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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 133

post #1981 of 3063
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fegefeuer View Post

Kinda offtopic but Nvidia just demoed G-SYNC.

 

http://www.geforce.com/whats-new/articles/introducing-nvidia-g-sync-revolutionary-ultra-smooth-stutter-free-gaming

 

No more vsync, tearing ********. Imo the best display innovation in many many years, actually since displays know color. 

 

Well, this could be promising, especially if it leads to future flat-panel displays not having the usual refresh rate vs. image quality tradeoff.

 

I'm still sticking with my Sony GDM-FW900 as long as it works, though.

post #1982 of 3063

So I've got my eyes on a new laptop, specifically the Acer Aspire S7-392 and I was thinking it would be nice to get surround sound from it for movies.

 

It comes with Dolby Home Theater (presumably V4), so I guess I'd use that as a HRTF? Is it any good compared to a hardware implementation?

post #1983 of 3063

I admit I have not read through a large portion of this thread, so sorry if any of my questions have been answered at some point. 

 
I have an Auzentech Prelude 7.1 and am using coax SPDIF out to an Audio-GD NFB-10SE and then to Hi-FiMan HE-5LE phones, balanced. I am specifically interested in getting better positional audio in games. My big game right now is Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. I can confirm that the X-Fi's "advanced features" are not doing a whole lot through digital out. I have tried Dolby Live, but it only seems to do anything when I set windows to 48khz, and then it just makes awful noise. I have tried setting "What You Hear" to listen, and activating the speaker out to make the extra features work, and they do technically seem to work, but I get a lot of distortion for some reason. I have also tried using Alchemy with ME3, and it seemed to add some EAX effects, but they seemed heavy handed, and positional awareness actually went down because there were just too many wonky echos.
 
I downloaded RightMark 3D sound that was mentioned on the first page. For whatever reason, it will only let me use Direct 3D Software weather I'm on SPDIF or speaker out. And weather i use digital, or listen through "What U Hear," the subjective positioning is really poor. Much worse then what I seem to get while actually gaming.
 
The reason I'm posting before doing more research is that I just noticed that Newegg has the Creative Recon3D Fatality on sale for $90. If this is something I should jump on, then I don't want to miss it. I also noticed some talk a few pages ago about SBX something, and I don't know if my Prelude will do it at all. Any input would be great! I'm going to go do more reading about these new Creative cards..

Edited by DarkWolf - 10/26/13 at 2:39pm
post #1984 of 3063
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkWolf View Post
 

I have an Auzentech Prelude 7.1 and am using coax SPDIF out to an Audio-GD NFB-10SE and then to Hi-FiMan HE-5LE phones, balanced. I am specifically interested in getting better positional audio in games.

 
The reason I'm posting before doing more research is that I just noticed that Newegg has the Creative Recon3D Fatality on sale for $90. If this is something I should jump on, then I don't want to miss it. I also noticed some talk a few pages ago about SBX something, and I don't know if my Prelude will do it at all. Any input would be great! I'm going to go do more reading about these new Creative cards..

I'm far from a PC gaming expert, but so far it seems the Sound Blaster Z is becoming the preferred gaming card. So maybe find the cheapest OEM Sound Blaster Z you can.

post #1985 of 3063
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

I'm far from a PC gaming expert, but so far it seems the Sound Blaster Z is becoming the preferred gaming card. So maybe find the cheapest OEM Sound Blaster Z you can.
Dunno if this has gone stale, but I saw a Soundblaster Z (not OEM) on sale for $89 free shipping on Amazon. Almost got it myself, having a hard time buying stuff that I barely have time to enjoy.
post #1986 of 3063
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkWolf View Post
 

I admit I have not read through a large portion of this thread, so sorry if any of my questions have been answered at some point. 

 
I have an Auzentech Prelude 7.1 and am using coax SPDIF out to an Audio-GD NFB-10SE and then to Hi-FiMan HE-5LE phones, balanced. I am specifically interested in getting better positional audio in games. My big game right now is Mass Effect 3's multiplayer. I can confirm that the X-Fi's "advanced features" are not doing a whole lot through digital out. I have tried Dolby Live, but it only seems to do anything when I set windows to 48khz, and then it just makes awful noise. I have tried setting "What You Hear" to listen, and activating the speaker out to make the extra features work, and they do technically seem to work, but I get a lot of distortion for some reason. I have also tried using Alchemy with ME3, and it seemed to add some EAX effects, but they seemed heavy handed, and positional awareness actually went down because there were just too many wonky echos.
 
