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Evshrug's "If I knew then what I know now" discussion journal. - Page 3

post #31 of 201
Thread Starter 
I also was a bit underwhelmed by Silent Cinema, I made a rather lengthy post in Mad Lust Envy's thread (buried now) chronicling some of my experimentation. I found two pretty satisfactory settings, I think it's even possible to have SC active WITHOUT the environmental effects of the DSPs, but in the end I just prefer surround with my little Recon3D USB processor. It only has a 3.5mm output, but that was fine though my Yamaha receiver until I got a dedicated headphone amp (which necessitated a 3.5mm to RCA cable, I just borrowed one by Monster my mom has laying around, sounds great!).

THX TruStudio Pro from the Recon3D USB sounds great to me, my first test made me think "Finally! NOW It's working well!" I would NOT recommend buying a Recon3D soundcard, Creative cut some corners with that line and the X-Fi and Z series cards are much better internal soundcards, but the USB model I have is good: digital connection & processing for computers (Mac-specific drivers too!) AND consoles (somewhat unique in this respect, internal soundcards only accept 2 channel PCM from consoles), small and appropriate to transport like your Pioneer device, THX mode is tweakable and settings are carried over to console/optical connections, etc. The only thing I DON'T like about it, so far, is the built-in amp. The upshot is it doesn't produce background noise, but it was designed for 32 Ohm, easy to drive headphones; my Q701's sit at near max volume setting for listening volume, and it sounds flat with an odd eliptical soundstage. Turning the Recon3D USB's volume a bit down from max (to avoid clipping) and double amping actually does a good job and makes sound more punchy, full bodied, and the soundstage is much more rounded out and deep. Now, if only it could adjust chat mixing with the Xbox 360, it would be golden. Oh, I guess I should mention the Recon3D USB doesn't decode DTS over optical either, but since I don't have a Blu-Ray player (plus Mad figured out how to have the PS3 convert DTS using bit streaming) I haven't run into any problems. I bet you could get PC software to decode DTS movie soundtracks for you anyway, too.

If you don't game on PC much, the other option would be to replace your Yamaha receiver with a Marantz with Dolby Headphone. You get all the receiver setup convenience, though of course you lose the positional audio advantage available in PC gaming. Another thing to consider (for headphones) is getting a soundcard that has a powerful built-in amp (like the Asus STX, and the Creative Z-series cards are supposed to have powerful amps too) so you wouldn't need a second dedicated headphone amp. The Zx model in particular may be perfect for you, because it includes a module for volume control and plugging in headphones that can reach out from your closet to somewhere more convenient (does it get hot in there?). I happen to like headphone amps though, particularly my tube hybrid biggrin.gif

Since I like the THX TruStudio Pro processing for surround better than Silent Cinema and all the samples of Dolby Headphone and CMSS-3D I've heard, I'm very curious about Creative's newest Z series internal soundcards (yes, I've heard from many people that SBX = THX without the brand fee), but for now I'm happy with what I think is the IDEAL surround processor to use with all my devices, for the money. I'll probably end up getting an internal soundcard from Creative someday, though biggrin.gif
Edited by Evshrug - 2/4/13 at 12:09pm
post #32 of 201

I'll have to dig through that thread to find your SC settings. I don't believe SC is engaged when you set the receiver to "Straight" and it's definitely not engaged using Pure Direct. Straight sounds good - it has the clarity, but it's very, obviously stereo. Imaging is way off. 

 

The Recon 3D looks interesting. Some of Mad's cons turned me off of it. I'm sure I could get around the DTS snag by outputting PCM as well. I know the Mix Amp has some issues with certain low frequencies. I'd rather just avoid any of those sorta shortcomings if possible. Nothing's perfect, I know, but there's got to be something close to it out there :) 

 

I thought about going for a stand-alone receiver with DH but now that I've discovered other options (and was underwhelmed by DH on my Xonar), I'm not sure it's worth adding another bulky receiver to the mix (the Yamaha is really good at everything else). 

