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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (Update: 7/9/2014: Ultrasone HFI-15G Added) - Page 834

post #12496 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Impulse View Post

shanek248, your receiver may or may not drive low impedance headphones any better than something like the Mixamp, but it wouldn't be a big disparity either way, might not even do that great a job to be honest...

Truthfully the headphone output of AVRs isn't always the greatest, and even when it is decent it might still have impedance issues with low impedance headphones made to be driven by portable or lower power sources.

Then on top of all that most AVR don't do surround emulation or a good job of it, which is another topic altogether from how well of a job they'll do electrically powering the headphones. I'm not sure if you were grasping those differences which is why I suggested reading the first post (expand the spoiler sections etc), if it's too confusing or MLE glosses over some concepts (been a while since I read thru it myself so I forget how it's structured) you can possibly look up some of Evshrug's guide/FAQ threads.

There are certainly some cheaper options than the Mixamp as far as surround emulation goes (DSS, Recon3D etc.), each has it's particular pro/cons... Most of them can easily drive something like the AD700, CAL, or HD558 since they aren't very power hungry headphones.

As far as open headphones goes, if you don't mind hearing the piano in the background and your wife doesn't mind a slight murmur in the background (that's roughly how she'd perceive it, depending on your volume and her piano playing etc) then they'd work.

 

 

Thanks a million. I see what you mean and don`t worry I didn`t take any offence to being told to go back and read. I will go back and take a more careful read because I don`t remember any theory in there!! Clearly I glossed over it! I did my undergrad in electronic engineering so I should be able to catch on .... eventually.

 

Im not completely focused on getting open headphones since I dont even know what the advantages would be in my case. I only have interest in the ad700s due to the reviews they are getting across the board for my particular needs. The fact that they are open headphones is merely coincidental. :-) This is all very interesting. Seems I have a lot to learn when it comes to headsets.

 

I was hoping against the odds I could use my AVR with some magical set of cheap headphones as a great surround solution. It seems this is not to be.. :-(  ....lol

 

I will do some research into the cheaper surround emulation options you suggested but I fear I may have to settle for repairing my trittons.

post #12497 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by unclerico View Post

Just a quick update on my search for a good audio gaming (xbox360) setup.....

 

First of all, I want to thank MLE and the other posters in here for their great knowledge and info sharing, it's helped me immensely. I literally didn't know what terms like "sound stage, warm sound, etc.) even meant a few months ago. I was looking for a good setup mainly for fps shooters(cod), in order to hear footsteps and to get immersed into the game. I decided to buy 3 headphones just to test them out for myself (Audio Technica AD700, BD 990 pro, and 2013 Astro A40's/mixamp. I'm not going to go into any in depth review because to be honest MLE's reviews, as well as others, are spot on to my findings. AD700--Great for gaming, but GIGANTIC, and I have a huge head. I just couldn't deal with the loose fit. BD 990 pro---Sounded great, but the clamp is just too damn tight for me, Astro A40's---Overall sounded good, but not nearly the sound stage and positional directionality as the others. The headset was by far the most comfortable, by a landslide. By the way, I used the mixamp to drive all the headsets. I'm very leery of the 2013 Astro setup however. I've read hundreds of horror stories of their bad mics, mixamp failures, and atrocious customer service. Through all of this reading and testing, I've finally learned what characteristics are important to me, as far as a gaming setup and that's due to this site, so "Thank You".

I'm still going to try a couple more setups since i haven't really hit a home run yet. My next victim will be the AKG Q701's. Does anyone have any advice on what setup I should use with these cans for an Xbox360. I'm assuming that I need a virtual sound device(mixamp, recon, etc) and an amp(fiio e12) power the q701's? If anyone has any specific knowledge on this subject I would greatly appreciate your feedback.

Once again, thanks very much to this site and MLE!!!

 

What have you been running the headphones you already bought off of?  I'm assume your on a console right?

 

You may not need an amp, but you should get definitely get a surround sound device.  Everything in this thread is based off of use with a surround sound device.

 

With the Q701s I'd say either a Mixamp or DSS v1.  If you don't need CHAT the DSS is way cheaper and will work fine with the Q701s. 


Edited by chicolom - 3/21/13 at 11:42pm
post #12498 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by shanek248 View Post
*SNIP*

I will do some research into the cheaper surround emulation options you suggested but I fear I may have to settle for repairing my trittons.