I downloaded RightMark 3D sound that was mentioned on the first page. For whatever reason, it will only let me use Direct 3D Software weather I'm on SPDIF or speaker out. And weather i use digital, or listen through "What U Hear," the subjective positioning is really poor. Much worse then what I seem to get while actually gaming.
 
The reason I'm posting before doing more research is that I just noticed that Newegg has the Creative Recon3D Fatality on sale for $90. If this is something I should jump on, then I don't want to miss it. I also noticed some talk a few pages ago about SBX something, and I don't know if my Prelude will do it at all. Any input would be great! I'm going to go do more reading about these new Creative cards..

 

Okay, here's how you need to set it up for S/PDIF output:

 

  • The "Speakers" output that corresponds to your analog output in the Windows sound control panel should ALWAYS be your default. Never use "SPDIF Out" as your default.
  • Set the speaker option to "Headphones". This is important, or else you won't get the proper CMSS-3D setting.
  • Make sure "Play Stereo Mix using Digital Output" is checked. It's buried under the window you get when you click the "Settings" button, in one of those tabs.

 

"What U Hear" is NOT needed at all for this; you're probably thinking of the instructions for a USB DAC, not an S/PDIF one.

 

Also important is that RightMark 3DSound's positional accuracy test is DirectSound3D-based. You NEED ALchemy. Place the dsound.dll and dsound.ini in the program directory, whether by the usual GUI or by copying the files from the directory of an ALchemy-configured game. (And really, all the GUI does is copy and paste that dsound.dll and dsound.ini while editing values in the dsound.ini.)

post #1987 of 3063

So far, I've tried a little gaming with my Sennheiser HD590s plugged into the card and CMSS-3D headphone enabled. Didn't actually care for it. Apples and oranges between HD590 and HE-5LE though. I also tried that Razer Surround software I came across on some youtube demos.. On youtube, the new Creative SBX and Razer Surround seemed pretty promising. In practice, I couldn't it working right. Again, with no real front back directional cues at all.

 

I did, just now, go back and set all outputs to 16-bit 48khz, and I stopped getting distortion through What U Hear, and I can run the CMSS-3D headphone surround test in the Creative control panel, and it's not bad. I am a little concerned about all these work around settings degrading quality, but one step at a time.

 

I cannot find a setting anywhere for "Play Stereo Mix using Digital Output."

 

EDIT: I was wrong. Even with all output settings at 16/48, louder playback will clip and distort. If I listen to music in foobar and keep foobar's volume slider below half, it isn't really noticeable. If I turn foobar up and my amp down, it sounds like speakers with torn drivers or something. Might be good enough to give CMSS-3D one test run with the HE-5LE though, and just make sure game volume or whatever else is lower so it doesn't clip. I doubt I'm going to change my mind about though, it sounds pretty awful. Also, in all the demos I watched on youtube, loud sounds all seemed like they were happening in a large auditorium, not out doors as the case was most of the time.


Edited by DarkWolf - 10/27/13 at 8:09am
post #1988 of 3063

Ok. I've played a few games with my HE-5LE using CMSS-3D on headphone and What U Hear outputting to SPDIF. This sounds a lot better than the 590s, which really bring out the DSP's bright, thin sound signature. I have also gone back and played a few games without any DSP effects and just used SPDIF as my primary device. I feel that NOT using CMSS-3D gives the best positioning. With it, there is just too much junk noise from all the EAX effects to really hear what's going on. I also felt that sounds a little left or right of center were muddy, weather in front or behind. Without DSP, there aren't any holes or distortions in the positioning. I have a much better sense of distance without the ESP too. Again, that might be due to less junk noise from the EAX.

 

I guess now the question is less, 'Should I buy a different card?' and more, 'Do have any use for my Prelude?' I wouldn't mind giving SBX a shot, but based on the youtube videos, I might still reach the same conclusions.

post #1989 of 3063
^I think you missed Nameless telling you that you don't need "What U Hear" on to get surround through optical (SPIDF). Before you give up on your investment, make sure your settings match Nameless' suggestions on the last page.

Just a suggestion.
post #1990 of 3063
Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkWolf View Post

Ok. I've played a few games with my HE-5LE using CMSS-3D on headphone and What U Hear outputting to SPDIF. This sounds a lot better than the 590s, which really bring out the DSP's bright, thin sound signature. I have also gone back and played a few games without any DSP effects and just used SPDIF as my primary device. I feel that NOT using CMSS-3D gives the best positioning. With it, there is just too much junk noise from all the EAX effects to really hear what's going on. I also felt that sounds a little left or right of center were muddy, weather in front or behind. Without DSP, there aren't any holes or distortions in the positioning. I have a much better sense of distance without the ESP too. Again, that might be due to less junk noise from the EAX.

