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Saving a marriage and going to headphones for Movies and Music

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

So I just got done investing $10k into a home theater system.  Dual subwoofers, great 7.1 system using BG Radia in wall speakers.  Sounds great.. well sounds great unless you are in the next room trying to sleep.  So for those mornings and late nights I want to listen to music or watch movies, going to headphone setup.

 

I am primarily watching movies thru Direct TV's genie system and I would eventually like to Watch Blu Rays thru the PS3 system (50%) and watch music videos and some MP3's.  I have always been an avid believer that a good stage for watching movies starts with a solid system for music.  Currently I have:

 

-Grado RS1 (these are about 10 years old and I just ordered new ear pads due to deterioration.  They still sound great.

-X-Can v2 from Musical Fidelity Also about 10 years old  http://www.head-fi.org/products/musical-fidelity-x-can-v2

 

The TV has HDMI: ARC/DVI, MHL plus has a Digital Output (RCA..Orange Plug) and the Direct TV Genie module also has Digital Output (RCA..Orange plug)

 

What I am looking for are suggestions.  I am looking for a small external 5.1 or 7.1 processor. 

What is out there?  I see a lot that go into computers.  I am looking for a stand alone box for $50-200 max. Nice if it had its own remote for volume control but not absolutely required.  I am not going on the road with this so it can have its own power supply to go into the wall

 

I assume I would either go Digital or HDMI out from the TV  or Direct TV Genie box  to the external Processor then go from the processor to the X-Can 2 Analog inputs? (so its basically downconverting 5.1/7.1 to 2-channel?

 

Am I looking at this correctly?  Any other suggestions?

post #2 of 18

if the end result is two speakers on your head, why do you need a 5.1 or 7.1 decoder box? None of your sources will output analog?

post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

That's what I am asking..for advice on how to get where I want to go.  I want a simulated 5.1 surround sound.  So do I need to get rid of the X-Can 2?

 

Are there headphones that actually have 8 speakers in them?  I thought most people were using stereo headphones and some device to create the simulated 5.1 or 7.1 environment.  How are people using headphones for watching movies in surround?

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJames99 View Post
 

That's what I am asking..for advice on how to get where I want to go.  I want a simulated 5.1 surround sound.  So do I need to get rid of the X-Can 2?

 

Are there headphones that actually have 8 speakers in them?  I thought most people were using stereo headphones and some device to create the simulated 5.1 or 7.1 environment.  How are people using headphones for watching movies in surround?

The simple answer is get divorced. :)

 

However I will let others who know more about it then me answer, but when I watch movies, I just plug my headphones into my receiver. 90% of the 5.1 and 7.1 headphone systems are very poor. You might get a little better positional information, but you lose so much quality in the overall sound, that it's not worth it to me.

 

Your receiver should be processing the sound down to stereo for the headphone jack, and have some dolby options that should try to simulate the experience as best it can. There are multi thousand dollar solutions that might work, but before I did that, I would insulate the bedroom walls, and see if your wife can sleep with a white noise machine.

post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

If anyone has ideas here, I am wide open

post #6 of 18

How sure how expensive you want to go, but here is what would probably be the best option for 7.1 on your head. 

 

http://www.innerfidelity.com/content/show-newport-2013-mozaex-bluwavs-71-surround-headphone-system

post #7 of 18
Thread Starter 

Looks like a great system but just way out of my money league at $2400.  I was hoping I could keep the Grados

post #8 of 18

You could try something like this:

 

http://audioengineusa.com/Store/D1-24-Bit-DAC

 

Just did a web search and found it. I have no clue if it's any good.

post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 

I guess I am having trouble figuring out how all this goes together....  A DAC is a digital to analogue converter... so are you saying to put this in between the Digital Output of Direct TV unit and the headphone amp I have?  How am I getting surround at that point?

I am just confused I guess

post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJames99 View Post
 

I guess I am having trouble figuring out how all this goes together....  A DAC is a digital to analogue converter... so are you saying to put this in between the Digital Output of Direct TV unit and the headphone amp I have?  How am I getting surround at that point?

I am just confused I guess

That box only has optical in, so it might not work if you don't have optical out from your sources (you said you have an RCA jack only?)

 

The way it technically works, is a digital signal with information for each speaker is sent down that cable to your receiver. That receiver decodes the signal, and then sends them to each of your speakers.

 

If you have a 7.1 source, and 7.1 speakers, then no mixing at the receiver has to happen, it can send the audio directly to the speakers. However if the source is for 7.1, and you have 2.0 (headphones), audio processing has to happen (or worse, it just sends the front audio to your headphones). How that box (or any box) deals with the 7.1 to 2.0 is the unknown to me.

 

In the end, you will most likely just get stereo out, so explosions on the left sound like they are on the left, and the ones right in front sound equal from both sides, but you will not be able to tell just from the audio if it's in front or back. The good news however, is your brain is good at filling in those gaps if your watching a visual of what you are hearings.

 

If you have anything with a headphone jack out, I would just plug into that and see if it keeps you happy enough to care that your wife is happy. :)


Edited by JeremyR - 1/10/14 at 11:50am
post #11 of 18

I forgot to ask, what are your speakers today hooked into. You have a receiver right?

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

All my sources have Digital Output... RCA is a style of plug for S/PDIF (Digital Audio).  You typically have an RCA tip or Toslink.  I may be wrong with that, but that's what I have alwys called them.  The Digital Outputs have the RCA 75 ohm type connectors, not Toslink.

 

I have 2 rooms... The main living Room where I have a B&K Reference 70...  the only problem I have right now is when I plug in the headphones directly to the preamp/processor, the main speakers are staying on... ughh!   The other room I just have a TV and the DirectTV box.

 

So all my source equipment does have Digital Outputs.

post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 

So are most of you just watching movies in stereo?

post #14 of 18

I would think plunging your headphones into the B&K Reference 70 is going to give you as good of sound quality as you are going to get. There should be a setting to turn off the speakers, and to process the sound on the receiver.

post #15 of 18

Since somebody already said the "D" word, I've got to chime in and say don't get divorced.  Get a good headphone instead.

 

To me, the most important thing to mimic in headphones for home theater is frequency response, particularly very low frequency bass at low distortion.  Lots of movies have bass that is lower frequency and louder than that in most music. The spatial things you get with surround are going to be hard to recreate without tons and tons of money (Smyth Realizer, anyone?).    Just like home theater where good speakers will do the most to get you to the best experience, a good headphone will do the same for late-night listening.

 

My recommendation to you is to get a good planar dynamic headphone with flat bass response, such as the HifiMan HE-500 or the Audeze LCD-2, and drive them with stereo out of a decent A/V receiver with HDMI inputs to convert everything to stereo.  Throw in a long headphone extension cable so you can move around in your theater.  You will get better imaging with an open headphone, and the sound leakage/isoloation won't matter because everyone else is in another room.  I have done this in a home theater -- although not as good as loudspeaker surround, it is quite satisfying, and it feels good knowing you are not disturbing anyone else. 

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