Originally Posted by rfe777
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?
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.
Originally Posted by SaLX
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.