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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (12/10/2019: Schiit Gaming Dac/Amps 'Hel' and 'Fulla 3' added)

Discussion in 'Video Games Discussion' started by mad lust envy, Jan 17, 2011.
  1. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    So I sent Todd of TTVJ Audio an email for the Grado White loaner tour.

    I hope they hit the need and desire for me to own a pair of big bowl Grados.

    Although I only get a week if I don't end up going with a pair of my own, I'm gonna try and do at least a decent enough review of it for here. May not be a full blown review, but I'll try and hit the important notes.

    I really, REALLY liked the Grado GW100's sound, but the comfort wasn't where I needed it to be. The big bowl pads I had ordered made them stupid comfortable, but ruined the sound. Hopefully a pair of Grados made to be used with the big pads by default would deliver what I'd like. The only thing that bothers me is that the White headphone is only a limited time, and after that it's discontinued, so it wouldn't age well on this guide. That's why I was aiming more for a GS1000e instead, but I don't like the price jump, and I can't sample them. I'd love to though.

    There's also the HD800 that I REALLY wanna try out and consider as well. *COUGH* @Evshrug *COUGH*
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
    Evshrug likes this.
  2. Fegefeuer
    Ha, update just came in. Let's you switch between movies and gaming and offers 3 EQ presets you can customize and disable virtualizing through them as well.

    Offers a performance mode für "pro gaming" which supposedly improves upon positioning. It's nothing though, it simply deactivates the "Intelligent EQ function when activated.
    Needs testing between ON and OFF with no "Intelligent EQ".

    Also offers some sort of "crystal voice/Dialog+" like the SB cards.
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2019
    mindbomb likes this.
  3. Azurik
    Was it the app that updated or system software? I haven't had any updates yet. Do you have to be in the preview programme?

    Strangely, for some reason, my app keeps saying I'm not experiencing Dolby Atmos and to go to setup or connect headphones. All my settings are correct on my xbox as they have been since day one and I never had that error message before. However, if I play the demo clips, I am definitely getting Atmos.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  4. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    So I was messing about listening to music and was hearing clipping and distortion coming out of my Modi 3/Magni 3, I hadn't noticed. Then again, I rarely use headphones or that gear, so I was like "Oh no, it's a dud."

    Turns out, I had to lower the music player's digital volume to around 80% to stop the clipping/distortion. Sigh. At least I know it wasn't the gear. It was happening through both winamp and foobar, so I was panicking a bit.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  5. Trancefreak
    I'm not doubting your experience, but what makes the sound clip/distort if not the hardware?
    I'm confused
  6. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    I distinctly recall a while back that one of us was having a problem on ps4 where a game would badly clip with their gear. Like audible pops and crackles. I mentioned I was having a similar issue with The Last of Us. We couldn't figure it out until someone mentioned that if you lowered in game volume settings, these distortions would stop, and sure enough they did.

    I'm sure that what I've done here is actually reduce the amount of information which isn't good.

    And you might be right, it could be something with my gear. I'm gonna have to retest that song with the G6, Mixamp, and everything else and see if they all clip with the Winamp/Foobar at Max volume as I have always had them and not notice this problem.

    I do have my Modi and Magni getting their information from the G6 via the spdif out which may be an issue.

    edit: found out below that the G6 was the culprit. Thank you for at least putting in my head that it could be hardware related.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  7. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    So I haven't attached the Modi through USB since I've bought it really. So decided to test that first to rule out the Magni and possibly the Modi. Guess, what? Even at 100% digital volume on both music programs, 100% on the Modi's USB signal, there is zero clipping. Sounds 100% perfect.

    So yeah, something wrong happening in the spdif's signal, whether it's in the Modi, the G6, a missmatch between the signal level to what the Modi's spdif can handle, etc.

    I have to figure it out.

    edit: Setting the G6 to 16/44 2 speakers, and sending that to the Modi = clipping gone. A good sign. I'll keep re-editing. edit again: Set it to 5 and 7 channels at 16/44 = clipping is back.

