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Pros: An unreal amount of features to both modify the sound output and the mic input. REALLY pushes my Sennheiser HD598 headphones thanks to their 600ohm amp. DRASTIC improvement over on-board sound. The separate module for volume control and with built in mics is very solid, but the control knob is not as firm as I expected (not a con, just an observation).
Cons: Not a con of the card, but you need to be aware...
1. Some SLI capable motherboards are designed to share IRQ channels with the PCIx16 slots. My ZxR was not getting enough resources to run when I had it plugged into PCIe 1-3 on my motherboard. This resulted in wondering sound (channels would drop), cracking, popping, and low volume. I switched to PCIe 4, which shares an IRQ with the SATA channel on my motherboard, and everything works FLAWLESSLY now.
2) Reports of the card not being recognized seem to be related to putting the computer to sleep and then waking it up. I turn my computer off when not using, so I wasn't concerned about this issue. Numerous reports that this is resolved by updating your motherboards BIOS, but you may also want to try a different PCIe socket if you have this problem since IRQ sharing seems to be an issue. Look at your motherboard manual and see what the best configuration is for your setup.
Other Thoughts: I was floored by the difference this card made over on-board sound for my Sennheiser HD598 headphones. I bought them both at the same time, but the card got delayed in shipping, so I got to test the headphones without the card. I expected an improvement, but not like this. I literally get goosebumps when listening to music.
Do yourself (and your ears) a favor, and pair this with a good set of 600ohm headphones.
Also, the voice changers are really fun. I have a deep voice, and the male-to-female voice changer made me sound like one of my wife's female friends from grade-school.
This review is from: Sennheiser HD598 On-Ear Headphones
Pros: Unbelievable sound clarity, range, and comfort. They are really lightweight without feeling cheap, which plays into the comfort. The open back serves two benefits: 1) Significantly improves the sound quality. 2) Allows you to hear other people and/or sounds without removing the headphones.
Cons: The color. Why is the black version more expensive?
The open back design does mean that others can hear what you are listening to. My wife's first comment was "Well, this is going to be great for me", in reference to the fact that she can now hear anything that is played through them while I'm wearing them. She was even able to sing along with my music while sitting across the table. Just be mindful of where you will be using these and whom might get annoyed with the "noise" coming from them.
Other Thoughts: Hooked these headphones up to my on-board sound, and they were probably about 50% better than my Plantronics Gamecom 780. Then I got my Soundblaster ZxR... WOW!
These headphones are great, but they can only be as good as what's driving them. Get a sound card that can push a 600ohm headset, or get an external DAC/AMP that can push them. You will not be disappointed with these headphones when using on-board sound, but you will be kicking yourself whenever you finally switch to a proper system that can drive these headphones and see just what you were missing.
Pros: Large, Crisp image, No dead pixels, 144hz, numerous settings changes to get the performance you want, solid muti-function stand, headphone hanger, great color (after adjustments), VERY well packaged in a nice solid box, an external controller for changing settings so you don't have to worry about the buttons on the monitor, and wonderful features that are great for gaming (like blur reduction).
Cons: Anti-Glare coating causes a grainy look that is very noticeable on white images/backgrounds. It's almost impossible to notice while gaming though.
Other Thoughts: Bumping up to this from a 24" ASUS running 1080p at 60hz was an enormous change. CS:GO is VERY fluid now, just make sure you follow the instructions supplied in order to set things up for 144hz. The colors really pop once you setup things properly and utilize the color vibrance options.
Mine wasn't immediately recognized on Display Port (MSI GTX 770OC 2Gb), but I'm not certain if it was the card or the monitor. I actually flipped the cable (swapped which end plugged into what device), and it worked after that, which may just be coincidental.
Some people tried to convince me to go with another monitor that was IPS because it's supposed to have better color. After seeing the color this one is capable of producing, I wouldn't let that be a deciding factor unless you are a visual design of sorts and color accuracy is paramount. If the colors I see are possibly a few shades off, I wouldn't know any different anyways. Additionally, few people would notice a difference since we will likely all have different settings on our monitor which would produce slight variations in the colors we see anyways.
I got it on sale, so I feel I really got my money's worth, but I'm not sure I would feel the same way at it's standard price point.