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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 677

post #10141 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger de Ceiba View Post

Well, my mixamp just arrived and I'm disappointed with the quality of the cables provided. They look (for lack of a better word) flimsy and low quality. I think I will buy replacement cables. With that said, upon further discussion I'm probably going to keep the mixamp, at least for the time being. I'm not going to buy the Wii U anytime soon so I shouldn't worry too much about a solution for it yet. Besides, with at least a year of usage, I figure this amp will have probably amortized by the time I buy a Wii U.

 

The mics I bought from dx.com should be arriving next week. Now I just need a pair of headphones, lol.

Mine is an old wired Mixamp. The 3.5 to 3.5 input cable I thought was nice and felt good. I bought my own decent TosLink as it did not come with one. I did wear out the Y splitter cable and had to get another I guess it went in about 18 mo. I have to admit though, for $130, you get Digital or RCA in, Dolby Headphone, voice chat mixer, voice chat chaining, aux input, rechargeable battery for portable, USB charge, multi-platform support, headphone amp out. It's maybe not the highest quality kit from top to bottom but for that price it's fairly impressive if you look at it in that light. It's damn tough to beat. IMO


Edited by Heretic817 - 12/27/12 at 2:22pm
post #10142 of 37376

That is true Heretic. By the way, which y-splitter did you end up buying? I'm probably going to buy another one, that and a usb-A to mini-b to charge. I could use the PS3 one but there might come a time where I may need to charge the controller while still playing with the mixamp.

post #10143 of 37376

Hi guys...quick question. If I get an E9 amp for my DT990's (running off DSS2 at the mo) - will it improve the sound quality or just make it louder? thanks

post #10144 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by seb UK View Post

Hi guys...quick question. If I get an E9 amp for my DT990's (running off DSS2 at the mo) - will it improve the sound quality or just make it louder? thanks

I would guess(?) it would improve sound quality.

But have no experience with the DSS2.

post #10145 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by seb UK View Post

Hi guys...quick question. If I get an E9 amp for my DT990's (running off DSS2 at the mo) - will it improve the sound quality or just make it louder? thanks

Depends on which version you have. I had the DSS2 driving the 32 ohm version of the 990, but the sound did seem to fill out a little after I bought the e09k. Anything above the 32ohm 990 needs an amp more powerful than the DSS2 to properly drive the cans.
post #10146 of 37376
Thread Starter 
Actually, the 32ohm needs an amp more than the 250ohm. They get loud enough, sure, but they improve with amping more than the 250ohm. The 32ohm Beyers were a mistake, as they sound poor without a quality amp compared to when you amp them.

Keep in mind, just because they improve more, doesn't mean they sound better than the 250ohm. Just, the 250ohm sounds pretty refined even with less than adequate amping, though a lot lower in volume than the 32ohm.

This is why it is always said that volume does not equal being properly driven. The HE-4 got ear shattering loud off the E9, but was so weak sounding. Just one example.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/27/12 at 7:35pm
post #10147 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger de Ceiba View Post

That is true Heretic. By the way, which y-splitter did you end up buying? I'm probably going to buy another one, that and a usb-A to mini-b to charge. I could use the PS3 one but there might come a time where I may need to charge the controller while still playing with the mixamp.


Sorry. I meant the Y splitter that lets you use non-Astro headphones. Not sure if it has changed since but the 3.5 mm output on my Mix amp takes a Astro 4 segment (left, right, voice, ground). So, the splitter separates it into two plugs. One for headphone and one for mic.

post #10148 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Actually, the 32ohm needs an amp more than the 250ohm. They get loud enough, sure, but they improve with amping more than the 250ohm. The 32ohm Beyers were a mistake, as they sound poor without a quality amp compared to when you amp them.
Keep in mind, just because they improve more, doesn't mean they sound better than the 250ohm. Just, the 250ohm sounds pretty refined even with less than adequate amping, though a lot lower in volume than the 32ohm.
This is why it is always said that volume does not equal being properly driven. The HE-4 got ear shattering loud off the E9, but was so weak sounding. Just one example.


I try to keep an open mind about amping. While I do not like to get into the "sound" of an amp talk..... I will say that I have first hand experience with how complex an issue Impedance can be. Speaking as a person who has spent a lot of time with a spectrum analyzer and sweeping coils and such. They may measure 32 ohms at 1 KHZ, but that is far from the whole story across the rest of the spectrum. Then try sweeping a coil through an analyzer and view it in a Smith Chart. That can tell an interesting story.  The audible range is a pretty narrow band but just look at any frequency response chart of a headphone. You can get some interesting peaks and valleys. So I can see why making sure your amp is able to deliver adequate power at any given frequency could actually improve the sound.

