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Positional audio for new guys. - Page 2

post #16 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 Wow...

 

Are you a troll or something?

 

There will never be a full coverage of all these things because they can be explained in a single post of like 2 lines.

 

Not today, I'm not. I did, however, get those vibes from reading your post, which is why I replied the way I did. And if it's all so easy to explain, why does everyone seem to have their own take on it?

 

Quote:
 1. Soundcards are useless, avoid them like the plague. If you need virtual surround, you can download Razer Surround for free.

 

Quote:

 1. If you want virtual surround, get a sound card. SBX > CMSS-3D > Dolby Headphones. More expensive = better sound quality and better DAC/AMP. Knowing this, Creative ZXR = best. End of line 1.

 

Okay, first thing, I'm getting mixed signals here. First you say sound cards are useless, then you name a use for them. What exactly are you stating they're useless for, in the first line?

 

And I'm also not so sure about SBX being better than CMSS-3D. The only way for me to properly judge is to personally get both side by and side run 'em through fairly comprehensive tests, but the sparse audio comparisons available on YT SEEMED to show CMSS-3D was a bit more accurate directionally, although distance/imaging seemed nonexistent. SBX was more Dolby Headphone-ish in that it was somewhat more...muddled, I guess. Not in the sound quality sense: They all sound like crap. But more in terms of the positioning. I found I preferred SBX at 30% to 100% in one test, with CMSS-3D seeming slightly more accurate than SBX at 30% but with both being pretty close. Yeah, it's subjective, I know. It's why I wish there were more comprehensive comparisons that also are regularly updated. Maybe someone here could do that?

 

Quote:
 2. Best headphones for positional audio at a "normal" price range: ATH-AD700 > Sennheiser HD 555/558 > AKG Q701. End of line 2.

 

This seems to be the general consensus. It's worth noting, however, that the list doesn't include the other options. Some people are okay with shelling out 200-300 or more for good headphones. Hell, even headsets: Look at the Psyko 5.1s. I've heard of people experimenting with gaming on HD800s before, albeit with usually sub-optimal results compared to much cheaper alternatives. But first things first: Where do the vaunted Beyerdynamic DT 880s fit into this hierarchy? Is it reasonably common so you can conclusively say they're better or worse, or is it too subjective to be sure? And of course: Are there better headphones still than the 880s and AD700(Xe)s for positional audio? Price is a factor but I want to also cover the high-end options, for those who may not be content with the cheaper ones.

 

Quote:
 If you really need to know if this headphone or this soundcard will make you a better player, the answer is no. Will it give you a better indication of where is the enemy and give you a slight advantage, maybe. This isn't rocket science, sound is sound.

 

I'm well aware it does not enhance your skills, merely enhance your awareness of the playing field. I play competitively and have for years.

 

It's actually a lot more than a "slight advantage." To the people with the right ears and setup, it's like a legitimate wallhack and playing without it is like being crippled. I'm one of those people, and there are many others out there who also benefit from it a lot. 

 

If it's not rocket science, it's still made more complex than figuring out how to put Lego blocks together. I build computers and comparing components isn't NEARLY as unclear as comparing audio. Either it's more complicated overall, or perhaps simple answers are obscured under mountains of opinion and irrelevant information. This thread's purpose is to try and cut through the latter, for the benefit of those who don't have years of research and experience with high-end audio setups.

post #17 of 135

Man...I mainly play RPGs and racing games. Little to no use for positional audio there!

 

I can imagine it's extremely important for FPS and similar genres, though.

post #18 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Music Alchemist View Post
 

Man...I mainly play RPGs and racing games. Little to no use for positional audio there!

 

I can imagine it's extremely important for FPS and similar genres, though.