 

Right now it looks like I might settle on J River and some combination of VSTs for movie watching. I'm hoping the Asgard takes everything to the next level and works well double-amped with the Yamaha. If not, then I'll try to find a way to run it out of a sound card. Though with the Yamaha, at least I can make some volume adjustments with a remote :) 

 

I'd kind of like to figure out a way to get a signal to some bass shakers while the headphones are in use... that would probably round it all out nicely haha... I'll cross that bridge later though.

post #33 of 201

You might also want to wait a little bit, as with Creative historically... they WILL release a USB version of their current line of soundcards.

Z series USB? I'm pretty sure it's in the works.

 

If they can retain at least that Maxim MAX97220A headphone amp and half of the other goodies from the actual soundcard, then I think it would be quite a seller.

post #34 of 201

The thread is coming together nicely so far!  I think it'll be a great resource.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Here's a short, well set up blind test of two different compression bit-rates, I recommend you do it in a quiet environment:
http://mp3ornot.com/

How did that test go? Write in the comments if the results surprised you!

 

That was fun.  Yay, I got it right!  The differences were subtle; biggest ones between the two seemed to be the soundstage and separation of elements.

 

Quote:
I also thought it would be good to share some audio tests that ought to help you evaluate the quality of the headphones you use:
http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtests_headphones.php

 

Wow, a lot of cool tests in here.  Should I be worried that I couldn't hear above between 16kHz - 17kHz?

post #35 of 201
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vader2k View Post

The thread is coming together nicely so far!  I think it'll be a great resource.

That was fun.  Yay, I got it right!  The differences were subtle; biggest ones between the two seemed to be the soundstage and separation of elements.


Wow, a lot of cool tests in here.  Should I be worried that I couldn't hear above between 16kHz - 17kHz?
My hearing range cuts off somewhere around there too. I wouldn't worry about it, from what I remember about those frequencies they sounded REALLY annoying. Why do you think dogs bark at dog whistles?
post #36 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

My hearing range cuts off somewhere around there too. I wouldn't worry about it, from what I remember about those frequencies they sounded REALLY annoying. Why do you think dogs bark at dog whistles?

 

Cool.  The only reason I was concerned was because I thought it was perhaps too far away from 20kHz, despite the likelihood that few can actually hear all the way up there.  Yeah, I've heard about the higher frequencies that "young ears" can't stand while "seasoned ears" can't hear at all (I think you mentioned it earlier, but I know I've heard about it elsewhere too).  Perhaps I need to get a hold of that for when my kids get out of line.  Hmm... tongue.gif

 

In regards to dog whistles, I was always under the impression that the frequency of the whistle was higher than 20kHz and that's why people couldn't hear it.  I realize I could be wrong about that, though.


Edited by Vader2k - 2/6/13 at 8:36am
post #37 of 201
Thread Starter 
No, dog whistles are typically beyond 20hz (unless you're just using some average whistle). And it might've been me... Annoying mosquito buzz? My cousins found a ringtone called "The Most Annoying Sound in the World" that I couldn't hear at all and made me first realize I'd "lost" some hearing, maybe you could use that for "pest control" wink.gif
post #38 of 201

I came back here and read everything "properly" this time. Superb stuff :) Anywho, the only was to get PCM/lossless on console is by way of receiver, yeah? I noticed you mentioned Marantz, but it's HDMI 1.1 =/ My monitor actually takes advantage of 1.3, and when OLED comes out, that Marantz 1.1 will not do at all.

 

BTW!! Sleek-Audio FINALLY came out with the SA7's!! Best wireless headphone?

post #39 of 201
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the compliment! I hope to do even better!

Only way to get LPCM from a console is through HDMI, which results in needing a receiver. Still doubt it would make an audible difference for compressed console games as opposed to PCM over Optical. One way or another, console audio is compressed, it's like the difference between driving a Volkswagen Beatle on the highway or on the Le Mans track. I'm not trying to tell you to give up – well maybe a little, but only because I doubt you're gonna hear what you want to hear, and I think it's just as important you let go of worrying about max sound and just enjoy very good sound. I also think wireless headphones are inherently a compromise between sound and convenience, though I haven't read anything about those Sleek-Audio's except what you just wrote. Still expect it would be like trying to make a Beatle into an amphibious vehicle smily_headphones1.gif Please do report if you discover the Holy Grail, though! I think the wireless laser mouse I bought like a decade ago was a holy grail of precise, ergonomic, wireless mouse wink.gif

Are all Marantz HDMI 1.1 spec? Anyway, you know I'm happy enough substituting THX tech for Dolby tech. wink.gif

I need you or someone to encourage me to wake up tomorrow and finish writing my FiiO Mont Blanc review, so I can post it and get this thread rolling again. I'm going to listen with the amp some more before I fall asleep tonight, hopefully I'll crystalize my thoughts on it.