 

I'm just saying I know this is all subjective and what not but I can think of some valid technical reasons to lend credence to the idea that some "low impedance" headphones may require a decent amp while another may not. 

 

Anyway I ramble, sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled thread.


Edited by Heretic817 - 12/27/12 at 9:47pm
post #10149 of 37376
Quote:

Originally Posted by Heretic817 View Post

 

 

I am just trying to get good HD sound to go with the good HD graphics without wrecking my wallet. 

 

To that end I think:

 

PS3>Astro Mixamp>Schiit Magni>Q701's

 

PC>SB Titanium HD>Schiit Magni>Q701's

 

Perhaps later I will add the Modi to the PC and start thinking about FLAC and all that. Though I have long had my heart set on ODAC/ODA but the wait is still a bit of a mystery. I also want a more "fun" set of cans to pair with the Q701 for more bass heavy music (Rap/Hip Hop/Jungle/DnB....) All this later though.

 

But given my stated goal does it sound like I have my head screwed on straight?

 

P.S. this is the best thread of all time. So glad you guys helped me find the Q701's k701smile.gif

 

 

"HD sound" ?  tongue_smile.gif

 

Apart from that, the setup sounds fine.

post #10150 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by kellte2 View Post


Depends on which version you have. I had the DSS2 driving the 32 ohm version of the 990, but the sound did seem to fill out a little after I bought the e09k. Anything above the 32ohm 990 needs an amp more powerful than the DSS2 to properly drive the cans.

Thanks for the replies guys. So it seems the quality will improve if I amp them. It's pretty good now, but being a perfectionist I will probably get an amp when my wallet is feeling a little fatter :-)

 

What did you think of the DSS2 by the way? At first I was pretty unimpressed. The surround sound was there, but it was weak. Definitely weak compared to my old logitech actual 5.1 setup. 

 

However over the course of some (too many) hours playing BF3, I am much more convinced that virtual surround sound works. When I stopped concentrating on whether the surround sound was 'working' and just started playing the game, I was often able to hear enemies coming around corners. If a helicopter was flying around I'd be able to swivel around on focus on it by instinct and get pretty much the spot it was hovering. Ditto with tanks on the ground. This is very cool!

 

I wonder if it takes a while for your brain to be 'tricked' into accepting the virtual surround sound?

post #10151 of 37376
Thread Starter 
Although I have no idea how the DSS2 sounds compared to Dolby Headphone devices, part of how it works is to not TRY so hard to judge the surround sound, and just play a game. The surround cues will come to you. I had that same problem with CoD4 when I first got into this. I was so unimpressed, I left the Mixamp gathering dust for months. Later when I had a need for it, I used it not expecting much, but being completely blown away.

I'm willing to bet a lot of people who don't like it, sit there and try to make surround effects happen. If they just play a game, they'll realize that it works best when you're not TRYING to produce the effects.

I'm gonna get started on my A50 review today. HOPEFULLY, it will be done.
post #10152 of 37376
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

 

 

"HD sound" ?  tongue_smile.gif

 

Apart from that, the setup sounds fine.

LOL - yes I jest. Sound is analog. 

 

I mean getting a more clear and refined sound from my games to my ears.

Something that plugging $20 Sony Headphones into my desktop speaker jack from X-fi Extreme Gamer has been failing to give me all these years. 

Still the Astro is a bit of a weak link in the PS3 setup for SQ but what are you gonna do?


Edited by Heretic817 - 12/28/12 at 6:59am
post #10153 of 37376

Ok I played some more with Q701s last night... My use of the "sterile" sounding yesterday was indeed a bad choice. They are pretty damn good! And that is running with just the mixamp. It was difficult to take them off last night lol

 

I am now just awaiting an e9k after cancelling the e9 (I aint splashing out too much on an amp just yet), and I am going to order a modmic today if possible. The difference between these and the pc360s is big. I am most definately not an audiophile, but they blow em out of the water. Once the modmic arrives, the senns are going on ebay.

 

Thanks again for recommending them. They pretty damn good

post #10154 of 37376
Thread Starter 
Glad to hear it. I've been raving about the AKGs since day 1, and I don't know of any headphone short of the HD800 that will take them off their throne as being the best competitive-oriented all-rounder.
post #10155 of 37376
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Astro A50 (*wireless headset*)
http://www.astrogaming.com/a50-wireless-system



Sells for $300

THIS REVIEW IS UNDER CONSTRUCTION!
Review (Click to show)
Before I get started, I really want to thank Skullcandy for getting in contact with me and giving me the chance to review the SLYR, as well as the A40+Mixamp 2013 Edition, and A50s on their Astrogaming side.... They have been very communicative, and understanding. Can't thank them enough.

