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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 96

post #1426 of 2859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Impulse View Post

Didn't Bungie (of Halo) start off on Mac? Kind of ironic they'd end up developing for MS' console...
Oooooh yeah baby, I loved me some Marathon and Myth back in the day. A lot of what Halo did as plot points seem lifted straight from Marathon games, though of course they feel completely different. There was/is an open-source update of the Marathon engine, and Bungie released the trilogy for free a few years back, so you can go back and play some of the best written FPS story (in my opinion) on Windows too. It's cool to play all three, but I particularly liked Marathon: Infinity because of the non-linear, parallel universe path story line, and of course there was some awesome user-made content using the Forge and Anvil tools. EAT THE PATH


Nameless,
I do have the original CD, though keyboard and Saitek Cyborg joystick were good enough for me. There were like 4 years where ALL I would play was flight sims. I really want to play FreeSPACE 2 (missed that gem), and go back and play the Lucasarts X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter. I believe there was a very detailed full conversion made for Freespace2 released recently that creates a Battlestar Galactica campaign! Gog.com is cool biggrin.gif
post #1427 of 2859

I have kind of a ridiculous query.


Would I be able to use 2 Creative X-Fi Titanium cards in conjunction with one another?

 

I.e. If I had one of them configured to work with:

 

Sound Card ---> External DAC (via S/PDIF) ---> External Amp ---> Headphones

 

And the other configured for connecting into a 5.1 receiver as sound for my TV over HDMI?

post #1428 of 2859
Thread Starter 

It's possible to have different sound cards running simultaneously in the same computer, I know that much...but I've never dared to try running two IDENTICAL sound cards of the same model in the same computer. Especially not X-Fi cards.

 

Actually, the question at hand here should be whether or not the two outputs need to be playing the same source audio simultaneously (and I can't think of many reasons why anyone would need speakers AND headphones playing the same thing in the same room). If they do, then you're either going to have an audio mix suited for 5.1 speakers, or a mix suited for headphones with binaural HRTF processing-not both.

 

The only way I can think of around this is if the receiver has an S/PDIF passthrough, which could then connect to a Dolby Headphone processor that then powers your headphones (maybe with a proper headphone amp in between). Then you're just outputting the same 5.1 stream over S/PDIF all the time, and the DH processor's doing the headphone surround dirty work instead of the sound card itself.

post #1429 of 2859

Thanks for your reply.

 

It's not that I want to use them simultaneously,  but I want both of them connected to my PC at the same time so I can switch between audio outputs without swapping cables around.

 

I was thinking if I didn't use an external DAC, I could connect a heaphone amp via RCA and the 5.1 via S/PDIF?

 

Would I be gaining much if anything from an external DAC; say the Schiit Bifrost, compared to the X-Fi Titanium HD?

 

Also have you tried CMSS-3D with console games at all? I know my PS3 has an optical out that could connect to the X-Fi.


Edited by Merzbro - 3/29/13 at 7:13am
post #1430 of 2859
Thread Starter 

If you didn't insist on an external DAC for the headphones, then yes, you could feed the headphone amp with the RCA outputs and leave S/PDIF to the 5.1 speaker system.

 

The X-Fi Titanium HD is already a very competent DAC in and of itself; a comparison with the lauded JDS Labs-built ObjectiveDAC, once volume-matched, left me hard-pressed to tell any differences between the two, no matter how hard I listened. I certainly don't feel the need to use an external DAC with it.

 

As for using CMSS-3D Headphone with console games, here's the problem: S/PDIF inputs on sound cards generally cannot decode Dolby Digital or DTS, so it's not like you can use the sound card as a makeshift Mixamp. You either get a stereo PCM signal (which is pointless to apply surround processing to), or total silence. That's why I keep the SU-DH1 around for my consoles.

 

Believe me, I'd love to know about a means to decode Dolby Digital and DTS streams into their native six-channel format that the computer can then do as it pleases with, but countless people have tried over the years and failed to find a low-latency solution suitable for gaming, if a working solution at all.

post #1431 of 2859
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

As for using CMSS-3D Headphone with console games, here's the problem: S/PDIF inputs on sound cards generally cannot decode Dolby Digital or DTS, so it's not like you can use the sound card as a makeshift Mixamp. You either get a stereo PCM signal (which is pointless to apply surround processing to), or total silence. That's why I keep the SU-DH1 around for my consoles.

 

It seems that the SU-DH1 is impossible to find these days and the Astro A40 Mixamp doesn't support DTS, is that a big deal for gaming?

 

Would there be any point to using an external amp with either of these?


