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Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Initially I was looking for a Dolby Digital Live soundcard to output game audio to an external processor for virtual Dolby Headphone processing. Most Asus and Creative soundcards already support DDL. However, Asus cards also directly output Dolby Headphone and Creative cards output CMSS-3D. I was wondering what the difference is?

 

I've been told that maybe with CMSS-3D you can hear a little better where the noise is coming from, and with Dolby it's easier to identify what the noise is. But that was just what one person said. Is that a fair assessment of the difference?

 

I believe Dolby Headphone works by taking the native 5.1 audio and uses that to create virtual surround over 2 headphone speakers which would seem to be the most accurate way to achieve a sense of surround sound from 2 speakers. Does CMSS-3D do the same thing by using the native 5.1?

 

How does Dolby Headphone and CMSS-3D differ exactly?

Which do you recommend and why?

Also are there any alternatives to Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D that would create a better virtual surround over headphones?

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 8

They both do much the same thing, yes, but also color the sound in different ways to the point where people often disagree on which is better. I'm one of the big CMSS-3D advocates around here, but Mad Lust Envy certainly wouldn't trade Dolby Headphone for it.

 

Positionally, they're about on the same level with software-mixed games, 7.1 no matter what you do...but throw DirectSound3D + ALchemy or OpenAL into the mix, and CMSS-3D Headphone's on a whole new level entirely, because it's using actual 3D sound coordinates from the game engine itself, which Dolby Headphone and most other virtual surround features can't do. It's basically the difference between binaural and mere virtual 7.1.

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Positionally, they're about on the same level with software-mixed games, 7.1 no matter what you do...but throw DirectSound3D + ALchemy or OpenAL into the mix, and CMSS-3D Headphone's on a whole new level entirely, because it's using actual 3D sound coordinates from the game engine itself, which Dolby Headphone and most other virtual surround features can't do. It's basically the difference between binaural and mere virtual 7.1.


Thanks. Could you / someone explain this a bit more. Aren't all games essentially generating real time discrete 6 channel audio? (Or are they mostly using discrete 8 channel audio now?) Doesn't that mean all in-game generated audio have either 5.1/7.1 positional sound that are then made into virtual surround over 2 speakers for headphones? What does software-mixed, DirectSound3D + ALchemy or OpenAL mean and how would it alter game audio that is native 5.1/7.1?


Edited by lemm - 7/14/13 at 4:30pm
post #4 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by lemm View Post

ALchemy

Up until Windows XP, games could directly communicate the sound card audio.

 

Alchemy very basically explained.

Windows Vista (Win 7, Win 8) added a layer of software that sits between the game audio and the sound card.

Alchemy gets around that OS software layer that allows the Creative sound cards to communicate more directly with the games audio.

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Up until Windows XP, games could directly communicate the sound card audio.

 

Alchemy very basically explained.

Windows Vista (Win 7, Win 8) added a layer of software that sits between the game audio and the sound card.

Alchemy gets around that OS software layer that allows the Creative sound cards to communicate more directly with the games audio.

 

Thanks Purple. Reminds me of how asio works and provides a more efficient way of communication. Should allow hardware accelerated audio which would be nice.

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

As for different methods of virtual headphone audio, aren't all games essentially generating real time discrete 6 or 8 channel audio? If all in-game audio have either native 5.1/7.1 positional sound which are then made into virtual 5.1/7.1 surround over 2 speakers for headphones, how then do various virtual headphone methods (Dolby, CMSS-3D) differ in simulating the native 5.1/7.1 game audio for headphones?

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