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Petition for a "Gaming" device from FiiO - Page 3  

Poll Results: "Sign" this petition:

This is a multiple choice poll
  • 93% (54)
    YES - I am interested in this.
  • 24% (14)
    I love FiiO!!
58 Total Votes  
post #31 of 90

Copying part of my post on MLE's thread for good measure.

 

The computer/comsole sends a Dolby Digital signal to the Recon3D, Astro Mixamp, etc. They take the 5.1 Dolby Digital signal and then decode it. At that point it's processed through the THX TruSurround, Dolby Headphone, or any of the other surround DSPs. I believe this is all done within the DAC circuitry and software. Finally it's sent through the amp and out to the headphones.

post #32 of 90
HDMI input/passthrough would probably be more future-proof and more widely comparable than Optical. Most consoles and PCs have HDMI outputs these days. The upside of optical, of course, is you don't need to pass the video through. Copying my post from MLE's thread too...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

You mention that the Recon3D USB works on console, PC and Mac. I can see it presenting itself to the latter two as a USB soundcard. On the other hand, it receives signals from consoles via optical? This would be a Dolby Digital or DTS signal right? Where does Dolby Headphone or GenAudio Astoundsound come into this? As far as I know these are handled by the computer / console and output a processed stereo output that would only need to be amplified or decoded in the case of a digital output (insofar as all digital output need to be decoded by a DAC like the E18)?

The short version, what the Creative's Sound Blaster Recon3D USB does is provide a connection for headphones, an amp, a DAC, and a processor.

On computers, the Recon3D USB connects via USB like your FiiO DACs, but it has drivers to enable settings and identify it's available resources (surround decoding) to the computer and games. For consoles, it has an optical input that takes the Dolby Digital Live 5.1 signal that would be normally sent to a home theater speaker system. It would be nice to have two inputs, but that's a secondary goal. Here's basically what we, as consumers, have figured out about these surround processors, with Recon3D USB as an example:

- Computer or console sends sounds already split into positional channels corresponding to where 5.1 or 7.1 speakers would be placed in a typical home theater setup. Consoles send a Dolby Digital Live (or in some cases a DTS Connect) signal out, digitally, that would need to be decoded by the Recon3D USB to understand the different channels of sound.
- The Recon3D receives that "home theater" mixed sound, and uses a licensed decoder to understand the DDL or DTS signal
- the Recon3D applies a Head Transfer Related Function (HRTF) encoder to create a stereo virtual surround mix for headphones, the Recon3D's HRTF is called THX TrueStudio Pro (perhaps available for licensing from THX?) but other processors use Dolby Headphone to do the same thing.
- At this point the audio is a common 2 channel stereo mix, so that is transferred to a DAC, and then an Amp.

So basically, the external device needs a processor and some licensed software to convert home theater surround into headphone virtual surround, after that is just basically the hardware which is FiiO's strength and where the current products are weak. OpenAL and TrueAudio are kinda special cases, may be beyond FiiO's scope to implement those (and games have to have been created with support built-in), so I'd suggest just looking at HRTF's that can convert the common home-theater surround. Microphone input with a computer is easy, unfortunately each console is different (I believe the PS3 uses USB? Can anyone confirm?). It might be best for FiiO to start out with a more simple device, like an improved Turtle Beach DSS. Some HRTFs that FiiO may be able to use could be:

- Dolby Headphone (mode 2, or DH2, is used by the Astro Mixamp, Asus Xonar products, Turtle Beach DSS (the first one), Tritton's AX720+ processor, and others)
- Cirrus Logic (headphone surround? Name of the processing isn't clear, Cirrus Logic is the company)
- AstoundSound (by GenAudio, I don't have enough info for you to say it can process any 5.1 or 7.1 mix)
- THX TrueStudio Pro (may be a Creative exclusive, but maybe THX could license it to you?)

FiiO probably could NOT use CMSS-3D or SBX ProStudio, I doubt Creative would license this to a competitor... But who knows? DH isn't my personal 1st place favourite, but I do like it and use it, pretty much everyone here would be happy with DH2 processing. A few of us here thought FiiO was already doing this when your company announced the D5 DAC, but it wasn't what we had hoped (5.1 to 2.0 headphone virtual surround processor and DAC).

