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What is better: Dolby surround simulation or authentic, quality stereo? - Page 2

post #16 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post

Doesn't matter how good your headphones are they aren't going to make stereo better in comparison to virtual surround sound. Besides, HD800s with virtual surround sound > HD800s with stereo.

You probably need to do some comparisons before you jump to that conclusion. A good pair of open headphones creates a very big sound stage. Hook a pair of Beats Solos or cheap Skullcandys up to some kind of digital processing for 3-d positional audio, and the sound could be muddy and dialogue difficult to understand in comparison to a much better pair of open headphones without the surround processing. So while you might loose some positional audio ability, the overall gaming experience could be better. It really would depend on how important it is know exactly where the footstep is behind you on the left vs. simply knowing it's behind you behind you on the left somewhere. That depends on the game and the gamer.
post #17 of 50
Quote: cel4145 (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


You probably need to do some comparisons before you jump to that conclusion. A good pair of open headphones creates a very big sound stage. Hook a pair of Beats Solos or cheap Skullcandys up to some kind of digital processing for 3-d positional audio, and the sound could be muddy and dialogue difficult to understand in comparison to a much better pair of open headphones without the surround processing. So while you might loose some positional audio ability, the overall gaming experience could be better. It really would depend on how important it is know exactly where the footstep is behind you on the left vs. simply knowing it's behind you behind you on the left somewhere. That depends on the game and the gamer.

 

I know what I'm talking about and stereo doesn't sound better or give better positional cues. It's flat out inferior to using appropriate surround sound software unless the game has an audio mix specifically for headphones and most games simply do not or the implementation is poor. It doesn't matter how good or bad your headphones are. You aren't being a purist you're using audio that was not designed to be used with headphones.

 

Open headphones DO NOT create a 3D soundstage.


Edited by AUserName501 - 2/13/14 at 10:38am
post #18 of 50

Here is an interesting video.

 

Towards the end the authors argue, quite convincingly in my view, that it's better to have a really good stereo transducer rather than rely on software processing to get an inferior effect.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0

 

This is the video they cite as an example.

 

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

 

This flies in the face of 15 years received wisdom from the relevant experts. So I realise it will be controversial. I post only for reference  NOT to get involved in a controversy. I hope it helps some folk make their own decisions on the evidence.

post #19 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post

I know what I'm talking about . . .

But you don't know how to use the quote button on Head-Fi to reply to someone? rolleyes.gif

News flash: The "I Know What I'm Talking About" argument is not convincing on an Internet forum.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreyka View Post

Open headphones DO NOT create a 3D soundstage.

Who said that they do? I didn't.
post #20 of 50
Quote: RonaldDumsfeld (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by RonaldDumsfeld View Post
 

Here is an interesting video.

 

Towards the end the authors argue, quite convincingly in my view, that it's better to have a really good stereo transducer rather than rely on software processing to get an inferior effect.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rXcJuEsy0

 

This is the video they cite as an example.

 

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

 

This flies in the face of 15 years received wisdom from the relevant experts. So I realise it will be controversial. I post only for reference  NOT to get involved in a controversy. I hope it helps some folk make their own decisions on the evidence.

 

He doesn't argue convincingly and the video is full of mistakes. Most games DO NOT have a channel mix designed for headphones but for stereo speakers and the person is effectively saying that games have a mix made for headphones so there is no need for VSS. However, he is wrong because most games don't have a mix made for headphones or it isn't very good because it was an afterthought in the engine. The barbershop example is from a real life dummy and it's an excellent example of how good binaural is, but few games actually have a binaural implementation. Head Related Transfer Functions are how you create binaural audio for games and that is exactly what virtual surround sound does.

 

VSS just takes a 5.1 or 7.1 channel mix and applies it to a HRTF and output the 2 channel mix designed specifically for headphones. You cannot use stereo made for speakers with headphones and have it sounding correct or with the positional cues a full 360° around the player. Sound cards actually have a good DAC and amplifier implementation but their weaknesses are a high output impedance and a lack of analogue volume control.

 

Quote: cel4145 (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post


But you don't know how to use the quote button on Head-Fi to reply to someone? rolleyes.gif

News flash: The "I Know What I'm Talking About" argument is not convincing on an Internet forum.
Who said that they do? I didn't.