Which pair of Trittons do you have? 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by shanek248 View Post
Im not completely focused on getting open headphones since I dont even know what the advantages would be in my case. I only have interest in the ad700s due to the reviews they are getting across the board for my particular needs. The fact that they are open headphones is merely coincidental.

 

In your case (IE, competitive gaming being the highest priority) an open headphone is the best solution. Open headphones deliver a more open, spacious presentation of the sounds which translates into more soundstage (the amount of distance the sounds can emulate is much wider). This leads to greater positional accuracy, which is key in FPS gaming which have at least some directional audio keys (footsteps, gunshots, callouts, ect) However since they're open (drivers exposed) it also means that there is a lack of isolation.


Edited by ruuku - 3/21/13 at 7:11pm
post #12499 of 24807
Shanek248,
As an EE, the impedance discussion would probably make the most sense to you, but... It may remind you of work, lol.

Virtual Surround processing:
I'd like to clarify one thing: the receiver is an amplifier (and a DAC if your Xbox/PS3 is hooked up to it via HDMI), and the headphone changes analogue signal to sound (yay), but what creates the virtual surround isn't in the headphone (usually), it's in sound processing. Some receivers have some form of virtual surround or simulated surround, I urge you to look in your manual to see if your receiver has a section on that (probably very brief, but still in the index). Virtual surround processing is the secret sauce that creates those forward/backward/directional sound cues in your headphones when fed a 5.1,7.1, or full 3D surround signal. And yes, I have an "article" guide on this in the journal thread linked in my signature, with a few samples that include the processing "baked in" to the sound already so you can hear it with your headphones on. The point of Astro's Mixamp, Creative's Recon3D, Turtle Beach's DSS and DSS2, the base station included with the Tritton AX720, and some receivers (and gaming soundcards in computers) is to do this surround processing. In the US, the cheapest option is a used Turtle Beach "DSS" for around $25 (maybe plus shipping), though if you want easier control of chat volume the Astro "Mixamp" is the most intuitive option and it also has a higher quality amp with less background static noise (almost silent when no audio is played, right Mad?), I bought Creative's "Recon3D USB" for half the price of the Mixamp because it works with consoles but offers full PC support too and has no audible background noise with my AD700.

Open vs Sealed/Closed back headphones:
Closed or sealed headphones are basically like earmuffs with speakers inside. That always produces some degree of resonance, so it becomes harder to produce the subtle sound differences that create the impression of different depths/distances of sound. Some can do that pretty well, but open headphones always have the best models. It's not the biggest difference, but once I heard it and got used to it I became addicted smily_headphones1.gif Of course this works well with surround processing too. There are of course other options than the AD700, but the AD700's big draw is it has the biggest (and most even) soundstage of any headphone below basically $500 USD, and it has high sensitivity so you don't need a high-wattage amp to hear it's full potential. If you get the AD700 (the earcups are about half the size of my head, FYI, though I love 'em), you will hear room noises almost like you weren't wearing anything at all, and to other people your audio will sound like those people who play their iPod earbuds way too loud (though they won't sound too loud to you, it's just they are bigger "speakers" is all). Easy to get used to IMO, also I like knowing when my family gets home or wants to talk to me. The grills are a tint of purple not pink... Listen to the song "Purple Haze" and you'll feel in the mood to rock 'em, but you'll probably leave them at home wink.gif Audio Technica also released a refreshed version very recently, the AD700x – I have no idea what they sound like and of course they cost more being new, but I'm curious about them.

Let's see, was there anything else... Oh, I started my undergrad as a student of mechanical engineering, but I failed Calc even though I was doing fine with Physics. Life takes us in funny directions. I work as a shift manager at a restaurant now and do graphic design work on the side.
post #12500 of 24807

So, I'm testing the DSS and Mixamp 5.8 again...

 

I've said this before, but I'm definitively confirming it now:  The DSS has LESS hiss than the Mixamp 5.8 at higher volumes.

 

 

The DSS still has more hiss at lower volumes, but as you get into the louder volumes they reverse and the DSS has less hiss.  I'm not sure where the exact crossover point is.  It's when the Mixamp's amplifier hiss starts to kick in, past 60% volume or so.

