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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 3

post #31 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

Brand new user's massive first post warning -


CMSS vs Dolby Headphone is often an individual issue because neither is customized to a specific person's HRTF and uses a generic one based on some sort of averaging or modeling.  That means one of them could work better for one person and the other could be better for a different person.  You'll really have to hear it for yourself to find out.

 

Since you're on a budget you'll probably be ok with out a separate DAC.  A separate amp might help though.  If you're just running the Pro 80s from your X-Fi I'd imagine that it has a fairly high output impedance which will make the Pro 80's bass more boomy and overwhelming than it should be.  Something like the O2 or the ODA if you prefer a more "normal" form factor with a low output impedance will show you how the Pro 80's bass is really supposed to sound and may reduce some of that messing around with the settings.

post #32 of 2878
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post

CMSS vs Dolby Headphone is often an individual issue because neither is customized to a specific person's HRTF and uses a generic one based on some sort of averaging or modeling.  That means one of them could work better for one person and the other could be better for a different person.  You'll really have to hear it for yourself to find out.


Very much true. While I have a preference for CMSS-3D Headphone overall, that's more due to how Dolby Headphone doesn't treat DirectSound3D and OpenAL games as each sound source being its own speaker, so to speak. In a competition between full-blown 3D binaural sound and virtual 7.1 speakers from which sounds can only come through 7 arbitrary positions surrounding the listener, it's no contest.

 

Were DH to perform just like CMSS-3D does in those titles, it would be much tougher to decide. I already can't decide which is any better or worse in games with software-mixed audio and where both work with just virtual 5.1/7.1 anyway.

 

Even then, the HRTF factor is enough that some listeners could indeed find DH's virtual 7.1 preferable to CMSS-3D's binaural sound, even in those older games with hardware-accelerated audio. It could even be enough of a factor that some listeners just find both to provide zero positional improvements and only muddy the sound, thus playing in pure stereo.

 

There's only one thing certain in the world of audio: No size fits all.

 

Oh, and good clarifications on S/PDIF. I like to think of it this way: imagine sending a message to someone. The language that message is written in is the protocol (which S/PDIF is), while the means to deliver that message is the interface (which RCA/coaxial and Toslink/optical are).


Edited by NamelessPFG - 1/31/12 at 2:01pm
post #33 of 2878

Some anecdotal experiences with SPDIF: I actually have success outputting Dolby Headphone over SPDIF to an external DAC using the Asus Xonar D1, with the unified drivers, but was not able to with any of the X-Fi based cards I tried (Titanium and X-Fi Forte). 

post #34 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by azncookiecutter View Post

Some anecdotal experiences with SPDIF: I actually have success outputting Dolby Headphone over SPDIF to an external DAC using the Asus Xonar D1, with the unified drivers, but was not able to with any of the X-Fi based cards I tried (Titanium and X-Fi Forte). 


I've never had any problem outputting CMSS audio over optical.  

 

Something that I'd like to mention: The Turtle Beach DSS has a perceptible lag.  I dunno it the DSS is just slow or if it's inherent to Dolby Headphone.  

post #35 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phos View Post

I've never had any problem outputting CMSS audio over optical.  

 

Something that I'd like to mention: The Turtle Beach DSS has a perceptible lag.  I dunno it the DSS is just slow or if it's inherent to Dolby Headphone.  


All that stuff comes down to the implementation so the important thing is what works with specific models and possibly specific drivers.

 

There's also no reason why DH has to have a noticeable delay.  It will always take some time to process but whether a person will ever notice depends on what's doing the processing.  I wonder if all those external DH processors run some purpose built DH chip or if they do it in software with some kind of general purpose processor.  Anyone know if the Mixamp does that too?

post #36 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


All that stuff comes down to the implementation so the important thing is what works with specific models and possibly specific drivers.

 

There's also no reason why DH has to have a noticeable delay.  It will always take some time to process but whether a person will ever notice depends on what's doing the processing.  I wonder if all those external DH processors run some purpose built DH chip or if they do it in software with some kind of general purpose processor.  Anyone know if the Mixamp does that too?


The mixamp has very slight delay.  I didn't test it against my DSS when I had the two, so I don't know if they're different.

 

I thought they used a dolby chip.  In this pic you can see the larger chip on the mixamp looks to have a the "Dolby Digital" logo on it.

post #37 of 2878
Thread Starter 

They say the JVC/Victor SU-DH1 also has a very slight delay, but it's one that even I don't notice, at least playing FPSs and so forth. It could be a hindrance on rhythm games where you pretty much have to hit a button right on the beat, though.

