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Conflicting information about VSS

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by vikingking, Feb 12, 2019.
  1. vikingking
    Yep a major newb here. I tried to google this myself but everyone seems to have a different opinion and i figured if there was a place to get an answer then it was here.

    First what i want to achieve is the best positional sound for my Sennheiser HD6xx.
    This is for pc gaming only.

    My sound gear so far is as follows :
    On board msi z370 gaming m5 realtek ALC1220
    Sennheisr hd6xx
    Yamaha rx383 avr

    What should i use to get the best sound and positional audio or vss?

    pc to magni3 to hd6xx
    pc to magni+modi to hd6xx
    pc to creative sbx to magni3 to hd6xx
    yamaha rx383 to magni to hd6xx (or magni+modi to hd6xx)

    Should i invest in dolby atmos for w10 pro for any of these setups?

    Is there any other hardware you would recommend besides whats above (magni,modi or creative soundblaster)?

  2. castleofargh Contributor
    typical DAC and amp are vastly irrelevant. you get your position cues from the frequency response and from time delays between your 2 ears. that's basically what matters to you.
    but there is a big problem about that, both the signature and the inter aural delay should ideally be customized based on your own head and ears. instead, any standard simulation will rely on some average model of a human head. and it will simulate positions for that HRTF(head related transfer function). so the closer your own head is to that average reference, the better the simulation(whatever virtual tech you use) for you. but if you have a very different head and ears(like I definitely do compared to typical dummy heads), then some things will simply be off.
    there are many things you can do to improve on that, but it will always be a matter of trying to adjust one reference, relatively to your own(which is you hearing sounds that bounce on your body and head all day long). like EQing your headphone so that a sound right in front of you feels like it's at eye level, not up high or below. head tracking may also be important for your brain, but then we're back to HRTF and how you'd ideally need a custom calibration for the best result.
    there are a lot of very basic 3D systems for headphones, most use some dummy head reference instead of you, but a few will try to fine tune things based on various methods, like you trying to self calibrate a little, or having a pic of your ear taken and compared to an available database. some headphones are self calibrating, they send some sounds and have a mic that will decide on a compensation based on what it records from sound bouncing off your ear. you also have solution that try to simulate specific speakers in a specific room, onto a specific headphone on your own head. but of course those are expensive(the more customized the response, the more you can expect a price that hurts). I've been waiting to get a Realiser A16 for a few years now, maybe someday... :sweat:

    in any case, I'd strongly suggest for you to go try as many standard simulations as you can find(software, hardware), because if one happens to work great for you, then it would be silly to go waste money on custom options. the all thing about virtual sound stands on one big question: how average is your head? ^_^. being totally average is the best in this case.
    vikingking likes this.
  3. vikingking
    Thanks for the detailed info. I'm waiting for my magni 3 to get here and then i will test various things to see what conforms to my head and ears. :)
  4. BrightCandle
    For most of todays games the best virtual surround sound you can get comes from using a 7.1 to 2.0 binaural surround sound implementation. The game sees 7.1 speakers and plays sounds to those via varios middleware through DirectX and your device/software takes that and outputs 2.0 with positional cues in it. The best way to do that that I know of today is with the Sennheiser GSX 1000, you can get a free software implementation with Hesuvi. A pretty distant second place is Soundblaster SBX pro, but its impact on sound quality is quite high and makes everything sound mid to high range, it butchers the bass.

    If all you do is a standard 2.0 DAC out to an amp and into your headphones then you are relying on a game to provide virtual surround sound within it. That is getting abit of a resurgence of late with Dolby Atmos headphone support but there are only a couple of games that support it. The grand majority of games in headphone mode don't use a decent Head related transform function and tend to just pan sound left to right with little directionality and no distinction front to rear.
    vikingking likes this.
  5. vikingking
    I was thinking about the GSX1200 pro but is there away to use that and my Schiit Magni 3 together ?
    I was worried since the GSX was also an amp and i heard that the GSX couldn't properly power HD6XX so i would still need the Magni 3.


