Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 160

post #2386 of 3101

Your descriptions there got me excited! I will look more in depth at those cans and then decide. They both sound awesome from your description. I read a review on this site a little bit ago, I will have to check it again after I have been learning these past few days.

 

I think I may do the ZxR for now and then choose between one of those headphones! 

What your saying is, I won't need to worry about the impedance mismatch or anything using either on the ZxR with either of those cans? 

 

If that's the case then I will be settled, which is nice! Been religiously reading and researching the past week or two! I will definitely pick up an external solution in the foreseeable future after what I have learned. I love sound quality and I love music so it only makes sense! This will just get me into the door for now and get rid of my annoying driver issues!

post #2387 of 3101
Well Ev, I don't like you now!! Lol

But seriously I am glad you did post that as its better put together and stated than the sources I've read. The blog by "he who must not be named"(who I could of sworn used different headphones to test this rule) and a few other comments on this forum are the only places that talked about output impedance. And the comments on here weren't the best explanation. But these were seasoned head fi members stating the 1/8th rule must be followed above all else. You can imagine how it is to a new head fi member getting this info and trying to follow it lol.

I should note that I did specify the high impedence output was only 1 of the reasons I sold the zxr. The main one being I needed an external unit for console gaming as well. The other was Moar power for future proof just in case. You never know right.

Perhaps we could talk a little more about the output impedance theory in a different thread since I don't want to derail this thread. But I feel there are some things I'd like to clear up for my own educational benefit and perhaps for others too.

Also a lot of members on here state that the akg K series tends to need a lot of power to drive and this isn't evident in its impedance numbers alone. What are your thoughts on that and the z/zxr's amp?

I am planning on grabbing the k712s soon.

@woesty

The only other thing I'd like to say before you pull the trigger on the zxr is I felt like I wasted money due to the ACM and daughter board not being used. I felt like it was pricey due to that personally.

So I feel a duty to others so they dont make the same mistake. If of course you don't use those 2 things. I basically sucked up over $100 in losses even after I sold the card lol. Stupid me right?

Maybe get it used for cheaper if your OK with used hardware? I think the zxr alone with no extras and optical on the same card would have been nice at $180 ish.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 1/7/14 at 10:13pm
post #2388 of 3101
@ the burning disk jockey,
*revenge of the Sith Darth Vader:* NYOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAH!

But seriously, I've heard several good arguments about it for both sides, some of it in the Sound Blaster Z thread (ask SaLX), but I first started wondering what was amiss when people couldn't describe WHAT actually happened, just "bad is BAD!" and then it had been repeated a lot. Someone pointed me at NAG's blog (and I looked up the thread where he had been made not allowed on Head-Fi anymore), basically low impedance dampening was like... a big deal to him, and he started picking on sponsors publicly, and his blog has some good info but he makes some conclusions without thinking about the big picture. I'm pretty sure he found issue with the Sennheiser HD650, and followed up saying "I don't think any headphones have a linear frequency response," meanwhile headphone.com's graphs of the big 3 traditional flagships show that both Beyer and AKG's impedance graphs are quite flat. Even my V-MODA M-100 closed headphone has an impressively flat frequency response. As far as moving this to another thread... I've saved up a couple of sources and info, I mean to write-up a general explanation of my revised theory so-far (like you, I'm always learning and I try to stay open to that), but the 1/8th guideline shows up in tons of threads and is repeated often without understanding, so... I said a bit about it here. My impedance "rule of thumb" is, if you have a receiver, try it with that as an amp. Receivers often have VERY high output impedances like 120 ohms. Of course, they also have a lot of other parts and possible sources of distortion, but even my somewhat-cheap entry level Yamaha sounds good as an amp.

Actually didn't realize his capital letters were NAG till I wrote it there.

