Is optical that much better?
Sep 14, 2009 at 6:18 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 8

mcegan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Posts
25
Likes
0
I have a Xonar essence and I love the hell out of it for music, but one thing that irks me about it is no SPDIF input, only output. I regularly play games on my Xbox360, but I'm using the line input on it right now. If I set it to HiFi mode, this is still pretty good...I get all the little nuances usually. But there's no surround. If I use Dolby headphone + Prologic II, I get the surround effect, but the sound is kind of echo'ey and a lot of details are lost it seems.

Now I always see people go on and on about how great optical is for gaming sound, but of course these are from people that have no clue about how audio should sound (haha, im probably one of them, since I'm asking this). Now I'm not really sure how much better optical would make the sound (without DH/ProLogic) since it already sounds pretty great. Would it make any difference with the surround sound effect? Obviously this is still just "fake" surround given it's just a headphone but what kind of a difference would it really make? Would it sound "clear" and not echo'ey? Is optical just a bunch of fluff or something more?
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 6:36 PM Post #2 of 8

manaox2

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Posts
2,754
Likes
17
You do know that optical output is just digital output? The quality depends on the DAC of your Reciever, built-in to TV, or other DAC. They probably say that because its processing the DTS or Dolby whatever that is being passed through by digital but not decoded by the game system. Research a DAC, it should be possible to do better then whats in the xbox.
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 6:39 PM Post #3 of 8

mcegan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Posts
25
Likes
0
Yes, I know it's digital...I guess what I mean is I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to get a different card with an spdif input + amp. For me, I would be using the card itself to process the sound. Just want to know if there's some huge difference between the line input I'm using now and an spdif.
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 7:14 PM Post #4 of 8

manaox2

Headphoneus Supremus
Joined
Jul 27, 2007
Posts
2,754
Likes
17
Stick with what you love and don't really worry about what others think I say. If you ever hear something you love, go with your wants when reasonable, but man, you sound happy. Worry about your game skills.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 7:35 PM Post #5 of 8

mojave

Head-Fier
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
Posts
61
Likes
0
By routing your sound through the computer, you are performing a digital to analog conversion on the XBox360, an analog to digital conversion on the Essence, and then you are converting again to analog in either the Essence or a receiver. This is not the best for the sound quality. Any of the Essence's gaming features are for PC games, not two channel audio being input into the soundcard. You probably shouldn't use the Essence as a headphone amplifier for an external source. Does your motherboard have a digital input? If not, it might be cheaper to get a motherboard with digital input rather than getting a different soundcard. Alternatively, you could get a headphone dac/amp with digital input for use with the XBox360. Its always fun to get more equipment.
smily_headphones1.gif
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 7:39 PM Post #6 of 8

mcegan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Posts
25
Likes
0
Yes, it has digital input, although I haven't thought to try it. Really I don't need the greatest quality ever for a videogame, I was just wondering if there would be a significant difference or not. I guess I can see for myself...thanks everyone.
 
Sep 14, 2009 at 11:13 PM Post #7 of 8

FatMom

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Posts
45
Likes
12
Optical means you can experience the dolby digital 5.1 audio tracks. I have the astro mixamp for my 360 and I can tell the difference when I hook it up via optical (dolby digital) vs RCA (Prologic II).

Dolby headphone works with either dolby digital or prologic II, the former is 5 discret channels while the later is just some kind of fake surround created out of a stereo source. (And yes even from a stereo headset theres a very noticable difference)

Now, this is why I hate dolby headphone on PC sound card, you dont get the full experience since its just dolby prologic II. Theres no card with DH that can decode a dolby digital signal, they can only ENCODE and then you need an external decoder...

Its a restriction straight up from dolby, heres a sample from the claro halo manual:

Note: Claro halo doesn’t provide AC3 signal decoding such as Dolby Digital or dts.
For licensing and copyright protection purposes, soundcard manufacturers
are effectively prevented from adding DD/DTS decoders to their products.
The reasoning is that the only legal use of DD/DTS decoders is for playback
of licensed soundtracks from DVD movies. So please set to PCM 2ch on
your external digital devices such as PS3 or XBOX360.

http://www.htomega.com/filedown/halo0818.pdf
 
Sep 15, 2009 at 5:08 AM Post #8 of 8

mcegan

New Head-Fier
Joined
Jan 3, 2009
Posts
25
Likes
0
Ahh that would make sense as to why it has no optical input then...kind of a bum deal. I am seriously considering the mix amp though, not just for the surround. I have a really big issue with how low voice chat is when you use any other headphones but the standard 360 ones...ability to use your own mic is pretty cool as well since the only official one I've ever bought has never worked correctly. Thanks for the recommendation
 

Users who are viewing this thread

Top