 

Oh yes, it is. In shooters, you have to round corners and try to be aware of where an opponent is through walls so you can ready to pop 'im when you see him. You also have to be aware if someone else is sneaking up on you. And in a more general sense, it's good to know where the fighting is. If you hear gunshots coming from Position A while you're at Position B, and nothing's happening at B, you'd best make haste to A. All real simple, but no less important for that. Honestly, playing without your ears is crippling yourself, even in easy games like CoD. Heh. If you're playing 1v1 against someone else, for instance, camping and listening is a good way to stay ahead of the game.

post #19 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post
 

Oh yes, it is. In shooters, you have to round corners and try to be aware of where an opponent is through walls so you can ready to pop 'im when you see him. You also have to be aware if someone else is sneaking up on you. And in a more general sense, it's good to know where the fighting is. If you hear gunshots coming from Position A while you're at Position B, and nothing's happening at B, you'd best make haste to A. All real simple, but no less important for that. Honestly, playing without your ears is crippling yourself, even in easy games like CoD. Heh. If you're playing 1v1 against someone else, for instance, camping and listening is a good way to stay ahead of the game.

 

I have little experience in those types of games. In the original Call Of Duty, the only thing I was good at was blowing myself up. XD (I'm pretty skilled at Metal Gear games, though.)

 

By the way, you mentioned that the Cerberus reviews say it has heavy bass. Does that automatically preclude positional ability?

post #20 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 I have little experience in those types of games. In the original Call Of Duty, the only thing I was good at was blowing myself up. XD (I'm pretty skilled at Metal Gear games, though.)

 

On the bright side, trolling CoD players by blowing yourself up next to other people while typing racist-sounding terrorist jokes is probably the most fun you'll have in any Call of Duty game after the first. I've never actually used positional audio in stealth action games but I can immediately see how it can be useful in 3D ones where you have to keep an eye (and ear) on NPCs and in multiplayer (Ex.: Splinter Cell's Spies vs. Mercs) so they don't get the drop on you and you can evade them without having to take the time to look back, which can cost you precious seconds.

 

Quote:
 By the way, you mentioned that the Cerberus reviews say it has heavy bass. Does that automatically preclude positional ability?

 

It doesn't automatically preclude it but as I understand it, strong lows usually muddle up the mids and highs, which are more important for tracking objects spatially. Basically, like Djodars said, the best gaming headphones tend to have low bass, or at least bass that isn't insanely high. This doesn't preclude the headphones from being useful in games: The Sennheisers he listed are fairly useful in competitive play still, it's just they're not the best. AD700s and DT 880s are almost universally considered better for purely competitive purposes. The HD 555s/558s/595s/598s are considered more fun to use, though, since their sound is more realistic.

 

This is a common problem for researching them, actually. People say, "Oh, I like the HD 595s for gaming more than I like the AD700s" because the 595s are more fun to use even if they're inferior choices for competitive play. It's the same deal with software virtualization. "I can't stand CMSS-3D because it's harsh/sounds too processed/etc., so I use Dolby Headphone instead. Get that." The problem is oftentimes people fail to fully explain their reasoning. By and large people seem to prefer Creative's solutions for competitive play only, but you hear the odd recommendation for Dolby here and there and it's because Dolby sounds more realistic even if it's less useful. (Not ALWAYS. Some people honestly DO find Dolby better for competitive play. As Head-Fiers are fond of saying, everyone's ears are different.) This is fine if you want a balanced experience, but if you're looking for competitive gaming audio, it's just annoying noise which can lead new guys down blind alleys looking for obscure advantages that don't even exist if you're looking for an honest comparison of both for pure positional audio. It's maddening.


Edited by 343 Grenadier - 8/22/14 at 6:18pm
post #21 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post

 

I originally said sound cards were useless because, like you said, all virtual surround sounds like **** and it's the only thing they have to offer more than onboard audio or an external DAC/AMP. Might as well go with the free option, in this case Razer Surround and either cut costs and stick with onboard audio (ALC1150 being the latest one from Realtek) or buy an external DAC/AMP like the O2/ODAC or the Schiit Magni/Modi.

 

Also, in certain games like CS:GO for example, the "headphones" or "2 speakers" option in-game are converted from the original 5.1 audio so all you need is stereo sound really. Virtual surround is completely useless in counter-strike games because of this.

 

Now if you really want better virtual surround, of course you wouldn't have any other choice than buying a Creative or ASUS soundcard.

