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Surround sound quality

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 


I'm looking for the best possible surround sound 'positioning' effect when gaming.
I'm currently using speedlink-medusa 5.1 analog headphones.
My surroud headphones have (3) 5.1 speaker leads and (1) mic lead, plus a usb hookup for power....i have an old audigy with analog 5.1 and 7.1 outputs that i'm using --- if newer cards that have amplifiers only on digital, then i dont think i'd see an improvement with a newer card....unless I adapted the analog headphone jacks to a digital connector ? --- that would seem to defeat the purpose, since i believe the analog outputs on the card are more specific rather than the 'virtual' sound generated by digital??????? can someone confirm this please????? If I get a new Creative Z, will the sound be richer than that of the Audigy when using 5.1 analog connections?

post #2 of 11

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-updated-2-18-13-audeze-lcd-2-added
I'm not sure if all the surround sound stuff is required. I've heard that the AD900x can do a fine job when it comes to games/movies. 

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 

yeah I've seen that info --- I'm trying to figure it out --- I like the idea of the senn pc360's with digital connect, but i keep burying myself in

opinions regarding surround sound precision, I'm thinking my medusas, while lacking in comparison to the 360's when listening to audio - will still be better for gaming surround sound due to the analog inputs - i can clearly distinguish the 5.1 locations with the medusas and my old audigy card.... I wonder if the sound depth will be enhanced using the medusas and a new creative z card using the analog inputs?

I think discrete 5.1 sound is better for positioning sound than , lets say the pc-360's digitally connected to a new 'Z' card??? 

post #4 of 11
I've yet to hear a "5.1" or "gaming" headset that images as well as a good stereo set (e.g. the MDR-F1, PRO2900, etc); afaic Creative is still the king for gaming audio though.

I have no idea what you mean by "amplifiers on digital" and all that either. redface.gif
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 

what i'm interested in is positional sound....using a 5.1 headset with (3) analog inputs ie:

front l/r , rear l/r and center/sub.... the surround sound is pumped to each speaker... with

a 2 speaker stereo headset you're using dolby or cmss to virtualize surround sound via (1)

digital connection (not like the 3 discreet analog connections) ...
i'm trying to understand this....the sound card has two different paths for output, either
analog via the (3) speaker outputs or thru the (1)digital output.... i think sound is

processed differently but i dont know what the significance of that is....I think that by
using analog, rear sound travels to the rear speaker, front sound to front speaker etc..
with digital you only have left and right and the software adjusts frequency to virtualize

the sound direction - it vitrualizes the surround effect with frequency so you think it's

coming from a given direction.

Just from a surround positional standpoint i believe analog is better than virtual? 

i have an old audigy card and am wondering if i go with a new creative z will the analog

outputs be enhanced?

The Creative Z has a headphone amplifier. But the headphone jack is digital. This card also

has analog outputs and i dont think they are amplified by the headphoine amplifier?

I'm a real novice on this topic but what i've written is what I've gathered browsing this

subject...can you clarify/confirm/correct my questions? thanks

post #6 of 11
There are some fundamental problems with that understanding - it's all analog output, and all digital processing (I have no idea where you're getting the "the output is digital" from, but it's irrelevant/incorrect).. There's no advantage to "discrete" in a headphone, because the acoustic environment is different than with speakers. Multi-channel headphones are a creation of marketing, not engineering. There's no "analog v digital" debate to be had here - basically what you want to worry about is the quality of your output transducers (headphones), and the upstream processing/source (soundcard/game).
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 

OK ...There's no advantage to "discrete" in a headphone, because the acoustic environment is different than with speakers....BUT

i have 4 speakers in each ear -- just talking about the front and rear speakers --- fronts are positioned in the cup in front of the rears...

i can differentiate between sound from the front vs sound from the rear - the right front and rear sound comes from 2 physically differently positioned speakers......with stereo headphones ( 1 speaker in each ear) the impression of position is done by manipulating frequency....right? are you saying that is better? soundcard headphone amplification sits on the headphone output ( single jack output )???

...but my headphoned dont use the headphoine jack - it uses the 3  analog 5.1 speaker jacks so i'm assuming the headphone amp doesn't come into play and i wouldnt be using it ....

post #8 of 11
It's done by complex DSP that assumes a rough model of head + stereo headphones. It's gotten very smart in the last few years.

Regarding the wiring, yes, it would bypass the headphone amplifier.
post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

thanks for info --- my old audigy analog jacks vs the analog jacks on a new creative z -- would the output be richer sounding on the z using analog?

post #10 of 11
I don't know - haven't played around with either or seen a review/comparison. The Z will have better resampling and lower noise on paper, which is probably a good thing. But as to whether or not they'll sound appreciably different (processing aside), that's harder to say.
post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

thank you for the response

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