 

I spoiler quotes because it makes the page more readable, especially when you're quoting large blocks of text. I'm surprised it's not required.


Edited by AUserName501 - 2/13/14 at 11:09am
post #21 of 50

That video is utter ******** but has been torn apart throughout many forums for this. 

 

Anyway, what people often forget (or just don't know) when stating stereo would be enough for positioning is that the brain automatically corrects our perception through our own natural experience. Approximating through our experience the brain connects the associated sound to what you see or think you see. Close your eyes and you can't tell the real position in a spherical soundfield (which almost all games of today don't have) outside of  normal stereo image. Many games also help with additional visual cues so that you can locate enemies above/below you or outside of the stereo image. 

 

An important aspect of immersion is that you should be able to locate sounds blindly. It's much more immersive hearing someone walk above you, below you or shooting from 5 o'clock 20m above etc...oh and much more natural. 


Edited by Fegefeuer - 2/13/14 at 11:42am
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by rfe777 View Post

I have a sound card(Asus Xonar Essence STX) installed in my PC that can simulate Dolby surround in headphones by a something called Dolby Pro Logic, which gives a good surround effect, nice echo and everything, but is only relevant to movies and computer games, not for music. On the other hand, this simulation looks to me like just compression and mixing of the stereo sound to be as if it came from a 5.1 system, like fooling the ears or something.

And, in order to get a really a good, authentic ,quality stereo sound(both for music and for movies and computer games) you need to use a good receiver and/or amp/DAC(again, for headphones only, not for external speakers).

What do you think?

TIA 
I think that it's important to distinguish between Dolby Pro Logic and Dolby Headphone. I will say now that with music and pre-processed stereo audio, I prefer to keep things stereo with no additional processing (or just a tiny tiny smidge of EQ if the sound is bothering me). Dolby Headphone takes multiple channels of audio (5.1/7.1) and mixes it down to stereo for headphones, while preserving (to an extent) the sense of direction from front/back/sides. This setup kicks butt, and I easily prefer it over the 5.1 speaker setup we actually have in our house since, for space reasons, it can never be properly set up (and the money put into said system is inferior compared to the same budget allocated to a headphone system). Dolby Pro Logic, however, I have barely ever liked. As you pointed out at the end of your first paragraph, Dolby Pro Logic is just stereo + reverb for a sense of distance, and doesn't add any positional accuracy over regular stereo (except in the rare and extinct case where audio was pre-mixed for Dolby Pro Logic to pull out sound channels, but that was still a lot more diffuse than what is typically sent over optical connections these days).

So, you CAN get very good quality sound in stereo and Dolby Headphone processed surround (or optical out to a home theater system), but I would make sure that if you want surround, you follow the directions so that Dolby Headphone is fed a proper 5.1 or 7.1 channel signal.



Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Surround works 100% for games. Only 'Audio Purists' say that they can use stereo to get the same effect. Wrong. Plain wrong and wishful thinking. The game itself is mixing the directional cues for the HRTF - using stereo simply negates that - stupid assertion that surround does not work. I hate to say it, but I think these people are just plain disdainful, even snobbish when it comes to gamers and games. Kind of the types who loaf around in large executive padded armchairs and go 'yaw n stuff, yaw - I paid a **** tonne for this n yaw etc'. Stockbrokers or bankers. End result is somebody kickable.

Surround does work very well. If I forgot to switch on surround in a game, even with the hassle of reloading it - I would every time quit out to Windows and correct the settings.. It's the 21st Century guys. Surround sound works I'm afraid. Anybody who disputes this has spent an awful lot of money on their gear............ so they can't be wrong... like ever

Done. dusted, sorted: and the boxes have been conclusively ticked. So there. Anybody.. and I mean anybody who waltzes in with a pair of HD800's claiming they are the best gaming setup with their Anedio's in stereo should be politely avoided. Gently shush them away, and pretend you've seen your friend on the other side of the road.. even if you don't actually know the b*stard.

