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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 234

post #3496 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenjiwing View Post
 

Hey guys... this thread is long as **** and I could really use some guidance. Id like to add Virtual Sound or 3d sound or whatever its called to my setup. The only FPS I play is CS:go so it needs to support that.

 

I currently have

 

nuforce dac (ill replace this with a soundcard) - Little Dot Mk III Amp -- Beyer Dynamics BT 880s and AKG K7XX  - Windows 10

 

I know I will need to add a soundcard for this setup can you recommend one? I also just want to know if I would need anything else.


Thanks!

 

You won't necessarily need a soundcard if you use a software based Virtual Surround solution like the Creative MB3. I don't know if it will be compatible with your DAC though. We've discussed it a bit on the previous pages. Check it out.

I have an ODAC and unfortunately I think it's not compatible because the ODAC can't be configured to 5.1 mode.

post #3497 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aithos View Post
 

I'm not saying that the quality isn't lower, it may be, I'm just saying that there isn't a popular FPS game in the last 10 years that hasn't had basic positional audio even without surround sound.  Don't forget, if you're playing with surround sound and you turn it to a headphone setting that it's going to be so different you may have a hard time interpreting the positional information.  

 

 

Most games when set to headphone/stereo output will output nothing other than flat 2 channel audio.

post #3498 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by st0neh View Post


Most games when set to headphone/stereo output will output nothing other than flat 2 channel audio.

I'm not talking about most games, I'm talking specifically about CSGO which has separate headphone and 2 channel speaker options. Also, if you're using headphones you're only getting two channels regardless of what your setting is. It's called "virtual" surround because it's using crosstalk to "simulate" having more than two channels. It isn't more accurate, it isn't better positional information and it doesn't really matter whether it has actual positional audio (vertical) or not. At the end of the day you're making a trade-off:

Audio accuracy and speed for immersion. If that makes the game more enjoyable for you: awesome, go for it. However from a competitive standpoint (which was the point of the thread) it brings more downside than upside and that makes it bad. It is just as easy to determine positioning without surround as with in games like CSGO and without it you also get the best separation of sound that makes isolating enemies in multiple locations and picking up individual soft sounds significantly easier.

For anyone who plays CSGO (by far the biggest competitive FPS) and cares about being competitive I strongly recommend against using surround sound, it will only hinder your ability to improve.
post #3499 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aithos View Post

I'm not talking about most games, I'm talking specifically about CSGO which has separate headphone and 2 channel speaker options. Also, if you're using headphones you're only getting two channels regardless of what your setting is. It's called "virtual" surround because it's using crosstalk to "simulate" having more than two channels. It isn't more accurate, it isn't better positional information and it doesn't really matter whether it has actual positional audio (vertical) or not. At the end of the day you're making a trade-off:

Audio accuracy and speed for immersion. If that makes the game more enjoyable for you: awesome, go for it. However from a competitive standpoint (which was the point of the thread) it brings more downside than upside and that makes it bad. It is just as easy to determine positioning without surround as with in games like CSGO and without it you also get the best separation of sound that makes isolating enemies in multiple locations and picking up individual soft sounds significantly easier.

For anyone who plays CSGO (by far the biggest competitive FPS) and cares about being competitive I strongly recommend against using surround sound, it will only hinder your ability to improve.
I can't speak to playing CS:GO, but its whacky cousin tf2 (which does indeed have a competitive community) does see benefits from surround sound.

Mostly, headphone virtual surround allows one to more accurately place the exact location of a (distant) sound on one of the game's often relatively expansive maps.

With good virtual surround I can maintain a much more precise mental picture of what is happening where at all times--since I main the "Spy" class, which largely relies on staying out of site, this is particularly helpful.

With TF2's "headphone mode" I can distinctly tell if a sound is left or right, in front of or behind me, but that's about it. With Razer Surround or Creative's SB surround suite, I can have a sense of whether something is located at my "6 o'clock" or my "8 o'clock"; the farther away a sound is, the more helpful that refinement of placement is, of course.
Edited by dmbr - 2/4/16 at 10:14am
post #3500 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by dmbr View Post

I can't speak to playing CS:GO, but its whacky cousin tf2 (which does indeed have a competitive community) does see benefits from surround sound.

Mostly, headphone virtual surround allows one to more accurately place the exact location of a (distant) sound on one of the game's often relatively expansive maps.

With good virtual surround I can maintain a much more precise mental picture of what is happening where at all times--since I main the "Spy" class, which largely relies on staying out of site, this is particularly helpful.

With TF2's "headphone mode" I can distinctly tell if a sound is left or right, in front of or behind me, but that's about it. With Razer Surround or Creative's SB surround suite, I can have a sense of whether something is located at my "6 o'clock" or my "8 o'clock"; the farther away a sound is, the more helpful that refinement of placement is, of course.

