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 55

post #811 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by cronic22 View Post

This is all new for me but here recently I bought the ATH A700's (thanks to reading posts here on this site) and now comes the fun part of upgrading the onboard audio.

 

I have been doing a lot of homework, trying to keep my budget at $100 and under for the sound card and the ones I am really considering are the Creative Xtremegamer and the Xonar DG. The thing I keep hearing though are comments like the Xtremegamer is an older card and dosent work as well for current games, and the Xonar is better suited for music than for games. I have my eye on the Xtremegamer though cause I see it being sold at $35 refurbished which seems like a really great deal. But I also know Creative dosent have the best rep. So curious, what is a good recommended card at under $100? This is strictly for gaming with just a bit of music and movies. Or am I just reading too much, and one of these would be just fine?

Refurb X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) PCI-E sound card, $45.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102043

post #812 of 3067

Amazon does have a used Xonar DG for 16 dollars but its PCI. Their also a Xtreme gamer which is a Xtreme music with a HS on it for 19 on amazon too.

post #813 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by genclaymore View Post

Amazon does have a used Xonar DG for 16 dollars but its PCI. Their also a Xtreme gamer which is a Xtreme music with a HS on it for 19 on amazon too.

GenClaymore, how do you like the sound of the ATH-A900X connected to the NFB-12.1?

post #814 of 3067

To me its a very good combo, but then I am using the 4x MP Soft-knee Filter setting as my NFB12.0 has the Jumper pins inside of it. I can't explain the details of how it sound that well. I just know I enjoy it a lot. Plus  I don't see my self changing from this source of the A900x's since I like it that much. Also I did try 8x MPA Filter which I liked too which made the sound signature ever more detailed and the bass was even more tighter. But I like the 4x MP Soft Knee settings more so.

 

I don't know what the NFB-12.0 sound on the default 2x Brickwall Filter setting as when I bought it used from another user on this forums it was already on 4x MP Soft-knee. But I could tell the differences between both digital filter settings i tried.


Edited by genclaymore - 10/1/12 at 11:42am
post #815 of 3067

Hi All,

 

I'll just state from the get go, I am a complete audio noob and am pretty much a PC gaming noob (last PC game I played before my most recent build was Half Life 1).  Currently only have onboard sound, and running out to one of two options, either logitech Z-2300 speakers (I know these aren't the best, but had them lying around) or to my Pioneer AVR for 5.1 surround sound.  I use the AVR when I'm playing games off of my TV (More casual games, Skyrim, Batman AA or AC, basically any game that plays well/better with a controller than K/M) and I play FPS games on a monitor. 

 

I am looking to upgrade my sound when playing on the monitor for fps games and action rpg (diablo, torchlight).  After visiting this forum and others, the general consensus seems to be that headphone gaming offers the best immersion and is the best bang for your buck route to go, so that is what I am leaning towards. 

 

I think I'll be picking up a Titanium HD as a soundcard, but am lost to what my other options are.  From what I've seen here and the console gaming guide side of things, the three headphones I am most interested in currently are the AD700's, Senn HD598's, or AKG Q701, in order of expense.  I also understand that the AKG set would need an amp to properly be appreciated, and this leaves me with another question.  Assuming I go that route, there appears to be a lot of good feedback on the 02 amp.  This guide also mentions that you can use an external DAC in replacement of onboard sound processing, so say i get the AKG set, would it make sense to get the 02 amp+DAC combo or would the external DAC really not provide me with much added benefit from letting the TiHD do the processing?

 

The AD700's are the cheapest, and are highly regarded both in terms of performance and as a good stepping stone into headphones, so part of me wants to go that route, but the lack of bass is somewhat offputting (I think I'd miss the bass when playing single player campaigns in FPS games like BF3).

 

Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

 

Thanks!

post #816 of 3067

Well, the Titanium HD has a quite good DAC, which is well worth using, dismissing the need to get an external DAC, unless you plan on spending well above $500 on DAC alone. Getting an amp is a sensible option, as that will allow you to better deliver power to more demanding headphones, and the three headphones you listed benefit from additional amping, each on a different degree, mind you.

 

You have to ask yourself if you prefer to do competitive gaming, something which the AD700 perform admirably, or immersive gaming, something the HD598 are better at. For immersion, you should also consider the Ultrasone HFI-2400 and Beyerdynamic DT990, both sets that provide very satisfying immersion without sacrificing soundstage and positional cues, that are fed to them through the soundcard with a complete gaming audio feature set.

