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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 4

post #46 of 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

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.


I guess it just takes a brand new guy to show up, see seasoned veterans struggling, and think outside the box, huh? :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


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

 

I'm thinking I might want to wait until NwAvGuy gets an E17 for review, that way I can compare his numbers to his other numbers on the ODA prototype. It's still possible I might pass on the E17 for portable use for now if the ODA is >20% better than the E17. Or I could always get an E17+E9 just to have a physical volume knob to turn when I game, though I hear FiiO might be working on an E9 replacement to follow up their E7 replacement...


Edited by SniperCzar - 1/31/12 at 10:48pm
post #47 of 3093

Creative has such great service. I've been having a problem with enabling 5.1 in  Windows. This is the most recent respose that I got from Creative's outsourced support. Just because of this I'm looking for a Xonar DX at a decent price. 

 

[quote]

Dear Sir/Madam,

With regards to your enquiry,

This is a 2.1 card.
As for the 5.1 option is should disappear when you update the software either form our website or using the creative auto update.

Best Regards,

Lukasz
Worldwide Customer Response
Creative[/quote]

post #48 of 3093

Does anyone her know if the Asus cards with digital inputs can decode Dolby or DTS multi channel streams from them or are they only good for regular PCM?

post #49 of 3093
Does anyone her know if the Asus cards with digital inputs can decode Dolby or DTS multi channel streams from them?


They cannot.

I'm not aware of any other card that could do this either. Probably this is forbidden by the Dolby/DTS licenses.

post #50 of 3093

i am building an high end gaming pc from cyber power it's the black mamba 3 with i7 and twin gtx 590 graphics cards and i want to get the best possible soundcard i can get any suggestions or should i just stick with what comes with the pc? p.s this will be mainly used for battlefield 3 it will be for late night gaming i will be using grado ps500 headphones and yeti 24bit mic instead of a 7.1 surround sound headset i might have to use a dss2 to make the grado ps500 headphones 7.1 that's only if i have to..through the daytime i will be using a pioneer susano 7.1 av receiver with pioneer s81 7.1 surround sound speakers and using a samsung es8000 75inch tv instead of the three screen set up..and for listening to music i will be using a audio lab m-dac..


Edited by our martin - 2/1/12 at 7:29am
post #51 of 3093

Try this ultimate headphone gaming setup which I use out of my GTX580 SLi system:

 

Display card HDMI -> High End AV Receiver (Pioneer SC LX85 in my case) -> Smyth Realizer -> Esoteric K-01 (using only the DAC portion) -> SRM727II (to be replaced by BHSE soon) -> Stax SR009  

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by our martin View Post

i am building an high end gaming pc from cyber power it's the black mamba 3 with i7 and twin gtx 590 graphics cards and i want to get this best possible soundcard i can get any suggestions or should i just stick with what comes with the pc? p.s this will be mainly used for battlefield 3 it will be for late night gaming i will be using grado ps500 headphones and yeti 24bit mic instead a headset i might have to use a dss2 to make the headphones 7.1 that's only if i have to..



 


Edited by googleli - 2/1/12 at 7:32am
post #52 of 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by cladisch View Post

They cannot.

I'm not aware of any other card that could do this either. Probably this is forbidden by the Dolby/DTS licenses.


That sucks.  Its also silly.  Receivers can decode it just fine and it doesn't seem to bother anyone.

 

Thanks for the answer though.  I guess I won't have any use for a card with a digital input then.  I suppose I'll just have to buy a Mixamp instead if I ever get back in to console gaming.  It would have been more convenient to run everything through the soundcard.

post #53 of 3093

They can't decode from input to analog, but they can pass it back out via digital out (at least most should; all of my Sound Blasters can do this). In other words if you have something like a DVD player feeding into the PC (or another computer), and then want to feed out from the PC to something else, that can work. Receivers are a different beast and have different licencing stipulations (and they aren't generally decoding the signal into something that can record/process it). 

 

I think I get roughly what you're after; I had a similar setup a while ago. One computer fed into another, and that fed into an external DSP. The external DSP is what made everything work smoothly though (because it could take DTS/Dolby Digital and do something with that). The "top" PC was putting out either PCM or AC-3 (and taking in digital and analog signals), the "bottom" PC took that and mixed it with its internally generated "stuff" (and other analog signals) and put AC-3 out into the DSP. It got to be a pain to control everything though; the next logical step was a studio controller (PreSonus makes a great one).

 

Regarding the limitations of S/PDIF, this isn't the first thread I've seen with people claiming that  their X-Fi doesn't output anything via S/PDIF but "raw" - I'm not disputing that, but I'm somewhat curious about it. None of my Sound Blaster cards seem to care what output they're using, digital and analog are "equal." What cards and OS are we talking about here? (I'm trying to learn more about this). 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maverickronin View Post


That sucks.  Its also silly.  Receivers can decode it just fine and it doesn't seem to bother anyone.