Thanks for checking this idea out! Headphones + gaming still has untapped potential, we gamers realize this would be a bit of an expansion to your current target market, but it's awesome to get your attention and we'll try to help if you need it.
post #33 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

HDMI input/passthrough would probably be more future-proof and more widely comparable than Optical. Most consoles and PCs have HDMI outputs these days. The upside of optical, of course, is you don't need to pass the video through. Copying my post from MLE's thread too...
The short version, what the Creative's Sound Blaster Recon3D USB does is provide a connection for headphones, an amp, a DAC, and a processor.

On computers, the Recon3D USB connects via USB like your FiiO DACs, but it has drivers to enable settings and identify it's available resources (surround decoding) to the computer and games. For consoles, it has an optical input that takes the Dolby Digital Live 5.1 signal that would be normally sent to a home theater speaker system. It would be nice to have two inputs, but that's a secondary goal. Here's basically what we, as consumers, have figured out about these surround processors, with Recon3D USB as an example:

- Computer or console sends sounds already split into positional channels corresponding to where 5.1 or 7.1 speakers would be placed in a typical home theater setup. Consoles send a Dolby Digital Live (or in some cases a DTS Connect) signal out, digitally, that would need to be decoded by the Recon3D USB to understand the different channels of sound.

Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect are special codecs for sending multichannel over SPDIF correct? Would the decoding be simpler with a HDMI connection?
Quote:
- The Recon3D receives that "home theater" mixed sound, and uses a licensed decoder to understand the DDL or DTS signal
- the Recon3D applies a Head Transfer Related Function (HRTF) encoder to create a stereo virtual surround mix for headphones, the Recon3D's HRTF is called THX TrueStudio Pro (perhaps available for licensing from THX?) but other processors use Dolby Headphone to do the same thing.
- At this point the audio is a common 2 channel stereo mix, so that is transferred to a DAC, and then an Amp.

So basically, the external device needs a processor and some licensed software to convert home theater surround into headphone virtual surround, after that is just basically the hardware which is FiiO's strength and where the current products are weak. OpenAL and TrueAudio are kinda special cases, may be beyond FiiO's scope to implement those (and games have to have been created with support built-in), so I'd suggest just looking at HRTF's that can convert the common home-theater surround. Microphone input with a computer is easy, unfortunately each console is different (I believe the PS3 uses USB? Can anyone confirm?). It might be best for FiiO to start out with a more simple device, like an improved Turtle Beach DSS.

Would Open AL and TrueAudio simply output a processed 2-channel output that can be decoded by something like the E18 to drive standard headphones with 3D sound output?
post #34 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post


Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect are special codecs for sending multichannel over SPDIF correct? Would the decoding be simpler with a HDMI connection?

 

It would be convenient to have both options, actually. Also, it would be nice to have more than one optical input... as most gamers have multiple consoles with digital outputs. The HDMI input would be for a console like the Wii U, which I believe does not have SPDIF.

 

As for size, if you are serious about making an all around winner we may be getting into mid size desktop material. I don't think something the size of the E18 wont be able to provide all that we ask...

post #35 of 90

I think with HDMI out and In, multiple optical in ports, Dedicated DSP chip for virtual surround and a decent DAC and AMP stage, you are looking at a device that would well be the size of at least double that of say the Schiit Magni or half the size of the Essence One.  

 

You could make it smaller however I dont think USB powered would cut it.  I think we all want a decent power supply inside that regulates voltage properly given that you would want it to power most headphones on the market even 600 ohm cans.  I think something along the lines of 80 mW into 600 ohm sounds good and fair.  

  

Which for gaming, shouldnt be too bad, you dont really need it to be portable really.

 

But then the questions becomes, with HDMI in, do you include PAP(protected audio path) in order to handle DTS Master or True HD.  I think some of us wouldn't mind that option given we watch blurays at night with headphones.

 

FiiO could make an all in one device that incorporates all of the above however financially I see them creating entry level devices with basic Optical and Virtual surround capabilities.  Perhaps see how the market reacts to it.  Then create a higher Tier device with all kinds of features.  The thing is with more hardware added, more royalties and fees need to be paid out and it adds up and becomes costly.  

post #36 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post
Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect are special codecs for sending multichannel over SPDIF correct? Would the decoding be simpler with a HDMI connection?
Would Open AL and TrueAudio simply output a processed 2-channel output that can be decoded by something like the E18 to drive standard headphones with 3D sound output?