Anyway, I rolled in the answers to your questions in my last post. The AKG flagships have relatively portable-friendly impedance Ohm ratings, but they do better with desktop amps because they have relatively low sensitivity. Sensitivity and impedance are two parts of the equation of required amping, I'm still learning the best way to describe it myself BUT basically the low sensitivity + low impedance roughly = feeding the amp with more current gives you the benefit of smoother sound and less likely to try to scrape for current that's not there and make a grainy distortion sound. Then there's other factors like THD (Total Harmonic Distortion), powerful but smooth opamps/transistors, good sized capacitors, etc... I haven't sorted it ALL out, I didn't finish my engineering degree and instead studied fine arts (and made engineering a hobby, LOL). I RESERVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE ANYTHING!! But yeah, the ZxR is clearly a fair midrange all-a'rounder by audiophile standards, other amps could be smoother and other DACs can be better resolving and support more HD (better than CD) music file bitrates. A good value, anything more would be overkill for gaming and anything CD-quality music compression-level or less... I think the Z is also midrange though, a step down but maybe the better bang-for-buck with most people, either first-time audiophiles or people fully intending to use external DAC/amps. The Omni is another low-cost option too, as it offers optical output biggrin.gif
post #2389 of 3101
Lol you call him NAG and I'll call him Voldemort.

Pm'd.
post #2390 of 3101

I posted this a couple of days ago but it got delayed waiting for approval so I'm not sure if anyone saw it - apologies for the repost.

 

My old surround sound headphones on my gaming PC are in the process of dying, so I'm looking at picking up a new pair. I'm currently trying to decide whether it's worth getting a pair of "true" 5.1 surround headphones or using stereo headphones with virtual surround. Picking from Mad Lust Envy's guide, I can get a set of Philips Fidelio X1/00 or Sony MDRMA900 for about £180, which seems to be around the top end price for surround headphones (Creative Recon3D or Razer Tiamat). From reading around the site I've been made aware that the surround headphones are going to sound bad in comparison the the stereo. So, two questions:

 

1) Is the benefit of surround sound for gaming enough to make up for the drop in quality? Is there even a significant benefit?

 

2) I'm currently using the on-board sound from my motherboard (Asus P8P67 Rev 3.1), which seems to be a Realtek ALC892. Is it worth picking up a separate sound card (guessing yes), and if so, how the heck do you choose one? There are dozens of them, with very similar-sounding names, and review sites don't seem to bother with sound cards any more. I could get an X-Fi Xtreme Gamer or Xonar XD/D1/DSX (see what I mean?) for about £50 - is that worth doing, or is there not much improvement up to the £100ish level?

post #2391 of 3101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfsbane View Post
 

I posted this a couple of days ago but it got delayed waiting for approval so I'm not sure if anyone saw it - apologies for the repost.

 

My old surround sound headphones on my gaming PC are in the process of dying, so I'm looking at picking up a new pair. I'm currently trying to decide whether it's worth getting a pair of "true" 5.1 surround headphones or using stereo headphones with virtual surround. Picking from Mad Lust Envy's guide, I can get a set of Philips Fidelio X1/00 or Sony MDRMA900 for about £180, which seems to be around the top end price for surround headphones (Creative Recon3D or Razer Tiamat). From reading around the site I've been made aware that the surround headphones are going to sound bad in comparison the the stereo. So, two questions:

 

1) Is the benefit of surround sound for gaming enough to make up for the drop in quality? Is there even a significant benefit?

 

2) I'm currently using the on-board sound from my motherboard (Asus P8P67 Rev 3.1), which seems to be a Realtek ALC892. Is it worth picking up a separate sound card (guessing yes), and if so, how the heck do you choose one? There are dozens of them, with very similar-sounding names, and review sites don't seem to bother with sound cards any more. I could get an X-Fi Xtreme Gamer or Xonar XD/D1/DSX (see what I mean?) for about £50 - is that worth doing, or is there not much improvement up to the £100ish level?

 

No, "true" 5.1 headphones aren't worth it because their audio quality is inferior to stereo headphones with virtual surround.  The process of trying to force multiple tiny drivers into a single ear cup enclosure compromises the sound quality compared to just using two large high quality drivers.

 

1)  Yes, IMO the benefits of surround sound outweigh the drop in quality from processing.  Games typically don't have that high quality audio anyways (lots of compression used).  The benefits of surround sound are significant (if they work with your ears).