 

My guess is that the Dolby Digital-to-Dolby Headphone processing takes a bit of time, never instantaneous, and the processors used in these little DAC/DSP devices are considered "good enough", so they'd rather not have a faster one sucking down more power and whatnot. (For that matter, the Mixamp and DSS both use a cut-down processor compared to what's featured in the SU-DH1; more power-efficient, but lacking DH1 and DH3 modes, possibly DTS decoding too, though that could just be licensing.)

post #38 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

The mixamp has very slight delay.  I didn't test it against my DSS when I had the two, so I don't know if they're different.

 

I thought they used a dolby chip.  In this pic you can see the larger chip on the mixamp looks to have a the "Dolby Digital" logo on it.


Interesting.  From the looks of it that Dolby chip is doing all the DSP stuff.  Its still not a completely integrated solution though there could be variations in delay across different models.

 

I see a Cypress USB interface chip and 2 AKM DAC chips besides a slew of op amps so it looks like the manufacturer still has plenty of work to do in order to come up with a good product.

 

 

post #39 of 2878

Awesome write up Nameless, no doubt I was one of the people you had to repeat yourself too. 

Not sure if I talked to you about this other day, but I was really disappointed with my purchase of AD700's. 

I was disappointed because I sold my G35's expecting the AD700's to be much more accurate in COD4. I was wrong, no matter what settings I used in windows and in COD4, the AD700 did not come near the G35's.

Now I found this really odd, because with my G35's I didn't install any drivers and the accuracy in COD4 was pretty amazing. So I had myself asking does the G35's on board processor still work if I had not installed the drivers? 

And what exactly does the surround sound option do? Because when I did install the drivers the sound was much more clear/accurate with the surround sound button off.

 

So I purchased a second hand Asus Xonar D1 to try with my AD700's and tried all sorts of combinations. All of them except one so far has yielded poor results.

 

The combination of settings I am on currently is:

Windows XP audio settings set to 5.1 Surround sound speakers

COD4: Audio setting set to 5.1 Speakers

Xonar D1 Audio Center settings set to: 5.1 Speakers 

 

Now I am still wondering if there is any better settings as the sound is roughly the same as my G35's without a dedicated sound card and without drivers installed!

 

Should I be using Dolby Pro Logic IIx?

Should I be using 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter?

Should I be using the GX button? and what exactly does it do?

Should I tweak some settings in the equalizer? 

 

Sorry for the ton of questions, some of which may seem obvious to you. I have tried researching but the sheer amount of differing information out there is insane.

 

post #40 of 2878

Correct me if I'm missing something here, but what's to stop me from diverting the software layer processing of CMSS to any external DAC I like by going to recording devices>"What U Hear">Properties>Listen>Listen to this device>Select my DAC from the drop down? From what I understand, that recording device is just the software processed output before it's fed to the X-Fi. They wouldn't make it go out to the X-Fi and then back in through the same card again, would they? Entirely native solution in Windows 7 and Creative drivers, bypasses all the circuitry on the soundcard and pipes it to any high quality exterior DAC I like complete with the CMSS surround I liked on the X-Fi? I mean, isn't that the perfect solution right there?

post #41 of 2878

I have been playing Skyrim on my GTX580 SLI based PC, and found that there is an annoying sound coming from my speakers while playing. This does not happen with other games. I use a Pioneer SC-LX 85 Flagship Receiver to connect one of my GTX580s which outputs to a 7-channel power amplifier then my speakers. Any solution for this? I really like Skyrim, and with my computer setup, I really don't want to play it on 360 or PS3, although I own both. 

 

post #42 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

Correct me if I'm missing something here, but what's to stop me from diverting the software layer processing of CMSS to any external DAC I like by going to recording devices>"What U Hear">Properties>Listen>Listen to this device>Select my DAC from the drop down? From what I understand, that recording device is just the software processed output before it's fed to the X-Fi. They wouldn't make it go out to the X-Fi and then back in through the same card again, would they? Entirely native solution in Windows 7 and Creative drivers, bypasses all the circuitry on the soundcard and pipes it to any high quality exterior DAC I like complete with the CMSS surround I liked on the X-Fi? I mean, isn't that the perfect solution right there?


