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New earphones/soundcard/possibly earphone amp advice please

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Boscher, 30 Jul 2006.

  1. Boscher

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Jan 2004

    Posts: 1,379

    Hi guys

    Currently using

    Sound Blaster 2 ZS Platinum
    Seinheiser PC150
    Logitech Z5500's

    Looking to get better quality sound out of my system mainly for earphone use in the evenings, my budget is quite high so that's not so important(up to £650). I listen to roughly 3-4 hrs of music per night on earphones, so comfort and good build quality also matter alot.

    I was thinking the new PC650's looked pretty smart and seem to be getting good reviews allround for music.

    Soundcard, I have been told mine is dated, I would like something that has optical out for the convenience of plugging in the Z5500's straight in. Also something that can potentially boost the quality of the sound. Thinking of a none-creative card due to the driver issues i had with this card.

    I have been told also that a new earphone cable can increase the quality.

    As for the earphone amp, any idea of how good these things are and are they worth it?

    All suggestions and advice are welcome, please help me out :D

    Thanks.
     
  2. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    Your current card is not the best on the market but it's certainly not rubbish!

    If you spend this amount of money on the sound components of your pc why are you using earphones? Granted some of them are amazing, i.e. the very expensive ones, but it may be a better idea to invest in some good quality headphones.
     
  3. Boscher

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Jan 2004

    Posts: 1,379

    Err yeah I am looking to buy new Headphones also like I said in my post...

    When you say "but it may be a better idea to invest in some good quality headphones.", there's a difference between earphones and headphones?

    :o
     
  4. tedaC

    Hitman

    Joined: 26 Apr 2006

    Posts: 671

    earphones are genreally thought of as the little earbuds that go in your ear.

    [​IMG]

    and headphones are genearlly thought of as the bigger ones that cover your ears.

    [​IMG]

    ( thats what i think he meant anyway )
     
  5. Boscher

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Jan 2004

    Posts: 1,379

    Ah ok, thanks

    Well I did mention in my first post that I was looking at the PC650's and they are full ear coverers ^^

    :)
     
  6. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    Yeap, as mentioned by tedaC.

    I bought a pair of Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro's which are an awesome set of headphones for around £85. I highly recommend them, I got them a few weeks back and I'm listening to a lot of my old music again just because they're such a step up from my older headphones. Other good one manufacters(sp) are (I hear) Grado, Alessandro (who are very similar), Sennheiser etc.

    You mentioned that you had driver problems with your current setup, would getting a different card even by creative be any different? E.g. if you were to get the X-fi Music card it would use a different set of drivers.

    Do you want a breakout box as well? I have one and it's useful for plugging in your headphones to the front of your machine (you get other slots and stuff for other items).

    It's of my opinion but by getting a decent sound card you mostly likely 99% won't need a headphone amp. Headphones don't draw *that* much power and I don't think your speakers would benifet from one either.
     
    Last edited: 31 Jul 2006
  7. Boscher

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Jan 2004

    Posts: 1,379

    Thanks for the reply,

    I was thinking something a little more than the 770 pro's, price and quality wise as that's barely a step-up from my PC150's.

    Musical Fidelity seem to have some interested cards which I'm looking into.

    As for the headphone amp, these do not seem to be that popular on here? Guessing the difference is minimal and more can be driven via cards directly..

    Thanks
     
  8. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    Yeap, I mean the creative cards aren't too bad at packing some good punch.

    You said again that you had problems with your drivers - did you disable the on-board sound with your motherboard? I know that creative sometimes like to be the only installed sound device and thus everything has to be turned off.

    Edit - I'm looking at these headphone amps they're very sweet looking! :eek:
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  9. Smiley Man

    Soldato

    Joined: 17 Apr 2003

    Posts: 6,518

    Location: hOme

    trust me, with any soundcard an amp is needed if you're driving decent headphones
     
  10. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    You sure? I have an amp for a set of speakers but deffo not for some headphones which are being powered by a decent sound card....I can understand why you would want one e.g. to connect to a cheap hi-fi or a laptop but is it really necessary for a computer?

