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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added) - Page 477

post #7141 of 37465

Just wanted to thank a few members here for helping me make "smart" purchases and aiding to my satisfaction with my current gear.  Mad Lust Envy, Chicolom, PurpelAngel, and Evshrug...with your input and responses, I have a setup I am completely satisfied with and am now gaming with a huge smile!  And soon will have speakers to fill my ears when I don't wear my phones.  This is what head-fi is all about.

post #7142 of 37465
I'm looking for advice on acquiring a set of headphones, primarily for use with PC gaming specifically but something which I may adopt to for consoles if I find the sound difference worth the trouble associated. I've already submitted this post at my regular NeoGaf, but considering the wealth of knowledge in this thread I decided to register for double the advice (fantastic OP!).
 
Background
I've never been one to give audio much of an opportunity to impress, typically opting for cheap £10 Logitech headphones or speakers that'll "do the job" (my current ones having had the right speak not functioning for several months now). Given that I'm happy to pay lots for IPS monitors and high end graphic cards, it seems only fair that audio gets a fair consideration.
 
Until recently I'd been using an Xbox 360 Wireless headset for Xbox 360, PC and PS3 gaming. Whilst this is fine for the most part on the consoles, I've had a nightmare of a time getting bluetooth drivers and adapter to play nice on the PC, with constant background noise and complaints on my voice quality, and it was just generally a bad idea so have decided it's time to invest in a something a step up.
 
Considerations
Whilst I'm looking to step into good audio, I've not the funds to warrant $500 cans that'll let me dream right. My price point is negotiable depending on advice to follow, but I'd ideally want to stick to no more than £150 ($237), so probably what is considered bare bones in this thread.
 
Considering the low price point, is it worth just opting for an all-in-one cheap and no thrills gaming headset such as;
I'm anticipating the answer is no, "get a pair of headphones with a desktop mic".
 
In looking at the recommended low budget cans from the OP and posts within/other threads I'm not sure on what combination of headphone amp (if one is needed at all) is needed in conjunction with which worthwhile (in comparison to the above cheap headsets) set of headphones. I.e;
 
A few features such as virtual surround sound, wireless and lightweight/comfort, but ultimately immersive audio and affordability is key. They'll mostly always be plugged into the PC (currently onboard soundcard, but looking to install Xonar DS).
 
A consideration I'm having is also the Astro A30 Wired £150 ($237), if just because it gets me the Mixamp for cheaper - letting me invest in a DH amp, headphones and microphone in one package for the time being and allow for future upgrade to a pricer pair of headphones making use of the Mixamp down the line. Obviously that depends on the quality of the Astro though.
 
Thanks for helping out a newb, I'll promise to neglect audio a little less.
post #7143 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by rabinzero View Post

Just wanted to thank a few members here for helping me make "smart" purchases and aiding to my satisfaction with my current gear.  Mad Lust Envy, Chicolom, PurpelAngel, and Evshrug...with your input and responses, I have a setup I am completely satisfied with and am now gaming with a huge smile!  And soon will have speakers to fill my ears when I don't wear my phones.  This is what head-fi is all about.
Wow, you included me? Honored! But I don't feel like I have really contributed much, yet wink.gif
Using a receiver as headphone/speaker amp & device switcher for input to my Panasonic 42" plasma (humble features but absolutely gorgeous IMO) worked really well for me while I had my own place, I have a feeling I'll be quite satisfied again once I get set up in an apartment again.

Just some input on speakers, I have been very pleased with the pleasantly warm and smooth Polk Audio M40's (cherry) I bought from Newegg for $120 for the pair, but I've also heard good things about Pioneer's new budget line. Stereophile Magazine had a glowing review of the Pioneer SP-BS41-LR 2CH Bookshelf Loudspeakers (make sure you find the BS41 model), but I haven't compared them to the good BS51 floorstanding speakers you can audition in Best Buy (keep in mind the placement will be very poor and with so much garbage in the store, heavy bass models with high sensitivity will stand out, I liked them but notice that they're quieter than others, Pioneer just released a 2012 model with a few tweaks for more $, but sometimes you can catch an amazing sale on these older models @ newegg). A later Stereophile article found a Boston Acoustics model to have more musical "magic" than the BS41, but of course at a higher price. Those would be my suggestions for places to start research.
If you don't have something to put these on at ear level, you can do what I did and buy two cheap bookshelves from Walmart (needed furnishing for my apartment anyway) or what I am going to do and buy speaker stands: Sanus NF24c Natural 24" Speaker Stand Pair Cherry & Black
Black stands are $16 cheaper but IMO don't look as nice, but that's just an opinion. Black speakers are generally most popular, but I have a lot of wood furniture and prefer the warmth of cherry to the industrial black. It's worth the difference to me for something I want to keep for a long time.
Edited by Evshrug - 8/25/12 at 5:10pm
post #7144 of 37465
Thread Starter 
I'm still rocking a Vizio soundbar... I kind of want to get a two speaker setup for my TV, as the soundbar is lacking in the mids and clarity. My problem is that I have a 65" that takes up the whole TV stand and the speakers would block the screen, unless I get low profile speakers.