 

Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect are simply real-time AC-3/Dolby Digital and DTS encoding features for PCs, since they generally transmit their surround channels in PCM format.

 

S/PDIF only has enough bandwidth for two PCM channels, so unless a PC has those features, it can only output stereo through S/PDIF. (Or if it already has a capable sound card with Dolby Headphone, CMSS-3D Headphone, etc., it can output pre-mixed virtual surround over S/PDIF, allowing one to have both gaming DSP features out of a dedicated sound card and the higher quality of external audiophile DACs with S/PDIF inputs.)

 

HDMI does not have that limitation; it can carry a full 8 channels of PCM, so consoles that have it just run straight-up PCM. Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio are more for Blu-ray movies' benefit, since uncompressed audio eats up a ton of storage space. The important thing is that the extra HDMI channels can be used to form a virtual surround mix.

 

OpenAL is an old 3D audio API for PC games in the vein of DirectSound3D and Aureal A3D before it, while AMD TrueAudio's a DSP that can handle sound processing for GenAudio AstoundSound (a software plugin for FMOD Ex and Wwise) and whatever else developers want to run on it. In either case, the processing's done on the PC in some fashion before it outputs to anything external, be it on a sound card DSP or through some piece of software like Rapture3D, and both methods allow for a full binaural HRTF mix using 3D positional data straight from the game engine.

 

The problem is that the consoles DON'T support such mixes, so we have to settle for the next best thing: virtual 5.1/7.1 out of a dedicated headphone surround processor. That's the market the Mixamp, Ear Force DSS and Recon3D USB are tapping into, and what everyone signing this petition wants from FiiO. PC gamers can just buy a sound card and get their Dolby Headphone/CMSS-3D Headphone/SBX Pro Surround/etc. that way; console gamers can't, because the consoles don't provide a native headphone mix and were designed with home theater speaker use in mind. They need the aforementioned devices, or an A/V receiver with Dolby Headphone support, most of which are discontinued at this point in time.

 

If you can make the USB audio device section act as a virtual 7.1 processor with no drivers needed, that would be great for PC gamers looking for a plug-and-play solution, but the focus here is on console gamers right now. For those, USB audio devices are generally used for voice chat audio, both input and output; being able to mix that in real-time with the game audio coming through S/PDIF and HDMI is a convenience that only the Mixamp offers right now, and one you would do well to capitalize on. Instead of being forced to use the console's own mixing levels for piping out voice chat through the main output, you can select your own volume balance between game audio (sound effects, music, etc.) and the people talking to you.

post #37 of 90
Nameless, I believe Genaudio's astoundsound also has the ability of 7.1/5.1 downmixing to a stereo hrtf signal. Its called astoundsurround.

Much like Cmss3D headphone, DH, SBX when its faced with a premixed 5.1 stream rather than openal or ds3d.

If FiiO could somehow license a DSP chip(highly doubt they'd R&D their own), they could just have that do the hrtf instead of DH or whatever.

It just seems it would be between that or DH right now. There is another option down the road.

By the time FiiO gets a product vision and research going, DTS' Headphone X should also be good to go. It sounds promising so far from what critics said at CES.
post #38 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post
Nameless, I believe Genaudio's astoundsound also has the ability of 7.1/5.1 downmixing to a stereo hrtf signal. Its called astoundsurround.

Much like Cmss3D headphone, DH, SBX when its faced with a premixed 5.1 stream rather than openal or ds3d.

If FiiO could somehow license a DSP chip(highly doubt they'd R&D their own), they could just have that do the hrtf instead of DH or whatever.

It just seems it would be between that or DH right now. There is another option down the road.

By the time FiiO gets a product vision and research going, DTS' Headphone X should also be good to go. It sounds promising so far from what critics said at CES.

 

My sources had only mentioned AstoundSound in a middleware context, capable of providing HRTF completely in software.

 

If that's the case, then it's bound to be another one of those confusing Aureal A3D cases where they brand various different audio technologies with the same name.