 

I've got them both running into the M-Stage.  The DSS is at MAX volume, the Mixamp 5.8 is at 2 o'clock 100% game (which is about 80% of it's max) which puts them nearly the same volume level.  The DSS has noticeably less hiss.  When I pause the game I can barely detect it - with Mixamp 5.8 it's easier to hear the faint hiss.

 

So the DSS still isn't good for things like AD700s and other easily driven hiss-susceptible headphones, but for double amping + harder to drive headphones the DSS will have a quieter noise floor than the mixamp 5.8 - assuming you've got the them both past ~60% volume.  It's true that Mixamp 5.8 gets a little louder overall, but it really gets hissy in that last 20% percent of amping, so I would avoid that area if possible.

 

 

I'm not sure why the DSS has more hiss at lower volumes but less at louder volumes - something to do with SNR vs amplifier hiss maybe?  I dunno....

 

It's too bad the Mixamp 5.8 is discontinued, so this information isn't all that useful. redface.gif

I wonder where the 2013 mixamp falls in terms of noise floor...

 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

The Mixamp 5.8 actually hisses louder than the DSS when they both go past >60% volume and beyond.  The DSS never reaches 5.8 at loudest volume hiss, but it doesn't quite reach 5.8 at lowest volume hiss either. 

 

       - The DSS maximum hiss is definitely less than anything past 2 o'clock on the 5.8 at 50/50 balance.

 

Makes me wonder if the DSS would be a better preamp than the 5.8 , since its quieter at its louder volumes near the line out levels.


Edited by chicolom - 3/22/13 at 1:47am
post #12501 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by ruuku View Post

Which pair of Trittons do you have? 

 

 

 

I have AX-PROs

 

Thanks for the help in understanding how open affects me.

post #12502 of 24807
Thread Starter 
The hiss embeds itself in the signal, so even if you're not at that 60% volume level where hiss is apparent on the Mixamp, if you double amp high enough to be at a similar decibel level, you'll get the same exact hiss. So I would still max out the Mixamp 5.8 and control volume with the external amp.

The Mixamp 5.8 has a similar hiss as the mixamp 2013. They must use a similar section of internal circuitry that cause the same hiss.
post #12503 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

The hiss embeds itself in the signal, so even if you're not at that 60% volume level where hiss is apparent on the Mixamp, if you double amp high enough to be at a similar decibel level, you'll get the same exact hiss. So I would still max out the Mixamp 5.8 and control volume with the external amp.

The Mixamp 5.8 has a similar hiss as the mixamp 2013. They must use a similar section of internal circuitry that cause the same hiss.

 

 

.....I AM double amping at a high and similar decibel level, and the DSS has less hiss. 

 

Quote:
Quote:I've got them both running into the M-Stage.  The DSS is at MAX volume, the Mixamp 5.8 is at 2 o'clock 100% game (which is about 80% of it's max) which puts them nearly the same volume level.  The DSS has noticeably less hiss.

 

 

There is a difference between the noise floor hiss (which is what you mean by hiss that gets embedded in the signal) and the hiss introduced by the amplifier gain.

 

The mixamp has a noisier amplifier while the DSS has a higher noise floor.  At some point, the noise added by increasing the gain on the Mixamp's amplifier becomes greater than the total noise of the DSS's amp gain + noise floor hiss.

 

Your no longer hearing the noise floor hiss at that point, your hearing the hiss from turning up the amplifier gain too much.

 

 

All of this noise gets carried over the signal to the next amp, which is why the DSS at the higher volumes is quieter. 

 

 

 

 


Edited by chicolom - 3/22/13 at 2:19am
post #12504 of 24807
Thread Starter 
No, no, thats not what I'm referring to. I mean that off the same Mixamp, for example...

Mixamp 5.8 at 30% volume = no audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 100% volume = audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 100% volume + external amp at low volume = no audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 30% volume + external amp at high volume = same audible hiss as Mixamp at 100%

Meaning that once you get a loud enough decibel level, regardless of whatever combination of Mixamp/external amp you use, you will get that same audible hiss. Lowering the Mixamp volume won't lower the hiss. All it will do is lower the information being sent to the external amp, effectively making yoj lose detail for no real reason. Unless someone can gauge where the Mixamp's line level is, it's best to max it out, IMHO.