 

As for high-end headphones being used for gaming... there isn't a lot of people I've heard of with Audeze LCD-2's, HD 800's or any headphones in the $800+ range playing video games with them to be honest...

 

The most expensive headphones I've heard someone gaming with is Mr.Speakers Alpha Dog and they've said it was amazing. Plus, they're closed-back so you don't have any ambient noises disturbing your concentration.

 

Then again, most professional gamers use the most ****tiest headphones/headsets during tournaments and they're the best in the world. Look at f0rest from NiP... he's using a SteelSeries Diablo3 edition headset, which is based on the Siberia, which is utter ****... so... I wouldn't look too far in shedding hundreds/thousands of dollars on headphones for gaming. I would use that money to buy a good pair of headphones, DAC and AMP and game with them + have an amazing music listening experience as well.

post #22 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 I originally said sound cards were useless because, like you said, all virtual surround sounds like **** and it's the only thing they have to offer more than onboard audio or an external DAC/AMP. Might as well go with the free option, in this case Razer Surround and either cut costs and stick with onboard audio (ALC1150 being the latest one from Realtek) or buy an external DAC/AMP like the O2/ODAC or the Schiit Magni/Modi.

 

Which, I'm given to understand, are useless for gaming. Which is the whole point of this thread. Which means your post was irrelevant. I made it about as clear as I could in my initial post that sound quality is a non-factor here. This is for finding the straight-up ideal solution for positional audio only. If you want to find a well-balanced arrangement that serves both purposes, well, that's what the forum threads I HAVE seen are for. As you've said, gamers tend to use completely POS audio if they think they'll get a competitive edge so they're not exactly picky about how it sounds for music. 

 

Quote:
 Also, in certain games like CS:GO for example, the "headphones" or "2 speakers" option in-game are converted from the original 5.1 audio so all you need is stereo sound really. Virtual surround is completely useless in counter-strike games because of this.

 

But not all games. Look, man, I know that ideally, this shouldn't be an issue, but it is. Like, I know the X-Fi Titanium HD is just using a PCM1972A DAC and mediocre PCB components, but it has that exclusive CMSS-3D software. It's an evil, but it's one we have to work with thanks to Creative. On top of that, I've also read here that with some tweaking, you can actually make things like CMSS-3D or Dolby Headphone work in Source games. Whether this is better or worse than the default audio, I'm not sure. Some say better, some say worse. Tack it down to subjective experience and opinion.

 

Quote:
 Now if you really want better virtual surround, of course you wouldn't have any other choice than buying a Creative or ASUS soundcard.

 

So, in a nutshell, the sound cards ARE necessary for the best virtualization software? There's nothing better than Razer Surround on the vendor-agnostic side of things? 

 

Quote:
 As for high-end headphones being used for gaming... there isn't a lot of people I've heard of with Audeze LCD-2's, HD 800's or any headphones in the $800+ range playing video games with them to be honest...

 

The most expensive headphones I've heard someone gaming with is Mr.Speakers Alpha Dog and they've said it was amazing. Plus, they're closed-back so you don't have any ambient noises disturbing your concentration.

 

I've heard LCD-2s aren't that good for gaming, and neither are HD800s. They're no doubt beautiful-sounding headphones for music. Next time I dig up an FLAC of Beethoven's 9th as played by a German band or something for use on Foobar2000, I'll reconsider the ridiculously high pricetags on them, but they're not important here. As for the Alpha Dogs, I've never heard of them before. But at 600 bucks, I'm hoping they have either good sound quality or positioning. For gaming purposes, how do they compare to the cheaper alternatives everyone recommends? (That they're good for music is not in question.)

 

Quote:
 Then again, most professional gamers use the most ****tiest headphones/headsets during tournaments and they're the best in the world. Look at f0rest from NiP... he's using a SteelSeries Diablo3 edition headset, which is based on the Siberia, which is utter ****... so... I wouldn't look too far in shedding hundreds/thousands of dollars on headphones for gaming. I would use that money to buy a good pair of headphones, DAC and AMP and game with them + have an amazing music listening experience as well.

