Eviscerator95

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I want to be get a new headphone setup, including headphone and amps, as I am sick of paying for overpriced gaming headsets, but I don't want to lose too much bass and I don't want to lose the virtual 7.1 surround sound.

So, I did some research and I came to this setup (in order I would have from my head to the computer):
1. Status Audio OB-1 Open Back Studio Monitor Headphones
2. ASTRO Gaming MixAmp Pro TR
3. FiiO E10K USB DAC and Headphone Amplifier

Would this work well? I want great sound without the loss of audio quality while still saving a bit of money. I currently use the Sennheiser PC 363d headset, and I am sick of the onboard microphone being there, and I just want a more professional look. Is there any headphones with similar audio quality if not for the one I did link?

If possible, I would also like the headphones to be black and red, not a requirement but would be appreciated to match teh rest of my desk. Being able to swivel the headphones to lay flat on desk or around neck, and removable cables are pluses! Microphone on headphones a minus, I have an AT2050

Do not recommend ATH-M50x as I do have a pair, they are great for music, but I find them flat when it comes to gaming.

EDIT:

I now decided on the Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250, but I am still in need of an amp. I want something that will power these headphones but will also provide 7.1 surround sound, if I must I would get an external sound card plus amp. I have the Audioengine D1 in mind, but I wanted to get 7.1 surround sound that would be supplied by something like ASTRO Gaming MixAmp Pro TR. Any suggestions?
 

SPAWN of II

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I recommend anything ASTRO, like the ones you linked I personally have some and they are great, mic is removable, good surround sound, different equalizers and good bass.
 

Eviscerator95

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See, aren't Astros headsets not headphones, you are paying so much just for it to be considered gaming. Also it would be bett to get headphones as they generally cheaper and with preamp have a lot of control.

The brands I do like are audio technica, sennheiser, and some other companies I don't remember off top of my head but Ithe doesn't need to be limited to those, I want open over ear headphones that have amazing quality for around 100 but it prob would get some abuse so I need something that is fairly light but will stay on my head.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
while astros arent terrible when you compare them with other gaming headsets... they lose out to dedicated headphone companies in quality.

since you are connecting up to a pc... dont bother with the mixamp. save money an put it into a soundcard and better headphones.

in any case, the mixamp is a dac+amp while the fiio e10k is a dac+amp. you cannot use the two together (if you used anything you would need to use just a headphone amp after the mixamp)

some onboard soundcards already have virtual built in. some dont but you can add it with razer's virtual. if you dont like razers virtual or your onboard quality is poor then you could get a soundcard like the dg/dgx or dx which would be a better choice than the mixamp for pc use honestly.

at the $100 mark

most open cans are not bassy but you say you want bass.

your budget above was around $292 total i'm guessing.

the dt990 is open, yet vibrant and bassy. $142 http://www.amazon.com/Beyerdynamic-DT-990-Pro-250-Professional-Acoustically-Applications/dp/B0011UB9CQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=videogames&ie=UTF8&qid=1457037416&sr=8-1&keywords=dt990

i would pair it up with either the schiit magni $119 http://www.amazon.com/Schiit-SCH-0702-Magni-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B00SCBKPW2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457037442&sr=8-1&keywords=magni or fiio e12 $129 http://www.amazon.com/E12-Blanc-Portable-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B00B6QXWIY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457037456&sr=8-1&keywords=e12+amp

that comes to $261 which still leaves you $31 to get a soundcard. the dg would work but if you can stretch another $50 the xonar dx has a much nicer dac inside (same as the $220+ priced stx soundcard)

if you instead wanted to KEEP the same sound signature of the pc363d but just want to change up.. read below

you have now (which is open and bass light) then i would look into the audio technica ad500x $80, ad700x $114 or ad900x $149 as they have a bass light signature (though they get a bit more bassy but still stay bass light as you go up in price).

since they are easier to drive you could just use a soundcard like the creative z $75 to drive them which would bring the total cost down. if you wanted to use an external amp, you could use the ones above or likely get by with the fiio a3
 

Eviscerator95

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I have considered all that but I currently am on a laptop and want to upgrade my audio before I actually upgrade to a better desktop computer so I can't use a sound card. Which amp would you suggest if I want virtual 7.1 with some slight extra bass, not TOO much bass. The problem I had with the athad500x and similar headphones was the headband in which many people had issues with it falling off head or just not sitting firmly, which as a player of fast paced games and horror games it may get flung off my head many many times... especially if not clamped to me lol.

