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Sony MDR MA900 Impressions Thread - Page 60

post #886 of 1295

Hello, my first time here.

I just buy this headphones. (for European people, Conrad.com has them cheap at 140€ + shipping) 

My idea was to buy a Recon3D or an Astro Mixamp for console gaming but now i'm reading here and other places that the angled drivers aren't good for DH etc... and it's better in stereo.

The main reason for the choose of this headphones is the sound stage, i'll use them for gaming, do you really think that stereo sound with this headphones does better than DH?

post #887 of 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Guymelef View Post

Hello, my first time here.
I just buy this headphones. (for European people, Conrad.com has them cheap at 140€ + shipping) 
My idea was to buy a Recon3D or an Astro Mixamp for console gaming but now i'm reading here and other places that the angled drivers aren't good for DH etc... and it's better in stereo.
The main reason for the choose of this headphones is the sound stage, i'll use them for gaming, do you really think that stereo sound with this headphones does better than DH?

Yes . Although mle knows more about this stuff but from my own experience I find directional audio just as good with stereo with ma900 and dh just distorts the soundstage of these headphones and this is worse when there r lots of sounds at the same time. You can try for yourself. Switching between stereo and dh reveals many flaws in how wrong the dh soundstage is with ma900, especially the front and back audio queues are confusing. i wouldnt waste my money on a mixamp unless I need chat,buying it just for dh is just a waste. Better get a fiio e17. i bought a used earforce dss and I have it on bypass and use it just as a dac. I just stick to linear pcm now, sound is much more fuller, louder, and soundstage is natural and accurate and i can still locate footsteps in cod.

Here is a post by ear8dmg in another thread:

Dolby Headphone effectively tries to simulate speakers over headphones. It is designed to simulate both speaker placement and the listening environment. This can be summarised as space, direction and acoustic properties of the room. DH1 simulates a well damped room with nearfield speakers. DH2 simulates a normal listening room with acoustic reflections. DH3 simulates a larger room with acoustic reflections. Some equipment with Dolby Headphone only has one type, usually DH2.

I've found Dolby Headphone works best on headphones with good resolution and good, fast, tight control throughout the frequency range. Ideally the headphones' headstage should be as central as possible. If your headphones meet this criteria I think they can be successful in giving a near-field monitor like experience (either as stereo or 5.1) with DH1.

A wide (but central) headstage can work well with Dolby Headphone. It effectively makes the soundstage larger, without otherwise affecting it. However, headphones with a frontal (i.e. sounds in front of you) headstage should be regarded as incompatible with Dolby Headphone as this is part of the Dolby Headphone effect. Generally that means anything with angled drivers (which is a technique headphone manufacturers use to give more speaker like presentation) should be avoided.

In practice, angled drivers aren't completely disasterous with Dolby Headphonebut they're not ideal. In well mastered audio with an existing 3d soundstage intended for stereo speakers, the 'geometry' is altered and the soundstage affected.

For live music recordings, especially acoustic music, I'm not a fan of DH2 or DH3. They both add reverbarations that interfere with the acoustics captured in the recording. Similarly they can be quite unpleasant when paired with video games with reverb and echo already in the game audio. For drier, close miked, studio recordings they can be acceptable but I don't find them as convinding as being in an acutal room with speakers. Likewise, some headphones include internal reflectors or similar, which give a slight reverb or echo type effect (I'm looking at you HD555...), interfereing with note decay. Add this to DH2 or DH3 and it gets messy.

For music listening, Dolby Headphone works well on mid-fi headphones with a central headstage. IMO, DH1 can be regarded as approching Hi-Fi but the DH2 and DH3 reverberations are a rather lo-fi effect. IIRC there's a resolution limit to Dolby Headphone. It operates natively at up to 24/96 so if you're using anything higher it will degrade the signal. For truly great hi-fi headphones that already give a speaker-like presentation like the HD800s paired with a great source, Dolby Headphone would be pointless and only degrade the already excellent audio experience.

For movie watching on something like HD800 (which I should point out I've not heard), might I suggest that a virtual speaker technology combined with a little crossfeed would do the job better?