 

Yes, and I understand where you're coming from. I do enjoy listening to music, too. But I also wanna know just what you can do when you spare no expense; make no compromise for the best audio solutions for gaming purposes, since not many people seem to care so there's no concrete answer about much of anything. And as Psyko Audio has proven, there are gamers who really are willing to pay over 300 USD for a pair of flimsy, uncomfortable headphones that sound like last year's trash if they think it'll give 'em a competitive edge. These are generally the same crowd you find buying Titan Black GPUs and Core i7 Extreme series CPUs with more RAM than you'd need for a RAMdisk so they can run 3-6 1 millisecond TN-panel 144 Hz monitors at one time, but insanity aside, I'm still curious. The stuff regarding music is really something for another thread. Like, what you would recommend for classical music, jazz, etc. 

post #23 of 135
Quote:

Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post
 

I've heard LCD-2s aren't that good for gaming, and neither are HD800s.

 

As for the Alpha Dogs, I've never heard of them before. But at 600 bucks, I'm hoping they have either good sound quality or positioning. For gaming purposes, how do they compare to the cheaper alternatives everyone recommends? (That they're good for music is not in question.)

 

I also wanna know just what you can do when you spare no expense; make no compromise for the best audio solutions for gaming purposes, since not many people seem to care so there's no concrete answer about much of anything.

 

I've heard good things about the HD 800 for gaming, actually, especially regarding realism. Positioning seems to be excellent as well. (This is mere conjecture, but it seems to me that headphones with a balanced frequency response, large soundstage and good imaging would naturally excel at that.)

 

The MrSpeakers Alpha Dog is a planar magnetic headphone that benefits more from amplification than many models with traditional dynamic drivers. (They are more sensitive than some other planar magnetics, at least.) I'm not sure how well they would work with gaming or whether you would need anything else with them for that purpose.

 

Spare no expense, eh? Are you sure you're ready for that? :veryevil:

 

I am planning on getting a surround sound audio processor that costs thousands of dollars. It basically makes headphones sound much more like speakers and can even record directly from speaker systems for an endless array of custom configurations. I am also looking at software that does something similar.

 

Once I get direct experience with this gear (mainly with music, but also for gaming eventually), I'll report my findings...but like I said, unless you are already into hi-fi, there's no point in spending so much money on any high-end audio equipment just for a gaming rig, even if it gives you a better edge.


Edited by Music Alchemist - 8/22/14 at 8:49pm
post #24 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 I've heard good things about the HD 800 for gaming, actually, especially regarding realism. Positioning seems to be excellent as well.

 

Ah, but are they better than the DT 880s or AD700s or anything else like or better than them? What few comparisons I've seen say no. The problem is the comparisons are subjective.

 

Quote:
 The MrSpeakers Alpha Dog is a planar magnetic headphone that benefits more from amplification than models with traditional dynamic drivers. (They are more sensitive than many other planar magnetics, at least.) I'm not sure how well they would work with gaming or whether you would need anything else with them for that purpose.

 

I've heard that Stax planar magnetic headphones might be good for gaming, but it's an unconfirmed rumor for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen their pricetags. (Doesn't mean I don't wanna find out anyway.)

 

Quote:
 Spare no expense, eh? Are you sure you're ready for that? :veryevil:

 

Sure, long as it remains a penny-free intellectual exercise. :ph34r: I'm definitely not paying for a Sennheiser Orpheus HE-90.

 

Quote:
I am planning on getting a surround sound audio processor that costs thousands of dollars. It basically makes headphones sound much more like speakers and can even record directly from speaker systems for an endless array of custom configurations. I am also looking at software that does something similar.

 

Don't tell my eSports friend that or a random bank in Austria will be robbed by the next day and by the end of that day, his hometown will be destroyed by seismic activity.

 

Quote:
Once I get some direct experience with this gear (mainly with music, but also for gaming eventually), I'll report my findings...but like I said, unless you are already into hi-fi, there's no point in spending so much money on any high-end audio equipment just for a gaming rig, even if it gives you a better edge.