 

Thanks for the answer though.  I guess I won't have any use for a card with a digital input then.  I suppose I'll just have to buy a Mixamp instead if I ever get back in to console gaming.  It would have been more convenient to run everything through the soundcard.



 


Edited by obobskivich - 2/1/12 at 8:47am
post #54 of 3093

I rewrote the steps into an actual guide. Crosspost from the MLE thread:

 

Here's how to do the handoff of CMSS processed output completely in software:


Before following this checklist, make sure your current audio device is fully configured for CMSS (Windows configure speakers wizard is done and set to a surround setup, Creative Console speakers set to headphones, CMSS-3D is enabled, Crystalizer is disabled, "Disable Sound Blaster enhancements" under the Sound Blaster tab of your default audio device's properties is unchecked). I like unchecking the sub in the Windows wizard here to create a virtual 5.0 rather than a virtual 5.1 because I think it may help tame the overbearing bass some of you were talking about on the 770 80 ohms. The Beyers are already mashing together the bass output from the other 5 virtual channels into a pair of very bass-capable headphones, do you really need a virtual sub as well? Also, as we all know, subwoofer bass position is something your brain can't pinpoint, so I don't see why you'd want lots of it in your pinpoint accurate virtual surround. I think I remember hearing a noticeable difference with this changed in my limited A-B testing with a ripped BD of Evangellion 1.11 (the last battle scene has explosions and technobabbling jumping ALL over every channel when I listen with my physical 5.1 Acoustic Research HC6, so far it's by far the best test of virtual surround I've tried yet), but I wish I had another pair of Beyers to do a real A-B and not rely on my terrible memory/imagination.

 

1. Right click on your volume tray in Windows 7 and select "Recording devices"

2. Select "What U Hear" and click "Properties" (cringe inducing grammar there Creative)

[Note - you do NOT have to set this as the default recording device]

3. Select the "Listen" tab and check the box marked "Listen to this device"

4. Under the drop down marked "Playback through this device:" select your desired DAC

5. Make sure "Continue running when on battery power" is selected as a software passthrough should have no effect whatsoever on your battery life

6. Select the "Levels" tab and set it to something comfortable, as the volume control for the Creative card's standard output will have no effect on the volume of the software recording device.

7. Enjoy listening to CMSS freed from the noisy and inferior hardware confines of your internal soundcard!

 

In other news, I've been trying to figure out whether I can use the Windows 5.1 balance setting to adjust the virtual surround. It doesn't work in the Creative headphone test, but I think that might just be a recording. If I can use that balance menu to adjust the volume of the virtual surround mix and turn up the rear speakers, that would be really nice. Don't know if that would work in combination with the Creative handoff to another DAC though, even if it did indeed work on the CMSS virtual surround in the first place.

 


Edited by SniperCzar - 2/1/12 at 8:08pm
post #55 of 3093


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

They can't decode from input to analog, but they can pass it back out via digital out (at least most should; all of my Sound Blasters can do this). In other words if you have something like a DVD player feeding into the PC (or another computer), and then want to feed out from the PC to something else, that can work. Receivers are a different beast and have different licencing stipulations (and they aren't generally decoding the signal into something that can record/process it). 

 

I think I get roughly what you're after; I had a similar setup a while ago. One computer fed into another, and that fed into an external DSP. The external DSP is what made everything work smoothly though (because it could take DTS/Dolby Digital and do something with that). The "top" PC was putting out either PCM or AC-3 (and taking in digital and analog signals), the "bottom" PC took that and mixed it with its internally generated "stuff" (and other analog signals) and put AC-3 out into the DSP. It got to be a pain to control everything though; the next logical step was a studio controller (PreSonus makes a great one).

 

Regarding the limitations of S/PDIF, this isn't the first thread I've seen with people claiming that  their X-Fi doesn't output anything via S/PDIF but "raw" - I'm not disputing that, but I'm somewhat curious about it. None of my Sound Blaster cards seem to care what output they're using, digital and analog are "equal." What cards and OS are we talking about here? (I'm trying to learn more about this). 
 



 


First gen PCI X-Fi cards don't have the encoder.  They can output premade Dolby or DTS 5.1 signals but they can't make it.  

post #56 of 3093

I posted in MLE's thread also, so excuse the duplication, but some people I see who know a lot have responded to questions here too.

 

I just bought Beyerdynamic DT 880 600 ohm phones, and want to figure out what I should do with regards to DAC/AMPs vs a sound card. The source for everything will be Win7 64 bit pc.

 

I currently mostly use the headphones for video games and will continue to do so with the new headphones, but I plan on listening to music a lot more with my new setup.

 

My question is how much of an improvement an external amp/dac provide over one of the nicer sound cards (seems like Asus Essence STX and HT Omega Claro are the best). Would those sufficiently power 600 ohm headphones? The literature they produce says they will, but I would rather hear it from a knowledeable head-fier than the people who are trying to sell me the cards.

