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In-Game Sound Help

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Looking at buying a set of headphones, thinking the dt770's (check out this if you'd like to help me decide:  http://www.head-fi.org/t/621613/picking-some-phones ). What I'm wondering is in order to use them in-game to determine the location of footsteps, gunshots, etc. will I need another piece of equipment such as a mixamp? or will they be capable of doing this themselves? I will be gaming on a late 2011 Macbook Pro if that makes any difference.

post #2 of 12

The directionality comes from audio cues built into simple stereo sound.  The headphones, being open and having good treble response, will deliver directionality just fine.  No special equipment will be needed.

post #3 of 12

The problem is that video games often mix stereo sound with left/right panning only. Discerning front and rear is difficult, and just forget above and below, because the positional cues aren't being mixed in to begin with.

 

That's where the demand for sound cards and Mixamps and whatnot comes from. Binaural HRTF mixing tech like CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone gives us more positional cues to work with due to better representing how we actually hear sounds in 3D space. (Now if more games still had support for true 3D sound and didn't just settle for 7.1 mixing at the most...)

 

Of course, there's a rare chance that your HRTF will fall too far outside the human average to use such technologies based on generic HRTFs effectively, and you'll need something like a Smyth Realiser to get around that. But for most of us, they work well.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The problem is that video games often mix stereo sound with left/right panning only. Discerning front and rear is difficult, and just forget above and below, because the positional cues aren't being mixed in to begin with.

 

That's where the demand for sound cards and Mixamps and whatnot comes from. Binaural HRTF mixing tech like CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone gives us more positional cues to work with due to better representing how we actually hear sounds in 3D space. (Now if more games still had support for true 3D sound and didn't just settle for 7.1 mixing at the most...)

 

Of course, there's a rare chance that your HRTF will fall too far outside the human average to use such technologies based on generic HRTFs effectively, and you'll need something like a Smyth Realiser to get around that. But for most of us, they work well.

 

So in order to get something that will give more accurate positioning I'll need a set that supports Dolby Headphone or the like? Is specific hardware required to do this (like the mix amp)? or is software available, so I don't have to spend extra on top of my headphones? Still not entirely sure how this works :S. Thanks for your help though.

post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gekkk View Post

 

So in order to get something that will give more accurate positioning I'll need a set that supports Dolby Headphone or the like? Is specific hardware required to do this (like the mix amp)? or is software available, so I don't have to spend extra on top of my headphones? Still not entirely sure how this works :S. Thanks for your help though.

Does your laptop have S/PDIF Toslink optical output and come with DDL (Dolby Digital live), if so the mix-amp. should work.

post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gekkk View Post

So in order to get something that will give more accurate positioning I'll need a set that supports Dolby Headphone or the like? Is specific hardware required to do this (like the mix amp)? or is software available, so I don't have to spend extra on top of my headphones? Still not entirely sure how this works :S. Thanks for your help though.

 

You generally want to use a sound card instead of a Mixamp for computer gaming; the Mixamp caters more to consoles.

 

Your use of a MacBook Pro really complicates things, though. No internal PCI-Express sound cards would work, and on top of that, you need to make sure whatever USB sound device you buy has OS X drivers (unless you boot into Windows every time you play games). To my knowledge, that just leaves the Recon3D USB, and I have no idea how good or bad that device might be without testing it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Does your laptop have S/PDIF Toslink optical output and come with DDL (Dolby Digital live), if so the mix-amp. should work.

 

All MacBooks have headphone-out ports that double as mini-Toslink S/PDIF jacks, but I doubt they have Dolby Digital Live support.

post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Generally I'll be in Windows seeing as just about every game is Windows only. In either case it seems that another piece of hardware is needed? Is there anyway to check if the jack supports DDL?

post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gekkk View Post

Generally I'll be in Windows seeing as just about every game is Windows only. In either case it seems that another piece of hardware is needed? Is there anyway to check if the jack supports DDL?

DDL settings would be in the Built in audio's control panel, if you have DDL.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

DDL settings would be in the Built in audio's control panel, if you have DDL.

It doesn't look like I do, does this make using headphones for gaming pretty much pointless?

post #10 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gekkk View Post

It doesn't look like I do, does this make using headphones for gaming pretty much pointless?

 

Not completely pointless, but also note that Dolby Digital Live by itself wouldn't be practical for headphone use. That would be if you wanted to output it to a receiver or Mixamp with Dolby Headphone support, which is what you really want.

 

You can get the job done for much less by just buying a Xonar U3, or if you want S/PDIF input for console use and OS X drivers, the Recon3D USB. It doesn't seem like OS X drivers are that important if you boot into Windows for gaming, though.

post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

Not completely pointless, but also note that Dolby Digital Live by itself wouldn't be practical for headphone use. That would be if you wanted to output it to a receiver or Mixamp with Dolby Headphone support, which is what you really want.

 

You can get the job done for much less by just buying a Xonar U3, or if you want S/PDIF input for console use and OS X drivers, the Recon3D USB. It doesn't seem like OS X drivers are that important if you boot into Windows for gaming, though.

I think I'll go the Recon3D if you think that is a good option as I'd like to be able to use it with my Mac as well as Xbox. So with just the Recon3D and the DT770's I'll be able to get full surround sound which will help with positioning in game? Is the Recon3D also decent for amplifying the headphones for use with music such as rock, hip-hop, rap or electronic/dubstep? Also, will I need a DAC for use with the computer or Xbox? Or will the amp + phones be sufficient? 

 

Thanks so much for your help :).

post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gekkk View Post

I think I'll go the Recon3D if you think that is a good option as I'd like to be able to use it with my Mac as well as Xbox. So with just the Recon3D and the DT770's I'll be able to get full surround sound which will help with positioning in game? Is the Recon3D also decent for amplifying the headphones for use with music such as rock, hip-hop, rap or electronic/dubstep? Also, will I need a DAC for use with the computer or Xbox? Or will the amp + phones be sufficient? 

 

Thanks so much for your help :).

 

It might be a good option, but remember that I don't actually have hands-on experience with it, so feature lists are all I have to go by.

 

The Recon3D USB, like all USB audio devices and anything else with an S/PDIF input and analog output, is a DAC in and of itself, no need for a dedicated one. As for amplification, that's another thing I can't really test without actually having the device itself, a dedicated headphone amp, and some headphones to compare them with, but it shouldn't be any worse than an Astro Mixamp.

 

It'll definitely have some sort of binaural audio mixing, but I have no idea how similar or different the THX TruStudio Pro-branded feature in question would be to CMSS-3D Headphone on X-Fi products.

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