 

Aw, you're no fun. At least entertain the options under 1000 dollars, for the people who may one day leave the asylum.

post #25 of 135

Interesting thread.  One in which you'll get plenty of opinions, but a lot of it comes down to preference.  I'm a casual FPS gamer - so I appreciate directional audio.  I've also come from onboard 8.1 audio (which to be quite honest didn't work out all that well for me for gaming), but have a set-up now that whilst not state of the art, still manages to cover everything I need.

 

First - if you're gaming on PC - my personal recommendation would be to get a soundcard with appropriate DSPs.  For this - it's a matter of picking your poison.  Some swear by Dolby (eg Asus Xonar Essence STX), others prefer CMSS-3D (Creative).  Pick one.  I've tried both and prefer CMSS-3D, but ultimately this one comes down to personal preference.  There is no "best".

 

Next - decide on your headphones.  Best I can point you to is MadLustEnvy's thread (http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-7-9-2014-ultrasone-hfi-15g-added). He's a console gamer - but his ratings on headphones are very valid.  His opening posts on the thread (headphone rankings) are definitely worth going through.  Once you've decided on the headphones - then you need to look at additional amping if required.

 

So far you haven't mentioned a budget, so you need to give that some thought.

 

My own personal set-up is a Titanium X-Fi > optical out > Audio-gd NFB-12 > Headphones.  My current headphones for gaming and music are the Beyerdynamic T1s.  They are brilliant for gaming. Excellent imaging, and very good clarity.

 

Headphones I've used in the past include AD700, SRH840, SRH940, SRH1840, DT880, HD600, HD700, AKG K701, K702, Q701, K612 Pro

 

My personal top 5 would be : T1 > HD700 > SRH1840 > K612 Pro > DT880.  

post #26 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post

 

2. So for instance, someone building a mid to high end PC today might consider the AsRock Fatal1ty Z97 Professional with its Sound Core3D onboard and an external DAC over something like a Sound Blaster Z series card with an external DAC to save cash as there's not much benefit to buying, say, a ZxR instead if you can just use an external DAC for music while getting the same or near the same practical effect in games using the onboard? (I should note the onboard audio isn't complete and utter trash, spec-wise, either.)

 

3. So then it IS a choice between various sound cards or at least onboard solutions. So that brings us to what virtualization software is the best, meaning Razer Surround vs. Turtle Beach Surround vs. CMSS-3D vs. THX TruStudio vs. SBX ProStudio vs. Dolby Headphone vs. Dolby Home Theater vs Dolby Digital Live. Y'know, someone should record a variety of tests comparing all of these side by side in the exact same scenario, and post them on YT. A few try, but the ones I've seen are usually on games like Battlefield 3, which I'm given to understand are less than ideal environments to showcase this software.

 

2. Yes. It only costs, what, less than $50 more from the cheapest Z-chip board to the same brand's gaming Z-chip board with decent on-board sound. Some of them have enough power for nearly any headphone, and while I might prefer a real amp when it comes to music, again like I previously posted all the other stimuli you're dealing with will not leave you with enough attention span to nitpick over which amp does explosions better barring more obvious issues (like total lack of current or voltage for that particular headphone). So if you're only about to build your PC now, might as well also get a headphone with decent imaging but won't need more current nor voltage than what the motherboard's on-board sound will provide, and it will be good enough for games. If you feel it's lacking for music, then you can later use a DAC through the SPDIF output on the mobo and an amp after it, that way you can just leave the headphone plugged into the amp and still get virtual surround.

 

3. Actually someone did post a comparative video on YouTube, and it was posted on MadLustEnvy's gaming audio thread (search for it here). From the ones I've used - EAX (though briefly with COD) on my cousin's Creative headset+USB soundcard, Razer Surround, and whatever the Xonar U3 comes with, I'd pick the ones on the (external) soundcards. Razer Surround sounds accurate all around the head during calibration, but once in-game it was just a strong L-C-R image and I can't get a good semblance of surround sound. Others also report a delay with some games. Of course, note that I have crap on-board sound, and you can get Razer free (totally before, now I think it comes with Synapse when you guy a Razer product), so by all means if you can try it with a good motherboard, then do so (of course, it still stands to reason that a full software implementation doesn't always get around hardware limitations).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by djodars View Post

 

1. Soundcards are useless, avoid them like the plague. If you need virtual surround, you can download Razer Surround for free.

