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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 66

post #976 of 3115
Hi, I'm looking for a soundcard replacement or amp/dac advice for the Sennheiser HD650 headphones.
As it has 300Ohm impedance I will need a decent separate amp or should replace my soundcard.

I'm currently using the following setup:
PC with Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard and Sennheiser HD239 headphones with Antlion Modmic.
I have a 5.1 surround set connected to my soundcard at the moment and my headset connects into the surround set, the mic plugs directly into the back into the soundcard.
Sound is good, mic is okay, can't up volume with "mic +20dB Boost" on mic as white noise will creep in.

I've read about a number of soundcards and amps but I'm not sure what to pick.

Have had issues with the Creative drivers, currently using the Daniel_k drivers and they seem okay.
Reading up on the Xonar Essence drivers they seem to have gone the same way.
I have zero experience with amps or seperate dacs.
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.
post #977 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaggynl View Post

Hi, I'm looking for a soundcard replacement or amp/dac advice for the Sennheiser HD650 headphones.
As it has 300Ohm impedance I will need a decent separate amp or should replace my soundcard.

If I was you I'd probably get an amp and feed the headphones directly through that from the soundcard.

I'm using the O2 amp to power my HD650's and they do so perfectly. (just need to get a soundcard - using onboard or mixamp til I can pick one up)
post #978 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by raband View Post

If I was you I'd probably get an amp and feed the headphones directly through that from the soundcard.
I'm using the O2 amp to power my HD650's and they do so perfectly. (just need to get a soundcard - using onboard or mixamp til I can pick one up)

Thanks for the response, I'm not familiar with an O2 amp, what is it?
post #979 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaggynl View Post


Thanks for the response, I'm not familiar with an O2 amp, what is it?

The O2 (Objective 2) portable headphone amplifier ($155) can drive headphones from 16-Ohms to 600-Ohms.

It is battery powered, but you can just leave the AC adapter plugged in and just use it like a regular desktop head amp.

I have an Essence STX sound card, but I prefer using the O2 for low (like 40-Ohm) headphones.

But I can just as well plug my 600-Ohm (DT880, DT990) into the O2.

 

Usually someone has their used O2 for sale in the Head-Fi "Amplifiers for Sale" thread.

post #980 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The O2 (Objective 2) portable headphone amplifier ($155) can drive headphones from 16-Ohms to 600-Ohms.
It is battery powered, but you can just leave the AC adapter plugged in and just use it like a regular desktop head amp.
I have an Essence STX sound card, but I prefer using the O2 for low (like 40-Ohm) headphones.
But I can just as well plug my 600-Ohm (DT880, DT990) into the O2.

Usually someone has their used O2 for sale in the Head-Fi "Amplifiers for Sale" thread.

Thanks for the tip, I'll look into that amp.
post #981 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zaggynl View Post

Hi, I'm looking for a soundcard replacement or amp/dac advice for the Sennheiser HD650 headphones.
As it has 300Ohm impedance I will need a decent separate amp or should replace my soundcard.
I'm currently using the following setup:
PC with Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer soundcard and Sennheiser HD239 headphones with Antlion Modmic.
I have a 5.1 surround set connected to my soundcard at the moment and my headset connects into the surround set, the mic plugs directly into the back into the soundcard.
Sound is good, mic is okay, can't up volume with "mic +20dB Boost" on mic as white noise will creep in.
I've read about a number of soundcards and amps but I'm not sure what to pick.
Have had issues with the Creative drivers, currently using the Daniel_k drivers and they seem okay.
Reading up on the Xonar Essence drivers they seem to have gone the same way.
I have zero experience with amps or seperate dacs.
Location: The Netherlands, Europe.

 

What are your listening habits? Music (which genres?), gaming (immersive, competitive or casual?) or movies?

post #982 of 3115

Speaking of movies, do you guys use VLC or something else for playback  ? Also how do I enable virtual surround on video playback? Will creative do that by default (USB 5.1 X-fi card)?

post #983 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocraft View Post

Speaking of movies, do you guys use VLC or something else for playback  ? Also how do I enable virtual surround on video playback? Will creative do that by default (USB 5.1 X-fi card)?

