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post #121 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Lol!

 

100% surround + bass mod + Neewer clip on = :atsmile:

post #122 of 342

I find there is a lack of deeper bass.....  what have you done to compensate?  My headphones go down to 12 hz.

What are you setting the Surround setting to?  I find a lack of rear channels on movies..

Is there a way to tell it to use 7.1 vs. 5.1?  All I see is a selection for headphones and speakers.

What other trickery should I be aware of?

post #123 of 342
Thread Starter 
Your audio source must be set to output 5.1 surround. If the content (such as a movie) has 7.1 surround, that will be coded into the 5.1 stream.

Just because a headphone's specs list that it reaches down to 12 hz (or lower) doesn't mean you'll hear it or say anything about what that bass will sound like. Unfortunately, most of the specs listed on headphones (except sensitivity and impedance, for the purpose of amping requirements) are throwaway items that are more marketing than practical. You may have headphones that don't make rumbly bass, or the amp doesn't have enough reserve power to drive the bass well. You might also have some improvement by increasing the bass booster slider in THX settings, I chose a low hz crossover point so the bass boost would be mostly sub bass and turned it up a little with good results, you might try that and export the settings to save it to the non-PC modes. You can also experiment with the surround slider bar.
post #124 of 342
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillhart View Post

100% surround + bass mod + Neewer clip on = atsmile.gif

I really like my Neewer clip-ons! But, since moving, I can't find them... Oh well, time to spend $5 for a few more I guess biggrin.gif

You might want to play with the bass settings on the Recon3D too... you can use the crossover point to really target a software bass boost, which can be nice in moderation!
post #125 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


I really like my Neewer clip-ons! But, since moving, I can't find them... Oh well, time to spend $5 for a few more I guess biggrin.gif

You might want to play with the bass settings on the Recon3D too... you can use the crossover point to really target a software bass boost, which can be nice in moderation!

 

So far, I'm not feeling like I need any more bass boost after the mod.  Is that placebo effect?  Someone in the Q701 thread just posted a comparison frequency response chart for the can before and after the mod.  I don't really know how to read those though...

 

Anyhow, I love that it's there.  I don't know if I'll ever use it or not.  I may be getting a C5 amp to go with it, which has a hardware bass boost.  I hear hardware is better?

post #126 of 342

what mod are you referring to?

post #127 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJames99 View Post
 

what mod are you referring to?

 

It's a mod for the AKG Q701 headphones where you remove a small sticker from the back of the drivers and it icnreases the bass.

post #128 of 342

I got everything working now.  To increase the volume, you have to tap the volume up.. you can't just hold it down to increase it.

I was getting some cut out using the coaxial to optical converter.  I think it might have been the cable.  It did not say 75 ohm on it but had a yellow tip.  Will try that tonight.  I also had to turn the headphone amp way down.  At 50% volume it was too much volume for my Grado RS-1.  I am not getting a ton of rear channel simulation.  I have surround up to 100%.  Some of this may be the headphones too.  The Grado are probably not the right ones for movies.

 

Overall, its a pretty good solution for $60 on Amazon.  The only problem is I need to set the volume at the beginning of the movie and then leave it, unless I want to get up and adjust the volume.  The optical connector is way too short.  And it looks like its proprietary connector end.  Any suggestions on this? 

 

How about headphones?  Ideally headphones that can get a little sweaty as I watch (I watch movies while I am on the elliptical)

post #129 of 342
Thread Starter 
We want headphone surround... What's the best way to get it?

I have mentioned a few times in this blog some speculations about the future of headphone surround, including soundcards, external processors, or the hope that it could be built-in to the consoles themselves. I have played a few games where the game developer created their own HRTF headphones around processing, but I have yet to see anyone use the built-in hardware on the new consoles like TrueAudio on the PlayStation 4. I think that headphones around can really take off if the industry pursues one of two different possibilities: and upgraded all-in-one device like SoundBlaster X7, or an external dongle that just does DSP processing and then outputs the sound digitaly to any standard stereo DAC.