I understand and I don't disagree that the immersion effect makes it easier to ascertain positional information. I just disagree that it's better or more precise, it's just different. If you go back and read my older posts the reason I'm against surround is because the crosstalk makes sounds "longer" and that muddies and hides other sounds. In CSGO (competitive play) you aren't given much sound information because unlike in casual or low rank MM people don't run around.

That makes it imperative that when you have an auditory warning that is subtle like a gun being picked up or someone dropping off a ledge that those brief pieces of information aren't lost because another sound masked it. I have no problem distinguishing where sounds are coming from and because of map knowledge you can precisely place people with ease using standard headphone sound. Again, I'm talking about actual competitive play here, like in a league setting and not just the "competitive" MM mode in game.

If you want the best edge for high level play then headphone setting with no surround is the best option. If you don't care or you enjoy the ease and immersion then by all means try it out. I have nothing against surround, I'm just competitive and I want the best chance to win and with my skill and experience it's without surround.
post #3501 of 3544

Virtual surround literally can gives you more positions with the audio than regular stereo. Mainly, front and back plane is given with virtual surround, while not possible with regular stereo, which is only left and right. For that reason, it is better competitively also. If you watch stereo cs go footage on twitch or youtube with your eyes closed, you'll notice that the positioning is terrible.

post #3502 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aithos View Post


Also, if you're using headphones you're only getting two channels regardless of what your setting is. It's called "virtual" surround because it's using crosstalk to "simulate" having more than two channels. It isn't more accurate, it isn't better positional information and it doesn't really matter whether it has actual positional audio (vertical) or not.

 

It's called crossfeed. It's true crossfeed might muffle slightly some sound, but it definitely brings more positional information. When you're using a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system in the end you're also only getting two channels because you only have 2 ears but it definitely brings more positional information than just stereo speakers.

post #3503 of 3544

With stereo with a crossfeed, there is no more true positional audio over regular stereo; it is just more pleasant to listen to. With 5.1 or 7.1, since the channel layout tells you the geometry of the sounds, that allows for better positional audio whether from surround sound speakers or virtual surround sound headphones.

post #3504 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by mindbomb View Post
 

With stereo with a crossfeed, there is no more true positional audio over regular stereo; it is just more pleasant to listen to. With 5.1 or 7.1, since the channel layout tells you the geometry of the sounds, that allows for better positional audio whether from surround sound speakers or virtual surround sound headphones.


True. It does not bring info per se. I meant that as it comes bundled with the other HRTF.

post #3505 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by BlueNinja0 View Post
 

 

It's called crossfeed. It's true crossfeed might muffle slightly some sound, but it definitely brings more positional information. When you're using a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system in the end you're also only getting two channels because you only have 2 ears but it definitely brings more positional information than just stereo speakers.

 

Isn't that nitpicking a bit?  Unless I'm mistaken crossfeed and crosstalk can be used interchangeably for the purposes of this discussion and you obviously knew what I meant :P

 

Besides, to nitpick you a bit - virtual surround sound doesn't bring more positional information, it brings more precise positional information, it's still coming from the same basic direction and the only real difference is whether you can easily distinguish 6 o'clock from 7 or 8 o'clock.  The entire point I've been trying to make is that it doesn't matter, at least not when you're specifically talking about a competitive FPS.  It would be different if you were talking about a movie or song and the enjoyment factor of the added immersion, but in the context of an FPS you have to turn around to get visual information in order to aim/shoot regardless of how precise the positional audio is.

 

That's why I've been adamant about saying that for casual or "for fun" play it doesn't matter and you should do whatever you enjoy most, but for competitive play (ranked, team or league) you should be doing what gives you the quickest and simplest audio.  Which is hands down the headphones or 2 channel setting because crossfeed DOES create additional sound in either ear in order to provide the immersion and that can mask other soft but important sounds.  That kind of thing isn't very important in casual play but is tremendously important in competitive play.

 

 

See, I think the problem here is that I view this discussion from a pretty rigidly defined set of conditions and most people who don't play competitively don't understand the difference, it's a lot like people who aren't low handicap golfers watching the PGA tour and failing to understand how much harder the conditions are on those courses and layouts.  To me competitive means you're playing ranked on a ladder, a third party site with ranking or on a team in a league environment.  That also means you're playing on a competitive map that was designed for 5v5 play, since every competitive FPS all the way back to Quake Team Fortress (the original, not the half-life remake) has been 5v5.

 

Playing under those assumptions means that you MUST have a fundamental understanding of the maps, positions and crosshair placement (what we call angles).  Once you have those there is literally no situation you can be in where basic directional information isn't sufficient to determine what you should be doing.  Knowing an enemy is at 8 o'clock just isn't relevant under those circumstances because you know your position and based on map knowledge you can immediately and instinctively deduce their position and alter your angle/position using that information.

 

 

It's completely different when you look at a casual game or mode, like a 24 player deathmatch or something.  At that point the extra information may be useful because the maps are much larger, you can't possibly cover all the entrances/exits and there may be multiple from the same direction.  That doesn't happen on a 5v5 map and I can give you countless examples with CSGO if necessary.  It all comes back to how YOU intend to play the game.