Edit: Oh and I forgot to mention that this part isn't a requirement but appreciated, it would be nice to have a black and red look (not necessary, but would match rest of my desk setup). Also, yes, the budget would be like $300 or so, I don't currently have the money yet, but I like to plan out what I want so I know exactly what I need and I would like to cap it at $300.

Also, does the second amp you linked, fiio e12, work while plugged into the computer? Since it portable I don't want to have to keep charging and would rather leave it plugged in. Also, the Schiit one, I don't really like how it needs to be plugged into a wall outlet, being in a dorm room with 2 others makes having to use outlets annoying, I already use 2 full surge protectors. Also reviews say that there is humming coming from the fiio e12, which knowing me would probably make me mad, as when it comes to my setup, I like things being perfect lol.

What is difference exactly between DAC and AMP? Would it be beneficial to have something with both?

With that being said I think I may be leaning towards the DT990, but I would like a nice dac amp for it, preferably that can simulate virtual 7.1 well. I have used Razer surround before and have had software incompatibilities, and I really didn't like they way they sounded, at least I didn't when using ath-m50x, which I said originally I am not a big fan of when it comes to gaming.

Edit: So I think I decided on the dt990 pro, despite the color not matching the rest of my setup, but I am still in need of a good amp, preferably one that will allow for 7.1 surround sound.

What are your thoughts on this:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B006IPH5H2/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_ttl?_encoding=UTF8&colid=38SEYC5W4P8SN&coliid=I3VSGSA2UIIQPK
I am still contemplating the Astro MixAmp though. CurrentlyI use the amp that came with my sennheiser pc363d, for my virtual surround sound.
I could also maybe use something like this to hookup my mic and headphones to, but I already have the shure x2u so I don't really need it for my mic but it is an option, although it doesn't specify how many ohms it supplies so I don't think it is the best option.

Sorry for so many questions, I take my setup very seriously, and I want to make sure it is exactly what I want before I get it.

Is there any possible way to use the Astro MixAmp Pro, plus another amp to power the dt990 pro? I really want the surround sound while still getting the full audio from haging an amp supplying the full 250 ohms.
Should I use this instead for 7.1 surround sound with the amp I linked above?
 

Eviscerator95

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I hope this will get solved as soon as possible. I like having setting out a goal for myself, but I need to know exactly what I am going for.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
have a bit of patience.
do realize that we are not paid and respond here in our free time.

1. you can use a soundcard with a laptop. they make external soundcards you know. the xonar u3 is small, portable and has dolby headphone. i believe the larger xonar u5/u7 or creative omni might have virtual as well but you would need to check.

2. amplifiers have nothing to do with virtual surround. the dac (digital to analog converter) and associated electronics/software/drivers (depending on if its a hardware or software based system) do this. any headphone amp that is only an amp will just amplify the signal. most external headphone dac are also stereo only. the only products which defy this are external soundcards, specialty products like the mixamp/dss2 (both of which have their own problems) or using razers free virtual surround sound program running on your pc with an external headphone dac as well (i've heard it works but due to my setup i can not test this).

3. if you do not like the ad- lineup headband the akg q701 perhaps though they are more expensive, and harder to drive so need a good amp. not the same, but similar enough to compare.

4. if you just want a little more bass then perhaps the hd518, 558, 598 lineup. mostly neutral sounding with more bass than the bass light headphones listed. more mellow and laid back though a little slower as well. good for long time easy listening and gaming due to these factors.

5. black and red you will likely only find in gaming headsets which are junk. black and silver/grey/tan are more common for professional grade/hifi headphones. there might be a few colorful options out there though...

6. the schiit plugs in to the wall since it is not a portable product and likely pulls more power than usb puts out. out of the two the schiit magni is by far the more powerful and quality product. the reason i said the e12 as an option is given its relatively high power output for the price which benefits certain headphones. there is a hum while charging i believe. some headphones may not need a strong amp or could be powered by a soundcard alone. honestly it depends on the choice in headphones and your preferences.

