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Quest for Holy Grail of gaming sound! - Page 4

post #46 of 238
Well, now that we have a Stax gamer, has anyone tried it with the earspeakers (not the Stax ones). The K1000 of course, but also the Sony MDR-F1 and PDR-V1... Bass light but apparently huge soundstage, not sure about directional...
post #47 of 238
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oberst Oswald View Post
X-Fi>Stello DA100 dac>Travagan's Red>Stax Lambda's. This is what I use when the wife is not home (she hates all open headphones). The "quickness" of Stax (even vintage ones) can't be beat. When the house dragon is home I use this setup... X-Fi>Stello DA100 dac>Millett MiniMAX>Denon D-7000's. I'm to old (57) to kick any ass in games but was good in Raven Shield because of the sound the Stax provided. You only started your "quest" young grasshopper...
Yes, I read a lot about Stax power, but I doubt that any gamer even heard about those. The price tag is also a bit out of any gamer's reach. But you are half right about my quest. My quest as a gamer has ended, but a new one, as a Head-Fier is just begining.
post #48 of 238
I am looking for a good gaming setup as well. This thread helps a lot so thanks everyone for their experiences. For me, immersion is more important than positioning since I'm not much of a multiplayer person. I do play Left4Dead a lot though.

So, for absolute immersion, what would be a good setup? I now use a Nuforce uDAC with RCA-out to Arrow 12HE amp on an AKG K518DJ. Sounds decent but hardly immersive. It's impossible to use the Dolby Headphone feature on a DAC right? Or is it a software emulation that doesn't need a dedicated card? If I understood correctly, Dolby Headphone is better for positioning while CMSS/EAX is more realistic?
post #49 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Audioholic View Post
Unfortunately, I didn't hear DT770, but I can tell you this, of all the headphones I tried, the ones which sound best for classic music usually sound best for positioning to me. Dunno why. Any analytic headphones + a little bit off bass + good soundcard = better positioning(more frags) + average immersion. Headphones like HD555 + good soundcard = medium positioning(less frags) + better immersion. If I would have to choose a closed HP for gaming I would choose Ultrasone 750 pro. Can't go wrong there with any soundcard.
What do you think about the DJ1? i can get one at about 110$.
post #50 of 238
The trouble with these comparisons is CMSS-3D Headphone uses a generic HRTF. If your individual HRTF doesn't match it, it's never going to work that well. If your HRTF is close it may well blow you away.

I too prefer Dolby Headphone for gaming, having used a Xonar D2. According to Dolby, DH is not HRTF based so makes for a more consistent user experience.

Having said that - I went back to X-Fi from Xonar. Why? Well I missed some X-Fi exclusive features that weren't available on Xonar (I'd owned an Xtreme Music before - I now have a Prelude). I've heard MacroFX and Elevation filter make a significant difference in games. There were a few legacy games with well implemented EAX3-5 (it's just a set of tools after all) that I felt were worth having. There were compatibility prolbems with some of my games. It took too long to patch Bioshock and Assassin's Creed. Mass Effect was an audio mess whenever I had a Xonar. Asus seemed so slow to fix any problems I became disillusioned and decided it was unlikely some of the problems would ever be fixed.

So what was my solution? For single player gaming I went for a Victor SU-DH1. As Audioholic indicated, there is delay with this solution - enough to be a problem in multiplayer. You can't just send 5.1 Dolby Digital Live from the X-Fi for gaming though - at least not optimally. Elevation filter and MacroFX stop working at 5.1 or above so I send 4 channel sound over DDL to the SU-DH1. Depending on which headphones I'm using I either use the SU-DH1 as a pre-amp into a headphone amp or use it as the amp.

Headphone synergy with Dolby Headphone is important. Detail and accuracy are important. Angled drivers on headphones are, however, a bit of a problem. Dolby headphone is designed to work with no headstage enhancements. Dolby Headphone with straight driver headphones is a bit like having 5 speakers perfectly positioned around you (the '.1' is mapped to some of the satellites). Angled drivers, like on the HD555, ATH AD700 are a bit like having the speakers on each side rotated towards the front centre. It's not a deal-breaker but it just detracts slightly from the experience. Generally for gaming it's not that bad - I noticed the effect most when trying to simulate stereo speakers with 2 channel DH for music listening. I do think that may be one reason why Audioholic prefers the DT880s over the HD800s here.