    HMMM... so obviously, the G6 is having problems with multiple channels. Now I have to test the G6 directly, without the Modi and see if it's still there.

    edit again: G6 alone, usb dac mode. 7 channel, clipping occurs. Set it to two channel at 24/96. Clipping fixed. So there's the problem. The G6 set to multiple channels has sq problems with music files, at best. At worst, 5 or 7 speaker settings on the G6 is just bad.

    What irks me is that it affects the digital signal too, messing it up for the Modi which I didn't think was possible. I thought the digital signal was left untouched. Well, other than the G6 converting the spdif out to stereo, as it doesn't do straight bypass (if it did, the Modi wouldn't even get a proper signal at all, as it can't take anything other than 2 channel data).

    I'm gonna have to dig out my Xonar U3 and have have that send a signal through the spdif out under the same conditions and see if it messes up. I have a feeling it's the G6 here. edit: Xonar U3 24/96 7 channels through the headphone out on the U3 = no clipping.

    So there you have it. It's the G6's 5/7 channel processing that has an easier point of distortion. A shame.

    Mind you, it seems to be only a problem with music files atm. I haven't heard any issues when I game, or I'm on youtube, or doing other things on the PC. It is only with music files. The easy, no hard swap fix here is to switch to 2 channel when I'm not gaming. But this is something I've never had to do, as 2 channel/7 channel it would all just be converted down properly without issues. Maybe it's a firmware fix. Maybe it's tied to my particular unit. I dunno. It's made worse that the music file I test was a freely available, but doesn't seem to be the case anymore.

    I could also just stop using the G6 and use the Xonar U3 instead. It can send a clean signal to the Modi digital, and Dolby Headphone is something I'm used to for when I wanna game. I was only using the G6 for SBX processing. The Modi does the dac duties, and magni the amplification.
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019
  8. mindbomb
    This is so weird since I was just posting about this in another thread. The virtual 7.1 results in a volume increase. For a lot of these devices, it is assumed that you will be using digital volume control, so this creates headroom for those volume increases. But when you use an external amp, people set the dac to 100% and lose that headroom. The clipping is the result of asking the dac for more than 100%.

    Personally, I just leave my windows volume at 60% as an insurance policy with dh.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  9. Lay.
    I have not had the clipping issue with G6 --> Sennheiser HDV 820. Then again I'm using it just with PS4 and gaming.
    Evshrug likes this.
  10. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    You shouldn't. It's literally only something I get on PC when playing back music on a music program like Foobar/Winamp while 5 or 7 speaker is selected, and VERY rarely with a few songs.
  11. Evshrug
    And not when you use the Spotify app on the PS4?
  12. Mad Lust Envy Contributor
    I have only used that program long ago on my ps4 when I was playing Wipeout. But no.

    I know it's limited to my specific circumstance because playing the same songs through YouTube doesn't occur, and or changing the G6 to 2 channel fixes it as well.

    It COULD be my PC which has questionable/noisy USB ports too which may further mess up the G6.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2019
  13. Trancefreak
    Since games are 44.1/16bit and they don't cause a problem... Can you say that the clipping pops up when you try and play 24bit files?

    It might be that the DSP has trouble with HiRes files/data or something.
    Don't think it'll be a USB problem. You can try another source, but I think USB problems are unlikely.
  14. Yethal
    Hi, I created this diagram. Didn't use the dss personally, I drew it based on post of another user who showed us the trick with the syba adapter. No idea who it was this was years ago.
  15. mindbomb
    If your clipping is caused by the dsp, the 3 variables to look at are the channels, the low frequencies, and the loudness of the content. Combining more channels = making things louder. Low frequencies have long wavelengths that pass across the head in binaural audio = making things louder since you have more things to combine then. And if the content is loud to start with, that means less headroom for the volume to increase, since there is a limit on how high the volume can be represented digitally.

    The proper solution in this case is to just lower the system volume, which will create more headroom. 50% volume in windows is -10.5db, so that creates a hefty 10.5db of headroom. That should cover pretty much every tough case that you could realistically run in to.

    If you use the sound card by itself, without an external amp, what happens is that as the content gets louder, people naturally lower the digital volume anyway. So the problem never manifests normally. It really only comes into the picture when people get external amps and then set their system volume to 100% and use analog volume control.

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