Edited by Merzbro - 3/29/13 at 2:50pm
post #1432 of 2859
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merzbro View Post

It seems that the SU-DH1 is impossible to find these days and the Astro A40 Mixamp doesn't support DTS, is that a big deal for gaming?

 

Would there be any point to using an external amp with either of these?

 

Not having DTS support doesn't seem to be an issue for gaming, as I know the PS3 will re-encode audio into Dolby Digital if necessary. (If DTS is enabled in the audio options, however, some games will output DTS instead of Dolby for whatever reason.) Meanwhile, the X360 allegedly standardizes on Dolby Digital, much like the original Xbox before it did.

 

External amps are still useful; I don't know about the Mixamp, but the little SU-DH1 is definitely weak sauce. Not like you can expect much out of such a little device, where half its size is basically the dual AA battery compartment. I just run the headphone-out into my A/V receiver's inputs, the one whose sole purpose is to provide speaker-level output for my Stax transformer box to work with.

post #1433 of 2859

I just found out that the Wii U only supports LCPM over HDMI. 

 

Not that I have any plans on getting one but I can't think of any way that headphone users could get surround sound from that.

 

Hopefully the PS4 keeps Toslink. frown.gif

post #1434 of 2859
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merzbro View Post

I just found out that the Wii U only supports LCPM over HDMI. 

 

Not that I have any plans on getting one but I can't think of any way that headphone users could get surround sound from that.

 

There are at least two ways:

 

-A/V receiver with built-in headphone surround processing (Believe it or not, a few do have Dolby Headphone.)

-Smyth Realiser A8 (Sorry about your wallet.)

post #1435 of 2859
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

...

As for using CMSS-3D Headphone with console games, here's the problem: S/PDIF inputs on sound cards generally cannot decode Dolby Digital or DTS, so it's not like you can use the sound card as a makeshift Mixamp. You either get a stereo PCM signal (which is pointless to apply surround processing to), or total silence. That's why I keep the SU-DH1 around for my consoles.

Believe me, I'd love to know about a means to decode Dolby Digital and DTS streams into their native six-channel format that the computer can then do as it pleases with, but countless people have tried over the years and failed to find a low-latency solution suitable for gaming, if a working solution at all.
That's why you bought the Recon3D USB, right? If only they made a device like that, for you, with CMSS-3D, right?
I think I read that the Astro Mixamp can also input surround audio through USB, but there were some quality issues from that?

Merzbro, I'm not recommending the Recon3D for your situation btw, because it only has the one 3.5mm headphone output. I had mine simultaneously hooked up to my PC and Xbox 360 for inputs, then amped the headphone out on the Recon3D using a tube amp, but I wasn't switching between speakers and headphones. Well, kinda, I plugged in my desktop computer speakers often to the headphone jack, but not a home theater. I'm sure you could think of creative solutions... Audio sounded maybe a tad crisper fed digitally to my receiver (then my headphones), but sending the analogue signal of my Recon3D USB through the receiver's amp sounded pretty good too, and I was happy enough to with the trade for Creative's surround processing. A soundcard would have a better DAC and crisper signal than the Recon3D USB, at least I expect so (haven't tested it yet, tho the Recon3D sounded leagues better and cleaner than my onboard PC audio).

Too-Long; Didn't Read: you'd be best off with an amp or amp/DAC with multiple inputs (like a nice integrated receiver), hook up everything to that including your PC soundcard. Enjoy a more integrated system smily_headphones1.gif
post #1436 of 2859
Quote:

Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

-A/V receiver with built-in headphone surround processing (Believe it or not, a few do have Dolby Headphone.)

-Smyth Realiser A8 (Sorry about your wallet.)

 

Interesting, I don't suppose you'd be able to tell me what the cheapest one is?

 

The Realiser looks like an incredible piece of engineering, slightly out of my price range though. frown.gif

 

    Quote:

Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Too-Long; Didn't Read: you'd be best off with an amp or amp/DAC with multiple inputs (like a nice integrated receiver), hook up everything to that including your PC soundcard. Enjoy a more integrated system smily_headphones1.gif

 

What I've decided on is an X-Fi Titanium HD to a Schiit Asgard to a pair of Sennheisser 650s for my PC audio, and an Astro A40 mixamp for my PS3.

I don't really want to bother with setting up surround sound speakers if can just use headphones and get the same effect. k701smile.gif


Edited by Merzbro - 3/30/13 at 7:33pm
post #1437 of 2859
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I really want to play FreeSPACE 2 (missed that gem), and go back and play the Lucasarts X-Wing vs Tie-Fighter. I believe there was a very detailed full conversion made for Freespace2 released recently that creates a Battlestar Galactica campaign! Gog.com is cool biggrin.gif

Freespace 2 rocked so much... I think that was like the last great big budget PC space sim no?