I just found the first review on the X7 here on PC world, basically it's a do-all everything-is-included machine that is pretty much the first upgrade beyond what we have first seen in first GEN devices with the Astro Mixamp and the turtle beach DSS and creative's recon3D USB. Some of the benefits of this method include great hardware, less cable mess, a price benefit of bundling components together, and for the manufacturer they get to make a little bit more money on each unit sold. Creative specifically is wanting to say they are more than just a software company, in fact they were mainly a hardware company in the past with their soundcards, and this way they have a better control over the final experience, because they made both the software and the hardware to work together and can use features from other devices in their product lineup ecosystem. Some of the cons of this method, however, are that a person might spend more money then they had wanted just to get the processing, you don't get to customize the quality level of each component (though the X7 can swap op-amps), and perhaps they just don't like the look of it or the size of it.

The other option, which hasn't really been explored yet, would be kind of like Microsoft: selling a device that just does headphone processing and then outputs it through optical... This will be more like a software product except it has a little bit of hardware to keep the DSP proprietary, but obviously there's less hardware money for the manufacture this way. The benefit of this method would be that such a product could be so cheap as to become a ubiquitous product and available to everyone, and then audiophiles can connect any optical DAC they want to make it sound as good as they want to spend, and a company that did this would not have to spend the overhead and money on researching great amplifiers and DACs. Who knows, the profit margins may even be higher. The cons of this product plan would be the cable and component setup mess, that it would cannibalize some sales from "all-in-one" audio solutions from some manufacturers, and a manufacturer would have less control over how good the final audio experience ends up being. Now, to that last point, I do feel that the current first GEN as I called it of devices don't have great amplifiers built into them, and great amplifiers made a huge difference to me when I wanted to actually hear depth in the surround soundstage with my headphones.

Personally, after hearing the DAC and amps included within gear I have reviewed and looked at in the past, I thought that they were pretty good, and the DACs were definitely serviceable, but the amplifiers pretty much all would've benefited from an upgrade. I was looking for a SoundBlaster Omni with an optical output, pretty much like what I described in the dongle option. The X7 actually does have an optical output, so I could do my original plan of connecting the processor to my Schiit Bifrost Uber DAC and my tube amp, but as it turns out, the X7 has a lot of other bonus great features... I pretty much can make use of all of them and replace a lot of separate gear in my setup. I have a pair of passive speakers, and I recently acquired of stacks headphone your speakers that requires speaker tabs to do power as well, my iPod classic has AAC and High-res files of all my music yet I've never had a DAC that could be wired to an iPod before, and I have a lot of Bluetooth smartdevices with no Bluetooth speaker of my own. So this actually fits me perfectly but I think the overall product is a niche that will have parts that are not necessary for every single person. In my situation, I would choose an X7 over a dongle at this point, now that I see what I can get, but I think that if a dongle came out it would definitely change the landscape of what gear is offered. I think that if a dongle DSP were released, there would still be a market and a demand for devices that already had DSP, DAC, amp, and controls all integrated in one unit for convenience sake, but I also know that there's plenty of us audiophiles are just gear junkies that would like to connect our own gear that may be from a different manufacturer.

Please comment, what do you think is the future of headphone surround?
Edited by Evshrug - 11/29/14 at 11:27am
post #130 of 342

There's no denying the X7 is the best DSP console compatible device we've seen so far. The only missed opportunities are the lack of any HDMI ports and no DTS support. As for the rest, the DAC is great, the amp is great, the ability to power speakers is also nice. Considering the components, I think the $400 asking price is adequate. DSP-less DAC/amp units of similar quality easily go for that and more.

Now would a DSP-only unit be useful? Sure! It could be cheap and as someone who already owns a very good DAC and amp, I'd be set.

That said, the X7 is still nice to have, thanks to its other features, and possibly offering different, unique audio experiences [such as using only the X7's 1794 DAC along with an external amp, etc.]

The only persinal downside for me then is only the lack of DTS support.

The Recon3D USB is a great little unit already, but it is still a bit hissy and it pales in comparison with the X7 still. The X7 should be a rather viable upgrade for anyone who's serious about gaming and audio.

