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and.. Mad Lust Envy plays COD on xbox 360 (i'm one of the rare species that only have BO in PS3)
I didn't try the AXPRO but I did have the sharkoons and in terms of positioning I didn't find any headphones that do better on dolby headphones than sharkoons 5.1 true surround.
I do agree the DT990 are FUN, and the treble is really great as it gives sparkle to what needs it and helps with details.
I really liked it for gaming too.
Great write up.
Start using Ninja Pro and the audio becomes how it should have been in that game. Most of the top Cevo teams in black ops on pc are using ninja pro for ctf instead of marathon.
Somebody needs to sticky this thread.
Good thread MLE. I'll link to this in my noobie advice thread.
So dolby headphone works that nice for gaming? I may have to give Essence STX a try and compare it to kX Audio driver's surround implementation which is usually very accurate for positional sound. I do love what Dolby Headphone plugin does for foobar2000 for music, adding more depth and bigger soundstage and more dynamic positioning of instruments/singers and can imagine it at least gives better immersion but would be nice if the positional sound works equally well which is very important for me.
With kX Audio drivers I'm like able to tell the exact location of enemies based on where the sound comes from, in Left 4 Dead I could hit zombies hiding behind trees or on another side of a wall based on the direction the noise they make comes from or Unreal Tournament 3 I usually listen to incoming vehicles (around a corner) to shoot them down just as they pass it or locate enemies based on footsteps etc. I haven't yet come across any game with kX Audio drivers that hadn't at least semi-nicely working positional sound with these soundcard drivers.
I've been interesting in comparing ASUS Xonar Essence STX vs Audigy 2 ZS with kX Audio drivers for quite a while though. I'm sure it would bring a very noticable sound quality upgrade but I'm unsure if the software part would be able to replace that of kX Audio. Also it seems to work fine no matter what headphone I use but I'm also like that I want the bass for fun even if it might be a disadvantage (which is especially noticable in FPS games with lots of action going on at the same time).
Okay a few replies.
I play mostly on the 360.
My Mixamp is old gen, and doesn't do voice chat for the PS3. I really only play first party or exclusives on the PS3.
Black Op's audio isn't nearly as good as CoD4 and MW2 (though I'm speaking in terms of directionality and audio cues....not overall quality, as MW2 has a pretty muddy SQ as a whole). And yes, I run Ninja Pro 99.99% of the time.
I plan on going a little more in depth with the good headphones, including their overall sound signature (warm/smooth, bright/aggressive, etc). This will happen sometime later, and I will let you guys know when it is done.
Like I mentioned before, to anyone wanting to try any pair of headphones for gaming, a good place to start is with headphones that have a good sized soundstage, and a more balanced sound. If the headphones are too colored, it just won't work well with online gaming. This is why I suggest having two pairs of headphones, one for online gaming, one for when you're enjoying a campaign, or just messing about. That is, unless you get something like the DT990 which pulls off both very well (however, remember the sizzling treble that may bother you).
Closed headphones CAN work well. My suspicions on certain headphones I haven't used that would probably be phenomenal for gaming:
Ultrasones with S-Logic on (fun)
K271 MKII (competitive)
Sony MDR-F1 (competitive)
Beyer T1 (fun and competitive)
I distinctly remember people saying the HD600 and HD650 didn't have a very large soundstage in DH mode, so it wasn't as impressive. I can't be for certain.
Also have to note, that warm/smooth headphones are usually claustrophobic is DH mode, so they don't work well.
The brighter it is, the bigger the soundstage seems to be able to project further. Just my impressions.
+1 on the K271 probably being good for gaming. I demo'd a pair with music once, and I thought it projected a fully immersive soundstage.
Would also like to speculate that the Beyer T5p might be good for gaming too; it has a very nice soundstage, and was only a touch warm.
Damn... I was on the fence between the K271 MKII and DT770/600 back in those days when I didn't have my D7000. Being a Beyer fanboy, I went with the 770/600 but it was too crazy in the bass department. I really wish I'd have gone with the K271 MKII. I hear they isolate extremely well too. I have absolutely no use for it anymore, but I'd LOVE to try them out with Dolby Headphone. I hear they are veeeery well balanced, if a bit bass light, which really sounds like a perfect combo for late night competitive gaming.
Oh yeah, on one of the episode of the show 'No Ordinary Family' (think of it as a live action 'The Incredibles'), a kid was sporting a pair of either the K271 MKII or K272 HD while playing games in his room. XD
Your assessment of the A40 headset matches my recollection of it. It had a tinny, hollow sound and rear audio queues originated from the sides. I remember it having a spacious soundstage but strangely details seemed to all have the same volume so depth was artificial and unreliable.
I've haven't spent much time gaming with my HD650 but I have my MixAmp going into the line in of my Audio-GD Fun to drive the headphone. I'd normally look down on double amping but it works well here once proper levels are set.
Playing a few rounds of BlackOps I felt the HD650 wasn't too bad. Spatial awareness was better as the direction and depth of the sound was rendered with accuracy. For casual gaming it's a neat setup but for more competitive gaming you probably need a tad more emphasis in the treble region to highlight the details and a bigger soundstage to make it more holographic.
I'm not too bothered with double amping when the Mixamp is the case. The Mixamp is pretty quiet, so the attached amp shouldn't noticably affect the SQ in a negative way, though I stress that if people are going to attach an amp after the Mixamp to drive the power hungry headphones, PLEASE make sure to use a relatively transparent amp, so it doesn't alter the sound a lot. In my case, the E9 doesn't affect the Mixamp in a bad way, but the E7 being slightly warm did.
Adding an extra amp after the Mixamp does however affect the soundstage a little. I remember adding the E5 after the Mixamp back in the day and made the soundstage a little smaller, though directionality wasn't affected. I didn't play much with the Mixamp+E9 because I just didn't need the E9 as I rarely voice chat, but it didn't do anything that I could see as being an issue.
I need to upgrade my Mixamp. Now that I'm getting the PC360, I am going to be voice chatting a bit more (too lazy to bring out the dealextreme cable a lot, lol), and my Mixamp has that stupid clicking noise (when voice chat is enabled) to let me know there are no batteries inside the Mixamp. There ARE, but the bay is so big, the batteries don't sit in place. I also had the rechargeable battery pack which stopped working within the first month. Astro had some serious issues with their first gen Mixamp.
It was a bad design to begin with. Why the hell would you need batteries if you have to have your audio cables plugged in anyway? So stupid. I just leave my USB attached to power it.
It would be good if you could get hold of some Pro900s as I'd be interested to see how they compare to the others in your opinion.
For me, Pro900s + Dolby Headphone = aural wallhack
The Fun's amp section is discrete so there are no opamps in that circuit to colour the sound. I had the M50 when I first connected the MixAmp to the Fun and I distinctly recall being impressed by the widening of the soundstage. I haven't tried the HD650 directly from the MixAmp but I'd say it's safe to assume the Fun's amp is beneficial in this instance. I'd test it now but I have the mother of all migrains at the moment.
You'll probably note my use of headphones that aren't traditionally considered good for gaming, but what can I say? I'm a casual gamer now and that past hobby isn't that important to me anymore. It's all about the music now.
Nah, it's cool. The DT990 couldn't compare to the AD700 or K701, but it did gaming well enough for me to not NEED the extreme edge the AD700 and K701 gave me.
I case of the M50.... it just doesn't do it for me. I tried it again 2 days ago with CoD4 (which to me has the best audio for the CoD games in terms of clarity and accuracy), and I just didn't find anything good about them...for gaming at least.