BTW, Wendy's interview went AWESOME, I nailed it with super-composure (though my hands were slightly shaky once I was done), and I'll know by Monday if they want to immediately put me on management training 0_0
Edited by Evshrug - 2/8/13 at 11:02pm
post #40 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Thanks for the compliment! I hope to do even better!

Only way to get LPCM from a console is through HDMI, which results in needing a receiver. Still doubt it would make an audible difference for compressed console games as opposed to PCM over Optical. One way or another, console audio is compressed, it's like the difference between driving a Volkswagen Beatle on the highway or on the Le Mans track. I'm not trying to tell you to give up – well maybe a little, but only because I doubt you're gonna hear what you want to hear, and I think it's just as important you let go of worrying about max sound and just enjoy very good sound. I also think wireless headphones are inherently a compromise between sound and convenience, though I haven't read anything about those Sleek-Audio's except what you just wrote. Still expect it would be like trying to make a Beatle into an amphibious vehicle smily_headphones1.gif Please do report if you discover the Holy Grail, though! I think the wireless laser mouse I bought like a decade ago was a holy grail of precise, ergonomic, wireless mouse wink.gif
 

 

Audio on games are compressed... ON THE Xbox 360 (go thank the DVD route that Microsoft took).

Many games on the PS3, particularly first party exclusives or AAA third-party exclusives do have generally uncompressed audio.

 

Among the popular ones:

MGS4 - very popular for its audio quality, amazing too because Kojima made a point to jam as much uncompressed audio as they can into a dual-layer Blu-ray.

Uncharted series - again, uncompressed.

God of War 3 - again, Sony said not to compromise on audio quality, just go bonkers and fill the entire disc up.

 

There are many more, but I reaaaalllly do hope that come next-gen... console gamers aren't getting funny compressed audio over their games anymore.

 

Maybe except for downloadable titles only to keep the file size restriction in place but yeah, retail releases shouldn't have audio compromises considering how much money and talent developers have to fill to get good music, sound design and voices in a game.

post #41 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenkr View Post

Audio on games are compressed... ON THE Xbox 360 (go thank the DVD route that Microsoft took).

Many games on the PS3, particularly first party exclusives or AAA third-party exclusives do have generally uncompressed audio.

 

Among the popular ones:

MGS4 - very popular for its audio quality, amazing too because Kojima made a point to jam as much uncompressed audio as they can into a dual-layer Blu-ray.

Uncharted series - again, uncompressed.

God of War 3 - again, Sony said not to compromise on audio quality, just go bonkers and fill the entire disc up.

 

There are many more, but I reaaaalllly do hope that come next-gen... console gamers aren't getting funny compressed audio over their games anymore.

 

Maybe except for downloadable titles only to keep the file size restriction in place but yeah, retail releases shouldn't have audio compromises considering how much money and talent developers have to fill to get good music, sound design and voices in a game.

 

Compression isn't necessarily a bad thing...if it's lossless, like FLAC, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS Master Audio. All the quality at a fourth of the space!

 

Problem is, I get the vibe that a lot of game developers don't really care, because a lot of their audience wouldn't notice the difference. Not just in terms of compression, but the actual audio production process/mastering, support for proper 3D audio over headphones, etc.

post #42 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Thanks for the compliment! I hope to do even better!
Why is it putting the lines again? Anyway, sure thing! You're doing wonderful as is, and I know it will only get better.
Only way to get LPCM from a console is through HDMI, which results in needing a receiver. Still doubt it would make an audible difference for compressed console games as opposed to PCM over Optical. One way or another, console audio is compressed, it's like the difference between driving a Volkswagen Beatle on the highway or on the Le Mans track. I'm not trying to tell you to give up – well maybe a little, but only because I doubt you're gonna hear what you want to hear, and I think it's just as important you let go of worrying about max sound and just enjoy very good sound. I also think wireless headphones are inherently a compromise between sound and convenience, though I haven't read anything about those Sleek-Audio's except what you just wrote. Still expect it would be like trying to make a Beatle into an amphibious vehicle smily_headphones1.gif Please do report if you discover the Holy Grail, though! I think the wireless laser mouse I bought like a decade ago was a holy grail of precise, ergonomic, wireless mouse wink.gif
Are all Marantz HDMI 1.1 spec? Anyway, you know I'm happy enough substituting THX tech for Dolby tech. wink.gif
That's what I thought. It may not, but I just like that the entire thing is integrated. I get an amp, dac, virtual surround processor, and what not, all rolled into one. I'll be benefiting on some games, as mentioned below. Nice analogy btw :)