7. as i explained before dac = digital to analog converter. amp = amplifier. the dac works to convert the digital signal from your pc into an analog signal which is used by headphones. however on its own this signal is low level so needs to be amplified (increased in power) so that it can power the drivers in headphones. a soundcard is basically a dac+amp+software with a few other electronics. you need both a dac+amp to hear audio at all (onboard audio is this, soundcards are this, external dac+amp units are this... you're already using this combo) however i think you meant is it a good idea to have both an external dac and an external headphone amp and it really depends.

external amps can have more power output than soundcards. if you have high end or high demand headphones you can get more out of them than with a soundcard or low power amp. better quality on the dac end means less noise, distortion, quality generally. are soundcards worse than externals on quality (assuming power output isnt an issue) then no, some are good while others are decent. in short this:

soundcards: good if you want virtual surround (other than using razer's free software that is.. which doesnt need one), dont want to invest heavily into external products and have fairly easy to drive headphones.

external dac+amp: good if you do not mind stereo only audio of good quality (other than using razer virtual surround, or using a cheap soundcard to provide virtual surround.. for some reason it works a user responded back to me but i havent tested it myself). nice external volume knobs on the amp portion, high output on some models for power hungry cans. they do make combo dac+amp combos (e10k, audioengine d1, o2+odac, etc) as well or stacks like the schiit modi+magni. there is a product for most every situation or preference. some of it depends on what headphones you end up picking..

8. dt990 is a good choice if you like good treble and good bass output. the dt880 is a little more neutral sounding with less of a bass impact though still stronger than what your'e used to right now. the dt880 however isnt on sale like the dt990 is right now (dt990 pro 250 is what you should be looking at for value).

a good amp would be the schiit magni since its capable of bringing out the lower end on them. other amps/soundcards (creative z, fiio a3, etc) can power them but dont bring out the bass end as much as a decent amp will (low bass = more power to drive). if you want virtual surround i'd pair it up with a xonar dx on a desktop since that has a nice high quality dac onboard (same dac as on $230+ priced stx). as for on a laptop.. you could use the amplifier alone (direct to your laptop headphone jack) if your onboard is good. if its poor onboard then perhaps the xonar u3 (or u5/u7/omni if you can verify their virtual surround support).

9. audioengine d1 is a nice product for a good price though it has less output power than the magni. keep in mind its also a dac which means stereo only sound unless you use the razer virtual surround software. also, external dac do not have mic inputs on them. audio interfaces do, external soundcards do but not headphone dacs.

10. its possible of course. http://cdn.head-fi.org/3/31/3127ac42_LL1.jpeg for example (console connectivity in the photo). due to double amping (mixamp has an amp in it) you might be able to get by with a lower priced amp though double amping also means more chance of distortion as well. the mixamp isnt a terrible product, though it fulfills the same function as an audio interface but with less options. if you absolutely want the features it has then go for it, but a soundcard may or may not have better virtual surround.

i would suggest listening (with headphones on and with your pc363d soundcard's virtual surround disabled) to youtube videos showcasing dolby headphone vs sbx/cmss3d vs razer surround and see which you like best. i think the mixamp uses dolby headphone and if that is the only selling feature you wanted (dont care about analog controls, etc) then the xonar u3 or other external soundcards do this for significantly cheaper price.
 

Eviscerator95

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Yeah, sorry, I can be very impatient lol, I have "ocd" when it comes to unanswered questions. When it comes to the black and red thing, it just a preference and I have done hours of searching and only found few headphones with the color scheme but were generally were reviewed bad. Thanks again for helping, I had tried using headphones other than my pc 363d for before, didn't like the sound very much, they were the m50x which are closed back headphones that I truly do not like using for anything besides listening to music and watching videos, but i did feel that it sounded better with the dolby turned on. I am still veering towards the dt990 pro 250, plus if I feel it is too much bass and treble I could return and get the dt880 like you suggested.

