Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (1/10/2022: Koss KPH40 Utility Review Added)
May 5, 2012 at 7:41 AM Post #5,371 of 47,958

1rkrage

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Best noise isolating headphones for $100 or less?
 
I game with the air conditioner in the same room so it gets a bit noisy when it is on.
 
$100 is not a hard cap (I can spend on A700s), but I would prefer it to be under $100, and still get the noise isolation I want.
 
 
gonna be paired with a Xonar DX
 
May 5, 2012 at 2:40 PM Post #5,372 of 47,958

Rebel975

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I guess I'm in a very small third camp where you can enjoy both DH and CMSS-3D. DH on my console/Mixamp setup and CMSS-3D on my PC/Titanium HD setup.
cool.gif

 
May 5, 2012 at 4:42 PM Post #5,374 of 47,958

NamelessPFG

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That's interesting about DH emphasizing bass, where CMSS emphasizing treble.
 
So dolby headphone only has access to the 5.1 dolby digital information from games, but CMSS gets the information from somewhere else (directsound3D?)  And Rapture3D gets information from OpenAL, but I guess that's not common or standardized?
 
Do console games have any standardized audio positioning information besides Dolby Digital, and DTS?  Is there more advanced audio positioning information just not being used?  Is that a licensing thing or just no ones bothered to implement a more advanced standard than the 5.1 dolby digital information on consoles?



 
Consoles were pretty much stuck on stereo with the occasional matrixed Dolby Surround/Pro Logic two-channel surround for years until 6th-generation consoles started packing S/PDIF outputs and Dolby Digital, while PCs had a 3D audio revolution in the late 1990s sparked by Aureal and Creative. (To this day, you'll still have people saying that Aureal's A3D 2.0 with its wavetracing and whatnot sounds better than Creative's EAX 5.0.)
 
To make this possible, Microsoft introduced the DirectSound3D API in DirectX, which basically tells the sound card driver where the in-game sounds are in 3D space, and lets the sound card decide where and how to play back those sounds. OpenAL, a later-introduced API, works similarly. The game engine does NOT pre-mix the sounds like XAudio2 + X3DAudio and FMOD Ex do, because that's not the game engine's job in the first place.
 
Aureal took advantage of this with A3D, and their headphone mode on Vortex chipset-based cards wowed people with what must have actually been binaural audio, given how they mentioned that they could pinpoint sounds in Half-Life with nothing but headphones, even above and below! I have reason to believe that Creative uses as much acquired Aureal tech as Sensaura tech in the HRTF field to make CMSS-3D Headphone.
 
Rapture3D works similarly, but completely in software as opposed to a sound card DSP. After all, it has the same access to the 3D positional sound information OpenAL provides that CMSS-3D Headphone does. The problem is that OpenAL, while a good API, never had the prevalence of DirectSound3D due to how soon it got displaced by XAudio2 + X3DAudio and FMOD Ex, starting around 2007. (PC game audio has really taken a turn for the worse over these past 5 years.) It would be an easier sell if it had a DirectSound3D-to-OpenAL wrapper included, like Creative ALchemy, Asus DS3DGX/C-Media Xear3D, Realtek 3DSoundBack, or so forth, and as a bonus, you don't need a Creative card to get the most out of it.
 
By contrast, consoles always had software-mixed audio (maybe unless you're counting the really old stuff that falls into "chiptune" category, or 5th/6th-gen consoles like the Saturn and Dreamcast with dedicated audio processors), and they're designed with home theater speaker systems in mind, not headphones. That's why I haven't seen a single console game really offer a binaural audio option for headphone users, instead having to rely on virtualized 5.1 from a real-time-encoded Dolby Digital or DTS stream...and that's if the game in question supports either of those. Whatever the case, they're clearly designed with a different mindset from the days when every gaming PC worth its price had a good sound card, no exceptions.
 

Quote:
I guess I'm in a very small third camp where you can enjoy both DH and CMSS-3D. DH on my console/Mixamp setup and CMSS-3D on my PC/Titanium HD setup.
cool.gif

 
I'm also part of this third camp, believe it or not. I don't hate Dolby Headphone or anything-it's great at what it does-but I do feel that PC games capable of providing true 3D positional audio and not some arbitrary 7.1 arrangement of speakers are something DH could take advantage of, but doesn't in its current implementation. Not that I expect Dolby Labs to bother when they're the ones pushing 5.1 and 7.1 so hard to begin with, and the days of true 3D sound in PC games are largely over.
 