 

Some people get delays on Razer Surround; on my set-up, it doesn't do depth as well as my Xonar U3. Of course, yes, try it for free first before anything else, but that doesn't mean it will work better all the time against anything that isn't free.

post #27 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post

I've heard that Stax planar magnetic headphones might be good for gaming, but it's an unconfirmed rumor for reasons that should be obvious to anyone who has ever seen their pricetags. (Doesn't mean I don't wanna find out anyway.)

 

LOL. STAX make electrostatic headphones (invented them, actually), not planar magnetic. You need a dedicated electrostatic headphone amplifier to use them, and I wouldn't even think to use them for gaming, personally.

post #28 of 135
post #29 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
 First - if you're gaming on PC - my personal recommendation would be to get a soundcard with appropriate DSPs.  For this - it's a matter of picking your poison.  Some swear by Dolby (eg Asus Xonar Essence STX), others prefer CMSS-3D (Creative).  Pick one.  I've tried both and prefer CMSS-3D, but ultimately this one comes down to personal preference.  There is no "best"

 

Any thoughts on these new SBX Sound Blaster Z series cards? If nothing else, they DO offer better audio quality than their X-Fi forebears, and Those-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named that came in between.

 

Quote:
 Next - decide on your headphones.  Best I can point you to is MadLustEnvy's thread (http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-7-9-2014-ultrasone-hfi-15g-added). He's a console gamer - but his ratings on headphones are very valid.  His opening posts on the thread (headphone rankings) are definitely worth going through.  Once you've decided on the headphones - then you need to look at additional amping if required.

 

Quote:

 

Thanks, this'll help a lot. Although Audioholic's guide contradicts MLE's somewhat with regards to headphones: It's where I heard the DT 880 may be one of the best options. But hey, both are reciting their own experiences. One set of ears each. Y'know, what we REALLY need is like, some kind of gaming audio convention where there's a sample of everything and a large group of people to test it all. Here's Audioholic's guide, just for completeness: http://www.head-fi.org/t/483802/quest-for-holy-grail-of-gaming-sound

 

Quote:
 So far you haven't mentioned a budget, so you need to give that some thought.

 

There is no budget. This is purely hypothetical. I'm just learning. Thanks for asking, though.

 

Quote:
 

My own personal set-up is a Titanium X-Fi > optical out > Audio-gd NFB-12 > Headphones.  My current headphones for gaming and music are the Beyerdynamic T1s.  They are brilliant for gaming. Excellent imaging, and very good clarity.

 

Headphones I've used in the past include AD700, SRH840, SRH940, SRH1840, DT880, HD600, HD700, AKG K701, K702, Q701, K612 Pro

 

My personal top 5 would be : T1 > HD700 > SRH1840 > K612 Pro > DT880.  

 

An impressive array of audiophile-grade headphones. I'm afraid the ATH-AD700s are the only ones I've ever used. They're served me quite well but unfortunately, I'm someone who often gives computer upgrade advice to people and a maddening problem for me all this time is what sort of audio equipment to recommend. I often direct them here just because I know my knowledge is limited. I hope to correct that flaw and give others like me a chance to do likewise. 

 

So anyway, your top five. Are you listing these by overall experience, or simple competitive utility? Hate to be anal but that's the focus of the thread and I'd rather not get things sidetracked. I DO like MLE's guide since it specifically states the competitive utility of the headphones reviewed.

 

Quote:
 2. Yes. It only costs, what, less than $50 more from the cheapest Z-chip board to the same brand's gaming Z-chip board with decent on-board sound. Some of them have enough power for nearly any headphone, and while I might prefer a real amp when it comes to music, again like I previously posted all the other stimuli you're dealing with will not leave you with enough attention span to nitpick over which amp does explosions better barring more obvious issues (like total lack of current or voltage for that particular headphone). So if you're only about to build your PC now, might as well also get a headphone with decent imaging but won't need more current nor voltage than what the motherboard's on-board sound will provide, and it will be good enough for games. If you feel it's lacking for music, then you can later use a DAC through the SPDIF output on the mobo and an amp after it, that way you can just leave the headphone plugged into the amp and still get virtual surround.