Yes, but the thing is, I'm not looking for the best sound evarrr, in my wireless phones. I just love the convenience of them being wireless so I can do whatever I wanna do, namely exercise, without the worry of the cords or anything else. Go read about them then! :) They talked about them heavily in 2010, a little in 2011, and I, as well as everyone else, thought they'd never come out, but they finally did! I just like the construction of them. If I'm going wireless, that means I'm gonna want something somewhat more rugged.

I have no clue about the Marantz HDMI specs.

I need you or someone to encourage me to wake up tomorrow and finish writing my FiiO Mont Blanc review, so I can post it and get this thread rolling again. I'm going to listen with the amp some more before I fall asleep tonight, hopefully I'll crystalize my thoughts on it.

BTW, Wendy's interview went AWESOME, I nailed it with super-composure (though my hands were slightly shaky once I was done), and I'll know by Monday if they want to immediately put me on management training 0_0

Shift + enter seems to be working, so no lines. Anyway, go you! Dunno why you were nervous. Hey! Look at that, a management position. Wait, didn't u say u had a degree?

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

Compression isn't necessarily a bad thing...if it's lossless, like FLAC, Dolby TrueHD, or DTS Master Audio. All the quality at a fourth of the space!

 

Problem is, I get the vibe that a lot of game developers don't really care, because a lot of their audience wouldn't notice the difference. Not just in terms of compression, but the actual audio production process/mastering, support for proper 3D audio over headphones, etc.

 

So those codecs are compressed then. It's PCM that's totally uncompressed, then it gets converted into FLAC or the like? Neat.
Yes yes, it's sad. Maybe we here at Head-Fi can spur them to change! Lol.
 

post #43 of 201
Thread Starter 
Forecasting the Next "Hot Feature" in Gaming (and a little advice on college)

SoAmusing, I do have a Bachelor's degree, but I majored in Graphic Design. Though I took many business classes (Marketing, Management, HR, International Business, and independently have researched some great business moves and companies), I did not take the two Accounting courses required to complete a business minor. I would've had to have studied up for a test to prove I was up to speed to skip to taking accounting 2, which they would've let me do, but I would then have had to delay graduation another semester to take accounting 1 anyway despite it being a repeat of the content covered it he exemption test. My whole last year (of my 6.5 years in college) was spent taking level 1 graphic design classes I'd skipped before as it is, but we won't get into that. After a year of odd-jobs and freelancing since graduation, I've come to take even less for granted. Suffice to say, I was nervous, even for a Wendy's interview, because life had been teaching me that even if I'm decently smart, red tape could very well slow me down considerably.

BTW, I HIGHLY recommend only paying for education at an institution with MANY networking and business connections – that definitely fits under the category of this thread's title.

I do have ideas about business though.

Consider the issue of 3D audio, especially in games. We have a lot of events converging right now, which make me excited for the near future:
+ Antiquated consoles < the PC experience
+ Steam: profitable and safe for game developers/publishers, inexpensive and mostly convenient for consumers
+ Upcoming "Steam Box," which I think will probably be the Piston.
+ New generation of consoles
+ Major growth in Headphone appreciation and sales (say what you will about bang-for-buck, but Thank You Monster Beats & Turtle Beach!)
+ The practicality and affordability of Headphone gaming for the biggest gamer market, highschool/college gamers living in small, almost public spaces
+ The gamer and Internet culture of chasing performance and immersion

Seems like the stage is set. Ya like HD Video? 3D Video (and 2 player fullscreenscreen)? High framerate? Lossless audio and award-winning game soundtracks and audio design? How about leveraging the instinctive, immersive experience of 3D, full 3D, conveniently within the confines of a dorm or bedroom! If marketed well, any system NOT including this feature will be publicly deemed inferior. I dunno about you guys, but I much more readily buy into the benefits of 3D audio vs 3D video in their respective states of development.