 

Even with a sound card that says it can drive the Beyer's I feel like I would prefer to just buy an amp for them. If I just bought one of those cards + an amp (say Shiit Asgard or Matrix M Stage) that should provide really good quality gaming sound, and still decent quality sound for music, right? I haven't really figured out if I should just get a DAC and AMP or if AMP + sound card is a better option for me. Thanks for any help :)

post #57 of 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

They can't decode from input to analog, but they can pass it back out via digital out (at least most should; all of my Sound Blasters can do this). In other words if you have something like a DVD player feeding into the PC (or another computer), and then want to feed out from the PC to something else, that can work. Receivers are a different beast and have different licencing stipulations (and they aren't generally decoding the signal into something that can record/process it). 

 

I think I get roughly what you're after; I had a similar setup a while ago. One computer fed into another, and that fed into an external DSP. The external DSP is what made everything work smoothly though (because it could take DTS/Dolby Digital and do something with that). The "top" PC was putting out either PCM or AC-3 (and taking in digital and analog signals), the "bottom" PC took that and mixed it with its internally generated "stuff" (and other analog signals) and put AC-3 out into the DSP. It got to be a pain to control everything though; the next logical step was a studio controller (PreSonus makes a great one).



I was assuming that a card with the on the fly encoders for multichannel Dolby or DTS would be also able to read those formats.  Is that true?  Likely?  Possible?

 

Basically I want to use the PC like the Mixamp.  Digital multichannel in > extra DSP mixing options a stand alone unit won't have > Dolby Headphone > and then either 2ch PCM or analog out.

 

Latency shouldn't be too important because I wouldn't be playing any FPS on a console.  Probably just RPGs that don't get a PC release.  I don't need positioning for that but I can't stand to listen to normal stereo on headphones.  I always use at least an analog crossfeed circuit when listening to music.

post #58 of 3093
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SniperCzar View Post

I guess it just takes a brand new guy to show up, see seasoned veterans struggling, and think outside the box, huh? :)


You could say that.

 

I actually have known that the feature is there in Win7 for years, but thought of it as more of a Stereo Mix equivalent. I didn't think of using it with an actual Stereo Mix/"What U Hear" recording source to play it over other sources.

 

I just tested it, and it actually does work, though the Windows speaker test for the source X-Fi card, played over the SB0490 (Live! 24-bit External), did have a bit of distortion to some sounds. Both playback and "What U Hear" on the X-Fi are set to 2-channel, 24-bit/48 KHz, so that's not it. I'm guessing it's because the SB0490 is a USB 1.1 device and could use USB 2.0 bandwidth to work right...too bad I don't have any other USB audio interfaces to test with.

 

I've now amended the guide to add this little trick, crediting you, of course.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by googleli View Post

Try this ultimate headphone gaming setup which I use out of my GTX580 SLi system:

 

Display card HDMI -> High End AV Receiver (Pioneer SC LX85 in my case) -> Smyth Realizer -> Esoteric K-01 (using only the DAC portion) -> SRM727II (to be replaced by BHSE soon) -> Stax SR009  


You have no idea how much I envy your wallet right now. I can't afford a single GTX 580 (let alone two of them), a Smyth Realiser, an SR-009, or a BHSE, let alone all of that combined...then there's a trip to a studio to get a recording with the Realiser to take into account.

 

At least I'm pretty satisfied with my X-Fi Titanium HD and Stax Lambda systems for now.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 2/1/12 at 1:27pm
post #59 of 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by LilBuck View Post

My question is how much of an improvement an external amp/dac provide over one of the nicer sound cards (seems like Asus Essence STX and HT Omega Claro are the best). Would those sufficiently power 600 ohm headphones? The literature they produce says they will, but I would rather hear it from a knowledeable head-fier than the people who are trying to sell me the cards.


With those headphones and one of those cards you won't need a separate amp or DAC.  The hardware in the STX and the Claro Halo are pretty similar.  Both of them have the same amp chip in them and it pairs perfectly with high impedance Beyers like you just got.  It puts out a lot of power into high impedance 'phones but for some technical reasons it often won't perform as well with lower impedance 'phones.

 

They both have great specs in the DAC and headphone sections.  The STX was measured in a review and shown to perform quite well.  I don't think that the Claro Halo hasn't been checked out like that it its probably pretty close.

post #60 of 3093
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I just tested it, and it actually does work, though the Windows speaker test for the source X-Fi card, played over the SB0490 (Live! 24-bit External), did have a bit of distortion to some sounds. Both playback and "What U Hear" on the X-Fi are set to 2-channel, 24-bit/48 KHz, so that's not it. I'm guessing it's because the SB0490 is a USB 1.1 device and could use USB 2.0 bandwidth to work right...too bad I don't have any other USB audio interfaces to test with.

 

I've now amended the guide to add this little trick, crediting you, of course.

 

I didn't hear any distortion, though the only thing I had on hand for testing the output was a $15 USB dongle so it might just be hiding in the terrible SQ.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I've now amended the guide to add this little trick, crediting you, of course.

 

Thanks! I plan to do some more extensive testing with it when I get a little more free time.

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