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Complete noob to high-end audio. Best price/performance for TF2?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have no idea what I'm doing, so if someone could explain why they're suggesting what they're suggesting, that would be awesome.

 

I want to get a pair of headphones that have clear directional audio in the source engine, particularly Team Fortress 2, and good performance in Counter-Strike never hurt anyone.  I currently am using a $10 logitech usb headset, and I can tell where things are, but I can't tell what.  Everyone else on my competitive team (yeah, competitive tf2 does in fact exist) can hear and distinguish between all the classes when they are running on the other side of a wall, while I just hear noise coming from that direction.  I've used good headphones in the past when I was into a school radio station, so I know its not that I just have ****ty ears.

 

I don't need a mic, since I'm set on the AntLion modmic 2.0.  I want to know what pair of headphones I should get (cheaper is better, I'd like to stay under $100, but I could do $200 if it would make a significant difference) and if I should pair that with a certain sound card.  I can do any sort of modding/installing of things, but I'd prefer to not have to take a dremel to my headphones.  Not having to mod them is worth ~$40 to me.

 

I've read through other threads (what someone using a forum intelligently?), and the Q701s seem good, but I couldn't find anything that was TF2 focused, most of it looked at CoD or Battlefield or superbasssssss for cinematic RPG scenes, and they're a bit above what I want to spend.

post #2 of 8

I don't see why Team Fortress 2 would have different requirements out of a competitive headphone than other FPSs.

 

You should be fine with an AD700 (if competitive positioning is all you're looking for and you don't need bass presence) and a $50 X-Fi Titanium. Point ALchemy to the TF2 installation folder, enter "snd_legacy_surround 1" in the console, set up CMSS-3D Headphone accordingly, and you're good to go. The only downside is that at typical AD700 prices, you're going to go above $100, but still well under $200.

 

On the other hand, the SR850 would be cheaper than the AD700, but I've never tried one of those.

post #3 of 8

I was in a TF2 clan for a while and I can tell you that Source is pretty forgiving about whatever headphones you have. Though, TF2 isn't really one of their more optimized games in terms of audio. L4D2, and Portal 2 are, though. Portal 2 is one of the best sounding games I have.

post #4 of 8

Audiotechnica AD700

 

Unless your head is like a peanut and tiny.

 

I like gaming with Grado's but the only problem is they get uncomfortable for long sessions.

 

Q701's seem like overkill for just gaming.

post #5 of 8

Whatever you go with, I'd recommend something that has a wide sound-stage. It's way out of your price range but when I bought my Heir 4.A's I suddenly found that the wider sound stage gave me exceptional directionality in L4D2. I was constantly picking out special infected as they spawned because I could hear them so clearly and whether they were to the left or right (after that it became a bit of guessing as to up or down). I got accused of hacking on more than one occasion because of them.

 

To that end, Ultimate Ears 700's have a good sound stage for around $150. With Comply Foam tips I've found I can use them for a good few hours. One potential problem with IEMs and computer gaming is that it's easy for things to get loud, which could damage your hearing. Keep that in mind if you go this direction.

 

At the $220 level Denon AH-D2000's are extremely comfortable with a good sound stage (and great bass). There was a time playing Bad Company 2 where I chased a guy around a house listening to his footsteps. Another where a take exploded next to me and my headphones vibrated. They are exceptional. You might be able to get them for cheaper as they're now a few models behind the current.

 

The mentions of Grados is a good one. The SR80i has a retro kind of look but amazing sound for the price. They'll run you around $100. One warning about open-back headphones is that they will block out no sound in either direction. You will be able to hear everything in the room around you and anyone in the room will be able to hear what's going on in your game.

 

Might want to take a look at the Sennheiser HD518. It runs for around $130 but is a full-size can so it sits around your ears (not on) and is supposed to have a very wide soundstage. It's open backed so best used in private but beyond that it might fit the bill quite well.

post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post
 

I don't see why Team Fortress 2 would have different requirements out of a competitive headphone than other FPSs.

 

You should be fine with an AD700 (if competitive positioning is all you're looking for and you don't need bass presence) and a $50 X-Fi Titanium. Point ALchemy to the TF2 installation folder, enter "snd_legacy_surround 1" in the console, set up CMSS-3D Headphone accordingly, and you're good to go. The only downside is that at typical AD700 prices, you're going to go above $100, but still well under $200.

 

On the other hand, the SR850 would be cheaper than the AD700, but I've never tried one of those.

Does the Creative Alchemy need to be running while you are in-game?

post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwelveTrains View Post

Does the Creative Alchemy need to be running while you are in-game?

 

If you mean the ALchemy frontend that you use to set it up, then no, you can leave that closed.

 

All that app does is copy a dsound.dll and dsound.ini to the game directory, then edits the dsound.ini accordingly with the settings you change. If you don't mind manually copying and pasting those files around, you don't even have to touch that app.

 

When the game launches, it calls the dsound.dll automatically, which then wraps the API calls to OpenAL for you, no need for an extra executable process.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/3/13 at 1:55am
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post
 

 

If you mean the ALchemy frontend that you use to set it up, then no, you can leave that closed.

 

All that app does is copy a dsound.dll and dsound.ini to the game directory, then edits the dsound.ini accordingly with the settings you change. If you don't mind manually copying and pasting those files around, you don't even have to touch that app.

 

When the game launches, it calls the dsound.dll automatically, which then wraps the API calls to OpenAL for you, no need for an extra executable process.

OH! I directed it to game .exe. I guess I should direct it to the folder instead then!

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