Still, I'm not giving up my JVC/Victor SU-DH1 given how useful it is for console gaming, even with Pro Logic II sources instead of Dolby Digital or DTS. (Has anyone here ever played Metroid Prime with DH on? It's surprisingly good for something without discrete surround channels.)
 
May 5, 2012 at 7:54 PM Post #5,375 of 47,958
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The Mixamp (wired) with the Wii was a great combo. Dolby Headphone processing Pro Logic II might sound more processed than it processing Dolby Digital, but I feel that at times, the surround effect is even better.

That's one thing I miss from the wired Mixamp that the 5.8 doesn't have... RCA input for Pro Logic II. Not that it's worth it on anything but the Wii.
 
May 6, 2012 at 2:35 PM Post #5,377 of 47,958
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While you have a 32ohm variant, I find that the Beyers are all relatively hard to drive despite their ohm version. The E9 technically doesn't pair up well with a low ohm headphone, but that's due to the high output impedance (10ohm).

It'd probably benefit you to use an E17/E11 instead of the E9, as those two have low output impedances. The E17 has the extra benefit of being able to be used as a music DAC/AMP for other uses, but mainly because of it's ability to tweak treble, which may be something you want for the DT990s.
 
May 6, 2012 at 4:50 PM Post #5,379 of 47,958

Heretic817

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While you have a 32ohm variant, I find that the Beyers are all relatively hard to drive despite their ohm version. The E9 technically doesn't pair up well with a low ohm headphone, but that's due to the high output impedance (10ohm).
It'd probably benefit you to use an E17/E11 instead of the E9, as those two have low output impedances. The E17 has the extra benefit of being able to be used as a music DAC/AMP for other uses, but mainly because of it's ability to tweak treble, which may be something you want for the DT990s.


When you did your review of the Q701's I noticed they did not make it in to your short list for either Competitive or fun. I was surprised because it sounds like you really enjoyed them. Is this correct?
 
Also, how do you think they stack up against the DT990's
 
One last question. I find that there are many varieties of the DT 990 and I am confused. You have the Pros and the Premiums and Impedance values across the map and price varies wildly among models. So, is there a big difference in preform ace between say
DT  990 32ohm vs. 250ohm? I am just generally confused by the DT 990 xxx model/price scheme.
 
As stated before: I have tried the ATH-AD900 and the HD 558 amped only through the Mixamp (DH) on PS3 and with Creative X-fi (CMSS) plugged into headphone port on my Creative speakers on PC.
Now I am looking at the Q 701's and the DT 990's for round three and possibly adding an amp down the road (E9 or E17 or whatever makes sense if needed)
 
MLE or anyone else want to chime in?????
 
May 6, 2012 at 5:01 PM Post #5,380 of 47,958
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When you did your review of the Q701's I noticed they did not make it in to your short list for either Competitive or fun. I was surprised because it sounds like you really enjoyed them. Is this correct?

Also, how do you think they stack up against the DT990's

One last question. I find that there are many varieties of the DT 990 and I am confused. You have the Pros and the Premiums and Impedance values across the map and price varies wildly among models. So, is there a big difference in preform ace between say
DT  990 32ohm vs. 250ohm? I am just generally confused by the DT 990 xxx model/price scheme.

As stated before: I have tried the ATH-AD900 and the HD 558 amped only through the Mixamp (DH) on PS3 and with Creative X-fi (CMSS) plugged into headphone port on my Creative speakers on PC.
Now I am looking at the Q 701's and the DT 990's for round three and possibly adding an amp down the road (E9 or E17 or whatever makes sense if needed)

MLE or anyone else want to chime in?????


Lol, I forgot to add the Q701 to the short list, sorry. I'll do it later.

The differences aren't huge between ohm models. Just choose what best fits your situation and amping. I think the most versatile ohm version is the 250ohm. The 600ohm needs specific amps to work to their full potential. The 32ohm model is kind of unusual because it's marketed as not needing an amp and being sensitive, but they are about as hard to drive if not more so than the 250ohm, and the amps that work with them are specific and should be low output impedance amps. The 250ohm models need amping as well, but any decent amp from portable to fullsized would work with them, including the E9 or other high output impedance amps.

The Pro models will have notably more bass and less soundstage due to clamp. I found the bass to be a bit too much for my liking on the 990 pros. I much prefer the Premiums.