    Never mind i saw a video from linus that made me decide just to use the Magni 3 + my mobos virtual surround or dolby atmos for headphones. In the video all the software based vss beat out the hardware based ones.
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2019
  6. Zenvota
    Has input variables to adjust head size which help with positional accuracy.

    You may find VSS to be bright/thin/lacking bass etc...


    The 650s r ultra easy to eq.
    1 5-10db peaking filter at 3.5khz qfactor 3 will flatten that out when using VSS.

    this program uses measured room impulse reaponse and is the most externalized and high fidelity vss you can buy save the Realisers at $4,000 =/

    since the measurements arent from your head virtual loudspeaker positions might not be 100% accurate but theyll be close.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    vikingking likes this.
  7. Zenvota
    for hardware.. ya.. isolation and conditioning. removing all the noise makes a massive difference with vss

    the simplest would be to use an optical connection to the modi and use an isolation transformer for the magni and modi.
    vikingking likes this.
  8. vikingking
    Thanks for all the advice.
    I just got my magni 3 today and my headphones have a delayed delivery from 14th to the 18th ,but i can't wait to test some of this stuff out.
    Anybody using something else for gaming ? Let me know im willing to try or purchase stuff to try to get the best gaming sound.

    My next step will be to try different headphones but that will be in new post. I started with the hd6xx because of all the reviews and because i love the way the game ones fit.
  9. Zenvota
    the 6xxs are great neutral responsive headphones and work well for vss. If you plan to upgrade in the future steer towards planar magnetics and electrostatics as the more responsive drivers render vss even better.


    Back to vss, waves nx and ooyh are currently the best stand alone software available, waves being the most accurate and ooyh being the best sounding and most externalized. Creatives SXFI requires a portable dac/amp purchase and performs similar to waves, with variable inputs to get the hrtf closer to your own. The rest give you surround instead of stereo but all lack in fidelity and externalization, i.e. Dolby Headphone/Atmos for Headphones, Razer Surround, DTS Headphone:X, Creative CMSS 3D/SBX, Sennheiser GSX, etc. Good externalization requires measured room impulse response or a good first order reflection algorithm. The only measured software available is ooyh, and the only good modelled solutions are waves nx, creative sxfi, or some of the pro audio solutions like flux hear, ircam, etc. In addition and this is hard to find but the softwares math makes a great deal of difference, i.e. OOYHs 32bit precision vs razers 16bit.

    In any case VSS wants a flat uncompensated headphone response so be sure to bring the 6XXs peak down.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2019
    vikingking likes this.
  10. vikingking
    I was planning on trying out the Hifiman HE-400i's next i was just watching a review of them a few minutes ago . I would love to try out the others but there out of my price range.

    I guess when my HD6XX's finally get here i'll try waves nx's demo and ooyh trial a go.

  11. Zenvota
    hope you enjoy, ooyh is something special considering the price of the realiser, one of a kind as a standalone software. any questions ill do my best to help ;] dont forget the eq, its not a personal preference thing its Science!

    the first hardware upgrade id recommend before headphones is a dac. even a cheap $10 optical dac like https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00KNNSKV0/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_g4hACbQKV7JK6 even though optical is bandwidth limited, computers are horrible noisey things and good vss amplifies all flaws, while a usb conenction will be more detailed the optical connection will be significantly more enjoyable, smoother and non-fatiguing.
  12. Zenvota
    Heres the beauty of the used markets, I found Audeze EL-8s, MrSpeakers Alpha Primes, and Stax SR-207s for $150-250 each.
    vikingking likes this.
  13. vikingking
    I wish i could could find them that cheap.
  14. Zenvota
    If you have a certain pair you want use hifishark, which will scrape several sites. if you just want to watch what's listed you can watch the ads here, usaudiomart, and audigon.
    vikingking likes this.

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