 

Overall, Titanium HD + O2 + HFI-2400/DT990/HD598 seem to be the best setups for immersive gaming.

post #817 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Well, the Titanium HD has a quite good DAC, which is well worth using, dismissing the need to get an external DAC, unless you plan on spending well above $500 on DAC alone. Getting an amp is a sensible option, as that will allow you to better deliver power to more demanding headphones, and the three headphones you listed benefit from additional amping, each on a different degree, mind you.

 

You have to ask yourself if you prefer to do competitive gaming, something which the AD700 perform admirably, or immersive gaming, something the HD598 are better at. For immersion, you should also consider the Ultrasone HFI-2400 and Beyerdynamic DT990, both sets that provide very satisfying immersion without sacrificing soundstage and positional cues, that are fed to them through the soundcard with a complete gaming audio feature set.

 

Overall, Titanium HD + O2 + HFI-2400/DT990/HD598 seem to be the best setups for immersive gaming.

 



Good info on the TiHD.  I'm by no means an audiophile so what you say makes sense, no need for an external DAC at this stage.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong concerning the HD598's, but I thought since the impedence is only about 50 ohms, and the TiHD does have somewhat of a headphone amp built in, that it would be more than enough to drive those cans? 

 

Thanks for the other headphone suggestions btw, I shall look more into them.  Main reason I mentioned the AKG set was due to Mad Lust Envy recommending them as the best overall set of cans for both competitive gaming and immersion, saying that if you only had one set of headphones, it would be the one to get.  That being said, maybe it makes sense to get the AD700 for competitive gaming, and then another set of headphones for single player stuff.

post #818 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omni View Post


Good info on the TiHD.  I'm by no means an audiophile so what you say makes sense, no need for an external DAC at this stage.

 

Correct me if I'm wrong concerning the HD598's, but I thought since the impedence is only about 50 ohms, and the TiHD does have somewhat of a headphone amp built in, that it would be more than enough to drive those cans? 

 

Thanks for the other headphone suggestions btw, I shall look more into them.  Main reason I mentioned the AKG set was due to Mad Lust Envy recommending them as the best overall set of cans for both competitive gaming and immersion, saying that if you only had one set of headphones, it would be the one to get.  That being said, maybe it makes sense to get the AD700 for competitive gaming, and then another set of headphones for single player stuff.

 

 

How easy to drive a set is isn't just related to impedance, but given that the Titanium HD has a headphone output up to 330 Ohm, there wouldn't be any noticeable issues when running it straight from the card. However, getting an external headphone amp would make you completely sure that you can fully drive headphones, and if you go with something like the O2, you will be able to drive all but flagship headphones.

 

That thread you're talking about refers to console gaming alone, not PC gaming. Getting a set of AD700 (or the improved AD900) for competitive gaming and a set of HFI-2400/DT990/HD598 for immersive gaming does cover both grounds. I personally don't have much love for that AKG set, not to mention it's rather picky when it comes to amping.

post #819 of 3067
I have both the AD700 and AKG Q701. For what it's worth, I'd like to chime in on just the headphone aspect. Hope this effort is interesting, and not a TL;DR :/

I have had the AD700 for a couple years now, and IMO I still think it is a great value headphone. A warm signature is mostly traded for an expansive soundstage... and I experienced a very appreciable difference between the experience in contrast to any other headphone I had heard until recently. The sound is very controlled and feels fast, pure, layered, and airy; combined with the massive amount of detail retrieval, I think the AD700 is an example of what can be achieved when the focus is on the mid/treble range and an open headphone, regardless of price.

Now, a conversation about bass. Some people talk about bass on these headphones like it suddenly stops making sound below 100 Hz. Obviously that is an exaggeration, the AD700 produces the low notes in songs like the beginning of Massive Attack's "Angel" that actually seems like a silent passage on earbuds. Bass IS presented on the dry side, you lose some of the sense of "body" and weightiness of the sound, but I think it's part of a trade off to keep the bass as tight and detailed as the rest of the freq range. Muse's "Undisclosed Desires" benefits from this presentation IMO, with a texture to the low notes that I find addictive and exciting in a different way from, say, on my near-opposite emphasis V-MODA LP. Also, while gaming, sometimes the rumble of bass gets fatiguing in long sessions, and as Mad points out in his thread sometimes the bass can distract you from detail whoring to the level of an imba advantage.

Mids, treble, and detail are really important for being "in the zone" when gaming competitively, IMO. And the AD700 does this really well. When playing CoD4 for some serious FPS gaming, it doesn't sound like real guns are cracking and grenades are exploding next to you... it's better. Not only do I not play at the deafening volumes of real life, but the tactical cues are a lot more intuitively grasped with the AD700 than with my different speakers and headphones. It really is a revelation compared to other sub-$100 headphones I have heard. I haven't heard a turtle beach headphone that I didn't absolutely hate by comparison. While some headphones go most of the way, the AD700 just does it with more grace, soundstage depth, layering and separation, and detail. I feel like that's 'nuff said describing it, but IMO mids, highs, detail, and soundstage are their own aspects of fun, and bass body is one more aspect.