For multiplayer I'm either putting up with the SU-DH1's delay (casual multi) or switching to CMSS-3D Headphone (competitive multi). To me Dolby Headphone, combined with the additional X-Fi positional features is the most immersive game experience I've had. My ideal would be an X-Fi card with Dolby Headphone, or at least a receiver with imperceptible delay.

Having said that - if I was to just have the soundcard plus headphones with no additional equipment (such as gamers on a budget might be restricted to) I'd choose Xonar.

On Dolby Headphone mode - I use DH1 most of the time. DH2 and DH3 simulate room reflections. The trouble is many games (certainly EAX ones) have room reflection or reverb effects. The two together is nothing short of a mess.

Edit: when I had my Xonar D2 there was delay using Dolby Headphone. I found out this when I was trying to monitor my electro-acoustic guitar. I like to drop in a bit of percussive body slapping and it was at this point that it became painully obvious that Xonar D2 DH was not instantaneous. Turn dolby headphone off and there was still a little delay but not anything like as much. It's not out of the question that Asus may have fixed this with a driver update I suppose.

A few favourite headphones for Dolby Headphone usage in no particular order: Goldring NS1000 - Goldring DR150 - Goldring DR50 - Senn HD580, Senn HD600, Senn IE6 (I was surprised at an IEM working well but it does the job!). I've tried all the headphones in my sig with Dolby Headphone (been using it a few years). If they aren't mentioned above take that as a 'not recommended for DH use'.

Anyway - surely the nearest thing available to a 'Holy Grail' is a properly calibrated SVS Realiser? Any delay on that? I've established from testing elsewhere that the delay with DDL encoding isn't too much of a problem. The delay I've experienced has been mostly at the receiver end.

Further Edit: Chinesekiwi mentioned close quarters. That's why macroFX is important. It's for simulation of sound close to the listener. As indicated above - you can have it with X-Fi and Dolby Headphone as long as you stick to 4 channel mode for DDL or DTS Connect.

Anyway - Audioholic - thanks for the write up. It's been very handy to hear your impressions with some higher end headphones and Dolby Headphone.
post #51 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by chinesekiwi View Post
bubba, did you have to quote the entire thing :/
Anyway, I do feel that CMSS-3D and EAX offer more realistic gaming while Dolby Headphone gives you more of a gaming advantage in non-CQC (close quarter combat) games. Dolby Headphone is pretty bad in terms of accounting for close range sounds. I find that Counter Strike is still the best for testing positional sound. For sound quality in terms of FPS's, Battlefield Bad Company 2, along with ARMA and Project Reality (Battlefield 2 mod).
Is this really a big deal? Is it against Headfi policy? if it is I'll stop, if not, I will decide who I quote.
post #52 of 238
its no big deal in relative terms but it breaks the layout. just quote a part of the message, works the same way. otherwise it makes viewing threads a bit messy.
post #53 of 238
Thread Starter 
I would like to clarify something. What is "The gamer's point of view"? Great majority of gamers haven't even heard of companies like Sennheiser, Beyerdynamics, AKG or Ultrasone, but they all heard of Logitech, SteelSeries, Razer, Zalman,Genius, which fill their heads with lines like:"The true surround headphones!", or " The ultimate pro gamer's choice!". The product looks flashy and futuristic and has blue and green LED diodes, and it looks so cool so they buy it. They pair it with their Creative Extreme Gamer card and think "This is it, I'm all set I know!", not knowing that they can have cheaper and better sound with only ATH-AD700 and onboard audio. I know 'cause I was one of them. I bought like 350$ worth of "the true surround headphones". They all brake down very soon, specially Razer, and then they have to buy another pair. They spend so much money on several of these, when there are far better options for the same money. So my objective was to try as many as possible "easy to get" headphones, amps and soundcards, try their combinations to see which combination( up to 450$) has the best synergy and positional audio for as little as possible $$. Offcourse, HD800 is there just for show .