Edit: I did find HD600 and HD580 pretty good with Dolby Headphone but they were only on par with my Goldring NS1000s, which are clearly not as good a headphone overall. "
Edited by rikstaker - 1/7/14 at 5:03am
post #888 of 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by rikstaker View Post


Yes . Although mle knows more about this stuff but from my own experience I find directional audio just as good with stereo with ma900 and dh just distorts the soundstage of these headphones and this is worse when there r lots of sounds at the same time. You can try for yourself. Switching between stereo and dh reveals many flaws in how wrong the dh soundstage is with ma900, especially the front and back audio queues are confusing. i wouldnt waste my money on a mixamp unless I need chat,buying it just for dh is just a waste. Better get a fiio e17. i bought a used earforce dss and I have it on bypass and use it just as a dac. I just stick to linear pcm now, sound is much more fuller, louder, and soundstage is natural and accurate and i can still locate footsteps in cod.

Here is a post by ear8dmg in another thread:

Dolby Headphone effectively tries to simulate speakers over headphones. It is designed to simulate both speaker placement and the listening environment. This can be summarised as space, direction and acoustic properties of the room. DH1 simulates a well damped room with nearfield speakers. DH2 simulates a normal listening room with acoustic reflections. DH3 simulates a larger room with acoustic reflections. Some equipment with Dolby Headphone only has one type, usually DH2.

I've found Dolby Headphone works best on headphones with good resolution and good, fast, tight control throughout the frequency range. Ideally the headphones' headstage should be as central as possible. If your headphones meet this criteria I think they can be successful in giving a near-field monitor like experience (either as stereo or 5.1) with DH1.

A wide (but central) headstage can work well with Dolby Headphone. It effectively makes the soundstage larger, without otherwise affecting it. However, headphones with a frontal (i.e. sounds in front of you) headstage should be regarded as incompatible with Dolby Headphone as this is part of the Dolby Headphone effect. Generally that means anything with angled drivers (which is a technique headphone manufacturers use to give more speaker like presentation) should be avoided.

In practice, angled drivers aren't completely disasterous with Dolby Headphonebut they're not ideal. In well mastered audio with an existing 3d soundstage intended for stereo speakers, the 'geometry' is altered and the soundstage affected.

For live music recordings, especially acoustic music, I'm not a fan of DH2 or DH3. They both add reverbarations that interfere with the acoustics captured in the recording. Similarly they can be quite unpleasant when paired with video games with reverb and echo already in the game audio. For drier, close miked, studio recordings they can be acceptable but I don't find them as convinding as being in an acutal room with speakers. Likewise, some headphones include internal reflectors or similar, which give a slight reverb or echo type effect (I'm looking at you HD555...), interfereing with note decay. Add this to DH2 or DH3 and it gets messy.

For music listening, Dolby Headphone works well on mid-fi headphones with a central headstage. IMO, DH1 can be regarded as approching Hi-Fi but the DH2 and DH3 reverberations are a rather lo-fi effect. IIRC there's a resolution limit to Dolby Headphone. It operates natively at up to 24/96 so if you're using anything higher it will degrade the signal. For truly great hi-fi headphones that already give a speaker-like presentation like the HD800s paired with a great source, Dolby Headphone would be pointless and only degrade the already excellent audio experience.

For movie watching on something like HD800 (which I should point out I've not heard), might I suggest that a virtual speaker technology combined with a little crossfeed would do the job better?

Edit: I did find HD600 and HD580 pretty good with Dolby Headphone but they were only on par with my Goldring NS1000s, which are clearly not as good a headphone overall. "

Thanks :).

I think i'll save the Mixamp money and go with the stereo sound. 

post #889 of 1295
A big mistake, I say, but to each their own.


If you think standard stereo can emulate a full speaker set up with rear positional cues ANYWHERE remotely close to these virtual surround techs, with ANy headphone, you're either just deaf or your brain can't understand what you're listening to.

Stereo is so linear and flat, mostly being between the head, and slightly forward, not behind. You're giving up a HUGE amount of spatial positioning, just for good left/right positioning.

Also, it doesn't matter what headphone you use, as long as it's stereo headphones. Whether they're angled or not, these surround techs will work. Some headphones naturally work better than others, but virtual surround should still be a lot more immersive and correct in positional cues than flat stereo audio.

Enjoy your hard pans and non existent rear cues that sound more like they're next to you, not behind you.

Yes, you DO give up some overall sound fidelity, as the sound is being processed, but you're gaming, not trying to master a recording. When you're too busy playing and enjoy what's around you, you'll realize it's not about how good the fidelity sounds next to a standard stereo signal. That's best left for actual MUSIC, something you're not getting a visual of.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/14 at 5:52am
post #890 of 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

A big mistake, I say, but to each their own.

Damn, i read a lot of your post and think you have a very expert opinion.

Now i don't know what to do, the problem is that i couldn't obtain a refund for the Astro Mixamp if i don't like how it sounds.

post #891 of 1295
Reread my last post. I edited with a video. Put on whatever headphone you may have on now, and see if you can clearly hear the benefits of vortual surround in it. If you can, congratulations and welcome to the club. If it sounds like 'utter garbage' then, too bad. Enjoy your plain stereo.




As you can hear from the Dolby test, it does add some reverb, but the positional cues come from all around you, not just to the sides and front.

When you're busy playing a game, you're not gonna be all like 'OMGZ IT'S SO REVERBY' You'll be too busy being able to hear exactly where people are.


The only people I've seen complain about it not being as good as stereo are people who have been gaming in stereo for years and not wanting to adjust. Give it a week or two (making sure settings are proper, as improper settings will ruin virtual surround quite easily). That or people who just want zero processing whatsoever. Well, I'll let them keep playing in stereo, as I easily pick them through walls before they even eneter the same room, and they tell me I'm wall hacking.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/14 at 6:46am
post #892 of 1295

I use Dolby Home Theater v4 with my Xonar Phoebus which is the latest Dolby dsp algorythm (which mostly uses the same Dolby headphone algorythm ) and creates accurate perfect sound stage with ma900 in gaming . walking inside jungle in Farcry 3 is absolutely mind blowing. can pinpoint exact sound position/depth accurately which is almost impossible in standard stereo mode as MLE stated above because non existent rear clues.


Edited by appsmarsterx - 1/7/14 at 6:11am
post #893 of 1295
That's what I'm trying to say. it doesn't matter how good a headphone is at imaging: Stereo will never places rear positional cues properly.

Stereo's soundstage is essentially a a half circle facing forward:



The bottom straight line would basically go right through your head. That's as far as rear cues go.

Even that's stretching it, as stereo sounds wider than it sounds like it's projecting forward.

With things like Dolby headphone and a lot of games, the soundstage is more rounded like a circle, with rear cues actually sounding like they're behind you.

If games didn't have rear cues, then stereo would be fine. But no, that's a lot of information that will sound absolutely incorrect in the virtual space when playing in stereo.

edit:



Green is your head, red is the stereo sound stage. This is a very crude drawing, but it gets the point across. I even embellished how far out left/right it projects, which as you guys may know sounds slightly out of your head, not THAT far out.


The biggest problem with people and Dolby headphone is that they are expecting it to sound like a headphone. No. DH is emulating a full 5.1/7.1 speaker setup. So yes, it is like being in a virtual room. They need to understand this. You're not going to get the same type of audio cues as regular stereo signals.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/14 at 6:56am
post #894 of 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

Reread my last post. I edited with a video. Put on whatever headphone you may have on now, and see if you can clearly hear the benefits of vortual surround in it. If you can, congratulations and welcome to the club. If it sounds like 'utter garbage' then, too bad. Enjoy your plain stereo.

As you can hear from the Dolby test, it does add some reverb, but the positional cues come from all around you, not just to the sides and front.

When you're busy playing a game, you're not gonna be all like 'OMGZ IT'S SO REVERBY' You'll be too busy being able to hear exactly where people are.