I have heard a few headphones that challenge the AD700, and a few trade some of the AD700's precision and strengths for a more balanced sound (like the surprisingly good JVC HA-RX900 when modified with dynamat resonance dampening & other small mods, though I think it would still be just average while gaming), but they usually felt cheaper in construction and less comfortable to me. Oh, and comfort was a big factor for me... sometimes I have worn the AD700 for 8 hour marathon sessions.
Now, in July, I bought Mad's Q701 from him. I'm currently amping them just from my Recon3D and/or little FiiO E5, but I have a VERY nice custom tube amp on the way (look for more on that in a few weeks!).

For $120 extra over the price I paid for the AD700, I feel like you can take about every aspect of the AD700, and make 5% changes... but they are very welcome changes. First, the look is still unique, but the color isn't as polarizing as the AD700 purple. The comfort is different: having my somewhat large ears free from touching anything is quite nice, the headband takes a bit more of the weight and feels more traditional, but my thinning hair means the headband bumps bug me from "not even noticing it's there." I think my scalp is more sensitive than my ears to pressure, but the Q701 is slightly better at dissipating heat. Interchangeable cords inspire confidence, but the short cord is about the same length as the AD700: too long most of the time.

The sound: the main thing, it seems to have all the good points of the AD700, but with more body and noticeably less bass roll-off. It seems like the highs are ever so slightly smoother and liquid too... but within that 5% change. Now, there have definitely been moments with the AD700 where some sound in the background of a game or song makes me jump and look behind me for the source or check the window to see if it started raining, but overall the Q701 sounds more natural, and more musical, while still unveiling very fine details and nuances. The AD700 elicited joy and elation, the AKG Q701 still has that soaring joy but adds the authority and weight that leaves me blown away. The 5% change makes a % difference that I can't quantify objectively, just that, instinctively, I feel like I can live with this headphone and be done.
So, which would I recommend? I'm honestly not sure ;P
I don't think I could justify the cost of the Q701 back when I bought the AD700, and sometimes I still wonder if the differences are worth the cost, especially since money has barely become less tight since then and I feel like I need a better amp to fully saturate the dynamics of the Q701. I feel like the AD700 is great for gamers and good for music with one weakness (and it responds pretty well to a light EQ), and a good way to learn what most of hi-fi is about at a good price, but honestly it has had zero head-time since the Q701 arrived. Even with the lowly FiiO E5, there is a clear advantage in favor of the Q701. I am interested in comparing them again when connected to a high-quality headphone amp, but as long as I can afford the Q701, it has replaced the AD700 for me.
Edited by Evshrug - 10/3/12 at 11:01am
post #820 of 3067
Just for full disclosure: my first "good" headphones were not the AD700. My "earginity" was taken by (or given to?) my Etymotic ER6i, which I still find useful on commutes (as a passenger) and in noisy environments. As you can see marked by the blue line in this graph I'm linking, the ER6i is pretty close to neutral except for treble roll off, and in general I come from a taste for neutral rather than any particular freq boosted:
http://graphs.headphone.com/graphCompare.php?graphType=0&graphID%5B%5D=2591&graphID%5B%5D=2661&graphID%5B%5D=2931&graphID%5B%5D=2141

(How do I change the coding to post that as an image rather than a hyperlink?)
post #821 of 3067

Thanks for the clarification roller.  Makes sense that a dedicated amp is needed for the higher end units, figure with the ones I'm looking at, aside from the Q701, I think they'd be fine off the TiHD, at least for now in the beginning.

 

And Thank You Evshrug, def a very detailed and in depth comparison between the two.  I can't honestly say I understand all the terms you used/the manner in which you describe the headphones, but hopefully after I get my first set I too will start develop a better appreciation for sound.

 

You both bring up a very good point about external amping, and I guess the more I think about it, not sure if it makes monetary sense for me to go straight for that route just yet.  I think I may "settle" (term obviously used loosely here), on the TiHD + AD700 combo to start off with.  They're highly regarded in terms of fps games, even compared to phones such as the Q701, and idk if i can justify the price premium of 150+ for the phones alone, and then another 150 or so for the O2 amp.  I think I will be better off with the AD700 for now, and then possibly getting a pair of "fun/immersive" headphones down the road.  figure it makes more sense to go that route anyways, as while all arounders can do well, id imagine that certain headphones cater more towards a particular use than another.  AD700 for fps/multiplayer gaming and then maybe one of the beyers/HD598/cheaper ultrasone for more fun for movies/single player experiences.