I am looking forward to the X7 and I hope it will set a standard for others to follow, or even, dare I say, something to further improve upon :)

post #131 of 342

All-in-one devices are generally not preferred by people with more than a cursory knowledge of the components.  While they can offer great value for the money, they have a few major drawbacks.  Notably:

 

  1. Failure of any one piece, means everything has to be replaced.  (All-in-one router/wireless access point/modem has a bad WAP?  Sucks to be you.)
  2. It's cost-prohibitive to upgrade any one part.  (Want to hear that tube amp sound?  Gonna need new everything!)
  3. It can, at times, be more expensive than necessary simply because it includes bits that aren't useful to everyone all the time.  (Don't care about bluetooth on the X7?  You still gotta pay for it!)

 

For the "average" consumer, an all-in-one device tends to be "good enough".  See the Astro A50 for a perfect example.  For many others, the freedom to pick and choose individual parts of the chain is really important.  Not only does it give you the freedom to customize your experience, but it can also save you money if you're smart about your choices.

 

For all-in-one to be a viable solution, you need to have a variety of choice.  That variety is not feasible for any one company; it's too much of a risk.  So multiple companies would need to make similar products that aren't in direct competition because they're slightly different and targeted towards different folks.  As an example, we know that Astro has no intention of making another wireless Mixamp.  That leaves a gaping hole in the market that's ripe for exploitation.  Plenty of companies could jump in and not be in direct competition with the (presumed) market-leader.

 

Unfortunately, there just aren't enough companies out there to make a good variety of devices.  Not enough to make the all-in-one solution be the one-and-only choice for consumers.  Given that, I think the dongle solution is really the way for new entrants to make a splash in the market.  As you said, it's a potentially low-cost device since the hardware will be minimal.  This keeps the risk low and the barrier to entry low.

 

The other factor right now is that the market (the people reading this right now) is filled with folks who ARE knowledgable and picky about their devices.  Give us a way to build our own audio chain at whatever level of quality we want, and I think we'll embrace it enthusiastically.  There are many people who will just go buy an A50.  Everyone else does a quick Google search for "best gaming headset" and gets MLE's guide.  Those people are the target audience for both of these device options.  I strongly suspect that all-in-one will be the backup solution:  "if you are a person with these specific needs, just get the XXX, otherwise build your own chain using the YYY and the E17 (etc)."

 

Now a question back at you:  what would be needed out of one of these devices to make it work with the Xbox One (or PS4 without using USB mic)?  USB power, optical input and optical output will get your audio to your DAC/Amp effectively.  But how do you chat and/or balance chat audio?


Edited by Stillhart - 11/29/14 at 12:36pm
post #132 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by conquerator2 View Post
 

There's no denying the X7 is the best DSP console compatible device we've seen so far. The only missed opportunities are the lack of any HDMI ports and no DTS support. As for the rest, the DAC is great, the amp is great, the ability to power speakers is also nice. Considering the components, I think the $400 asking price is adequate. DSP-less DAC/amp units of similar quality easily go for that and more.

Now would a DSP-only unit be useful? Sure! It could be cheap and as someone who already owns a very good DAC and amp, I'd be set.

That said, the X7 is still nice to have, thanks to its other features, and possibly offering different, unique audio experiences [such as using only the X7's 1794 DAC along with an external amp, etc.]

The only persinal downside for me then is only the lack of DTS support.

The Recon3D USB is a great little unit already, but it is still a bit hissy and it pales in comparison with the X7 still. The X7 should be a rather viable upgrade for anyone who's serious about gaming and audio.

I am looking forward to the X7 and I hope it will set a standard for others to follow, or even, dare I say, something to further improve upon :)

 

I am still scratching my head over why people are so excited by the X7.  Does it have nice components?  You bet!  Plenty of connectivity?  Sure!  Do I need components that nice for gaming or all that connectivity?  No, not at all.  That makes it a really poor value for me.  Give me a Mixamp-type device with optical out for $100 and a Schiit Stack and I'd save $100 and have everything I need.  Considering that Mixamp-type device really doesn't need to cost $100 with no DAC and no Amp, I'll probably be saving even more.