 

2)  The different models of soundcards are confusing.  Generally there are two paths you can take: 1) Buy a cheap soundcard with virtual surround for the processing part, but use an external amplifier (and optionally DAC) to drive the headphones.  Think of this like a modular approach, OR 2) Buy a more expensive soundcard that comes with a better integrated DAC and amp and just use that to power the headphones.  This is more of an all-in-one approach.

 

The modular approach will ultimately give you a bit better sound quality, and it gives the flexiblity to upgrade the components individually if you want to later on down the line.  Also, the DAC and amp won't become outdated or obsolete should a new soundcard come out with a better DSP.

 

 

The three most popular virtual surround sound options are Dolby Headphone, SBX Pro, and CMSS-3D. 

 

Evshrug has a good post detailing them a bit here:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/646786/evshrugs-if-i-knew-then-what-i-know-now-discussion-journal#post_9067400

 

I also like Benbenkr's description of them here:

http://www.overclock.net/t/1392877/a-couple-questions-about-cmss-3d-dolby-headphone-and-similar-technologies#post_20049831

 

For Dolby Headphone, the Xonar DGX is the least expensive soundcard option.

For SBX Pro, it's the Sound Blaster Z OEM version.

For CMSS-3D, I'm not sure what the cheapest card is...X-Fi Titanium something or other?

 

 

The MA900 and X1 are both great choices.  Are the X1 and MA900 the same price where you're at?  Because if so, the X1 is technically the better headphone and I'd personally go for that one.  Over here the MA900 costs about $199, and the X1 normally goes for about $299, however it's on sale this month at Amazon for $249, which is a good deal.


Edited by chicolom - 1/8/14 at 5:43am
post #2392 of 3101

Can I say something that makes (almost) no difference whatsoever?

 

I think this thread should be in the videogames section right next to mad lust's, both in sticky.

post #2393 of 3101

The X1 is 33% off on Amazon UK right now, so it's actually cheaper than the MA900. I can pick up that and a Xonar DGX for just over £200, which seems like a good start, and should be miles better than my broken Speedlink Medusa. From those links you posted the perfectionist in me can see the benefits of true positional 3D over 5.1, but it sounds like Dolby is ideal for open cup headphones and I have no pretensions to become a ~Pro Gamer~ any time soon. I can always add external bits later, if necessary.

 

Thanks for the help.

post #2394 of 3101

I think I will do the SB Z for now so I can upgrade to an external DAC/amp solution in the near future!

 

I kind of would like an external Volume control because I do adjust mine on the Razer a lot! That is the only issue.

Does ACM ruin audio that much when only gaming, or would it be barely noticeable in games?

I can most likely do without till I get a DAC/amp.

 

Is the jump from the Z to ZxR huge in terms of SQ or will the Z still be good for either of those cans we have been talking about be good enough till i get an external solution? 

 

What do most people end up using the daughter board for with the ZxR anyways?

post #2395 of 3101
Wolfsbane,
The quality drop from a "true" multi-driver headset will be greater than virtual surround, also you can't "turn off" having multiple drivers.

Woesty,
Sounds like you're nearly ready to make a choice, and start enjoying!
Total opinion, but I think the SB Z is enough to give you a good solution. Right now I use it with an external amp, and I'm happy enough with just that so now I'm more interested in using my budget in other ways... Olympus EPL-5 has caught my eye. As far as the difference between Z and ZxR, I'll defer to DJINFERNO as to the amount of change. The daughter board is for audio input, usually for musicians but maybe for YouTube casters. The ACM (only difference between Z and Zx is he Zx comes with this) apparently has a nice mic, but a knob position at any less than 100% will start to dull the audio in addition to making it quieter... if it bothers you or not is entirely subjective, but it DOES technically hurt SQ, and I'm not attracted to it.