I guess now the question is less, 'Should I buy a different card?' and more, 'Do have any use for my Prelude?' I wouldn't mind giving SBX a shot, but based on the youtube videos, I might still reach the same conclusions.

If a game was designed for multichannel, it will sound fantastic through multichannel. if a game was designed for stereo, thats the route to go. But if a game can do either, having a high end pair of headphones will almost yield better results with stereo than it will going through a whole ton of upmixing and virtualizatio DSP's. Those DSPs were not designed for high end cans. They were designed to make peoples' craptastic gaming headsets sound like they are worth more. Stereo though headphones (regardless of the game) and 5.1 through my system is how I end up doing things, and that seems to work the best in terms of sound quality and immersion.
post #1991 of 3063
^ that's your opinion really. Some people like me can't stand gaming with just regular stereo. The separation drives me nuts.

And while I agree certain DSP effects like bassboost, upmixing/matrixing and Crystalizer are stupid, I think a good hrtf mode helps a lot for those anti stereo people.

So why can't you use sbx or cmss3d with high end cans?Its not like they are so bad that they ruin sq. If the eq is off that can always be fine tuned by you.

I think its important to note that its all about preference. So "yielding better results" is subjective.

Note: The only exception to this I see is Razer surround which seems to actually give terrible sq once all the resampling and hrtf algorithms are applied. Most likely a compromise since it has to run in software on the CPU.
post #1992 of 3063
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

^ that's your opinion really. Some people like me can't stand gaming with just regular stereo. The separation drives me nuts.

And while I agree certain DSP effects like bassboost, upmixing/matrixing and Crystalizer are stupid, I think a good hrtf mode helps a lot for those anti stereo people.

So why can't you use sbx or cmss3d with high end cans?Its not like they are so bad that they ruin sq. If the eq is off that can always be fine tuned by you.

I think its important to note that its all about preference. So "yielding better results" is subjective.

Note: The only exception to this I see is Razer surround which seems to actually give terrible sq once all the resampling and hrtf algorithms are applied. Most likely a compromise since it has to run in software on the CPU.

Just to clarify, I wasn't saying that virtualize sound is useless or anything. I'm saying that after being through those dsp, the sound ends up somewhat mangled so you get artifacts and distortion. Thats definitely not how it should be. I was simply pointing out that high end cans are not forgiving of dsp quality while low end cans end up benefitting more. On a personal preference level, I enjoy pure stereo for headphones. But thats just me. I think 3d sound definitely has its merits based on personal preference, headphone, sound card, and game.
post #1993 of 3063

Respond to comments:

 

Evshrug,

 

    I understood what Nameless said, but I had stated that I can't find any setting anywhere to output the stereo mix to digital without using What U Hear. Which is still true. It doesn't seem to be in any of Windows' or Creative's control panels. This maybe due to having an Auzentech card. I don't know for sure, but folks have been complaining that only the Creative branded cards natively run their DSP effects through digital out...

 

 

shrimants and DJ,

 

    I actually felt that the sound quality degradation was lessened with my higher end cans. CMSS makes the sound bright and tinny, while my HE-5LE have good bass, slightly reduced upper mids, and give everything a very full-bodied sound.

   To use CMSS, my understanding is that I should tell windows and/or the game that I'm running the most speakers I can choose; 7.1 in this case. Then I should set the Creative controls to CMSS-3D Headphone and let the card mix all 7.1 channels into "3D Stereo." My testing has been limited to Mass Effect 3 which does not seem to have it's own option for speaker system and probably reads what I've told windows. Either way, CMSS is working when I set to speakers and listen to What U Hear with my SPDIF setup. And so far, I think it sucks. Weather the positioning itself is any more accurate or not, there's just too much other cheese going on to hear anything useful most of the time anyway. I suppose I could give it one more try and disable EAX effects and see what happens...


Edited by DarkWolf - 10/28/13 at 3:12pm
post #1994 of 3063
I don't believe that mass effect 3 even supports EAX...your problem lies elsewhere...
post #1995 of 3063

Mass effect 3 uses Xaudio2 thats why there are no eax or EFX effects. Lately UE3 games been using Xaudio2, some cases some of them had the old OpenaAL+EFX line in the code still to switch to it, but most lately doesn't and only have Xaudio2.

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