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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 63

post #931 of 2860

What is the best setup for all round PC gaming and movies?

 

I currently have:

 

Windows 7 Pro 64

Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD

Astro Mixamp Pro (2009 version) + Headset

Sennheiser PC360 Headset (being mailed to me as we speak)

 

 

Main problems I have with my current setup is that X-Fi was overheating, and it would stop playing sound. That's an old problem, and it seems like the cards overheating has fixed itself. No problem with it otherwise, I just don't know how to set it up (software settings/connections) to get the most out of it. I know some things, but I'm pretty noob about other audio stuff. I came here to do my research a while back, so its not all bad. I had to go through a lot of bulls**t on the interweb to get to real audio junky opinions. Mad Lust Envy's guide was a great help, but its only for console gaming setups. Thanks to u I can combined your guides to find a new setup. Few gamers have done informative audio guides like this one. The only part that is missing is a testing and recommendation section.

 

The Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD isn't a bad card, but I'm thinking of buying one of the highend ASUS Xonar Essence/Phoebus card with the headphone amp. I don't have a desktop headphone amp currently, other then the headphone on my X-Fi soundcard. Also I like the fact that u get Dolby Headphone without needing the Astro Mixamp. Do the Asus cards do DTS, which is a common missing feature from these units? Seems like a sound card is a better solution anyway.

 

Right now I'd say I'm a starter, but I like to move to a more audiophile solution. I'd love to get a all-rounder headphone like the Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla used for $850. Seems like it would be a very competitive and fun with the right amp going off Mad's list. Maybe I can pair it with the ASUS Xonar Essence One amp to good effect. However I don't really know, and that is why I'm here. I'd like some suggestions and recommendations.

 

If go with highend, I'll also need to get the new version of the AntLion ModMic, with the mute feature. Currently sold-out, and on pre-order. Has anyone seen the mute version. I'm an MMO gamer, and having a mic is very important. I also play FPS games, so don't think I play WoW. Hell no, WoW sucks! I play Darkfall Online, and sound is very important on that game. For anyone that hasn't played Darkfall, its a very hard game to grasp. FPS Sandbox MMO with full loot, ship battles, huge 400+ man sieges, with an open world and skill based system. Darkfall 1.0 is shutting down however to open up for Darkfall: Unholy Wars, which is a re-launch of the game on Nov. 20. Do some research on it if it sounds interest. In Darkfall u have to sneak from tree to tree to get closer to someone. No invisibility bull, just plan player skill, so sound is very important. This is not an ad, I just love the game that much and want everyone to know about it. Its the only MMO I keep coming back to. Once u try Darkfall u will never want to play an auto-target MMO ever again. There is nothing like it. Planetside 2 and Firefall aren't even close.


Edited by LINKUZZZ - 11/12/12 at 12:01pm
post #932 of 2860

LINKUZZZ, you seem to do more than casual gaming, and that's relevant in terms of recommendations. First of all, remove the Mixamp for your sound chain, it's doing no favors regarding sound quality.

 

Considering the kind of gaming you do, I'd recommend you to skip Asus soundcards due to their partial gaming audio support (Asus gaming support is the same on all their cards, regardless of price). Since you were looking at Xonar Essence and Phoebus cards, that budget allows you to get the best soundcard for gaming currently in production, namely the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, with full gaming audio support (this being quite important for FPS games, for instance). It's heaphone out handles headphones with impedance up to 330Ohm, but you can add a headphone amp to the chain if you like, something like a PA2V2, Fiio E11, O2 or Schiit Asgard, although that's not a base requirement, merely optional.

 

In order to have digital encoding, you do require a soundcard, audiophile DACs don't have such support.

post #933 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Regarding music playback, either the XtremeGamer or the Titanium will be acceptable, and certainly quite a bit better than onboard audio chips.

 

 

This is exactly what bothers me, if it will be "acceptable". On this review i posted

 

http://techreport.com/review/14500/asus-xonar-dx-sound-card/7

 

The xtrememusic (again as far as i know, very similar to xtremegamer) is on par with the onboard alc 889a (at least in rmaa tests), if it performs really that bad then i will look on to the most expensive models of creative (for later) or sacrifice gaming performance and get the xonar dg. However if things aren't that bad and it's just something wrong with this review i will prefer to get the xtremegamer even if i have to sacrifise a little to audio quality.

 

Here is another review i found (this is for xtremegamer), on this, all tests are pretty good except the frequency response which it's really bad

 

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/07/01/creative_x-fi_xtremegamer/3

 

However in the comments section one person claims that this result in frequency response is because of improper settings to the rmaa.

 

Anyway, maybe i am thinking it too much. If anyone has any more experience with the xtremegamer, please tell me how it performs in music.