Avens,
I agree.
But at least MLE linked it in his guide, so that's almost as good for how much traffic that thread sees!
post #2396 of 3101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wolfsbane View Post
 

The X1 is 33% off on Amazon UK right now, so it's actually cheaper than the MA900. I can pick up that and a Xonar DGX for just over £200, which seems like a good start, and should be miles better than my broken Speedlink Medusa. From those links you posted the perfectionist in me can see the benefits of true positional 3D over 5.1, but it sounds like Dolby is ideal for open cup headphones and I have no pretensions to become a ~Pro Gamer~ any time soon. I can always add external bits later, if necessary.

 

Thanks for the help.

 

 

Yeah, in that case I'd definitely go for the X1.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Woesty420 View Post
 

I think I will do the SB Z for now so I can upgrade to an external DAC/amp solution in the near future!

 

I kind of would like an external Volume control because I do adjust mine on the Razer a lot! That is the only issue.

Does ACM ruin audio that much when only gaming, or would it be barely noticeable in games?

I can most likely do without till I get a DAC/amp.

 

Is the jump from the Z to ZxR huge in terms of SQ or will the Z still be good for either of those cans we have been talking about be good enough till i get an external solution? 

 

What do most people end up using the daughter board for with the ZxR anyways?

 

 

Can you get the SB Z OEM for cheaper than the SB Zx (Amazon is showing it's $40-50 cheaper)? 

 

If you can get by with the SB Z instead of the SB Zx, you could take the $40-50 you saved and put that into the external amp (which will give you your external volume control anyways). 

 

If you get the SB Zx, you will have external volume control now, but as soon as you buy an external amp the ACM will become redundant/un-needed and you will have lost that money. 


Edited by chicolom - 1/8/14 at 11:02am
post #2397 of 3101
Hmmm the move from the z to the zxr was an interesting one for me.(and now back to the z again... Ughh)

I did notice an increase in clarity and detail accompanied with a warmer sound overall. I also felt my DT 770 250s were managed better. What I mean is with the z, the highs seemed a little too exentuated almost piercing and the low end was there but not very fun. It seemed to focus on highs more, I unno.
I assumed the z could drive 250 ohm headphones easily but I was worried about clipping after I did some math. I came to a 16 MW into 250 ohm number assuming it could maintain 2 vrms at that impedance. Then taking into account the higher output impedance of that card would limit power a bit more. I came to the conclusion it wasn't powerful enough and maybe thats why my 770s didn't sound right.

The zxr fixed that issue immediately. Smooth across the frequencies now with the highs still pronounced but clean not shrill and the lows finally were fun and a little more pronounced. Mids seemed less muddy too. Keep in mind I like to listen to audio nice and loud so that was a factor for wanting more power too. And I was under the impression that the higher quality of the ZXR was the only way to go for a true audio experience lol. Naive me.

My PC350s seemed to be adequately powered by the z though. No issues there. They definitely benefited in clarity and warmness of the zxr too. Maybe the opamps themselves are attributed to this warmness.

Being limited by my vocabulary those are the only ways I can describe moving up to the zxr.
post #2398 of 3101
Chico,
The SB Z doesn't come with an ACM... Creative calls that package the SB Zx!
The Omni would be another low-cost option.
post #2399 of 3101
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Chico,
The SB Z doesn't come with an ACM... Creative calls that package the SB Zx!
The Omni would be another low-cost option.

 

Oh right.  :rolleyes:

 

Fixed it.

post #2400 of 3101

Ok, so the SB Z will work for now, it just wouldn't be anything to write home about I take it!

 

 

As long as the AKGs won't have any clipping or SQ issues then I will be happy with the Z until I get an external solution. As for the ACM I will just forget about, like you said most of the external DAC/amps I've seen have that feature. 

 

I was really liking the look of the Schiit products (so I can say I have a Schiit stack lol) but the cheapest one with optical In was the bitfrost and that is a DAC, not an amp.

I want an external 'amp' more then I'd need a 'DAC' right, as the SB Z has a fairly good DAC built in? Or am I mistaken?

 

Should I not worry about the impedance so much between the k612s and q701s then and just decide on what I think would better suit my tastes? Rather then picking one to fit around the SB Z?

Will one sound much worse then the other on the Z or certain DACs? Which one will be harder to power and get a matching amp in the future?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound)