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Stereo to binaural, HRTF, Virtual surround - Is there anything better than Dolby Headphone?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

Hello!

 

I'm curious if there's anything similar or better than dolby headphone. I'm using it for a long while now. But maybe something better's out there?

post #2 of 11

Whether you'll find anything else better or worse depends on your own HRTF.

 

I've always found CMSS-3D Headphone superior for pinpointing things in DirectSound3D and OpenAL titles, albeit held back to Dolby Headphone's level in anything that pre-mixes 5.1/7.1 sound in software...which is still good, but why simulate a speaker system when you can simulate the game environment itself?

 

Of course, Mad Lust Envy doesn't agree at all there, still preferring DH and even THX TruStudio Surround (which I find to be positionally inferior to both CMSS-3D and DH).

 

It doesn't mean either of us are right or wrong; it just means that we've found what works best for our own heads and ears.

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Whether you'll find anything else better or worse depends on your own HRTF.

 

I've always found CMSS-3D Headphone superior for pinpointing things in DirectSound3D and OpenAL titles, albeit held back to Dolby Headphone's level in anything that pre-mixes 5.1/7.1 sound in software...which is still good, but why simulate a speaker system when you can simulate the game environment itself?

 

Of course, Mad Lust Envy doesn't agree at all there, still preferring DH and even THX TruStudio Surround (which I find to be positionally inferior to both CMSS-3D and DH).

 

It doesn't mean either of us are right or wrong; it just means that we've found what works best for our own heads and ears.

 

Those things that you mentioned work for music, with stereo input too?

 

I tried this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9ApNLMmeAs

 

DH sounds better to me. The radio sounds to my right, while with the other it's like in my right ear.


Edited by mzso - 6/30/13 at 2:09am
post #4 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzso View Post

Those things that you mentioned work for music, with stereo input too?

 

I tried this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9ApNLMmeAs

 

DH sounds better to me. The radio sounds to my right, while with the other it's like in my right ear.

 

They'd be a waste for stereo music sources, unless you want to pretend you're listening to a set of stereo speakers in front of your head through headphones.

 

Here's the weird thing: in that particular video you linked, DH sounds better to my ears...but when it comes to actual first-hand experience, I prefer CMSS-3D by a massive margin when used with DS3D/OAL games, and could flip a coin and use either for a software-mixed game like Crysis 2.

 

How about a more comprehensive video that throws in some other surround mixing tech as well, if you don't mind Battlefield 3 being used as the basis? More videos like this to judge for yourself never hurts.

 

post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

They'd be a waste for stereo music sources, unless you want to pretend you're listening to a set of stereo speakers in front of your head through headphones.

 

Here's the weird thing: in that particular video you linked, DH sounds better to my ears...but when it comes to actual first-hand experience, I prefer CMSS-3D by a massive margin when used with DS3D/OAL games, and could flip a coin and use either for a software-mixed game like Crysis 2.

 

How about a more comprehensive video that throws in some other surround mixing tech as well, if you don't mind Battlefield 3 being used as the basis? More videos like this to judge for yourself never hurts.

 

 

I'll check it out.

 

"They'd be a waste for stereo music sources, unless you want to pretend you're listening to a set of stereo speakers in front of your head through headphones."

 

I thoroughly disagree with this. They mix stereo stuff to sound right with speakers. A binaural DSP should compensate for that. It's like playing a binaural recording on stereo speakers, but the other way around.

If the stereo audio is good it has a sensation of space to it. Hell, it might have some sort of virtual surround mixing. If you just play speaker content on headphone, the sounds will seem like coming from inside your head. Destroying spatial sensations.
 

It's like "Dolby Headphone" vs "Dolby Virtual Speaker" The other seem to process for stereo speakers like the latter.

post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 

After watching the video, I conclude that Dolby headphone is the best. The others suffer from the same thing. (Sounds sounding inside my head or ear) Maybe they weren't designed for headphones just stereo speakers. As such wouldn't process the front left/right channels (the stereo speakers), that would be an explanation.

post #7 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzso View Post

"They'd be a waste for stereo music sources, unless you want to pretend you're listening to a set of stereo speakers in front of your head through headphones."

 

I thoroughly disagree with this. They mix stereo stuff to sound right with speakers. A binaural DSP should compensate for that. It's like playing a binaural recording on stereo speakers, but the other way around.

If the stereo audio is good it has a sensation of space to it. Hell, it might have some sort of virtual surround mixing. If you just play speaker content on headphone, the sounds will seem like coming from inside your head. Destroying spatial sensations.

 

I actually don't have a problem with the way most stereo music sounds on headphones, but I generally do have a problem with the sound quality hit that most virtual surround mixes bring with them when listening to music.

 

The only time I'd really be concerned about it is if it's a QSound-mixed track, which is a sort of virtual surround approach (well, if you call only your front 180-degree hemisphere's worth of positioning "surround") meant for stereo speakers. In that case, I'd find the soundstage well and truly destroyed by a typical stereo headphone.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mzso View Post

After watching the video, I conclude that Dolby headphone is the best. The others suffer from the same thing. (Sounds sounding inside my head or ear) Maybe they weren't designed for headphones just stereo speakers. As such wouldn't process the front left/right channels (the stereo speakers), that would be an explanation.

 

I know they're designed for headphones; the effect works more or less fine for me across all of them, except some of 'em do it better than others.

 

Maybe it's just that the HRTF used matches mine very well, and doesn't match yours at all, but I can say with confidence that CMSS-3D Headphone always did a great job of making the sounds not "congested" in position directly beside my ears, but spreading them out in the space around my head. The others tended to be a bit weaker, though Dolby Headphone did have about as much space, albeit less accurate positioning.

 

Of course, any virtual surround tech can only do so much if your headphones inherently have a small soundstage. It doesn't matter what mixing tech I use; throw on my Philips CitiScape Uptown instead of my Stax SR-Lambda, and everything's immediately more closed-in, with front/rear depth almost entirely gone.

post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 

Well. The the Stax SR-Lambda looks more like speakers on the head, so not surprising. :D

post #9 of 11

I posted about this last week. Haven't tried it myself but one guy posted that he likes it. I think it works with everything and not just games but is made for gaming for positional audio.

 

http://www.razerzone.com/surround

 

Requires registration to download the software.

post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mzso View Post

Well. The the Stax SR-Lambda looks more like speakers on the head, so not surprising. :D

 

Just wait 'til you see the Stax SR-Sigma, which the Lambda is basically a more compact version of...now THAT'S a model that I feel truly deserves the "earspeaker" label.

post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

Just wait 'til you see the Stax SR-Sigma, which the Lambda is basically a more compact version of...now THAT'S a model that I feel truly deserves the "earspeaker" label.


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