 

Too bad one doesn't exist.  It sucks that I'm stuck between ****ty Mixamp/Recon sound or overpriced X7 sound.  I'm glad that there is more out there and I hope the X7 at least does moderately well to show the demand for such devices, but I think the X7 itself is just very...niche.  Worse, it's for a niche (people who need tons of connectivity) of an already small niche (gamers who want surround and good sound).

post #133 of 342
Thread Starter 
Conq2,
Did you hear a Mixamp? Even more hissy than a Recon3D! I didn't test the Recon3D side-by-side with the DSS, but I overall feel comfortable saying the Recon3D had the least hiss of the first-gen devices for consoles... but still, room for improvement, and the DSS and Mixamp 5.8 definitely have more gain (max volume).
I also already have a pretty high-end DAC (not a $1,000,000 Light Harmonic DaVinci DAC, but still), and a tube amp that definitely will not be going anywhere, and technically I can use both of these with the X7... But I won't feel like I "have" to.


Stillhart,
I hear you. And I agree, the opening is still there for even a new company to come in and make a big splash with a DSP dongle, particularly one with HDMI and USB "universal" input and a digital output. What's ironic is that the X7 is the first console-compatible headphone DSP that will be able to pass the processed stereo result through optical... A very expensive DSP "dongle" but it's here nonetheless. So technically I COULD use it with my DAC and Amp separates, and it does have analogue line-outs if I want to use the X7 for the whole audio chain up until the amp part and connect my tube amp to the RCAs.

As for your question, it'll really have to wait till we get the product in-hand. I sort of side-mentioned to Creative's marketing person Susie that I can't tell how to do chat with an XBOX One, but she has yet to reply since November 19th. I can't imagine that a wire from controller to X7 would be all that practical (and that's Microsoft's design limitation for chat audio), but maybe they'll include a "combiner extension cable" like the ribbon cable that came with the Recon3D USB. Maybe there should be a petition for Microsoft to include Bluetooth chat audio support, so that the X7 could be recognized as a "headset" and thus be able to control any mixing in-software. I think this would easily be the most practical chat solution, all software/firmware upgrades... Does the Xbox One even support Bluetooth handsfree devices like the Xbox 360?

On the bright side, at least there is attention and a growing market. Demands and growth are sometimes a "chicken and the egg" scenario, headphone audio is growing in popularity but some gamers/movie watches may not realize they want headphone surround until a practical device and a really good, clear marketing campaign shows it to them. Again I see parallels to Apple/Microsoft vs IBM and the beginning of computers... I didn't know about virtual surround until I found Mad's thread, I was just searching for a way to connect headphones to my console for some privacy, and when you see marketing for Turtle Beach, Creative, Astro, etc, they seem to advertise that it's a headphone connection solution BUT emphasize the hardware features while just mentioning "oh and we checked the box for headphone surround too, as one more feature." I can easily skip a processor and just hook an optical DAC straight to my PS4, for gaming/movie devices they OUGHT to emphasize their competitive advantage in processing. So yeah, the X7 is a sign that gaming audio is getting attention, but still a product focusing purely on THE competitive advantage ought to change the way consumers think about multimedia audio. Someone should start a Dolby Headphone and DTS-X processor kickstarter.
Edited by Evshrug - 11/29/14 at 1:22pm
post #134 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stillhart View Post
 

 

I am still scratching my head over why people are so excited by the X7.  Does it have nice components?  You bet!  Plenty of connectivity?  Sure!  Do I need components that nice for gaming or all that connectivity?  No, not at all.  That makes it a really poor value for me.  Give me a Mixamp-type device with optical out for $100 and a Schiit Stack and I'd save $100 and have everything I need.  Considering that Mixamp-type device really doesn't need to cost $100 with no DAC and no Amp, I'll probably be saving even more.

 

Too bad one doesn't exist.  It sucks that I'm stuck between ****ty Mixamp/Recon sound or overpriced X7 sound.  I'm glad that there is more out there and I hope the X7 at least does moderately well to show the demand for such devices, but I think the X7 itself is just very...niche.  Worse, it's for a niche (people who need tons of connectivity) of an already small niche (gamers who want surround and good sound).