 

As for DTS Headphone X, from what I've heard, it's entirely pre-recorded and thus useless for gaming, hence why you only find it in movies. I'd certainly like to hear about a real-time variant, since DTS Surround Sensation Headphone, at least what I could get to work on the usual Realtek drivers, downright sucked.

post #39 of 90
Guys (and any gals?) of the petition, let's keep this somewhat simple, make a FiiO device easier to see the light of day. Then, they can make an "enthusiast" model later.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post

Dolby Digital Live and DTS connect are special codecs for sending multichannel over SPDIF correct?
Correct.

Would the decoding be simpler with a HDMI connection?
I'm not 100%, but I think so. HDMI may be able to send multichannel audio without using an encoder, but sometimes it still uses a codec... I specifically remember reading Xbox One can output DDL through HDMI but not over optical (yet, firmware update expected).

Would Open AL and TrueAudio simply output a processed 2-channel output that can be decoded by something like the E18 to drive standard headphones with 3D sound output?
I think so, the work would already be done computerside at that point (and TrueAudio has been confirmed to be built-in to the Sony PS4's audio processor). Several people already use FiiO E17s (with optical input) to work with pre-processed audio. OpenAL is open-source, but unfortunately very rare in newer games. TrueAudio is pretty exciting, Thief 4 is the first game that I know of which will be released with support for it, dunno if the PS4 version will have TrueAudio but I REALLY hope so, showcase game for that.

Here's a demo of TrueAudio processed sound... Just plug in headphones (and your FiiO gear of choice):
http://youtu.be/_6uUtf-lMQQ
Edited by Evshrug - 1/13/14 at 2:19pm
post #40 of 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Bloggs View Post



Would the decoding be simpler with a HDMI connection?
I'm not 100%, but I think so. HDMI may be able to send multichannel audio without using an encoder, but sometimes it still uses a codec... I specifically remember reading Xbox One can output DDL through HDMI but not over optical (yet, firmware update expected).

 

 

There is no difference in the decoding of DD or DTS over SPDIF vs HDMI.  The signal is the exact same as it reaches the device and gets decoded by the chipset into pcm and onto the DAC.

 

With HDMI you shouldnt even need any encoding, just send straight 7.1 LPCM to the device(if it has hdmi) and then from there do the surround hrtf manipulation.

 

Thats silly that the xboxone cant send DD over optical yet.  Hopefully it does LPCM like the PS3/4 at least.

 

Anyway back on topic!! lol. 

post #41 of 90
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Guys (and any gals?) of the petition, let's keep this somewhat simple, make a FiiO device easier to see the light of day. Then, they can make an "enthusiast" model later.

 

 

Yeah, I don't want to overwhelm FiiO too much.  That's why I in the first post I split the features in to things the device would "need", and then everything else.

 

 

Still, it's good to discuss all the variables, options, and potential additional features so we can get a feel for things.  I mean, how often do we get the chance to directly influence the design of piece of gear like this?  Normally were at the mercy of whatever the gaming companies (Astro, Turtle Beach, etc.) decide to come up with.

post #42 of 90
I think it's a big enough step for FiiO to add a processor (Digital Signal Processor, DSP) to an amp/DAC device. They just have to find the most practical way for them to do it... Once they get a foothold, the device could always be succeeded with improved devices. If Turtle Beach, Skullcandy (owns Astro), and MadCatz (owns Tritton) can all get a DSP chip into an accessory product, I believe FiiO could do it with the quality focus that audio deserves smily_headphones1.gif

From what I've read/researched, once FiiO gets over the processing hurdle, it would be relatively easy to include things like HDMI, input switching, line outputs, and processing for 7.1 LPCM, Dolby Digital Live, and DTS decoding licenses.
post #43 of 90
Interested. Petition signed
post #44 of 90

As I've mentioned months ago, FiiO already has a basis to work off of...

 

I have no idea what this device is for, but what we are asking for can definitely look similar to this. Just get rid of the whole wireless thing and work off the base alone...

 

http://www.fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx?ID=100000048596648&MenuID=105026003


Edited by Change is Good - 1/13/14 at 11:22pm
post #45 of 90

The W1 as I understand it is intended to provide wireless audio to multiple speakers throughout the house. And I agree that it would make a great starting point for a gaming device.

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