanted an amp i would get a quality desktop headphone amp, fiio desktop or a soundcard with a 1/4 jack. if i wanted some better speakers i would get something like the audiotechnica ath-m50s which are a closed design. much more bass and you can hear better sound (in my opinion) over open style sets. its hard to say that one is better than the other (though the m50s are considered the best under $300 by many). i think just being closed vs open has alot to do with it. the open designs let air flow so they are cooler though.

4. audiotechnica ath-m50s. its what i personally use. if i am on my desktop i plug them into an amp (actually a receiver front headphone jack... but it is essentially an amp) and when i'm on the go i just plug them directly into the device be it a laptop, mp3 player, phone etc. closed designs are noise isolating which means you are in your own little world and they shut out everything else. much more immersive. they do get a bit hot (you may want to take them off and take a break once in awhile if its hot out) but i think the noise isolation is well worth it. i prefer isolation+bass over coolness+hearing people talk when i have my headphones on and being able to hear them without taking them off. my personal choice.

anyways... just my opinion.