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Best Dolby 5.1-7.1 Processor?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

This is a question thread, possibly a guide later on, but for now the amount of processors and their prices are killing me.


As of right now, most people who use hi-fi equipment (that I know) for gaming use the Astro 5.8 Mixamp  or the Astro Mixamp Pro.

These two are popular and compact, with great build quality but are pretty strictly sold, being that I've only seen new mixamps directly from Astro, and individual ones are rare to come by second-hand. They also come at a pretty high price at $130-$140, so I am pretty hesitant to buy one.


I am in the process of buying Sennheiser HD558's for use with my XBOX360, so I am looking for the best bang-for-buck processor. But I realized that I already have two from my previous purchases, the (old)Tritton AX720 Dolby 5.1 Processing Hub, and the Turtle Beach X41 5.1 Dolby Hub. The X41 hub has a 3.5mm jack where I can plug my headphones into, whereas you need a PC adapter cable for the Trittons (I lost it...). So why don't  I just use those and prolong the purchase of the mixamp?


Unfortunately, I haven't heard of many pairing hi-fi gear with those, and I wish to ask someone about that. Then I find myself in another predicament, there are more Dolby Units!


Unit List

Creative Sound Blaster Recon 3D

Turtle Beach Dolby DSS (1 and 2)

Turtle Beach X41 5.1 Dolby Hub

Tritton AX720 Dolby 5.1 Processing Hub

Tritton AX720 Dolby 7.1 Processing Hub (comes with newer model of Tritton AX720)

Astro 5.8 Wireless Mixamp

Astro Mixamp Pro


My question is, which one is better for your buck, and should I buy a new one, or attempt to use the ones I have?

The Recon3D seems pretty good to me, I would like to buy it, does anyone have any experience with it? (Also of note, I can get this on sale for $69.99)

Edited by PceLuvnSloMo - 5/26/12 at 3:11pm
post #2 of 18
Originally Posted by PceLuvnSloMo View Post So why don't  I just use those and prolong the purchase of the mixamp?


Are you happy with what you got?


If not you can try something new. If you're happy with what you got now I would just stick with it. All of the stuff you mentioned and own wont really differ much from each other as in listening experience. Its all good stuff :)


Maybe best to just save up your money so you can have some extra beerchug.gif

Edited by Hoax - 5/26/12 at 9:40pm
post #3 of 18
Astro Mixamp Pro is the best because it has the least noise floor (less hiss), the most inputs and overall versatility. Getting one as well as a Optical Digital to Digital Coaxial adapter from Monoprice will get you two perfectly functional inputs without gambling on faulty optical switchers. The RCA input works for something like the Wii or PS2, where they use Dolby Pro Logic II.

OP, you lost the inline puck of the AX720? Can't you call Tritton/Mad Catz for a replacement?

You can also add the Beyerdynamic Headzone, which is incredibly expensive, but considerably more powerful as an amp, and noise free. It also decodes DTS, where those you mentioned CAN'T. Still, having briefly owned one, I wouldn't recommend it due to price, and because the surround effect was too similar to Dolby Headphone.

The JVC SU-DH1 is another that does Dolby Headphone as well as DTS decoding, but its very rare. VERY rare if you want the one that plugs to a wall.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 5/26/12 at 10:18pm
post #4 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the input, I will get the Astro Mixamp at a later date.

But for now I should take advantage of J&R's sale on the Creative Sound Blaster via Amazon, so I can return it if it doesn't meet my standards. There is a current $60 price difference between the two.

And for the other two decoders I have, I do notice the hiss now ( >.< )

Also, I have a small clip-on mic I would like to use, as voice and mic compatibility is a big part of my purchase.

Edited by PceLuvnSloMo - 5/27/12 at 12:43pm
post #5 of 18

Just for a bit of clarification, the Recon3D USB takes in Dolby Digital signals, but doesn't use Dolby Headphone processing for the binaural effect. Creative certainly doesn't help much with all their buzzword slinging...THX TruStudio Pro this, Scout Mode that. (And it's probably not quite CMSS-3D Headphone from their X-Fi cards, either.)


Word is the Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS2 doesn't use Dolby Headphone, either.


As for the SU-DH1, it's unfortunately discontinued and has a bit of hiss to its headphone output (not as bad with S/PDIF sources, but analog sources are pretty bad), but it is extremely versatile with support for DH1 and DH3 Dolby Headphone modes as well as DTS decoding (omitted from most competing products) and Dolby Pro Logic II. The quickest way to tell apart the ones with an AC adapter jack is to look at the brand: JVC ones don't have it, Victor ones do. (I have no idea why they would gimp the export models like that.)