 

MPC-HC here with a mild (~-12dB) general purpose EAX preset.

 

VLC is a good player for people who want a prepackaged player and don't want or know how to tweak things to their liking. I prefer MPC-HC for that exact reason.


Edited by Roller - 11/29/12 at 11:17am
post #984 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocraft View Post

I did end up going with the E9 amp! I don't really have much use for a portable amp right now so figured dealing with battery based stuff was not worth it.  Have my USB X-fi all set up on windows so just waiting on the UPS to deliver today/tmrw.  Cant wait for my first real gaming/music sound setup haha.  I think I might upgrade to an internal card eventually to reduce the clutter of having the USB X-fi on my desk.  Before that I want to give THX Trustudio a try though, since I dont really play many old games (which seems to be the main drawback with this over X-Fi/CMSS stuff?), I'll decide on titanium/recon3d/Z after I've given both technologies an ear.

I hope you enjoy your bang-for-buck setup!
THX TruStudio is pretty good, wish I knew how to record some live gameplay for you and others to hear. Otherwise, it's difficult to give the different technologies "an ear," as you say. I'm not going to claim I know what you're going to like best, but it does seem like different people prefer different headphone surround tech. Not only does that explain why there isn't a consensus on "the best sounding" processing/encoding tech, but it also reflects my personal experience not consistently matching up with the descriptions from other head-fi'ers I respect. Getting used to a particular tech probably also plays a role in how your brain interprets other techs. Compared to several YouTube tests on different games of different techs, my personal preference between Dolby Headphone, CMSS-3D, Silent Cinema, and TruStudio, is for THX TruStudio, but I think it's true that positional imaging may vary per person.

I see only 3 remaining distinctions:

#1.) Does the surround processing calculate height and depth calculations? (It would seem only X-Fi does this, but many games such as Halo have their own in-game depth processing and between-channel-mixing filters for increased imaging subtlety, anyway)

#2.) Does the hardware have high-quality components and signal quality? (Amps and DACs don't necessarily have built-in digital effects/surround processing, so this is a separate point to #1. For example, while Asus cards use "just" Dolby Headphone and EAX 2.0 effects, several of them have higher-quality components and/or signal-to-noise ratios than X-Fi cards of the same price-class)

#3.) Are a card's features supported and taken advantage of by in-demand games? (While it may be sad that developers are dropping support for full X-Fi utilization, it is a fact that newer games have been developing just for Dolby 5.1 support, giving CMSS-3D the same data to work with as Dolby Headphone, Silent Cinema, TruStudio, etc. Also, a surround processing algorithm like CMSS-3D or SBX ProStudio is software, whether run on the main PC resources or offloaded onto discreet audio hardware like a soundcard)

Assuming that games haven't taken full advantage of the X-Fi platform since the time of Battlefield 2145 and the first Bioshock, how different people prefer different sound signatures & games, and that there are examples of equal or superior specification hardware quality to the X-Fi Ti series soundcards, I think that it's a bit of an exaggeration to call everything else besides the X-Fi Ti cards "garbage." My best suggestion is to look for multiple video demos and come to your own conclusions, and I think it's great that you want to find out for yourself.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pox67 View Post

Thanks, the headphones I am looking at are:
AKG Q701
Sennheiser HD 598
Sennheiser RS 180 (wireless would be very convenient)
I guess my real question is would the lag in the RS 180's be noticeable while gaming?
My best of both worlds would be AKG Q701 with wireless adaptors for when I want wireless. Wired for gaming.
I have had a search around but there doesn't seem to be a KLEER transmitter and receiver plugin for speakers.