I'll probably utilize just a few of the X7's abilities. I currently own no decent passive speakers, I have no interest in bluetooth connectivity or USB-hosting for Android/Apple devices. Nonetheless, the PCM1794 is a great DAC by all means, and expensive. the TPA6120 is an acclaimed and widely used component too. 

Of course, there's no denying that the Magni/Modi Schiit stack is one, if not the best value currently out there.

Still, I wouldn't go as far as to call the X7 overpriced. 400$ is certainly not cheap, but it does a lot of things and has the components to back it up IMO.

The Audio-gd entry-level units for example are great devices, costing around 300$ to 400$ [NFB15 and NFB11 after PP and postage].

They're feature packed audiophile products, considered great devices by many, just like the Schiit stack is.

None of those devices have a DSP inside, or Bluetooth, or NFC...

All this adds to the cost, undeniably. But in theory, the X7 can replace those devices, adding DSP capabilities to the mix.

The Mixamp is 150$ + Schiit stack is 200$+, A-gd 300$+.

So again, in theory, the X7 is a good value IMO, as should it hold up in practice too, it can be a device that would replace those units for us that already own them, or would normally have to won them along with a Mixamp to get us covered.

In conclusion, I am not arguing that the X7 is the jack-of-all-trades device, but I think considering what it does and what it packs, it is not overpriced.

Would a 50$ DSP-only device be nice? Sure! I'd buy that instead.

But with the X7, I think Creative could have done much worse and other than the lack of DTS, at least from me, it gets good scores for ticking all the right marks, at a price that is not prohibitively expensive [the Headzone.... the Smith Realiser, anything 'premium' TB,... most gaming brands are just not a good deal, are they?]

post #135 of 342
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Conq2,
Did you hear a Mixamp? Even more hissy than a Recon3D! I didn't test the Recon3D side-by-side with the DSS, but I overall feel comfortable saying the Recon3D had the least hiss of the first-gen devices for consoles... but still, room for improvement, and the DSS and Mixamp 5.8 definitely have more gain (max volume).
I also already have a pretty high-end DAC (not a $1,000,000 Light Harmonic DaVinci DAC, but still), and a tube amp that definitely will not be going anywhere, and technically I can use both of these with the X7... But I won't feel like I "have" to.


Stillhart,
I hear you. And I agree, the opening is still there for even a new company to come in and make a big splash with a DSP dongle, particularly one with HDMI and USB "universal" input and a digital output. What's ironic is that the X7 is the first console-compatible headphone DSP that will be able to pass the processed stereo result through optical... A very expensive DSP "dongle" but it's here nonetheless. So technically I COULD use it with my DAC and Amp separates, and it does have analogue line-outs if I want to use the X7 for the whole audio chain up until the amp part and connect my tube amp to the RCAs.

As for your question, it'll really have to wait till we get the product in-hand. I sort of side-mentioned to Creative's marketing person Susie that I can't tell how to do chat with an XBOX One, but she has yet to reply since November 19th. I can't imagine that a wire from controller to X7 would be all that practical (and that's Microsoft's design limitation for chat audio), but maybe they'll include a "combiner extension cable" like the ribbon cable that came with the Recon3D USB. Maybe there should be a petition for Microsoft to include Bluetooth chat audio support, so that the X7 could be recognized as a "headset" and thus be able to control any mixing in-software. I think this would easily be the most practical chat solution, all software/firmware upgrades... Does the Xbox One even support Bluetooth handsfree devices like the Xbox 360?

I have the TB transmitter DSP station... I imagine if the Mixamp is anything like that... That thing is just hissy - nothing else to add. Uber hissy compared to the Recon! The rest quoted for truth and what I've been saying. The X7 gives us choices on how to approach our gaming chain, while packing nice goodies inside. I reckon I'll really like the 1794 DAC [if it is anything like the 1793, which is supposedly detailed yet musical] and couple that with the SA31SE to make my gamey sessions that much better. I'll be sure to try them and compare [The NFB7 should not be disregarded for gaming, I guess], but I think I'll stick with this.

 

I also agree that there's certainly room for a DSP standalone device, but I'd think that FiiO would be our only hope for such a device, if you disregard the X7, which as you said does that too... So, there'll be experimenting time! :D

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