Chico, Koss sells the KSC35, so I doubt they'd give me the 75.
post #7145 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wo33er View Post

Considerations
Whilst I'm looking to step into good audio, I've not the funds to warrant $500 cans that'll let me dream right. My price point is negotiable depending on advice to follow, but I'd ideally want to stick to no more than £150 ($237), so probably what is considered bare bones in this thread.
 
I'm anticipating the answer is no, "get a pair of headphones with a desktop mic".
 
Thanks for helping out a newb, I'll promise to neglect audio a little less.

Wo33er,
I can tell from your word choice that you are both gentleman and scholar. Since your main motivation seems to be that your broken speakers are finally starting to get to you, that your audio expenditures trail the investment in other components, and finally because I am not paid to do this, I'm going to say that the more passionate enthusiast audio setups aren't for you... yet. You could jump straight up to flagship headphones with flagship amps and components, feel quite "Oh wow!"ed by the experience, and save a lot of money and time building up your experience to that point, but you wouldn't have quite the same sense of value, satisfaction, and trained ears as someone who struggled up to that point.

An entry/mid-range headphone will still be an epiphany relative to your current experience, and you'll get to feel whether you have satiated your audio appetite or wish to pursue specific improvements down the line.

You said we'd probably suggest headphone + separate mic, and you were right. Sure there is a place for headsets & their convenience, but if you buy a lapel mic like this one or the one MLE suggested in the OP (mine shipped faster, nice having spares), you can buy a headphone that will beat headsets on price, sound quality, comfort, versatility, and refined looks (Hey! Why not have taste?). To connect the 3.5mm plug on the mic to the Xbox controller's 2.5mm jack, I am having success with this adapter, or you can get a similarly cheap adapter cable. I tell my Xbox to play chat audio through the "Speakers," but with the adapter I'm using, I have options (like if I want to separately send chat audio to a sound processor like the Mixamp).

As far as what to look for in a headphone, I'll quote fellow head-fi'er WiR3D for his concise points:
  • very accurate imaging (most important feature)
  • 2 drivers ONLY.
  • HUGE soundstage
  • a Black background
  • Analytical sound (aids in picking up details)
  • not too boosted treble (to avoid loud piercing pains)
  • completely circumaural and ultracomfortable.
  • Weak isolation can be a bonus at LANs, but its not particularly a goal.

So that brings me to the point you are most interested in, what are the recommended headphones at an entry/mid-range price? Well, I'm going to suggest you look at the bottom of MLE's list. I don't know the prices in your area, but I would suggest the HD555 with some of the easymods documented on Head-Fi, Creative Aurvana Live!, or AD700. My personal experience at that range is with the AD700, it has been very good to me for years and responds pretty well to a little EQ, LOVE the soundstage & positioning, but if you aren't interested in a competitive-tuned headphone, the Sennheiser is capable, apparently cheaper, and doesn't have the polarizing looks of the unique AD700. I haven't heard the CAL!, but for perhaps cheaper I can give honorable mention to a suprise headphone I have heard that is not on MLE's list... the JVC HA-RX700. It's a little big, but pretty comfortable, and an amazing value for the price to get an engaging, musical sound. It doesn't have the soundstage of the AD700 (what does?) and in the week I had it to test and modify before giving it to my friend as a graduation present I didn't test it for positional cues in gaming, but it was detailed and a lot of fun. Of course, if you can save up to afford the DT770 and DT880 recommended by MLE, you'll be better off I think, but money still ought to go towards the final bit: sound components.

