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Old 18-12-13, 06:12 PM
jamesriley94 jamesriley94 is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Sheffield
Posts: 5,948
Originally Posted by maniac View Post
We need James Riley on this one....
Heh, as I've said a fair few times around the forum, I'm not a gamer.

I have my DT990s and the STX for listening to music, but of course if I ever do end up playing a game, I will use them.

The quality from a proper soundcard and decent headphones will be better than from a gaming headset in both music listening and games. But, when I say 'better quality', that doesn't mean you'll suddenly be able to hear things you couldn't hear before in games. It means the sounds will be more realistic and immersive.

But, the question here really is, do you need to hear footsteps in marginally better quality? Probably not...

Gaming headsets have high bass levels in order to make footsteps more prominent, this makes it less realistic, but some gamers would probably argue that hearing louder footsteps is better than hearing quieter better quality footsteps.

Anyway, back to the argument - soundcard or no soundcard.

With my DT990s, being 250Ohm headphones, my motherboard would never be able to power them enough to get that realistic experience. However, at the same time, since 90% of soundcards available don't have a dedicated amp built in, they probably wouldn't either. So if the argument is between having a soundcard/amp in order to power high quality headphones, then you're stupid to say you shouldn't since without one, you wouldn't get much out of them at all.

I do however think a lot of people believe soundcards can process the audio at better quality, and that is correct, but tbh, the differences probably aren't so prominent if you're just thinking about the sound processor itself. If you gave me a £40 pair of headphones, and asked me to blind test a decent on-board solution and something like a Xonar DX, I wouldn't be confident saying now I'd be able to say which was which.

But, the point is the better soundcards have higher quality DACs and Amps which you definitely can tell the difference. Give me a £150 pair of headphones, and ask me to say which was an STX and which was on-board (even if it was the highest quality on-board solution around), and I'd be very confident in being able to say which was which.

I only watched about 2 minutes of that video, but doesn't the Mayflower dude make external amps and DACs himself? If so, the DAC would be going through USB/optical and so by-passing any soundcard near enough anyway, so it's pretty obvious he'd be saying the soundcards themselves weren't important, but the DACs/Amps were?
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