Sorry .. slightly pissed. Was a good night. Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
LoL! I very nearly went to the bar to get pissed with a friend last night!
Of course, you did jack up your enthusiasm with some entertaining hyperbole, but you made some good points. Vanilla stereo is Truely left-right in games and movies, no magical headphone is going to change that. Now, some music may have been recorded with binaural methods, where there are two microphones and maybe even a mannequin head involved, but most of the time music is engineered in stereo to play at some % volume balance between left and right channels; for example a piano playing 75% left and 25% right. A typical mic simply doesn't record direction like our ears can, so the best stereo can do is pan between left/right and (with "live" recordings) a sense of distance. But most music is recorded in a studio these days, with a mic right on top of each instrument, and then an audio engineer takes these different "tracks" and builds a stereo composition, deciding manually how much each "track" will be panned between left-right so that each track won't seem to be sitting on top of eachother.

Virtual Headphone Surround, or whatever else you like to call it, is specifically different because it preserves or creates an angle or direction that a sound originated. I would actually argue that binaural recording techniques are actually in the virtual surround category, BECAUSE they are an attempt to keep directional information of a performance. I would side with SaLX till the cows come home that since directionality is part of how humans naturally hear, audio not stripped of this info will sound more realistic. Just like how I said in response to the OP above, it's "too late" to add directionality to stereo sources, but IF the audio HAS directional information, THEN stripping away that info to make stereo is basically processing out some of the info that would impart the sense of "being there."

That said, creating this effect for headphones is so much more complicated than stereo, and on top of that everyone has different ear shapes so as far as I know it's not a one-size-fits-all situation. Dolby Headphone is a bit of an older solution, one that suits the majority of people, but still I feel that Creative's continuing efforts have produced more natural feeling results. The two BEST, most advanced solutions I've heard of, so far, is the Smith Realizer, and AMD's TrueAudio with GenAudio's processing. When you pay for the Realizer, you don't just get a piece of hardware, there's actually a calibration service involved where tiny microphones are inserted deep into your ears and you go to a theater to get a recording of how directional audio is affected by YOUR ears... Talk about customization! The only downside, besides price, is that when you get home, sound is basically still limited to panning between traditional 7.1 speaker locations. I'm really excited about the potential of GenAudio's processing: it can technically process 7.1 mixed audio like the rest (I think), but if you can feed it the raw positional data, it can process the sound for headphones to emit sounds that seem to emanate from anywhere... including above or below! AMD released a YouTube demo of TrueAudio within the in-progress game Lichdom, and even with YouTube compression I like the sense of believability I get, since a sound seems to occupy a space matching what I see on screen (or saw move off-screen). The first game to be released with this technology will be Thief later this month, though you need one of AMD's latest graphics cards (or perhaps a PS4) to hear the feature.
post #23 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

You probably need to do some comparisons before you jump to that conclusion. A good pair of open headphones creates a very big sound stage. Hook a pair of Beats Solos or cheap Skullcandys up to some kind of digital processing for 3-d positional audio, and the sound could be muddy and dialogue difficult to understand in comparison to a much better pair of open headphones without the surround processing. So while you might loose some positional audio ability, the overall gaming experience could be better. It really would depend on how important it is know exactly where the footstep is behind you on the left vs. simply knowing it's behind you behind you on the left somewhere. That depends on the game and the gamer.
Who is using Beats? We're talking about one variable here... stereo vs virtual surround. At least, I am.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

But you don't know how to use the quote button on Head-Fi to reply to someone? rolleyes.gif

News flash: The "I Know What I'm Talking About" argument is not convincing on an Internet forum.
Who said that they do? I didn't.

Look, I'm going to assume you have positive intent and, because your avatar is of the head in "Prometheus" (I think), that you enjoy an intellectual exercise. So instead of these two quoted examples of trying to distract from the topic on-hand and put Dreyka on the defensive, let's consider stereo vs virtual surround. I agree that even Dolby Headphone adds a little reverb, but not as much as Dolby Pro Logic, and other virtual surround techniques have even less distortion. The techniques and algorithms are being refined, so I would recommend against condemning virtual surround based on early attempts, and if you keep an open mind then you might not miss out on some of the cool things coming our way.
post #24 of 50

I'm sorry that my earlier post was quite frankly hugely opinionated and that kind of kicked off the escalation of opinions. You guys seriously know your stuff, and it's simply just a difference of opinion - basically we should be enjoying those differences as opposed to get all spikey about it :smile:

 

I tend towards the surround camp and always will, but each to their own. Great posts all round.

post #25 of 50
Quote: Evshrug (Click to show)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


Who is using Beats? We're talking about one variable here... stereo vs virtual surround. At least, I am.
Look, I'm going to assume you have positive intent and, because your avatar is of the head in "Prometheus" (I think), that you enjoy an intellectual exercise. So instead of these two quoted examples of trying to distract from the topic on-hand and put Dreyka on the defensive, let's consider stereo vs virtual surround. I agree that even Dolby Headphone adds a little reverb, but not as much as Dolby Pro Logic, and other virtual surround techniques have even less distortion. The techniques and algorithms are being refined, so I would recommend against condemning virtual surround based on early attempts, and if you keep an open mind then you might not miss out on some of the cool things coming our way.