Edited by Haruspex - 11/12/12 at 2:19pm
post #934 of 2860
@Haruspex:
Realtek's ALC889 is its second-best offering (Realtek's best is the ALC898). There aren't that many motherboards with that. Its impressive 108dB SNR almost edges out the 109dB SNR of most X-Fi cards. But 1dB isn't exactly significant and SNR doesn't tell the whole story. First, there's the matter of on-board vs. off-board. Audio chips integrated onto the motherboard are generally more sensitive to noise than those off-board (especially if you have high-powered graphics cards, wireless cards, and/or TV/radio tuners). Second, there's the gaming audio feature set. The X-Fi cards can do CMSS-3D, which is what you're really looking for here (positional audio). There's also EAX, but that's not as significant if you don't play a lot of pre-Vista games. X-Fi can do EAX5 while Realtek's offerings only go up to EAX2. The X-Fi cards also have a bunch of other less gaming-centric stuff such as Crystalizer.

If you're really worried, you can shoot higher and go for one of the two top-end X-Fi cards.

Option #1 is to try to hunt down an X-Fi Elite Pro (SNR 116dB). It was the top-of-the-line X-Fi card (and in some ways, still is). It comes with an external console box for lots of connectivity and noise isolation, but it uses the standard X-Fi SNR (109dB). Do note that it is a PCI card, so make sure your motherboard has a slot for it. I don't know where in the EU you live, but ebay.de has a pretty good listing for one right now.

Option #2 is the X-Fi Titanium HD (SNR 122dB). It is the current top-of-the-line X-Fi card and easier to find than the Elite Pro. Do note that it only has 2.0 via analog and 5.1 via S/PDIF. It is also lacks XP drivers, but not a problem since you're running Win7.

If you're still worried about music, you can connect your sound card to an external DAC.
post #935 of 2860
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LINKUZZZ View Post

What is the best setup for all round PC gaming and movies?

 

I currently have:

 

Windows 7 Pro 64

Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD

Astro Mixamp Pro (2009 version) + Headset

Sennheiser PC360 Headset (being mailed to me as we speak)

 

Main problems I have with my current setup is that X-Fi was overheating, and it would stop playing sound. That's an old problem, and it seems like the cards overheating has fixed itself. No problem with it otherwise, I just don't know how to set it up (software settings/connections) to get the most out of it. I know some things, but I'm pretty noob about other audio stuff. I came here to do my research a while back, so its not all bad. I had to go through a lot of bulls**t on the interweb to get to real audio junky opinions. Mad Lust Envy's guide was a great help, but its only for console gaming setups. Thanks to u I can combined your guides to find a new setup. Few gamers have done informative audio guides like this one. The only part that is missing is a testing and recommendation section.

 

The Auzen X-Fi HomeTheater HD isn't a bad card, but I'm thinking of buying one of the highend ASUS Xonar Essence/Phoebus card with the headphone amp. I don't have a desktop headphone amp currently, other then the headphone on my X-Fi soundcard. Also I like the fact that u get Dolby Headphone without needing the Astro Mixamp. Do the Asus cards do DTS, which is a common missing feature from these units? Seems like a sound card is a better solution anyway.

 

Right now I'd say I'm a starter, but I like to move to a more audiophile solution. I'd love to get a all-rounder headphone like the Beyerdynamic T1 Tesla used for $850. Seems like it would be a very competitive and fun with the right amp going off Mad's list. Maybe I can pair it with the ASUS Xonar Essence One amp to good effect. However I don't really know, and that is why I'm here. I'd like some suggestions and recommendations.

 

The problem with a "best setup" is that audio is inherently too subjective to have a "best for everyone" set of equipment.

 

I mean, I have a retrogaming PC with THREE sound cards in it (AWE64 Gold, Montego II, X-Fi Prelude) for specific sets of PC games (DOS, Win9x, WinXP-and-later, in that order), for starters. And then there's my preference for Stax Lambda-series headphones, which excel at the more competitive side of things, but won't please bassheads. (They do respond nicely to bass boost, however.)

 

Just out of curiosity, did you ever set that X-Fi up properly for CMSS-3D Headphone to work as intended (basically, X-Fi set to Headphones, Windows set to 5.1 or 7.1), or do you still prefer Dolby Headphone in the end, hence that Mixamp? (I've actually noticed a few people with X-Fi cards for EAX 5 support while using Dolby Digital Live output to a Dolby Headphone processor meant for consoles, just for that very reason.)

 

The reason for the lack of a testing and recommendation section, aside from that first sentence, is that I just don't have enough money to go around and buy every little piece of audio equipment, audition it, and then resell it at a loss. I'm already having a hard enough time trying to sell my Recon3D USB here after learning all I needed to know about it; that's $70 down the drain already.

 

If you do wind up deciding to change sound cards, though, you have a potential buyer for the X-Fi HomeTheater HD right here. That's a card I'd certainly like to review at some point.

post #936 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The reason for the lack of a testing and recommendation section, aside from that first sentence, is that I just don't have enough money to go around and buy every little piece of audio equipment, audition it, and then resell it at a loss. I'm already having a hard enough time trying to sell my Recon3D USB here after learning all I needed to know about it; that's $70 down the drain already.