The only people I've seen complain about it not being as good as stereo are people who have been gaming in stereo for years and not wanting to adjust. Give it a week or two (making sure settings are proper, as improper settings will ruin virtual surround quite easily). That or people who just want zero processing whatsoever. Well, I'll let them keep playing in stereo, as I easily pick them through walls before they even eneter the same room, and they tell me I'm wall hacking.

The thing is my 90% game time is on consoles, it seems like Astro Mixamp doesn't have settings to adjust sound like Recon3D, just 4 predefined modes 

Are this modes adjusted for a good experience for every genre? In PC there is always sound cards with more options. 

post #895 of 1295
Seriously, play some Call of Duty: Ghosts with the perks Dead Silence and Amplify. With a good pair of headphones and virtual surround like Dolby Headphone, anyone else not wearing dead silence will be SOOOOOOO easy to hear. You can literally hear thir footsteps beyond doors, etc. If they're behind you, your brain will let you know immediately, that you'll be ready.

Dolby headphone is not a simple, try once and forget. I made that SAME mistake (i mentioned it on the first post of my guide). I was absolutely unimpressed. Then months down the line, I gave it a go, for a week or so. I could never go back. It's too huge an immersion and advantage boost.

I stereo game once in awhile, so don't think I just gave it up. But it clearly loses out. Overwhelmingly so.

The MA900 is one of the best headphones for virtual surround gaming, seriously.

Another straight comparison.

If you think you can actually hear rear cues better here with stereo... then your ears just can't register it whatsoever.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 1/7/14 at 6:37am
post #896 of 1295

That Skyrim video's a pretty good demo, especially once it gets past the intro part.

 

The only thing I wish it included in the intro section was the part where you're stuck face-to-the-ground for a few seconds after Alduin shows up to interrupt your execution. That part in particular is almost all rear-channel, behind-your-head audio with virtual surround, immersive and mind-blowing when you hear it for yourself.

 

And yes, the MA900 excels at this sort of thing. Mad Lust Envy isn't the sort to joke around about what's capable of DH and what isn't.

post #897 of 1295

Well my pair of Ma900 was estimated to arrive today on Amazon and they never showed up. That doesn't worry me too much however the tracking thing is worrying me. For everything I have ever ordered on Amazon they constantly update where my package is. For my headphones they have not given me any updates, it has just been stuck on "UPS is processing order" for 3 days now. I hope they come soon or else I will just ask for a refund and order from a different seller.

 

Btw I did use Amazon Prime free 2-day shipping, that is why I am slightly impatient because I expected it to be here in 2 business days but instead UPS has been processing it for the last 3 days.

post #898 of 1295
Quote:
Originally Posted by donunus View Post

Anyone here driving them with an o2 by the way? It could just be the matching that I am having a problem with. Maybe the o2 totally sucks with 12 ohms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kman1211 View Post


No, but from what I gather the O2 sounds identical to the Magni and I thought the Magni somewhat sucked for the MA900 and all my other headphones except my Senn HD 555.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kdavis71 View Post

When mine gets here, I'll be driving it with an E17 as my source + amp. Is that a good match?
post #899 of 1295
i probably need to test it out more. i am just saying what I observed. The last of us has great sound no matter what settings you choose and the stereo headphone option in game simulates a 3d soundfield over 2 channels and it sounds better than dd 5.1 with dh. With the ma900 in that game I feel dh expands the sound signature of every sound source and makes it harder to pinpoint the source of the sound wheres the ingame stereo headphone option and uncompressed linear pcm defines the sound source with precision in the ma900s naturally humumgous soundstage and believe it or not I can feel the sound behind me. i also read from naughty dog developer that they used special panning algorithms for the stereo headphone option and it shows in the positional accuracy with ma900, you must try it to believe it. i will try other games tmrw especially metal gear solid, which has a great sound too. Will keep you posted. also, Mle do you think I should get fiio e17 since I am a stereo fanatic tongue.gif does it improve the sound quality over dss?
post #900 of 1295
When i tried the ma900 out of a macbook it sounded the same as out of a microstreamer ,my receiver and diy dac,after ibypassed the impedance network i could finally hear the difference between sources,amps.
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