 

If you want to play for fun and enjoy the experience: by all means, try surround sound and see if you like it.

 

If you want to play to compete at the best of your ability and improve as a player: use headphones / stereo setting and forget surround sound.

 

A lot of people think that audio will improve their game sense, it won't.  If you don't know what game sense is it's basically your instincts and ability to anticipate and outplay your enemies when you are in a clutch (outnumbered) situation.  Audio plays a big part in that because typically everyone is moving around using stealth (no sound) and a single audio cue can make the difference, however, that's why the muffling is such a detriment.  It is really easy to lose that kind of a situation (1v2 or worse) because one person shoots at you and the other gets a free crossfire shot on you from a second angle because you didn't hear the single audio cue due to the sound of the distraction fire.

 

What really improves your game sense is just plain experience and high level analysis of professional play.  It's thousands of hours of experience in competition and building muscle memory so that you know on an instinctual level how people react in clutch situations.  How their positions/angles might change when it's 2v1 vs 5v5 or 1v1 and being able to exploit that information to your advantage.  People who are new to competitive play or lack experience think that players are making amazing plays because they somehow magically pre-aim using sound while spinning or flicking their crosshair and they think it's amazing reaction times.

 

The truth is that it's none of those things.  Yes, they have an audio cue but they aren't aiming based on audio, they are aiming based on their experience and knowing exactly what the enemy HAS to be doing to make a certain sound from a certain direction on a certain map...it's the KNOWLEDGE that lets them make the play.  That and having a dialed in low sensitivity so that they know exactly how far to sweep the mouse to "flick" the crosshair a precise distance on the screen.  It's not great reactions, it's timing, experience and thousands of hours of muscle memory with dialed in settings. 

 

Now I don't think I can explain it any further so unless someone has a specific question for me I'm going to bow out of the thread since I think I've already beaten this horse mostly to death.

 

Thanks for reading and for maintaining a civil conversation, I very much appreciate when people can act like adults and not devolve to insults and flaming.


Edited by Aithos - 2/5/16 at 2:17pm
post #3506 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aithos View Post

 

Besides, to nitpick you a bit - virtual surround sound doesn't bring more positional information, it brings more precise positional information, it's still coming from the same basic direction and the only real difference is whether you can easily distinguish 6 o'clock from 7 or 8 o'clock.  The entire point I've been trying to make is that it doesn't matter, at least not when you're specifically talking about a competitive FPS.  It would be different if you were talking about a movie or song and the enjoyment factor of the added immersion, but in the context of an FPS you have to turn around to get visual information in order to aim/shoot regardless of how precise the positional audio is.

 

 

It does bring more positional information in most games though.

 

You're feeding Dolby Headphone a 5.1+ input that actually contains positional audio instead of the 2 channel source you'll get from most games.

 

The two aren't really comparable.

 

The obvious exceptions are the few games like Battlefield that actually include their own HTRF option.

post #3507 of 3544

My goodness this thread is long....

 

 

I've been researching headphones for gaming (music and movies too, but to a lesser extent) over a few weeks and until today I had settled on the PM-3. Now I've been told by many people that the PM-3 is not good for gaming and I should look at other headphones. What are some things I should look for to determine good gaming headphones and is the $400 PM-3 really outdone by a $45 headset like the HD668B and those in the $250 range such as the PSB M4U and Meze 99?

post #3508 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Amywalker730 View Post
 

My goodness this thread is long....

 

 

I've been researching headphones for gaming (music and movies too, but to a lesser extent) over a few weeks and until today I had settled on the PM-3. Now I've been told by many people that the PM-3 is not good for gaming and I should look at other headphones. What are some things I should look for to determine good gaming headphones and is the $400 PM-3 really outdone by a $45 headset like the HD668B and those in the $250 range such as the PSB M4U and Meze 99?

lol have your tried MLEs thread? Lots of info on headphones but if you ask me for a simple answer, Philips Fidelio X2, AKG K7XX and Sennhieser HD598 are probably the best all arounders or bang for buck headphones out there. I would say they are the most balanced headphones in the 100, 200 and 300 range. Its almost hard to go wrong with either of these headphones.

post #3509 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aithos View Post

 

Hi Aithos, what is your gaming audio setup?

post #3510 of 3544
Quote:
Originally Posted by pocahontas View Post

Hi Aithos, what is your gaming audio setup?

I currently have two sets of headphones I use for gaming:

Sennheiser HD650 - for most games where audio isn't super important, I like the sound of these the best (big fan of the "Sennheiser" sound.

AKG K7XX - for games like CSGO where the audio has an impact on performance, the more neutral sound and larger soundstage makes it easier to distinguish subtle sounds and positional information.

I'm running both with a Grace Design M9XX amp/dac, which is a bit overkill for gaming but was purchased for all-around use including music (obviously). I do not run any kind of virtual surround and crossfeed is turned off on my unit.
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