Mad Lust Envy swears by Dolby Headphone and binaural sound for gaming, and so do I if you can easily enable it. We're gonna ignore the (worthwhile IMO) upgrade to amps for right now, as my above suggestions should not require a dedicated amp to get you started. Right now my only headphone virtual surround option available is through my Yamaha receiver for Silent Cinema, but I can't set that up at the moment unfortunately, a problem I intend to solve with Creative's Recon3D USB sound processor that is on the way to my home. The Recon3D can be used with Windows, Mac, Xbox 360, & PS3. I hope you've checked out NamelessPFG's guide to computer gaming audio, because both he & I intend to review that sound processor next week, and of course Nameless already has a bunch of great suggestions for sound cards. His value favorite seems to be the Creative X-Fi titanium if you can find one refurbished, but Creative creates uncertainty about continued driver support. The Asus Xonar DX is also highly recommended around Head-Fi for value, but of course you have to compare prices. The Mixamp is Mad Lust Envy's favorite sound processor as someone who primarily games on console, but if your computer has an optical-out, the Mixamp could conceivably be used with the PC as well. Turtle Beach's best processor, the original DSS, can be found really cheap on eBay, but FWIR it's not as refined as the Mixamp. For quality at the least price, you're probably best off getting a refurbished decent soundcard, but if you've really gotta be cheap & your Motherboard's audio has an optical out, a used DSS is the cheapest way to get Dolby Headphone from all your devices.

Did I give you adaquate suggestions? Lol, maybe I should copy/paste this post into my own thread on gaming with headphones >_< Hey Mad, Nameless, and Purple Angel, wouldn't it be great to be paid for our research and recommendations? Or at least be sent stuff to review? Ha!
Edited by Evshrug - 8/25/12 at 4:50pm
post #7146 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

I'm still rocking a Vizio soundbar... I kind of want to get a two speaker setup for my TV, as the soundbar is lacking in the mids and clarity. My problem is that I have a 65" that takes up the whole TV stand and the speakers would block the screen, unless I get low profile speakers.
Chico, Koss sells the KSC35, so I doubt they'd give me the 75.

Mad,
If your (GIANT! @o@) tv doesn't take up the whole side of the room, you can consider separate stands next to your TV stand. I want the sanus stands I mentioned in my other post, they're one of the best priced purpose-built speaker stands I've seen (they come in black too), but from experience I can tell you that a pair of nightstands or small pair of bookshelves works well. The bookshelves have the added benefit of a place to organize cases for movies, games, and CDs. I had my TV atop a (nice wooden) cart that folds out into a table when I needed that, so I left the backing off one of my bookshelves and put my console and receivers on the shelves too, but your dedicated TV stand probably has space for that & you probably have media storage sorted out.
post #7147 of 37465

Got my mixamp about a week ago so I switched from using the DH from my receiver to DH on the mixamp. The cheap monster cable iphone mic works fine and I haven't gotten any complaints from my friends yet. I have found that in my current setup that nearby explosions in MW3 distorts like crazy when I have the mixamp hooked up to my mstage and have the volume cranked up. I have yet to try a different pair of headphones (besides my 2900) but that level of volume isn't really a healthy level that anyone should be playing at.

 

I have also recently learned to really appreciate the Specialist Strike Package in MW3. I have my load out setup as Silenced MP7, Sleight of Hand Pro, Hardline Pro, Sitrep Pro, and my kill streak as Deadly Silence Pro @1point, Scavenger @3points, and Marathon @5points. Having Sitrep Pro and Deadly Silence Pro has proven to be quite the deadly combination to me and once you unlock all the perks, you basically become a terminator.

post #7148 of 37465
So, I just finished playing about three hours of CoD:BO and CoD4, while hooked up to my Yamaha receiver, and I gotta say... I wasn't hearing the 3D positioning tonight frown.gif

I had the Xbox connected via HDMI to the receiver, and Amazon's HDMI to DVI cable from there to my monitor, of course with my Q701s pugged into the Yamaha's headphone jack. Somewhere in my move to this pit of despair that is my Mom's house, my remote got lost, and without my user's manual I'm not entirely sure I enabled the virtual surround of Silent Cinema. I think you have to enable a DSP if I remember correctly and the receiver will automatically enable SC when you plug in headphones, so I tried Adventure Game, Roleplaying Game, Spectacle, and 5 Channel Surround decoder (that last one I believe is like Dolby Pro Logic II, up sampling stereo to surround), and towards the end I tried it in Straight mode for comparison.