 

 

Listen to the comparison examples I made here which uses different virtual surround sound software. Dolby headphones can sound unnatural and reverby with some sounds such as gunshots but I wouldn't say that it sounds bad but only bad with specific sounds. It does sound distant though which works in some settings but doesn't sound right in others

post #26 of 50

Dunno if you've ever read benbenkr's most excellent post, but again I'll post it here: http://www.overclock.net/t/1392877/a-couple-questions-about-cmss-3d-dolby-headphone-and-similar-technologies

post #27 of 50
There is a topic about Dolby Headphone settings. I just posted there my most recent settings.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/555263/foobar2000-dolby-headphone-config-comment-discuss/705#post_10268257

I agree with Dreyka:
Quote:
HD800s with virtual surround sound > HD800s with stereo

Well I don't know HD800 how they sound,but I know Alpha Dogs. On Alphas music straight from CD is very enjoyable, but because tracks are not binaural you still fell this super-stereo effect which is tiring. You can solve the problem by simulating that sound is incoming from speakers that are in front of you. If you do that you may indeed hear sound like on speakers, but the problem with speakers is that sound is coming only from the front, and you would like to hear something from back as well - at least some echo or something to make you feel the dimension of the stage. Apparently there is Dolby Pro Logic which can convert any stereo into 5 channel audio. In theory it works only with material recorded in PL format (BTW I have a few CD's which actually are). However in practice you can still use that technique when listening to any stereo recording. The thing with all PL surround effects is that they are predefined, and you can't change their internal parameters. So I came up with Matrix, that will do the decoding. First I got coefficients for PL, and then tweaked them to be more for music listening, i.e. to be useful with normal stereo rather than PL records only.

Some people may say that any DSP will devastate the sound quality. I would agree that better SQ would be if recording was binaural from the beginning, but we all know that is not going to happen. So how much does the DSP destroy the sound. I have noticed that adding effects very much blurs the sound when listening on cheaper headphones. But for example with Alpha Dog it is just impossible not to hear every single detail. So I guess much depends on gear - with better gear DSP is not a problem.
post #28 of 50

My dad introduced and taught me a lot about music. I used to wake up every weekend listening classical and I could go on, but that's not the purpose of this thread. 

 

Not long ago I decided to buy a nice set of studio monitors for him and one day I noticed he had some sort of 3D/surround gimmick on. The thing is, he prefers listening his albums with a surround because he likes more the sensation at expense of sound quality.

Talking about music enjoyment... 


Edited by squallkiercosa - 2/13/14 at 5:04pm
post #29 of 50
I use my settings at work, basically because otherwise I would not be able to focus on my work if sound was coming from everywhere around me. On the other hand, at home I very rarely use DSP.
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

So instead of these two quoted examples of trying to distract from the topic on-hand and put Dreyka on the defensive, let's consider stereo vs virtual surround.

Actually, if you read my comment that Dreyka replied to originally (which is one reason why comments are better off put in line as quotes), you would understand the context. As from trying to distract from the topic, if you read the beginning of the thread, then you'll see that I was discussing this topic a week ago before you and the others got here.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I agree that even Dolby Headphone adds a little reverb, but not as much as Dolby Pro Logic, and other virtual surround techniques have even less distortion. The techniques and algorithms are being refined, so I would recommend against condemning virtual surround based on early attempts, and if you keep an open mind then you might not miss out on some of the cool things coming our way.

Read post #2 where I specifically say, "A lot of people like them. To each his smily_headphones1.gif" Why do you feel it necessary to assume that someone that clearly acknowledges the preferences of others does not have an open mind?

So please. Go play mod with someone else. If you want to talk about the topic, that's fine.
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