The hiss isn't directly tied to just the Mixamp's volume level, but embedded into the signal, and regardless of how you get there, once you get to a loud enough decibel level (for example 80db), that hiss will come out regardless of whatever combination of volume levels you have on the Mixamp and external amp.

I wasnt directly comparing the DSS, as I haven't really used one.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 3/22/13 at 2:44am
post #12505 of 24807
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

No, no, thats not what I'm referring to. I mean that off the same Mixamp, for example...

Mixamp 5.8 at 30% volume = no audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 100% volume = audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 100% volume + external amp at low volume = no audible hiss
Mixamp 5.8 at 30% volume + external amp at high volume = same audible hiss as Mixamp at 100%

Meaning that once you get a loud enough decibel level, regardless of whatever combination of Mixamp/external amp you use, you will get that same audible hiss. Lowering the Mixamp volume won't lower the hiss. All it will do is lower the information being sent to the external amp, effectively making yoj lose detail for no real reason. Unless someone can gauge where the Mixamp's line level is, it's best to max it out, IMHO.

The hiss isn't directly tied to just the Mixamp's volume level, but embedded into the signal, and regardless of how you get there, once you get to a loud enough decibel level (for example 80db), that hiss will come out regardless of whatever combination of volume levels you have on the Mixamp and external amp.

I wasnt directly comparing the DSS, as I haven't really used one.

 

 

Oh, OK.  I see what you're saying.  I misread it.

 

All I know is, when you set the DSS to MAX volume and then set the mixamp to an equivalent volume (which is about 80% of the mixamp's max) the DSS has less hiss in the signal.  I even tested it with all other equipment turned of (consoles/TVs) so I could get everything dead quiet in order to hear it more clearly.

 

I don't know all the technical details, but it's there, and you know I'm one of the first to admit if something is probably placebo.  Have I ever lied to you! tongue_smile.gif

 

It's not like it's a huge difference.  It's just on the DSS I can barely hear the noise - I have to strain myself a little to hear it, while I don't have to as much on the mixamp.  When actually gaming (and not paused), both are complete non-issues of course.

post #12506 of 24807
Thread Starter 
I dont doubt it. Less hiss is always a good thing, though I don't find the hiss on any Mixamp problematic, either way. The AX720 however...that thing is quite hissy no matter what I did. Not sure how the newer AX720+ behaves though.
post #12507 of 24807

Ordered the Ultrasone Signature DJ. Looking forward to the bass and so does my loooong Progressive House/Trance Collection. Will post some gaming impressions as well.

post #12508 of 24807

I am glad I picked up the DSS again.  I missed it a little. 

 

The DSS and Anniversaries are a particularly sweet combination. 

 

For some reason the Mixamp 5.8 has slightly more forward upper mids than the DSS (I've said this before too).  There's also the muddier bass boost (which boosts some of lower mids),  I don't really think either of those things are needed on the Anniversaries.  The DSS ends up making the Anniversaries sounding slightly cleaner and tighter in comparison, which was what I was going for.  Once you dial in some DSS bass boost, they shift towards a more "fun" shaped signature than the mixamp is capable of doing.

 

The bass is frightening when you crank it up.  I love that clean punchy variable DSS bass boost.

post #12509 of 24807
Thread Starter 
I agree on the 5.8. It was always slightly more detail focused than neutral. Made more obvious when I got the receiver.
post #12510 of 24807

Evshrug

 

Thank you very much for the detailed response! It helps a lot.

 

Everything certainly seems a lot clearer and my interest is certainly peaked!

 

Thanks for the description of Open versus closed. Pretty simple and obvious really.

 

Im going to look into all the mixamp equivalents you mentioned. What about the tritton amp is it any good? Since I have one... 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Let's see, was there anything else... Oh, I started my undergrad as a student of mechanical engineering, but I failed Calc even though I was doing fine with Physics. Life takes us in funny directions. I work as a shift manager at a restaurant now and do graphic design work on the side.

 

Funny, I did my degree and worked in Japan as an EE for a few years. I then returned to Ireland having lost all love for working in the field. Now my wife and I own a Montessori School and a music school in our local shopping Centre. (Mall?). Complete change of pace but I havent looked back once. So I know what you mean about funny directions.

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