The Sound Card + Wireless Heaphones Dilema!

JuLGzFz

Honorable
Jun 21, 2013
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Hello from Spain!

tl;dr
Headset: Sound Blaster 3D Rage Wireless headset (USB conexion to MOBO)
Sound Card: Sound Blaster Z

Questions:
Will they work together just fine, or does the headset need to be connected to the Sound Card directly by cable, in order to work? (Bare in mind this headset has no Jack/Mini-Jack output)

Are there any options to have a dedicated Sound Card + Wireless Headphones?

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I'm a PC gamer that enjoys having the best possible sound.

I bought 1 year ago the Creative Sound Blaster 3D Rage Wireless headset. Not bad, not great either.

Santa was kind enough to gift me the Sound Blaster Creative Z dedicated sound card.

I'm afraid my technical knowledge is close to non-existant, and this is why I really need someone to clear things up for me.

The wireless headset is connected, trough USB, to my MSI Z97 Gaming 5 MOBO.
This means the Sound Card is doing nothing, since the headset is not plugged to it?

If I decide to give my headset a rest, the same problem applies to my Monitor right?. Since my MX279H Monitor is currently connected to my GPU via HDMI, this means the Sound Card is doing nothing?

Your help is very much appreciated!
 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
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First off I meant to say an external USB DAC not Jack. I updated my post to correct this.

Here goes computer audio 101. Get ready for the lesson.

In the past there was no computer sound. So Creative Labs came out with the Soundblaster. It was the beginning of CD's, Computer sound, and interactive CD-ROM encyclopedias. Soundblaster ruled for many many years. But in the end their software drivers where so rubish people grew to hate creative labs to the point they are non existent today. Then motherboards began to have onboard sound, but the quality was not good so many people still used soundcards for higher quality sound. Today motherboards come with high quality sound and onboard headphone amps so people rarely use a soundcard. In the past the onboard sound used to use CPU resources so people would get a soundcard to speed up their computer. Today the CPUs are so fast we don't care. Hense the death of the soundcard today.

Today when it comed to computer audio you have 2 choices. Regular headphones plugged into the onboard sound (or soundcard), or a USB headset. The USB headsets have their own little soundcard built into the headset or a little external box. This box simulates surround sound and sounds guite good for games. The problem is they are very expensive easily costing $150-200 and you're paying for the soundcard and electronics. And once those electronics die, or you can't get drivers anymore, it's game over. $200 down the drain. But they sound good and some sets even have 3 speakers in each ear for true surround sound. Great for gaming, not as good for music.

Now another solution is to take that same $150 and instead of buying a USB headset is to buy a pair of headphones. That $150 is paying for quality headphones, not some gimmicky USB soundcard and plastic gaming headset. You'll get quality headphones that are comfortable and can be repaired. You can buy a pair with a removable cable that just plugs into the headphones so it's easily replaced for $10. the same stuff they use in pro studios. Some manufacturers are Seinheisser, AKG, Grado, Shure, etc... Bose and Beats are just gimicky and overpriced. They sound alright but are overpriced and more of a fashion statement.

Of the 2 solutions I prefer to skip the $200 USB headset that is lucky to last 2 years and go for a good pair of headphones that will last forever. Then I can also use them for my stereo, cell phone, guitar, etc... You can buy headphones in either an open back or closed back design. Open back gives better bass but you will hear people around you talking and they will hear the music coming from the headphones. Not good for an office or airplane. Closed back is not as good bass, but they are sealed and quiet. Most people choose closed back. Headphones also come in a certain impedance in the range of 32 to 600 ohms or so. The smaller the impedance the easier it is to push the headphones. 600 ohms is hard to push and will be quieter. From the weak amplifier on the computer, 32ohms would be better.

Some motherboards and soundcards come with an onboard headphone amplifier that will easily push 600ohm headphones with lots of volume. It will sound great. And the software will allow you to simulate surround sound for gaming just like any USB headset. This is the way to go for gaming. You can also get an external DAC (digital to analog converter). Hook it to your computer through USB, then the box converts your audio to analogue and gives you a high end headphone amp. This is the ultimate solution.

https://emotiva.com/products/dacs/dacs/little-ego This is one solution that is inexpensive.

The external DAC can also be used for your gaming console, TV, blueray player, media player, etc... And it allows speakers and headphones to be connnected at the same time. It's much more versatile than simply a computer soundcard.

For wireless just replace the headphones with a wireless pair. It's the same thing. Headphones lack the microphone that a USB headset has. So you can just use the microphone built into your webcam, or buy a high quality USB microphone from YETI. A headset mic has no comparison to a YETI. YETI is the pro mic used by many online podcasts and radio stations and a basic model is under $100.

If price is an issue with all of this, then consider wired headphones which are much cheaper than wireless, and use the saving for a mic, DAC, or soundcard with headphone amp. Asus makes some nice soundcards nowadays, although I think I'd go for an Emotiva myself and bypass the computer audio.

 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
0
18,760
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That headset is USB - AKA no soundcard required.