The Astro A50s. The first venture into fully wireless headsets for Astrogaming. Prior to the A50's inception, Astro released the discontinued, rare, and very sought out Mixamp 5.8. The Mixamp 5.8's main selling point was that any standard headphone or headset terminated with a 3.5mm plug could be attached to the Rx unit (receiver), essentially making them wireless. As you guys may know, I'm a humongous fan of the Mixamp 5.8, and it remains as my main gaming device when using my audiophile headphones. While it wasn't truly wireless (you still have your own headphone's wires to deal with), it did remove the tether always necessary between the console and yourself in wired setups, making it a more elegant, and cleaner solution than anything else before.

Unfortunately, Astro didn't find the Mixamp 5.8 to be a big seller, and sought out other solutions. This is rather unfortunate, as with more improvement and functionality, future iterations of the Mixamp 5.8 could have been a huge success in my eyes. Ah well, them's the breaks. So now Astro steered their focus away from the 5.8 and towards fully wireless headsets, the first being the Astro A50s.

Upon opening the freshly designed package, you are greeted with the A50, the transmitter (that shares the same body as the Mixamp 5.8's Tx unit, though different inputs/functionality), parts of a headphone stand (which is VERY nice of Astro to supply), and the necessary cables (which I will edit into this review later, as I have a mess of cables from 3 products at the moment).

Now onto the headset itself. Upon first listen, I was immediately attacked by a relentless assault of bass. Seriously, it absolutely surprised the hell out of me. My prior experience with an Astro headset was the first gen A40s, which was anything but bassy. For a $300 headset, I EXPECTED a well balanced, competitive oriented headset with nowhere near as much bass as the A50s have. In truth, I was quite put off by it.

The A50 has 3 presets:

Preset 1: Bass heavy.
Preset 2. Balanced/flat,
Preset 3: Enhanced details (not sure if EQ-ed for less bass, or added mids and treble)

In reality it sounded more like:

1. Boomy, muddy, and completely useless.
2. Boomy, and veiled
3. Bassy with extra detail

No, I'm not kidding. I found the only preset worth using was Preset 3, which wasn't bass light to begin with, but at least I could actually hear the details, and it was quite decent sounding, though ultimately catering more towards fun than competitive, and not exactly sounding balanced. It's honestly not even worth mentioning the other two in this review past this point, because quite frankly, they're quite terrible sounding. In my future review of the Astro A40s (w/Mixamp 2013 Edition), you can see Astro's presets CAN be useful and maintain some clarity. Just...not here.

I'm not even sure whether to fault the presets, the fact that it's wireless, or if it's the A50's drivers themselves. I plugged in the transmitter to my PC in which the transmitter functions as a USB dac/amp (as well as microphone). The presets as well as Dolby Headphone are disabled, allowing you to hear the drivers work at their most natural state. Well, it seems to be the drivers. They are quite bassy. I am quite literally confused as to why Astro decided to use such bassy drivers for their most expensive gaming headset.

The A50s weren't down for the count yet, though. While 2 of the three presets left a really bad taste in my mouth, I still had one functional preset. Firing up CoD4 (and later on MW2) revealed that the A50s were decent gaming performers albeit on the disappointing side in terms of sound quality. It does perform fine when getting down to the nitty gritty, with a little more bass than I'd prefer out of competitive gaming cans. While the audio quality isn't great, positional cues and details were decent to good. The problem is that it's a closed headset, and everything sounds congested. The A40s sound more open, airy, and balanced, even with the speaker tags on. As far as the wireless capabilities, I find it to be great, where it takes quite a bit of distance for the A50's to drop the audio. I didn't notice and snap, crackles, or pops, nor did I get any hiss until you crank the volume quite a bit past the point where I'd say it's humanly necessary.

I'll get to the specifics in the break down.



Build Quality: The Astro A50 shares the same body and aesthetic design of the A40s, which is to say, they look/feel great for a headset. There are a few key differences from the A40s.

1. The microphone is permanently affixed to the left earcup. The A40's is removable.
2. The cups are closed, and unlike the A40s, can't be removed for a semi-open design. They are now fully closed.
3. The right cup can be pressed on the sides to adjust voice/game volume, similar to the Mixamp's voice/game knob, with the exception that it's two hidden buttons you press, not turn.
4. On the rear of the right cup is where the power button, preset slider (EQ), and volume adjustment is placed.
5. On the rear of the left cup is where the mini usb input (for charging), and the 2.5mm controller input (for the 360 controller) is placed.