I suppose this is a bad time to remind you about the Sound Blaster Z-series...
post #937 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by HalidePisces View Post


I suppose this is a bad time to remind you about the Sound Blaster Z-series...

 

Considering the faulty gaming audio support it has, he won't be exactly at a loss ;)

post #938 of 2860

Been using Astro A30s for a while, but the mic has completely died out on me and I'm looking to upgrade. I'm veering away from "mainstream" gaming headset brands like Turtle Beach (i have owned the X41s) and Astro (the 2013 A40 version reputedly has a LOT of mic problems), plus I trust Sennheiser's sound quality a lot more. 

 

I do have the newest Astro Mixamp, and I'm considering getting the Sennheiser PC360 to use with it for FPS gaming on my PC. I DO have an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 soundcard, but it's an old card that I never really used. I already have the adaptor to use the PC360 with the Astro Mixamp, but I wanted to know if this is a good setup to game with, or if there are other options.

 

Hope this gets replied to soon!

post #939 of 2860

The Sennheiser PC360 is currently the best headset money can buy. Paired with an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude makes for a very solid gaming system.

 

The Mixamp is a device geared for console usage, and for that it works fine. Just don't use it with the PC.

post #940 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

The Sennheiser PC360 is currently the best headset money can buy. Paired with an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude makes for a very solid gaming system.

 

The Mixamp is a device geared for console usage, and for that it works fine. Just don't use it with the PC.

Okay thanks. I'll get the headset and stick it straight into the card.

post #941 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peculier View Post

Okay thanks. I'll get the headset and stick it straight into the card.

 

However, I do think it would be a good decision to get a headphone amp. The PC360 aren't hard to drive, but they do benefit from additional amping, and you don't even need to get expensive headphone amps, with amps like PA2V2, Fiio E11 and O2 fitting the bill quite nicely. Just keep in mind the Fiio E11 can't be used while charging.

post #942 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

However, I do think it would be a good decision to get a headphone amp. The PC360 aren't hard to drive, but they do benefit from additional amping, and you don't even need to get expensive headphone amps, with amps like PA2V2, Fiio E11 and O2 fitting the bill quite nicely. Just keep in mind the Fiio E11 can't be used while charging.

Well I have an Yulong D100 mk2 DAC/Amp, but it's my necessity for a microphone that's making me get the PC360. Plus, I still have the Astro Mixamp, which I guess could be used, but I don't know how to judge whether its better than the Prelude in terms of sheer driving power. When I get the PC360 I'll try it both from the soundcard and from the Mixamp and see which one is better. 

 

Thanks for your advice!


Edited by Peculier - 11/21/12 at 2:20am
post #943 of 2860
Quote:
Originally Posted by Peculier View Post

Well I have an Yulong D100 mk2 DAC/Amp, but it's my necessity for a microphone that's making me get the PC360. Plus, I still have the Astro Mixamp, which I guess could be used, but I don't know how to judge whether its better than the Prelude in terms of sheer driving power. When I get the PC360 I'll try it both from the soundcard and from the Mixamp and see which one is better. 

 

Thanks for your advice!

 

Ah, in that case do use the amp section (just the amp section, not the DAC section) of your D100 after the Prelude output.

 

Don't touch the Mixamp, it's the lowest quality component you have there, far below the Prelude and the D100. It will only lower overall sound quality.

post #944 of 2860

Hey guys, I'm an audio noob looking to pick up a good headphone setup for my new gaming pc.  I went through this thread and the mad envy headphones thread and find the DT990 fits me best.  I am looking for good immersion, accuracy and also good bassy music use (edm/slow dubstep stuff).  My understanding is that I definitely need an external amp to drive these due to sensitivity, and this is where I am stuck.  I want to get just a dedicated amp good enough to drive the 990s (save as much $$ as possible for games :D).

 

Future upgrades not really a concern for me, and looking around here most of the suggested amps are running upwards of $125 (O2/ Fiio e17), seem to be geared for 600ohm/portability which I don't really need.  There are also a bunch that include a DAC, and I already have a dolby heapdhone capable soundcard for that (which is all that DAC is needed for right?) Was wondering if there were any better priced amps that would work well with the DT990 you could suggest.  Thanks for the wealth of information in this thread, been really helpful! 


Edited by zerocraft - 11/21/12 at 8:55pm
post #945 of 2860

I need help guys cause i am going to buy a decent gaming audio system so help me please. I will going to buy one of two beyerdynamic headphone DT990 or MMX300 , which one is better for music and gaming?

 

2 - if i bought one of them what kind soundcard i need to be overall good ?

 

3 - DO i need to buy amp with the headphone and the soundcard ?

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