 

I'm not building a PC, I'm just learning more about this so I can be more useful when helping OTHERS build THEIR PCs, and creating a thread which hopefully will benefit others still. Thanks for your contributions thus far. Anymore where that came from?

 

Quote:
 3. Actually someone did post a comparative video on YouTube, and it was posted on MadLustEnvy's gaming audio thread (search for it here). From the ones I've used - EAX (though briefly with COD) on my cousin's Creative headset+USB soundcard, Razer Surround, and whatever the Xonar U3 comes with, I'd pick the ones on the (external) soundcards. Razer Surround sounds accurate all around the head during calibration, but once in-game it was just a strong L-C-R image and I can't get a good semblance of surround sound. Others also report a delay with some games. Of course, note that I have crap on-board sound, and you can get Razer free (totally before, now I think it comes with Synapse when you guy a Razer product), so by all means if you can try it with a good motherboard, then do so (of course, it still stands to reason that a full software implementation doesn't always get around hardware limitations).

 

Yeah, I got a similar impression from Razer Surround regarding the L-C-R imaging from the tests I've heard, and they were over a Xonar Phoebus. (DON'T KILL ME, IT WAS CHEAP! I'LL REPLACE IT SOONER OR LATER, I SWEAR!) Not too fond of it, and it doesn't help that it seems to have very lackluster rear audio cues.

 

Quote:
 Some people get delays on Razer Surround; on my set-up, it doesn't do depth as well as my Xonar U3. Of course, yes, try it for free first before anything else, but that doesn't mean it will work better all the time against anything that isn't free.

 

Interesting. Are there any other vendor-agnostic virtualization solutions that might be able to compete with the hardware-specific ones?

 

Quote:
 LOL. STAX make electrostatic headphones (invented them, actually), not planar magnetic. You need a dedicated electrostatic headphone amplifier to use them, and I wouldn't even think to use them for gaming, personally.

 

Well, derp on me, then. Judging by the name, those headphones, when properly amped, probably turn your head into a Tesla coil. But hey, I can hear one degree more accurately before I die, so it's all good.


Edited by 343 Grenadier - 8/22/14 at 10:10pm
post #30 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post
 

Any thoughts on these new SBX Sound Blaster Z series cards? If nothing else, they DO offer better audio quality than their X-Fi forebears, and Those-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named that came in between.

 

Sorry - only have experience with a Xonar, and my current X-Fi Titanium.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 343 Grenadier View Post

 

An impressive array of audiophile-grade headphones. I'm afraid the ATH-AD700s are the only ones I've ever used. They're served me quite well but unfortunately, I'm someone who often gives computer upgrade advice to people and a maddening problem for me all this time is what sort of audio equipment to recommend. I often direct them here just because I know my knowledge is limited. I hope to correct that flaw and give others like me a chance to do likewise. 

 

So anyway, your top five. Are you listing these by overall experience, or simple competitive utility? Hate to be anal but that's the focus of the thread and I'd rather not get things sidetracked. I DO like MLE's guide since it specifically states the competitive utility of the headphones reviewed.

Mine would be overall.  Competitiveness (accurate imaging) + comfort + immersion.

 

A lot of people swear by AKG's K701/K702/Q701 but I personally found them too L/C/R - whereas AKG's K612 Pro has much better all around imaging.  I'd personally put the AKG K612 Pro above the AD700 - but it's been a long time since I owned the AD700 - and I've never had the two side by side.  MLE rates both the AD700 and Q701 higher.  Again comes down to opinion and preference.  If you're just looking for cheap with good gaming performance, then the AD700 (or AD900) are both hard to beat.  If you want something for both gaming and music - then you'd need to be looking up the scale a bit.

 

I wanted both - so it's led me to the T1.

 

At this point I'll butt out - as you're looking for something purely competitive.  If you have questions, and seek knowledge - the best place to go is MLE's thread.

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