A little KLEER Bluetooth bridge would be nice, and you could at least address custom amping and headphone preferences. Market opportunity! I think you have enough wireless-audio experience to answer your question about lag, but I've never read about wireless sound lag being an issue with wireless gaming headsets. I saw your list of headphones you're looking at; I only commented on the option that I own.
Edited by Evshrug - 11/29/12 at 12:15pm
post #985 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

...
Assuming that games haven't taken full advantage of the X-Fi platform since the time of Battlefield 2145 and the first Bioshock, how different people prefer different sound signatures & games, and that there are examples of equal or superior specification hardware quality to the X-Fi Ti series soundcards, I think that it's a bit of an exaggeration to call everything else besides the X-Fi Ti cards "garbage." My best suggestion is to look for multiple video demos and come to your own conclusions, and I think it's great that you want to find out for yourself...

 

For gaming purposes and gaming purposes alone, non X-Fi powered cards, like Creative's own Recon3D and Z series, Asus cards and all onboard audio chips, don't hold a candle to what a base X-Fi Titanium can do for games. Going further up the ladder, Auzentech's X-Fi offerings are a clear step above, only short to the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD. X-Fi powered Auzentech cards and the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD are of very high quality, being at best matched, certainly not surpassed in any way by the likes of Asus, for instance.

 

While games with proper audio renderers are where X-Fi cards truly shine, basic audio renderer games also sound better and more accurate on X-Fi cards, precisely due to the X-Fi specific algorithms that aren't found on any other card series.

 

About the superior specification hardware quality of other cards of the same price class, that only refers to lower end models, for higher end and flagship models certainly don't fall under that generalization.

post #986 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

MPC-HC here with a mild (~-12dB) general purpose EAX preset.

 

VLC is a good player for people who want a prepackaged player and don't want or know how to tweak things to their liking. I prefer MPC-HC for that exact reason.

Ah I do have MPC as well that will do.  Do you configure EAX preset via the Creative console ? 

post #987 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocraft View Post

Ah I do have MPC as well that will do.  Do you configure EAX preset via the Creative console ? 

 

Both Creative Console Launcher and Creative Audio Control Panel have EAX configurations. I personally use Audio Control Panel because it's a bit more lightweight and everything I want configured on Console Launcher had already been configured, so I have no need to use it.

post #988 of 3115

I am finally purchasing parts to build my computer, and now it is time to pick a sound card. A while back I tried to follow the material presented to me by NamelessPFG, but a lot of it went over my head. If I list my current computer parts and choice of games, would someone suggest knowledgeably which card to invest in? Within reason, money is no object. This is a purely gaming computer.

 

Processor: 3770K

Motherboard: DZ77GA-70K

Storage: Intel 520 Series 180GB

GPU: Galaxy GTX 670 4GB

Case: Haf XB

Memory: 2 x 8 Corsair DDRs-1600

OS: Undecided (Windows 7 vs Windows 8)

(the rest of the parts are undecided)

 

Games I will play (largely from first preference to last):

-Fallout 3

-Fallout: New Vegas

-TES III: Morrowind

-TES IV: Oblivion

-TES V: Skyrim

-StarCraft II (and orignal)

-Bioshock series

-Borderlands series, etc.

 

I will be investing in a very nice set of headphones for gaming as well. Two of my options due to personal hook ups are the Sennheiser HD700 (a strong choice for directionality, correct?) and the Audio Technica W1000X (good music/games closed headphone, good bass).

 

Again, within reason, what sound card should I buy? I want total immersion in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games.

 

I will utilize my setup in two ways:

-(primary use of the card) Headphones with my monitor

-(secondary us of the card) Surround sound with my TV and surround sound speakers (AVR-3312)

 

To sum up my questions, what is the best sound card to go with considering my needs (the use of nice headphones and surround sound and the immersion in described Bethesda titles). Also What OS do I go with?

 

I know, a lot of questions... Anyone willing to answer is an absolute champ!

 

Thanks!

post #989 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by crzycuyler View Post

I am finally purchasing parts to build my computer, and now it is time to pick a sound card. A while back I tried to follow the material presented to me by NamelessPFG, but a lot of it went over my head. If I list my current computer parts and choice of games, would someone suggest knowledgeably which card to invest in? Within reason, money is no object. This is a purely gaming computer.

