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Thread: Do I need a sound card?

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    Do I need a sound card?

    Hi there fellow Hexusians (I really don't know what the proper term for us is!),
    I am thinking about investing in a new headset in the not-too-distant future, and after seeing a number of very positive reviews I'm considering the Astro A30:
    http://www.astrogaming.com/a30-pc-he...=black#start=5

    I'll be using it mostly for gaming, mostly FPS and open world games, but I'll probably be listening to music as well, and doing a bit of VoIP.

    If I get the headset it won't be with the Astro MixAmp, which is where my question comes into the equation. Will I need to buy a dedicated sound card for this headset to be worth it? I've seen people saying that you do need one, because the headset connects via TOSlink and requires dolby digital live, but I'm not sure if that is referring to when it is connected to the mixamp or standalone. Either way, I should be fine for the first part, as my motherboard has a S/PDIF outlet, which (correct me if I'm wrong) is what TOSlink and other optical audio cables plug into. I don't think my mobo had DDL though (it is an ASUS P8H77-V) http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/P8H77V, but I don't know if that means I can't use the headset at all or just can't get virtual surround sound if I was to get the mixamp later on.

    The other side of the question is audio quality itself. I know that I won't get the dolby virtual surround features, but I'm not going to slap down $100 to find out that I'm getting the same audio quality as I would from a cheaper but lower quality headset because my on-board sound card just isn't enough to give me the audio that I deserve from a pair of astros. In case it helps, the on-board card is the VIA VT1708S - http://www.via.com.tw/en/products/audio/codecs/vt1708s/

    Hopefully I have given you guys enough of the right information so that you can help me without having to trawl the web yourselves looking for answers. I appreciate the help, so thanks in advance.

    Just an edit here, I already own a set of Jays V-Jays headphones (http://www.jays.se/v-jays). I know that the A30s will let much less outside noise in, and leak less audio out (this is one of my few complaints about the V-Jays, as their open nature means that they block out no outside noise whatsoever), but in terms of pure audio quality, would it even be worth getting the A30's, or should I just pick up a good clip-on collar mike? If this is a stupid question forgive me, I've tried looking for comparisons between the audio quality of the two online but found nothing.
    Last edited by dmoll14; 03-11-2013 at 06:46 AM.

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    Re: Do I need a sound card?

    Hexite

    Yes you can connect them via 3.5mm output without the mixAMP - see the manual here:
    http://www.astrogaming.com/on/demand...A30_Manual.pdf

    It'll just be your usual analogue output, which from most motherboards is probably not as good as a soundcard analogue output. Whether or not you have dolby surround etc. will depend on the motherboard - the headphones are just stereo headphones and any audio trickery will have to be done before you input the signal to them.

    As for quality and amplification, they have an impedance of 50ohms, which is higher than office headphones, but should still be drivable from a motherboard audio chip, however as you're dealing with analogue it might be a better idea to get a sound card with a headphone amp for better quality. Even a low end Xonar should improve things.

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