Build-wise, I felt the parts used were pretty high quality. Astro made a pretty reliable looking headset here. Nothing looks or feels cheap. The plastic used looks high-grade, and looks like it can take a beating. I'd still handle it with care, however. The only area of 'weakness' that I'd be wary of, is the headband padding piece which sort of 'floats' in the center of the headband. Doesn't look like it'd be a problem, but it's the only area I can see that would probably be the first to give out with rough treatment.

The A50s swivel inward, so you can lay them flat if you need a breather. I find them very comfy letting them rest on my shoulders/neck area, which is rare compared to the vast majority of audiophile headphones which have huge cups, won't swivel, etc.


Comfort: I must have a ginormous head, as I have to wear the A50's fully extended. That, or they don't have enough give. On the opposite side of the size spectrum, the PC360 has enough extension to fit the head of a giant. I wish more headphones allowed that much freedom in size. The A40/A50 is comfortable, but they are at their limit with my head. It could use just a bit more extension, in my opinion.

The pads are made of cloth/velour-like material, which is to say, they are quite comfy to my ears, and won't be heat building/sweat-inducing like typical pleather. I've felt better, but they do their job well.


Microphone: While I'm not too experienced with microphones, I didn't have any issues with my tests. It picks up my voice well. The microphone is long, pliable, and one of the better mics I have used. I don't see anyone having issues with this mic.


Accessories: (will be added at a later date).


Isolation/Leakage: In terms of letting sound in/out, I find the A50s to perform...decently. I do hear a fair amount of leakage, so I wouldn't crank these loudly if someone is near me sleeping. As far as keeping external noise out, I found that while using the A50s, it did a decent job overall. I wasn't truly bothered by external noise, though it's not particularly great at it.


Bass: As mentioned earlier, the bass is overly emphasized and boomy for a high-end headset. It's enjoyable on the bass light preset, but ultimately too strong to truly make this headset compete with the other, more balanced headsets like the PC360, SLYR, AX720, and Astro's own A40s. On the flat and bass heavy presets, the bass is loose, boomy, and sloppy. It mucks up the detail quite heavily, making the presets worthless.


Mids: Due to the heavy bass emphasis, mids are drowned out a bit. The mids are distant, but not lost. For the purpose of gaming, the mids are fine, but ultimately not forward. The bass light preset brings out the mids a bit more, which is helpful.


Treble: With the good preset, treble is crisp and bright. It can get sibilant, but not many instances where I see treble being problematic. The natural sound of the A50s don't have much treble to begin with.


Soundstage: Somewhat closed in. It's not going to win anyone over based on size.


Positioning: Due to the closed sound, and not so large a soundstage, positioning isn't great, but it's not bad. It's passable, and sometimes even good.


Amping: No possibility of being amped, as the transmitter can only take a digital signal, with no way to attach an amp. The A50 is fairly sensitive in either case.


Value: This one isn't hard. It's $300. That's a hard number to swallow. The main benefit of the A50 is that it's wireless. You do get everything you'll ever want in one headset, but sound quality is clearly lacking. I prefer the sound quality of the SLYR, A40, AX720, PC360 by a considerable margin. The A50s are left behind on sound quality. If sound quality is important to you, I'd advise you get something else. It's that simple. In good conscience, I can't recommend the A50s.


Final Impressions: The A50's quite honestly make a better stereo headset than a Dolby Headphone one. I find it enjoyable for music off my PC, but not so much for gaming w/Dolby Headphone. Whether it's the drivers, or the internal amp in the headset, they put out bass oriented, and muddy sound for gaming.


Final Scores...

Fun: 6.5. Very decent. While the bass is strong, the only preset worthy to be used is the one with extra detail, and ends up sounding heavily processed, which detracts from enjoying non-competitive games to their fullest extent.

Competitive: 6.5. Very decent. Again, the only preset worth using brings out the detail which helps quite a bit, but the headphone is still on the bass heavy side which detracts from focusing on details. The soundstage and positional cues aren't great, and the sound overall feels closed in, but for most gamers, the A50s would be more than passable.

Comfort: 7.5. Very good. A pretty comfortable headset all around.

Frankly, I need to do more testing for the mids and soundstage (as well as some clean up, corrections, etc), but overall, my opinion will remain relatively the same. It's a passable headset, overpriced when taking sound quality as the most important factor, and ultimately outclassed by pretty much all the good headsets I have reviewed.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/28/12 at 11:18am
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