 

OS: Undecided (Windows 7 vs Windows 8)

(the rest of the parts are undecided)

 

I will be investing in a very nice set of headphones for gaming as well. Two of my options due to personal hook ups are the Sennheiser HD700 (a strong choice for directionality, correct?) and the Audio Technica W1000X (good music/games closed headphone, good bass).

 

Again, within reason, what sound card should I buy? I want total immersion in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games.

 

I will utilize my setup in two ways:

-(primary use of the card) Headphones with my monitor

-(secondary us of the card) Surround sound with my TV and surround sound speakers (AVR-3312)

 

To sum up my questions, what is the best sound card to go with considering my needs (the use of nice headphones and surround sound and the immersion in described Bethesda titles). Also What OS do I go with?

As one of you headphones, ATH-A1000X, is only 42-Ohms, you will want to get an external headphone amplifier with a very low impedance, to connect to your computer's sound card.

 

The Creative Ti-HD (Titanium HD) sound card comes with the most gaming support, $125 currently at Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0041OUA38?tag=bountii-20&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

 

Anyway, external head amps wise just get the O2 (Objective 2) portable headphone amplifier ($155), can drive headphones from 16-Ohm to 600-Ohm and works just like a normal AC powered desktop amp.

Just plug it into the Ti-HD's RCA jacks.

 

For watching movies (like Blu-ray) with the speakers, an HDMI connection from the graphics card to the Denon receiver, then HDMI from Denon receiver to TV, will give you the best sound.

For gaming with the speakers, you can connect to the receiver using using HDMI or optical, just use whichever connection works best.

 

I would suggest just sticking with Windows 7 for now. Wait on Win 8 at least until Microsoft comes out with a major service pack for it (just to be safe).

post #990 of 3115
Quote:
Originally Posted by crzycuyler View Post

I am finally purchasing parts to build my computer, and now it is time to pick a sound card. A while back I tried to follow the material presented to me by NamelessPFG, but a lot of it went over my head. If I list my current computer parts and choice of games, would someone suggest knowledgeably which card to invest in? Within reason, money is no object. This is a purely gaming computer.

 

Processor: 3770K

Motherboard: DZ77GA-70K

Storage: Intel 520 Series 180GB

GPU: Galaxy GTX 670 4GB

Case: Haf XB

Memory: 2 x 8 Corsair DDRs-1600

OS: Undecided (Windows 7 vs Windows 8)

(the rest of the parts are undecided)

 

Games I will play (largely from first preference to last):

-Fallout 3

-Fallout: New Vegas

-TES III: Morrowind

-TES IV: Oblivion

-TES V: Skyrim

-StarCraft II (and orignal)

-Bioshock series

-Borderlands series, etc.

 

I will be investing in a very nice set of headphones for gaming as well. Two of my options due to personal hook ups are the Sennheiser HD700 (a strong choice for directionality, correct?) and the Audio Technica W1000X (good music/games closed headphone, good bass).

 

Again, within reason, what sound card should I buy? I want total immersion in the Fallout and The Elder Scrolls games.

 

I will utilize my setup in two ways:

-(primary use of the card) Headphones with my monitor

-(secondary us of the card) Surround sound with my TV and surround sound speakers (AVR-3312)

 

To sum up my questions, what is the best sound card to go with considering my needs (the use of nice headphones and surround sound and the immersion in described Bethesda titles). Also What OS do I go with?

 

I know, a lot of questions... Anyone willing to answer is an absolute champ!

 

Thanks!

 

Since the main consideration of your PC is gaming, then the best soundcard for that purpose currently in production is the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, with a very high quality DAC and components, as well as full gaming audio support.

 

A good addition to the soundcard is a desktop amp like an O2 or a Schiit Asgard.

 

About the OS, I do recommend Windows 8 Pro, given your hardware specs. It is more secure, faster and more responsive, and will put your hardware to proper use. You can look over the Windows 8 thread around here for more information regarding compatibility, performance and tweaking: http://www.head-fi.org/t/631736/windows-8

 

 

And PurpleAngel, I see no point in shortening a card's name, especially since your cards' names haven't been shortened.

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