Little, relevant story: the story of Kodak imaging. Printing rolls of film used to be like printing money. They were THE absolute leader of film emulsion technology. Somewhere along the line, one of their scientists with the last name Beyer thought of a way to use the luminance sensitivity of CCD chips combined with a color filter array to create a kind of digital film. I think we all know about digital cameras today, but even well into the 2k years, Kodak higher ups were holding meetings about "How are we going to kill off this digital photography thing?" They made a few great early professional DSLR cameras, then degenerated into cheap and frankly unimpressive P&S models that lost out in their main selling point, convenience, to the cameraphone. And now, they've filed bankruptcy, cost hundreds/thousands of people their jobs, and skeletonized the majority of their former business.

Creative could be the next Kodak. Used to be a discrete sound card was the only way to get computer audio. Now, they whine about how their business is being cannibalized by built-in motherboard audio. They could die... Or, they could live up to their namesake, think beyond hardware, and pull a Microsoft, licensing their processing technology to other electronics manufacturer's like Dolby and DTS do. Imagine a Steam Box or the next Xbox offering a built-in Headphone port, with Sound Blaster 3D Audio processing. Wow. Sure strengthens the brand image in the public mind. They get a whole casual consumer segment, make money with a previous business competitor, and Creative could STILL offer the same hardware upgrade experiences in discrete soundcards that few people understand as of now. They also MUST get "creative" with better marketing. Demos, visible participation in MLG and eSports tournaments, maybe throw their own gaming event at colleges, reaching out to indie game developers, ... Whatever!

If Creative doesn't do it... someone else probably will. And then, we gamers might get in-game 3D surround audio anyway, when Turtle Beach or Skullcandy buys the tech from a bankrupt Kodak of the gaming world.
Edited by Evshrug - 2/10/13 at 1:05am
post #44 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
Creative could be the next Kodak. Used to be a discrete sound card was the only way to get computer audio. Now, they whine about how their business is being cannibalized by built-in motherboard audio. They could die... Or, they could live up to their namesake, think beyond hardware, and pull a Microsoft, licensing their processing technology to other electronics manufacturer's like Dolby and DTS do. Imagine a Steam Box or the next Xbox offering a built-in Headphone port, with Sound Blaster 3D Audio processing. Wow. Sure strengthens the brand image in the public mind. They get a whole casual consumer segment, make money with a previous business competitor, and Creative could STILL offer the same hardware upgrade experiences in discrete soundcards that few people understand as of now. They also MUST get "creative" with better marketing. Demos, visible participation in MLG and eSports tournaments, maybe throw their own gaming event at colleges, reaching out to indie game developers, ... Whatever!

If Creative doesn't do it... someone else probably will. And then, we gamers might get in-game 3D surround audio anyway, when Turtle Beach or Skullcandy buys the tech from a bankrupt Kodak of the gaming world.

 

The funny thing is, this is more or less what I'm proposing that they do with their 3D gaming audio assets. Make them into an audio middleware for developers everywhere to use, maybe even displace FMOD in the market. If Creative themselves won't do it, someone who will should hopefully buy up all the tech they hold the rights to.

 

Also, it's very, very likely that CMSS-3D Headphone itself wasn't entirely in-house, but instead borrows a lot from Aureal A3D and Sensaura Virtual Ear. (It's already been said that MacroFX was one of Sensaura's planned additions to their Virtual Ear binaural HRTF mixer, but Creative bought them out before they released it, just before the X-Fi line hit the market.)

post #45 of 201
Re: college. Did you go to the Art Institute there in Pittsburgh? Arts in general seem like a tough gig to break into. I wanted to go to film school (over a decade ago) but ended up going the boring route. I develop applications for the Treasury Department (primarily Java). In a lot of ways I lucked out. There's definitely something to be said about the luck angle. Even in high school when I was considering film school, I knew luck was going to play as a part of getting into the business as anything.

That and college is kind of overrated. You should be given an opportunity to prove your worth without a multi-thousand dollar piece of paper to back it up.
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