I am aware that there are far better systems for positional audio with Star Trek - Head Fi tech, like Beyer Headzone or Smyth Virtual System, but that in my opinion isn't gamer's Holy Grail of gaming sound, but Head-Fier's Holy Grail of gaming sound.
post #54 of 238
I got into hi-fi from wanting better headphones. Did some research into the G35 and Razer Megalodon, setting for AD700 and kept my logitech internet chat headset for the mic.
I still have my trusty AD700s and onboard sound to this day, but I'm getting an amp and hoping to get a soundcard after K701.
The AD700s for me are a lot more that just headphones, they're cute and cuddly, purple and gold, whenever I put them on on a Friday night they just hug my head and say "ok we're gonna have a fun few hours of whatever" and I've loved them for every minute. The hours I've had these on are probably more than some phones that people have owned for more than a year, over 1000 hours in 6 months, almost none of that burn in.

To me, these phones are snuggly, purple cans of glitter and sparkle, ones that I've fallen in love with an cannot be replaced by the white, toilet looking, power hungry headphones I'll be getting soon. I think most gamers would be way more happy with the AD700s than with any 'top tier' 5.1 'surround' headphone I've ever tried.
post #55 of 238
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trysaeder View Post
To me, these phones are snuggly, purple cans of glitter and sparkle, ones that I've fallen in love with an cannot be replaced by the white, toilet looking, power hungry headphones I'll be getting soon. I think most gamers would be way more happy with the AD700s than with any 'top tier' 5.1 'surround' headphone I've ever tried.
Couldn't agree more. They cost only 100$ and sound so perfect for games that in my opinion can only be outmatched by some minimum 300$ setup.
post #56 of 238
Do you just enable Dolby Headphone in drivers or do you also change some sound settings in games you play? Are there surround and/or EAX options that have to be activated or does the game stay in default stereo mode?

What are your findings on small/medium/large room settings? How do they differ?

Dolby Headphone and SVN are terrible for music and it seems to me they would ruin the immersion in games and SVN compresses the dynamic range. Do you think it's something for competitive FPS gaming only or would you use it in "normal" gaming too?

Also, does anyone have an idea how Ultrasone HFI-780 are regarding positioning in games?
post #57 of 238
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touche View Post
Do you just enable Dolby Headphone in drivers or do you also change some sound settings in games you play? Are there surround and/or EAX options that have to be activated or does the game stay in default stereo mode?

What are your findings on small/medium/large room settings? How do they differ?

Dolby Headphone and SVN are terrible for music and it seems to me they would ruin the immersion in games and SVN compresses the dynamic range. Do you think it's something for competitive FPS gaming only or would you use it in "normal" gaming too?

Also, does anyone have an idea how Ultrasone HFI-780 are regarding positioning in games?
From what I heard, the game needs to be in pure stereo to have the best quality on Dolby Headphone. I like the medium room settings, it has the best "space image" to my ears. Large setting is too much distorted. Small one is very good. What I can say about SVN option is that it lowers gunshot and blasting noise, and amps footsteps sounds a lot. But the consequnce of that is that you hear your enemy - which is 10 meters away, like he's behind your back. That can be desorienting at first, but that you set the "middle room" (wider soundstage)option and then it's perfect. This works best for COD4
post #58 of 238
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Touche View Post
Do you think it's something for competitive FPS gaming only or would you use it in "normal" gaming too?
SVN only for competitive play
post #59 of 238
Great write up. I've never tried the DT880 but with all the praise they get I was considering getting a used pair just to see how they do. I disagree with your opinion on the Pro2500 but others have said they are pretty good so maybe it's me. I thought they were average at best. I really enjoyed your HD800 impressions. The first time I heard them I though they would be great for gaming.
post #60 of 238
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trysaeder View Post
The AD700s for me are a lot more that just headphones, they're cute and cuddly, purple and gold, whenever I put them on on a Friday night they just hug my head and say "ok we're gonna have a fun few hours of whatever" and I've loved them for every minute. The hours I've had these on are probably more than some phones that people have owned for more than a year, over 1000 hours in 6 months, almost none of that burn in.

To me, these phones are snuggly, purple cans of glitter and sparkle, ones that I've fallen in love with an cannot be replaced by the white, toilet looking, power hungry headphones I'll be getting soon. I think most gamers would be way more happy with the AD700s than with any 'top tier' 5.1 'surround' headphone I've ever tried.
I think I know how you feel about your AD700 because I feel the same about my AD900. They get way more late night hours than any other headphone I own.
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