 

seeing as I also have the pc hooked up to my tv/sound system as well, i think i'll only be using the headphones when i play on the monitor, so mainly fps games anyways.  Thank you all for your insight and help in guiding me along the way as I make these decisions! 

post #822 of 3067

Hey everyone, hopping over from MLE's console gaming thread because I'm barely touching my Xbox and PS3. I want to buy a soundcard to do what MixAmp is able to do--virtual surround on headphones. Strictly for gaming, I have an amp already...at minimal cost, what should I look at? 

post #823 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omni View Post

Thanks for the clarification roller.  Makes sense that a dedicated amp is needed for the higher end units, figure with the ones I'm looking at, aside from the Q701, I think they'd be fine off the TiHD, at least for now in the beginning.

And Thank You Evshrug, def a very detailed and in depth comparison between the two.  I can't honestly say I understand all the terms you used/the manner in which you describe the headphones, but hopefully after I get my first set I too will start develop a better appreciation for sound.

You both bring up a very good point about external amping, and I guess the more I think about it, not sure if it makes monetary sense for me to go straight for that route just yet.  I think I may "settle" (term obviously used loosely here), on the TiHD + AD700 combo to start off with.  They're highly regarded in terms of fps games, even compared to phones such as the Q701, and idk if i can justify the price premium of 150+ for the phones alone, and then another 150 or so for the O2 amp.  I think I will be better off with the AD700 for now, and then possibly getting a pair of "fun/immersive" headphones down the road.  figure it makes more sense to go that route anyways, as while all arounders can do well, id imagine that certain headphones cater more towards a particular use than another.  AD700 for fps/multiplayer gaming and then maybe one of the beyers/HD598/cheaper ultrasone for more fun for movies/single player experiences.

seeing as I also have the pc hooked up to my tv/sound system as well, i think i'll only be using the headphones when i play on the monitor, so mainly fps games anyways.  Thank you all for your insight and help in guiding me along the way as I make these decisions! 

Lol hopefully it wasn't an overload. Sometimes it's hard to explain an experience without getting a little metaphorical, or what have you, but it seems like you got the gist.

And you always can add an amp later, don't have to lump your purchase into one big $$$. The AD700 can easily be powered by my iPod video or touch. So, the Ti HD ought to be more than enough! And, the difference amped vs unamped is real, but it may be hard to detect if you aren't used to good headphones and the unamped sound anyway. With headphones as easy to drive as the AD700, the difference may be too small to detect anyway. So I support your choice to start with a decent headphone, get used to it, and see what you want from that point.

I'll probably be putting my AD700 up for sale in a gaming bundle, with a mic, adapters, FiiO E5, basically everything you need to get started on an Xbox — but I want to do A/B testing with the new amp on the way first, do some learning.

That said, I did pull out my AD700 and played some Metro 2033 last night because of this Convo, and again I was impressed by the value compared to the AKG. It may or may not have panned the surround sounds around me at a more even distance than the AKG even... but I didn't test back to back, so just take from that that the AD700 does very good. It's still quite comfy too.

Eric_C,
Roller and Nameless have more experience than me, but real quick their top recommendation is Creative's Titanium HD, though a refurbished Creative Titanium is a pretty great value at Newegg.com, and PurpleAngel has a value recommendation from the Asus Xonar line. Nameless is a big fan of the Titanium series cards because they have the fullest backwards compatibility to older games from the era of peak Gaming Audio effort, like the thief series and Battlefield 2. Look forward to more details from all of them, but those are some ideas to start your research smily_headphones1.gif
post #824 of 3067

Evshrug, thanks I was starting to get that impression--that THD is the way to go. It's a pricey card though--about USD 240 where I live, and no refurbs in sight.

 

I'm trying to see if my mobo can actually output unprocessed 5.1 via optical. It's a Gigabyte card with the Realtek 889a chip, and I've found that (under Win7's "Recording Devices" tab) there's options for using Dolby Digital, DTS, or WMA for sound processing. Details online are scant about whether the optical is stereo or surround, though.

post #825 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric_C View Post

Evshrug, thanks I was starting to get that impression--that THD is the way to go. It's a pricey card though--about USD 240 where I live, and no refurbs in sight.

 

I'm trying to see if my mobo can actually output unprocessed 5.1 via optical. It's a Gigabyte card with the Realtek 889a chip, and I've found that (under Win7's "Recording Devices" tab) there's options for using Dolby Digital, DTS, or WMA for sound processing. Details online are scant about whether the optical is stereo or surround, though.

What model Gigabyte motherboard is it?

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)