    EDIT - Yeap I'm right, with a decent soundcard there is no need whatsoever to get an amp, they're only really necessary if you don't have a Jack, or the sound comes from a source which is greatly underpowered, e.g. mp3 players, or your deaf (?), or if you want something to look good on your desk which lets face they do look kick ass :D
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  11. Dr.EM

    Mobster

    Joined: 15 Jun 2006

    Posts: 3,903

    Location: Swindon

    I don't think it's needed. I have a pair of over ear headphones and they will go very loud without any audible distortion powered from the soundcard, and presumably higher quality headphones will be more sensitive too.
     
  12. Boscher

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 20 Jan 2004

    Posts: 1,379

    *Ordered the Seinheiser HD650's as my first upgrade :)

    What is the best quality headphone cable available to boost the quality and clearness of music?

    Heard good things about Oehlbach, Cardas, Zu mobius and possibly russ andrews but alot of these are really hard to get via UK branches.

    Looking to get the best possible.

    Also considering an Musical Fidelity X-Can V3 Headphone Amplifier as I have heard great things about it and been recommended via a friend. Shame there's no stores near me that stock these so I could try :(
     
  13. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    Good choice on the cans, I hadn't realised your headphone budget was so big :) Hope you enjoy them!

    Are you certain to getting a headphone amp? How much is the one you're looking at too? The fidelity has no prices on them? :confused:
     
  14. Things change I've changed

    Capodecina

    Joined: 27 Jul 2005

    Posts: 12,539

    Location: The Orion Spur

    Agreed, I'm using a cheap pair of koss headphones powered from the headphone monitor output from my mixer (used as a basic pre-amp and audio router) and they sound amazingly better compared to having them plugged directly into my pc, I also have a 5.1 logitech setup (just for games) my god don't ever plug headphones into these things, they kill music with fire, I will allways use a pre-amp with headphones regardless of how much power is needed to power them b-cos 99% the sound quality is better,

    I'm really temped with the following, can be had for a measly 250 english pounds :) , also heard it's pairs very nicely with the HD650's ;)

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 1 Aug 2006
  15. Smiley Man

    Soldato

    Joined: 17 Apr 2003

    Posts: 6,518

    Location: hOme

    nope, you're wrong :p

    you get a decent pair of headphones (£200+) and try them with and without an amp on your soundcard, the difference will be night and day
     
  16. Alexrose1uk

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 26 Apr 2004

    Posts: 8,669

    Location: Milton Keynes

    lol....already got your cans, was gonna suggest the HD280 Pro (closed design compared to open on the HD650s).

    If you want a better card that'd be good for music and games, I suggest an X-Fi, the Elite Pro apparently has better preamps, and also has a breakout box. I use the Fatal1ty model as the additional 'x-ram' may come in handy one day, or for audio work, and I find the 5 1/2" drive panel incredibly handy, my speakers in the back of my pc are switched off, and my Sennheisers are being powered on the fullsize second headphone jack on the front panel box, which also has SPDIF, Optical and midi in and outs, and some auxiliary and additional line in ports on. This version also comes with a remote control but I admit I dont use it. The line in and headphone jack on the front panel box have thier own volume control knobs too which I love.

    If you dont play games, the M-Audio jobs are meant to be excellent.
     
  17. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    Hmmm..., ok my headphones aren't above the £200 mark but I am keen to try and experience what you're talking about. Would Richersounds or somewhere like that have a headphone amp? I'm trying to think where I can pop down and listen to something here in Liverpool.

    I have the X-Fi Fata1ty sound card (I was going to get an X-Fi music +breakout box/platinum card but I found somewhere where the former card was "dirty" cheap so made the purchase instead).

    Do you have any immediate suggestions any other advice?

    /thread hijacking :)
     
  18. Smiley Man

    Soldato

    Joined: 17 Apr 2003

    Posts: 6,518

    Location: hOme

    dont think richer sounds would have anything

    try sevenoaks sound and vision if theres one local :)
     
  19. Greenlizard0

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 15 Mar 2004

    Posts: 28,189

    Location: Liverpool

    I'm guessing there would only be one in erm, well, Sevenoaks (in Kent?)? :p