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PS4 Linear PCM: Night and day difference with Dolby Headphone

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My gaming setup consists of a Marantz SR6005 w/ Dolby Headphone, PS4 connected via HDMI, and Sony MDR-7520 headphones, oh and a TV.

Tonight I was playing Ghosts and decided to mess around with the audio settings. I previously had the PS4 to Bitstream(Dolby). I changed it to LPCM and right away I noticed a difference with the way my gun sounded, but I didnt really put much thought into it at that time. The PS4 is nice in that you can swap audio settings without quitting the game, so I could quickly swap settings. After a few minutes of play I quickly noticed that positional accuracy of sounds was GREATLY improved over Bitstream(Dolby), pretty much down to pinpoint accuracy. With BS(D), I heard the sounds in the general area, but I found myself searching for the sound rather than hearing it and going right to it (if that makes any sense). If my words cant explain it good enough, let me just say it was a night/day difference.

There was 1 downside to LPCM compared to BS(D). Explosions and other stuff going on in the map seemed much louder, which sometimes interfered. BS(D) seemed much softer sounding overall, and distant explosions actually sounded like they were distant.

I dont really know why there is such a difference between the 3 formats. I did try the DTS option for a few games and from what I can tell it sounds just like the Dolby option.
 
post #2 of 13
edit: Bitstream should only be used audio out of spdif outputs. The marantz receivers can take in the better quality signals of DTS and Dolby through the HDMI. If you try using PCM through the optical digital cables, all you get is stereo. No improvement there, since optical digital cables can only take stereo PCM, or bitsream Dolby/DTS.



DTS sounds like Dolby because the Marantz converts DTS into Dolby Digital and then into Dolby Headphone. That's why you don't hear a difference. It's essentially the same signal.

The reason many of us use bitstream is because that is the only way to get proper Dolby headphone with devices that don't have HDMI, like the Mixamp. So NO virtual surround gamer except those with receivers with virtual surround that have HDMI should be using LPCM.

Consider yourself lucky for having a Marantz that has Dolby headphone.

As far has a GREAT improvement, that's probably because your settings were off. It's the same exact surround algorhythm regardless of signal, so positional accuracy so be 100% identical, unless your settings are all over the place. I assume that you using Bitstream through HDMI was your first mistake, and were most likely only getting processed stereo into fake surround, which is why setting up LPCM for REAL Dolby headphone was a major improvement.

You may have been using fake, up-mixed stereo surround as long as you've had the Marantz up until now.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 12/5/13 at 11:46pm
post #3 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rc10mike View Post
 
My gaming setup consists of a Marantz SR6005 w/ Dolby Headphone, PS4 connected via HDMI, and Sony MDR-7520 headphones, oh and a TV.

Those Sony MDR-7520 are only 24-Ohm, which is perfect for portable audio player and smart phones.

But it might be causing a bloated bass plugged into the Marantz receiver.

You might consider investing in headphones with a higher impedance (Ohms).

Headphones in the 120-Ohm to 300-Ohm range, open headphones, like the Beyerdynamic DT880 Pro 250-Ohm headphones Or even 62-Ohm AKG Q701.

You might end up getting even better "clarity" in FPS gaming, It's just a thought.

post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
With LPCM my receivers indicator lights indicate 7.1. When I swap it BS(D), it drops down to 5.1. So I don't believe I was getting a fake signal.


I had some doubts about the 7520s, but they sound great so far. I've only had them 1 day though.
Edited by rc10mike - 12/6/13 at 9:11am
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 

Did some experimentation tonight to try and pinpoint the difference with LPCM and BS(D)..

 

My goal was to try and isolate differences in the sound. Im still running HDMI from the PS4 to the Marantz SR6005 which has Dolby Headphone built in. I will keep the AVR volume the same during the test.

 

I started a private match on CoD Ghosts. I just wanted to mess around and not have any interference.

 

First thing was to find a nice quiet area of the map.

 

First I did a gun sound test.

In this game Im using a M27 LMG with Silencer.

I would fire the gun in LPCM, then quickly switch to BS(D) and listen for a difference. With the PS4 you can change audio settings without having to quit the game.

I did this test multiple times.

With LPCM, the gun sounded like it had more detail, as in you could actually hear the air pressure being released. With BS(D), it sounded like a quieter version of the un-silenced gun.

 

Next I tested explosions.

I threw a grenade in LPCM then threw another one in the same place with BS(D).