When actually playing, I stopped for a moment 2 hours in and just focused on the sound of the chopper, while slowly spinning in place. Of course it moved around too, and I pretty much could hear it rotating around me, but the distance was hard to tell from sound alone... Beyond just how loud the guns were. When I was in the thick of the action (team deathmatch, a lot of action especially in BO), I didn't feel like I had "Sound radar" in front and behind me... I mean the sound played well but I just wasn't impressed. Roleplaying Game mode added reverb to the party chat voices, and spectacle added even more, but overall I could barely tell the difference in the game audio from the different DSPs as to the strength of the 3D effect. I did actually play consistently extra well however... Maybe I became subconsciously used to the 3D? I bet search & destroy would be a better test. When I switched back to stereo (straight) mode, the sound field did noticeably "flatten," however. Also good to note, sound was way crisper and dynamic on the Q701s with the extra juice of the receiver, no background noise even when I cranked the volume to MAX (in the Xbox guide, no sounds playing thank god!)

Purple Angel,
I would be interested to know what settings you settled on. Sometimes, too many options make things difficult, lol!

I would like to make the disclaimer that my impression is only preliminary, and right when I first got these headphones I used basically the same setup while playing Oblivion, and I could very clearly feel direction and distance. Also, even in CoD:BO (where there is so much extra noise) I felt the Game DSPs did something "good" even if I couldn't play the game with my eyes closed. So tomorrow I'm going to try out Halo Reach which has some great sound, maybe even some Mass Effect 2 (will have to start from the beginning, grr). It's funny, I found a way to stash my receiver while hooked up in my room just before my Recon3D processor arrives, and I'll have both just before my mom shuts down our Internet in September. I look forward to comparing the virtual surround encoding of Silent Cinema vs Creative's THX-TruStudio Pro (successor to CMSS-3D I believe) soon, but I wish I could round out the comparison with Dolby Headphone. Anybody interested in a temporary trade?
post #7149 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
Hey Mad, Nameless, and Purple Angel, wouldn't it be great to be paid for our research and recommendations? Or at least be sent stuff to review? Ha!

 

You have no idea how happy that would make me if I could just review things without having to pay full price for them first!

 

Even $70 for the Recon3D has me feeling like it's a gamble when I'm trying to save money. Yeah, trying to save money even when I'm being tempted by the thoughts of more Stax/electrostatic hardware and GDM-FW900s I never thought I could afford before, especially in great condition. Buy more of one sort of tech, lose the ability to buy other kinds of tech, let alone review it...

post #7150 of 37465

Hi!

 

I´m new here and I´m impressed with the knowledge here about headphones! Please forgive my bad english but i´m from Germany.

I need some advise for an Gaming Headphone.

My first experience is an Sony Wireless Stereo with Virtual Surround Feature. (http://www.amazon.com/Wireless-Stereo-Headset-Playstation-3/dp/B0053OLY9O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1345980539&sr=8-1&keywords=sony+wireless+7.1)

 

Im still impressed with this - the ONLY thing lacking is the Bass and my ears are getting a litte warm. Other than this its "Perfect" for me! I can pinpoint the directions of Enemys very well with this.

 

BUT I need an Set for XBOX360 and PS3 (will then also work on PC as well i think) It should have more/better Bass and my Ears should not get warm. Other than that it should be so comfortable like the Sony.

 

After reading al lot here I think the best for me would be the Sennheiser PC360 with an Mixamp 5.8  or can I do better / a little bit cheaper?  I use it only for Gaming ! (60% Single Player 40% Online ) I often play 5-6 Hours in one session. (then SP Games)

 

Thank you for your help and recommendations.

 

Best

 

Thomas

post #7151 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I can tell from your word choice that you are both gentleman and scholar.

 

<3

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I would suggest the HD555 with some of the easymods documented on Head-Fi, Creative Aurvana Live!, or AD700. I haven't heard the CAL!, but for perhaps cheaper I can give honorable mention to a suprise headphone I have heard that is not on MLE's list... the JVC HA-RX700.
His value favorite seems to be the Creative X-Fi titanium if you can find one refurbished, but Creative creates uncertainty about continued driver support. The Asus Xonar DX is also highly recommended around Head-Fi for value, but of course you have to compare prices. 

 

For prices in my country, from most expensive to least to give an idea of value to quality...

