do I need a soundcard?

Discussion in 'Ask The Experts' started by rongood, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. rongood

    rongood New Member

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    Hello,
    I'm looking for headphones with an excellent sound for listening music from a computer. I listen mostly Jazz and Classic music. At home I still addicted to records (those big vinyl plates) but at work I have to use digital formations.

    Please help me choose, because my understanding on the technical aspects of music is close to nothing and I'm lost in the sea of options:
    1. Does a better soundcard for the PC then the average, ordinary one combined with the motherboard is needed, or good headphones will do the job?
    2. Many reviews declare that half-open headphones have better sound. Is it true? I don't want to be isolated when listening to music so it seems I'm looking for Half-open headphones.
    3. Considering the above questions, what is recommended with budget of 200 pounds?

    Thank you a lot
     
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    For soundcard, a DAC-plus-headphone-amp like the FiiO E17 or equivalent would be better than a plug-in card, since you can use it with any computer, even laptops.
     
  3. hatecrew1992

    hatecrew1992 New Member

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    there are some souncards (like the Asus Xonar if i remember correctly) that perform as a DAC/Amp and can be found for a reasonable price. But, as Dale mentioned, if you don´t want to be tied to one PC, a dedicaded DAC/Amp would be the way to go. Not shure what they are in UK, but in the german amazon, the Asus Xonar goes for have of what the Fiio E17 costs, so that would leave more budget for the headphones.

    As for the half open headphones, it would be good to first think about noise leakage and isolations since you said that you want to use them in the office, if neither one is a problem, going for a half-open or maybe even open-air one seems to be the right choice for your kind of music, though i can´t recommend you a model in that price range (only because I don´t know one)

    And the soundcard or DAC/Amp would be recommended, since pretty much every heaphone benefits from it.
     
  4. rongood

    rongood New Member

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    Thank you, dalethorn and hatecrew1992, for you assist. I followed your recommendations and red some reviews about DACs and HPs.

    First conclusion is that I have to raise the budget (isn't it always the conclusion?)

    Assume I purchase the Fiio17 (it seems the best in its price level) what headphone will you recommend? (250$-300$ range)
    Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile
    audio-technica ATH-AD900
    sennheiser hd598
    Other?

    maybe one of those? (100$-200$ range)
    Beyerdynamic DTX501p
    FOSTEX TH-7BS
    Fostex T50RP

    As it written before I prefer the semi-open Headphones (leakage of noise around me is not a problem) but it seems that at this price level semi-open is not an advantage.

    Thank you again
     
  5. dalethorn

    dalethorn Active Member

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    The B&W P5 is a good, smooth sound. Most people like it. The Senn HD598 should be good also. I think the DTX501p is very good, but may not be satisfactory to most people who like the P5 or HD598, because it lacks the warmth of those two headphones and also is treble-shy. I have not heard the AD900, but the Fostex TH7 series is very good for the price. The T50RP is more of a special-purpose headphone not having the full spectrum of sound that the P5 and HD598 have, so if you are familiar with it you would know better about its qualities.
     
  6. rongood

    rongood New Member

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    OK. This is the end of the saga. I ordered the Fiio e17 and the FOSTEX TH-7BS. I belive it is good enough for me right now.
    I really appreciate you help and quick response, I couldn't manage without it!
    Thank you a lot.
     
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