With LPCM, the explosion was extremely loud and contained a ton of high frequency information, almost making my ears scream. With BS(D), the explosion was bass heavy and sounded distant, even though I was in the same spot as the LPCM test.

 

 

Next was the directional sound test.

I found something within the map that made noise. I would stand next to it, close my eyes, spin around in circles for a random amount of time, then stop and try to guess where the sound was coming from before I opened my eyes. With both LPCM and BS(D) I was able to guess right every time. I even tried this in stereo with equal results. This test will need more verification before I can say which one is better. Perhaps its different with an online match.

 

 

To end this the MDR-7520's are going back. They sound great but I just cant stand the pleather earpads for gaming.


Edited by rc10mike - 12/6/13 at 9:55pm
post #6 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rc10mike View Post
 

To end this the MDR-7520's are going back. They sound great but I just cant stand the pleather earpads for gaming.

Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 600-Ohm headphones, new $300, might find something used for $250 or less.

post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

Beyerdynamic DT880 Premium 600-Ohm headphones, new $300, might find something used for $250 or less.

 

 

Im thinking about trying these. From what Ive read, the 250ohm versions would be better suited to an AVR where the 600ohm versions would be better for folks with high-end amps. Im not exactly sure how powerful the headphone output is on the Marantz SR6005.

 

I do have a Senn PC360 which are 50ohm, but are also open, not really a good comparison to the 7520's.

post #8 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by rc10mike View Post
 

I'm thinking about trying these. From what I've read, the 250-Ohm versions would be better suited to an AVR where the 600-Ohm versions would be better for folks with high-end amps. I'm not exactly sure how powerful the headphone output is on the Marantz SR6005.

 

I do have a Senn PC360 which are 50-Ohm, but are also open, not really a good comparison to the 7520's.

My $500 Yamaha RX-V671 A/V receiver drives my DT880 600-Ohm headphones.

And I would assume the amplifcation of the Marantz is a little better.

But the DT880 250-Ohm do sound good.

post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 

Tried another Private Match test today but this time I bypassed the Dolby Headphone processing in the AVR, so all I had was stereo.

 

The difference between LPCM and Bitstream(Dolby) was still there.

 

Explosions were MUCH louder and higher pitched in LPCM than BS(D).

 

One explanation could be the way the AVR handles the incoming signals from the PS4, another could be the way the PS4 outputs the signals.


Edited by rc10mike - 12/13/13 at 6:15am
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 

As per some recommendations in this thread, I picked up some used DT990 Premiums 250ohm just to see what would happen.

 

Lately Ive been using my trusty PC360 for gaming, which are open back and 50ohms. Keeping all settings the same I swapped over to the DT990s. Instantly I could tell a huge difference in overall volume as well as more pronounced bass. They were LOUD compared to the 50ohm PC360, which sort of surprised me, I guess the 990s are much more efficient.

 

Anyway, after a few CoD matches, the 990s began to almost give me a headache. The constant explosions and my shotgun were literally shaking my head every time. Turning down the volume to where the explosions were tolerable meant it was harder for me to hear footsteps. So back to the PC360 I went. I guess Ive grown accustomed to its anemic bass.

 

I guess for "fun" factor, the 990s would be better, they did sound good, and were VERY comfortable.

 

I know, not really going with my original topic here, but I didnt feel this needed a new thread.

post #11 of 13

The 990 is a very colored phone, it has a v-shaped response with exaggerated bass and exaggerated treble. That combination will hasten the onset of listening fatigue, so your experience is to be expected. The DT880 is a bit more neutral, though if you may be better served with a Sennheiser HD600, or for less money, the HD558 (both of which will sound more like your PC360); alternately you could try the K701 (or 712/702, whatever they're calling it these days), which images a little better than the Senns and gives a greater headstage.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by rc10mike View Post

 

In this game Im using a M27 LMG with Silencer.

You cheap, spray'n'pray noobie gun bastard! That's the same setup I use ;)

post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 

It seems the more I experiment with my gaming setup, the more I appreciate the PC360. Every time I try to find something better, it fails. Perhaps Sennheiser actually knew what they were doing? IDK.

 

Back to the topic:

Im still using LPCM, I still dont know why I hear such a difference.

post #13 of 13

I recognize this is months late, but the fact that you're getting 7.1 with LPCM and 5.1 with the Dolby bitstream is a good indication that you're probably getting a lossy Dolby bitstream, whereas LPCM is lossless. 

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