I found this soundcard on amazon, the reviews aren't that great but appears to be exactly what I was looking for.
http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B018JUPY3A?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=ox_sc_act_title_1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Before I read your reply, I found the Asus Xonar U7 external soundcard, and I read up on the reviews and stuff, and they said that they don't really sound too well with headphones higher than 150 ohms, which would be an obvious problem if I were to get the dt990 pro 250.

Thanks again for helping, I really appreciate, would have taken me weeks and probably months to figure this all out and finally settle on exactly what I want.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
1. what i would highly suggest is listening to some headphones in person. there should be some audio stores nearby (if in usa.. try guitar center, best buy, microcenter or other major high end retailers. even if they dont have what you want exactly if you listen to some and see what you like/dont like it could help us say if you are going to like a model we suggest. at this point all we know is that you dont like the m50x for some reason but do like the pc363d but wish it had a bit more bass. that puts you clearly in the hd518/558/598 area though if you wanted something with more energy and a v-shaped sound the 990 is good. if you are very picky then yes do yourself a favor and go out and see if you can listen to anything.

2. they have a new model out the e5 i believe. honestly its just an external soundcard with a fair amp. nothing special and far too expensive considering what little you get.

3. the u7 does not have a powerful amp so is not recommended for high impedance/high power headphones. such cards need a good external amp if you want to use such headphones with them effectively. i did give you alternatives as well.

4. this is so important that i will bold, underline and say it again. listen to headphones in person. guitar-center i know has a large selection but any place that may have high end headphone displays check out. listen to cans from beyerdynamics, akg, audiotechnica and sennheiser at minimum and get a feel for how different models in the $100-200 range sound to you. without knowing exactly what you think of a few models its very hard to give you the best estimate on if you will like a product or not. this is also why i typically try to explain how a product sounds and give alternatives more than pushing just one product.

also, you might want to search for some other threads by me on headphones and read them as i am more descriptive in some about the characteristics of certain headphones. https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=headphone%20headset%20tomshardware%20ssddx reading up on head-fi about what they say is also a good idea although be aware they are very picky audiophiles so will generally rave on or tear a product to pieces. take it with a grain of salt.
 

Eviscerator95

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Alright, well I have considered going out and testing them myself before I even made this thread, but I am on a college campus in middle of nowhere in a state I barely know, in which none of my friends have cars lol.

As for your other posts, I will read up on them, but right now I am leaning towards the
Beyerdynamic DT-990-Pro-250 and the
Creative Sound BlasterX G5. Plus, if I don't like the headphones when I get them, like I said before I could always return and by one of the other headphones that you recommended.

Edit: the reviews for the g5 are so few and poor that I am skeptical about it. like I have been searching around for 7.1 external sound cards but I can't really find many that can also supply 250 ohms...

Edit: I did find this, it is 5.1 not 7.1 but it may be worth it for the price?
http://smile.amazon.com/Creative-Performance-Headphone-Integrated-Microphone/dp/B00EZT7RE4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1457142934&sr=8-1&keywords=surround+sound+headphone+amp
I'd rather have 7.1, but I am willing to make an exception. The software though does seem to offer A LOT of different things that many other amps don't.
 

Eviscerator95

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I have found some people stating that there is a spike in treble causing fatigue from the dt990pros, do you know of way to counter it?

If not, I am going to go with the HD598, higher ratings, and has a similar sound to what I am already used to plus I would be using the Creative Sound Blaster Omni Surround 5.1 amp.
 

ssddx

Glorious
Moderator
the dt990 are a bit on the bright side for sure. some people find them a bit harsh while others do not have a problem with them. it depends on your ears and the audio you listen to.

you should be able to make good use of an equalizer to reduce treble if you find them a bit too bright.

both are good headphones, it just depends on what you're looking for.
 

Eviscerator95

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I want something a bit more bright ans bassy than sennheiser but not too much, if you know what I mean. Like I can't decide as they are both something I am looking for both had their downsides, and I wish there was a middle lol.

There are 2 things I do like better than the dt990 in the hd598s though, and those would be the fact it goes all around the ear and the fact that the cable is detachable as i am prone to ruining headphone wires. My m50x cable have been replaced so many times xD
 

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