In order to use your soundcard you need regular headphones with a 1/4" or 3.5mm plug. You could also get an external USB DAC for a headphone amp and bypass your computers soundcard altogether. This would be the best solution.

Just pickup a pair of wireless headphones. As for the mic just get an external USB computer mic. A yeti would be the best solution.
 

JuLGzFz

Honorable
Jun 21, 2013
7
0
10,520
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Thanks for your answer Gonzo

I understand my current Headset and Sound Cards are not compatible then, oh well...

Regarding the external USV jack and headphone amp, this solution just goes over my head, not sure how that will help me achive my end goal.

Sorry to ask so much from you, but if I wanted high quality wireless (headset) sound for my PC (gaming), what is the best option?

Thanks again!

 

gondo

Distinguished
Apr 20, 2004
165
0
18,760
46
First off I meant to say an external USB DAC not Jack. I updated my post to correct this.

Here goes computer audio 101. Get ready for the lesson.

In the past there was no computer sound. So Creative Labs came out with the Soundblaster. It was the beginning of CD's, Computer sound, and interactive CD-ROM encyclopedias. Soundblaster ruled for many many years. But in the end their software drivers where so rubish people grew to hate creative labs to the point they are non existent today. Then motherboards began to have onboard sound, but the quality was not good so many people still used soundcards for higher quality sound. Today motherboards come with high quality sound and onboard headphone amps so people rarely use a soundcard. In the past the onboard sound used to use CPU resources so people would get a soundcard to speed up their computer. Today the CPUs are so fast we don't care. Hense the death of the soundcard today.

Today when it comed to computer audio you have 2 choices. Regular headphones plugged into the onboard sound (or soundcard), or a USB headset. The USB headsets have their own little soundcard built into the headset or a little external box. This box simulates surround sound and sounds guite good for games. The problem is they are very expensive easily costing $150-200 and you're paying for the soundcard and electronics. And once those electronics die, or you can't get drivers anymore, it's game over. $200 down the drain. But they sound good and some sets even have 3 speakers in each ear for true surround sound. Great for gaming, not as good for music.

Now another solution is to take that same $150 and instead of buying a USB headset is to buy a pair of headphones. That $150 is paying for quality headphones, not some gimmicky USB soundcard and plastic gaming headset. You'll get quality headphones that are comfortable and can be repaired. You can buy a pair with a removable cable that just plugs into the headphones so it's easily replaced for $10. the same stuff they use in pro studios. Some manufacturers are Seinheisser, AKG, Grado, Shure, etc... Bose and Beats are just gimicky and overpriced. They sound alright but are overpriced and more of a fashion statement.

Of the 2 solutions I prefer to skip the $200 USB headset that is lucky to last 2 years and go for a good pair of headphones that will last forever. Then I can also use them for my stereo, cell phone, guitar, etc... You can buy headphones in either an open back or closed back design. Open back gives better bass but you will hear people around you talking and they will hear the music coming from the headphones. Not good for an office or airplane. Closed back is not as good bass, but they are sealed and quiet. Most people choose closed back. Headphones also come in a certain impedance in the range of 32 to 600 ohms or so. The smaller the impedance the easier it is to push the headphones. 600 ohms is hard to push and will be quieter. From the weak amplifier on the computer, 32ohms would be better.

Some motherboards and soundcards come with an onboard headphone amplifier that will easily push 600ohm headphones with lots of volume. It will sound great. And the software will allow you to simulate surround sound for gaming just like any USB headset. This is the way to go for gaming. You can also get an external DAC (digital to analog converter). Hook it to your computer through USB, then the box converts your audio to analogue and gives you a high end headphone amp. This is the ultimate solution.

https://emotiva.com/products/dacs/dacs/little-ego This is one solution that is inexpensive.

The external DAC can also be used for your gaming console, TV, blueray player, media player, etc... And it allows speakers and headphones to be connnected at the same time. It's much more versatile than simply a computer soundcard.

For wireless just replace the headphones with a wireless pair. It's the same thing. Headphones lack the microphone that a USB headset has. So you can just use the microphone built into your webcam, or buy a high quality USB microphone from YETI. A headset mic has no comparison to a YETI. YETI is the pro mic used by many online podcasts and radio stations and a basic model is under $100.

If price is an issue with all of this, then consider wired headphones which are much cheaper than wireless, and use the saving for a mic, DAC, or soundcard with headphone amp. Asus makes some nice soundcards nowadays, although I think I'd go for an Emotiva myself and bypass the computer audio.

 

JuLGzFz

Honorable
Jun 21, 2013
7
0
10,520
1


Thanks Gondo, that was exactly whay I needed, I now start to understand how computer audio really works. That was really awesome!

Conclusions:
-Return Sound Card
-Sell USB Wireless Headset
-Buy an external DAC
-Buy a pair of standard wireless (no usb/gaming) headsets, connect to DAC

Final questions:
-Wireless headphones mean I need a bluetooth reciever for the PC? How are they connected to the DAC?
-Any wireless headphones for PC gaming that you would recommend?

Thanks again gondo, I can't believe how luck I am to have you help me out with this!
 
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