Nothing really.  Apparently that works with the Creative cards.

post #43 of 2878

I'm surprised I haven't seen anybody mention that before! Did some basic testing to confirm (unfortunately the only USB soundcard I had on hand was some little $15 toy) and it does indeed seem to be passing through the CMSS surround processing. That pretty much seals the deal on the E17 for me over the feature-light O2/ODA or unnecessary Astro. From what I've heard the ODA isn't going to be that much better than the E17 that I should buy both, one desktop and one laptop/iPod.

post #44 of 2878
Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

I'm surprised I haven't seen anybody mention that before! Did some basic testing to confirm (unfortunately the only USB soundcard I had on hand was some little $15 toy) and it does indeed seem to be passing through the CMSS surround processing. That pretty much seals the deal on the E17 for me over the feature-light O2/ODA or unnecessary Astro. From what I've heard the ODA isn't going to be that much better than the E17 that I should buy both, one desktop and one laptop/iPod.


If you want more than a USB input then the ODAC won't be for you.  The E17 could work pretty well if you don't need a ton of power

post #45 of 2878
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

Correct me if I'm missing something here, but what's to stop me from diverting the software layer processing of CMSS to any external DAC I like by going to recording devices>"What U Hear">Properties>Listen>Listen to this device>Select my DAC from the drop down? From what I understand, that recording device is just the software processed output before it's fed to the X-Fi. They wouldn't make it go out to the X-Fi and then back in through the same card again, would they? Entirely native solution in Windows 7 and Creative drivers, bypasses all the circuitry on the soundcard and pipes it to any high quality exterior DAC I like complete with the CMSS surround I liked on the X-Fi? I mean, isn't that the perfect solution right there?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

I'm surprised I haven't seen anybody mention that before! Did some basic testing to confirm (unfortunately the only USB soundcard I had on hand was some little $15 toy) and it does indeed seem to be passing through the CMSS surround processing. That pretty much seals the deal on the E17 for me over the feature-light O2/ODA or unnecessary Astro. From what I've heard the ODA isn't going to be that much better than the E17 that I should buy both, one desktop and one laptop/iPod.

 


I can't believe I didn't think of that before! It's a nifty little hidden feature in Windows 7. Doesn't help pre-Win7 users much, though...but a lot of people, myself included, have standardized on Win7 now.

 

I'll do some testing with an old SB0490 I have lying around later on to see if this works. If it does, USB audio interfaces may be a very viable option now when paired with a sound card for DSP effects.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 443330 View Post

Awesome write up Nameless, no doubt I was one of the people you had to repeat yourself too. 

Not sure if I talked to you about this other day, but I was really disappointed with my purchase of AD700's. 

I was disappointed because I sold my G35's expecting the AD700's to be much more accurate in COD4. I was wrong, no matter what settings I used in windows and in COD4, the AD700 did not come near the G35's.

Now I found this really odd, because with my G35's I didn't install any drivers and the accuracy in COD4 was pretty amazing. So I had myself asking does the G35's on board processor still work if I had not installed the drivers? 

And what exactly does the surround sound option do? Because when I did install the drivers the sound was much more clear/accurate with the surround sound button off.

 

So I purchased a second hand Asus Xonar D1 to try with my AD700's and tried all sorts of combinations. All of them except one so far has yielded poor results.

 

The combination of settings I am on currently is:

Windows XP audio settings set to 5.1 Surround sound speakers

COD4: Audio setting set to 5.1 Speakers

Xonar D1 Audio Center settings set to: 5.1 Speakers 

 

Now I am still wondering if there is any better settings as the sound is roughly the same as my G35's without a dedicated sound card and without drivers installed!

 

Should I be using Dolby Pro Logic IIx?

Should I be using 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter?

Should I be using the GX button? and what exactly does it do?

Should I tweak some settings in the equalizer? 

 

Sorry for the ton of questions, some of which may seem obvious to you. I have tried researching but the sheer amount of differing information out there is insane.


The guide was written with CMSS-3D Headphone and/or Dolby Headphone use in mind. In the event that you don't like Dolby Headphone at all, you might as well set everything to stereo headphones.

 

The 7.1 virtual speaker shifter may help with positioning, but Pro Logic IIx is completely unnecessary for our uses (it matrixes surround information into an analog stereo signal to be decoded by an A/V receiver or something like the Astro Mixamp). The GX button handles EAX emulation in games, which shouldn't be necessary since you're still running Windows XP and DirectSound3D is still supported, but perhaps it's also tied to how it emulates EAX versions 3/4/5 as well (which are only natively available on Creative hardware, certain software driver packages excluded).

 

However, it's at least worth finding out if the G35 with surround sound on and Dolby Headphone out of the Xonar D1 sound anything alike. Maybe you'll like it better, or it'll just reinforce what you already knew. Only one way to find out...

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