As for asking here on head-fi, everyone is gonna steer you towards the 600ohm models of Beyers, without any real proof or proper equipment. Technically the 600ohm would be best as it has the lowest noise floor, but 600ohm headphones need some powerful amps capable of getting that micro percentage of benefits over the 250ohm. I have friends at AVS who have tried all three ohm models of Beyers, and they say they are too close to one another to really say one is better than the other. They're more subjective over there than here, which seems to be all "OMGZ GET THE 600OHM, JUST GET IT, IT DA BETTERZ"

So IMHO, the 250ohm is the most logical choice.

BTW having owned the 990 Pros 250ohm and Premium 600 ohm, they sounded pretty much exactly the same, with the Pros having that added bass. So I wouldn't worry too much about which ohm version you get, other than which works best for your equipment.
 
May 6, 2012 at 5:35 PM Post #5,382 of 47,958
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To further iterate...

If you have a portable amp first and foremost, you'll get the most out of the 32/250ohm beyers, where the 600ohm will be underamped and won't do better than the other two.

If you have a desktop amp that isn't ultra powerful, the 250ohm will benefit the most. If the amp has a high output impedance, the 32ohm may suffer with distortions and change in balance. The E9 and possibly a few other high output impedance amps don't seem to discernibly alter the sound signature to low ohm headphones, but these seem to be rare. For the sake of making sure you don't alter the signature, I'd choose a low output impedance amp if you're getting low ohm headphones.

If you have a high powered amp, the 600ohm will outdo the other two.

So again, for the casual user with typical amps, the 250ohm makes the most sense. The difference may be slight between the 250/600ohm, but when there are huge voltage swings, the 600ohm may lose in fidelity if not using a powerful amp.
 
May 6, 2012 at 9:35 PM Post #5,383 of 47,958
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Man, I've spent all day just in front of the computer playing a game on mute and listening to music through both my D7K and Q701. I just have to say how pleasing the Q701 is. Just.... it's comfy, sounds spectacular and doesn't bore me. It's just such a sensational headphone all round. The D7000 of course is my go to headphone for that heart pumping listen, but the Q701 is just great with everything. Inoffensive yet engaging. Kind of like what I would have wanted from the PC360 (for music).
 
May 7, 2012 at 12:13 AM Post #5,384 of 47,958

Heretic817

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To further iterate...
If you have a portable amp first and foremost, you'll get the most out of the 32/250ohm beyers, where the 600ohm will be underamped and won't do better than the other two.
If you have a desktop amp that isn't ultra powerful, the 250ohm will benefit the most. If the amp has a high output impedance, the 32ohm may suffer with distortions and change in balance. The E9 and possibly a few other high output impedance amps don't seem to discernibly alter the sound signature to low ohm headphones, but these seem to be rare. For the sake of making sure you don't alter the signature, I'd choose a low output impedance amp if you're getting low ohm headphones.
If you have a high powered amp, the 600ohm will outdo the other two.
So again, for the casual user with typical amps, the 250ohm makes the most sense. The difference may be slight between the 250/600ohm, but when there are huge voltage swings, the 600ohm may lose in fidelity if not using a powerful amp.

 


So then would it follow that both the Premium DT 990 250 ohm and the Q701's would do relatively well paired with the Mixamp and an E17? It would seem to be a common opinion that either set of phones would benefit from additional amplification over the Mixamp alone. I keep toying with adding the E17 to my setup because for a relatively small cost I can get an additional amp and the ability to EQ.    
 
Also, do you have any impressions of the Q701's used with the Mixamp alone? In other words, how much does the addition of another amp  buy you in terms of overall sound quality. (I think you use an E9, right?)
 
Sorry to hit you up for advice so often but you currently possess that which I covet.
very_evil_smiley.gif

 
May 7, 2012 at 1:49 AM Post #5,385 of 47,958
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I dunno just how well the E17 performs, to be honest, so I can't say if it will add anything to the Mixamp in terms of driving the Beyers.

I think I mention this every week, but I do fine with my Mixamp alone. I basically use my E9 only when I use my mic with the Q701,and I don't see it as more than a volume boost. The E9 doesn't add or take anything away. I think people expect too much from amps. Out of the few amps I've tried, dynamics and refinement are the obvious improvements, but to an untrained ear, they may not even tell the difference. You shouldnt buy an amp because it adds or takes away. You should buy one to give the power a headphone needs to perform properly. Like my NFB5 and E9 are different, but not night and day. Difference lies in that the E9 is somewhat dry sounding, and the NFB5 sounds thicker in direct comparison. Pretty much like the K701 is to the Q701, but to a much lesser extent.
 

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