Unfortunately, I don't have any experience with these sort of devices other than the SU-DH1. It would be nice if I could get something as versatile with input formats and DH modes, but without having such a hissy analog output and without the ludicrous price tag of something like the Beyerdynamic Headzone or Smyth Realiser.

post #6 of 18
Dolby Headphone also works for Pro Logic II sources, so that's covered. Only thing not covered is the all important DTS, which sucks because most Blu-Rays use a form of DTS, and not Dolby, so these devices don't work. All you can do is set the source to linear 2 channel PCM and decode stereo. frown.gif

I'd like to try the DSS2 and see how its processing compares to Dolby Headphone.

Hell, even the Sony PS3 headset has its own processing which I wanna test out.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 5/28/12 at 12:49am
post #7 of 18
DTS licence costs extra - makes no sense for large manufacturers especially since it was an "add-on" for DVD. The decoder in your Blu-ray player will downmix to stereo, not extract L/R, but it drops LFE in the process (at least, the Dolby decoder does - I assume the DTS decoder does as well). The quality of a properly downmixed stereo feed is still fairly high (and if you have something that can do post-processing, like a Dolby Surround decoder, it can unpack quite a bit of ambiance from this output (e.g. PLII + DH)).

I'm quite happy with the Recon3D (I have the PCIe version and I don't have a console though - no idea how different the USB model is). The direction I'd look with the console would be a straight AV decoder/processor that at least supports Dolby, if not a modern receiver with Dolby Headphone (or a Yamaha with Silent Cinema). IMHO much better potential than with a stand-alone "gamer" device that probably will hiss with high sensitivity cans (this has been my experience at least). Oh, and with the receiver, you can probably have it take the audio via HDMI vs the legacy extraction (not that there's any dramatic difference, just FWIW).
post #8 of 18
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

The direction I'd look with the console would be a straight AV decoder/processor that at least supports Dolby, if not a modern receiver with Dolby Headphone (or a Yamaha with Silent Cinema). IMHO much better potential than with a stand-alone "gamer" device that probably will hiss with high sensitivity cans (this has been my experience at least).


Hmm I think the mixamp does sound a tiny bit better than yamaha's silent cinema in terms of surround feeling. But on a dedicated surround receiver you'll have alot more options again to add to your setup and you can tweak individual channels which is not possible on the mixamp. But yeah if you want to consider options like being able to use DTS then the mixamp or a dedictated surround a/v receiver is a good way to go. Would still be a tough choice though. The great thing about the yamaha receivers with silent cinema mode is the tweakablity and different sound enhancing programs where the mixamp is just more basic, you plug it in and it works and if you want to play around with your sound you got a bass expander button which only gives a mild low end boost to the entire sound.


Anyways I dont think you can find a good yamaha receiver with silent cinema between 70-140 usd which seems to the budget of the topic starter. The mixamp wont disappoint if you just focus on your games or movies and dont wish to tweak around with settings too much :)

post #9 of 18
Didn't catch the budget bit - apologies. redface.gif

There's plenty of used receivers that would providing same downmixing abilities, but may not have Dolby Headphone (tough to say honestly - used markets are variable). Look on Craigslist or something.
post #10 of 18

Hi all.


i'm also looking at buying a virtual surround processor to use with my PS3 for watching movies.

I dont really want to buy headphones, as I have a few already, and gaming heaphones will never be as good as audiophiles.


What do you guys recommend is a cheap solution for this?


I can get a used tritton ax720 processor by itself for fairly cheap, but unsure how good it is, and whether it'll work with 3rd party headphones and PS3 movies.



post #11 of 18
Of course it will, as long as it comes with the cable that hooks up directly to the box (the cable that connects to the AX720 headset). That cable (with the puck) is an absolute necessity, as it's what has the two 3.5mm inputs (for your headphones and mics).

The AX720 box is the same as the Mixamp or DSS in terms of virtual surround, albeit with quite a bit of background hiss in comparison.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 9/20/12 at 7:59pm
post #12 of 18

thanks madlust.


Do you know if the gamecom 777 is any better than the AX720? would it work on the PS3? (i think it has USB input only)

post #13 of 18
Sorry I haven't tried that one. I liked the AX720 well enough.
post #14 of 18

Just let you guys know I just got SU-DH1 from amazon.de or you can try uk ( they both is difference shop ) still have some in stock and cheap but I think it is the JVC one not the Victor ;( . Anyway when I get that I will try to find the way convert 2xAA to DC if I can find the way hehe.

post #15 of 18

I just bought a used DSS from ebay, I'll let you know my impressions once i get it.

However, I listened to some demos online, that are supposed to do the same and wasn't very impressed :-/

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