I'm ashamed to say I ended up copying it for like two or three friends (this was senior year or first year of college for us, neither morality nor funds were plentiful tongue.gif ). Probably contributed to the genre's demise!

I'm gonna have to check that BSG mod sometime...
post #1438 of 2859
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
That's why you bought the Recon3D USB, right? If only they made a device like that, for you, with CMSS-3D, right?
I think I read that the Astro Mixamp can also input surround audio through USB, but there were some quality issues from that?

 

I bought the Recon3D USB specifically for PC gaming review purposes, not expecting to keep it, because I knew I'd be looking for things that 99% of buyers and reviewers wouldn't be looking for. Too bad there aren't any buyers as a result of my (and Mad Lust Envy's) findings.

 

What I wanted to know is if its OpenAL support was any better or worse than the USB "X-Fi" devices, let alone a real X-Fi card with the EMU20k1/20k2. It most certainly wasn't in that regard; Creative used the same software OpenAL device they do on their other USB devices and the X-Fi MB software suite. Then there's the matter of THX TruStudio Surround just not doing it for me; even software-mode CMSS-3D Headphone on older USB "X-Fi" devices seemed to fare a bit better.

 

Also, the S/PDIF input isn't usable by PCs at all (doesn't show up under the Recording tab), it can't decode DTS, and it can't decode Dolby Pro Logic II, either. (For that matter, the analog aux-in is useless in the console modes, so don't bother using it with a Wii or PS2.)

 

Finally, having CMSS-3D Headphone on a console surround processor would be absolutely pointless if all it gets are 5.1/7.1 sources. That just brings it down to Dolby Headphone level. For that matter, Dolby Headphone itself would be just as competitive, perhaps moreso, if it could actually utilize the 3D positional audio coordinates in DirectSound3D and OpenAL titles, but it's designed to simulate a 5.1/7.1 theater.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Merzbro View Post

Interesting, I don't suppose you'd be able to tell me what the cheapest one is?

 

The Realiser looks like an incredible piece of engineering, slightly out of my price range though. frown.gif

 

What I've decided on is an X-Fi Titanium HD to a Schiit Asgard to a pair of Sennheisser 650s for my PC audio, and an Astro A40 mixamp for my PS3.

I don't really want to bother with setting up surround sound speakers if can just use headphones and get the same effect. k701smile.gif

 

Yeah, you could say that flipping on CMSS-3D Headphone with a pair of AD700s on my head forever killed my interest in surround speakers.

 

As for affordable Dolby Headphone receivers, look on eBay for stuff like the Harmon Kardon AVR 254/354 and Marantz SR5001/SR5002, among others. They're confirmed to have DH, and should also have HDMI inputs.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Impulse View Post
Freespace 2 rocked so much... I think that was like the last great big budget PC space sim no?

I'm ashamed to say I ended up copying it for like two or three friends (this was senior year or first year of college for us, neither morality nor funds were plentiful tongue.gif ). Probably contributed to the genre's demise!

 

There were still a few notable ones afterward, like Independence War 2. Possibly Freelancer (if the use of KB+M controls at the total expense of joystick support didn't put you off entirely) and DarkStar One as well. Still, none had the sheer following that Freespace 2 did...and then Volition hasn't been able to make the planned third installment for over a decade, along with Descent IV. Great...

 

Definitely go grab the two Independence War titles off GOG if you're looking for more space "sim" action. Just note that they're very different from most titles in the genre, what with the Newtonian flight model and piloting a corvette instead of a small space fighter and all.

 

We can only hope Star Citizen delivers on all those promises...it better, for the amount they've raised through crowdfunding!

post #1439 of 2859

Hello,

I couldn't find anything relevant, so I'll just ask: how to record a resulting 3D sound coming from an OpenAL game with full hardware acceleration (a BF2 mod). The problem is Windows doesn't hear anything because the game talks directly to OpenAL driver.

Thank you!

post #1440 of 2859
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ban13 View Post

I couldn't find anything relevant, so I'll just ask: how to record a resulting 3D sound coming from an OpenAL game with full hardware acceleration (a BF2 mod). The problem is Windows doesn't hear anything because the game talks directly to OpenAL driver.

 

The "What U Hear" input should work, as it records exactly what the sound card outputs and doesn't rely on the Windows audio stack for it.

 

At the very least, it's always worked for me.

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