 

 

Headphones;
DT770 - £129
AD700 - £124
HD555 - £80
JVC HA-RX700 - £31.55
 
Soundcard;
Creative X-Fi Titanium - £64 (only thing not Amazon!)
 
Looking at the DGX, will that be more beneficial for primarily headphone use given that it has a built in amp and what I expect is barebones Dolby Headphones, or would it be better to invest in the more expensive Titanium/DX?
 
I'd love to get a pair of AD700, which could be had for a fantastic £57 (instead of £124) if Amazon.com and .co.uk had the same pricing. I'm thinking that given the price points above a JVC HA-RX700 and Asus Xonar DGX (£60) would be a good pair and introduction to decent gaming audio - with room to upgrade the headphones in time if desired?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Did I give you adaquate suggestions? Lol, maybe I should copy/paste this post into my own thread on gaming with headphones >_< Hey Mad, Nameless, and Purple Angel, wouldn't it be great to be paid for our research and recommendations? Or at least be sent stuff to review? Ha!

 

This is very true, thanks for the fantastic help! :)

post #7152 of 37465

And now in two minds between the RX700 and Aurvana Live. The JVC seem like a steal for the price, but the sheer scale of the beasts is intimidating in comparison to the minimalist stylish Aurvana's, if a little on the timid side. I anticipate the sound comparisons between the two won't be too drastic, with both the JVC being favoured site wide and the CAL in MLE's OP.

post #7153 of 37465
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wo33er View Post

And now in two minds between the RX700 and Aurvana Live. The JVC seem like a steal for the price, but the sheer scale of the beasts is intimidating in comparison to the minimalist stylish Aurvana's, if a little on the timid side. I anticipate the sound comparisons between the two won't be too drastic, with both the JVC being favoured site wide and the CAL in MLE's OP.

 

I haven't heard the RX700, but I would take the CAL over the RX900, which I have heard.

post #7154 of 37465

Hey guys i posted a few days ago about looking for my best option regarding MW3 for 360.  Let me say, I found out why sometimes you got to have a separate set of cans for fun and one on the side for gaming.

AD700s w/ mixamp (Dead silence/Sitrep Pro)

So I was recommended to get the Samson SR850s but couldn't resist the pair of AD700s i saw on craigslist. So i paired the AD700s with my astro mixamp played a few rounds on lvl80 (perked up with Deadsilence and Sitrep Pro) and I am hearing the footsteps just the way I want. Audio quality and bombs going off let me raise the volume a tad bit as the footsteps are more pronounced not getting drowned out from the explosions and gun fire. The mixamp has a more smooth 360 degree virtual surround sound.

(now without Sitrep Pro)

Soundstage haha.. I know what you guys are talking about now when you talk about soundstage (I'm an audio newbie). Footstep distance increased but without Sitrep pro (enemy footsteps louder) i'm sort of confused of where these guys are (direction I know, exact position no clue).

 

HP were comfortable but my ears started to hurt. Yes they are harsh after a decent amount of a gaming session (at least for me).

 

TurtleBeach HPX 5.1 headset w/ Tritton axpro 5.1 decoder

I was going to sell them but after putting these back on to have a comparison I will not be watching any movies, listening to music, or playing any single player games on my 360 without them. The ad700 can chill out till I decide to play multiplayer. I had the sub half way up, anymore and the sound just turned from great to sh*t but my ears were vibrating and simply put I will never have fun w/ the Ad700s.

 

competively footstep distance is slightly smaller but I can read peoples positions a lot better. Slight turns while playing let me know exactly where someone is (that I can hear) from the different speakers switching on.

 

My tritton axpro headset broke and i'm glad it did. They are horrible and I wished Envy had the time to hook up an HPX to the decoder and put it on his guide as its competively worthy. 5.1 is not a gimmick. I finally gamed with the ad700s which is considered the 10 of gaming and I gotta say the experience I was expecting in an audio sense was to be equivalent to "I remember my first time" and it didn't.

 

Just thought me a lesson of why theres variety and if someone like Envy or chicolum tell you to get something. Give it a try. Sorry for the long read just thought my experience would help someone.

post #7155 of 37465

Just thought I would update my audio situation. 

 

I tried out DHT v4 and its better than dolby headphone in preserving quality audio.    I haven't really done much positioning testing but nothing stands out as bad in a miniscule testing.

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Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › Video Games Discussion › Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (3/18/2016: MrSpeakers Ether C 1.1 Added)