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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. Yethal
    Of course an all in one solution is more cost efficient and easier to deploy for first time buyers. It's just that simple solutions were never really a focus around here
  2. royster
    How are the software based VSS (Dolby Atmos, Windows Sonic, DTS Headphone X) compared to the hardware solutions nowadays? Is it better to get a headphone you like with a good soundstage and use that over something like the Creative SXFI? I currently use an hd 650.
  3. illram
    Interesting. Are Clears known for great imaging? (Genuine question, never looked into Focals much.)
  4. Yethal
    Splendid imaging, very narrow soundstage, just like Elear and Utopia.
    halcyon likes this.
  5. illram
    Depends on what games you play. Borderlands 3 with Atmos sounds incredible. When I played around briefly with Overwatch and Atmos it also sounded pretty good. I have not yet tried Dolby's 7.1 virtualization for games without spatial audio yet so I can't compare it to SXFI. With SXFI you know you are going to get a baseline of very very accurate 7.1 virtualization with anything that has surround audio, which is basically everything. But you miss vertical cues that you can get with a good Atmos feed and good cans.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  6. Yedaself
    Which open back wired headphone can you recommend for under $150 if I renounce from wireless? More I read wired headphones with dac seems more reasonable but just gonna go for headphones now then will go for a dac. Have to buy from international sellers and with taxes a $150 headphones can cost around $250 to me.
  7. TeeReQs
    Sennheiser PC37X would be a good choice at the price point.
  8. royster
    Thanks. Does the game need to have atmos "implemented" for Dolby Atmos to work? Or does it just make any sound 5.1/7.1? And SXFI just makes everything surround? Ive heard that DTS needs to have it implemented as an option ingame for it to work. What are good hifi/audiophile cans with good soundstage nowadays? Seems most of the top performing audiophile cans (stuff like Focal/HD 650) have small soundstage.
  9. Yedaself
    Sadly, Drop doesn't ship to my country.
  10. SierraMadre
    You raise an interesting question which I have thought about too but in my experience with the auto-EQ plugin for Hesuvi for various headphones along with different forms of VSS, my impression was that there would still be a difference.

    Perhaps the closest I got to confirming this (albeit in a subjective and not very scientific manner) was via the SXFI amp. As you probably already know, it has headphone compensation profiles for SXFI mode. There are specific compensation profiles for a selection of popular headphones and for when your headphones are not “SXFI certified” there are generic over-ear, generic on-ear and generic IEM profiles (note I am not talking about the SXFI headmapping, rather the compensation profiles). The change in the sound can be very noticeable between profiles even within the same category (for example one over-ear vs another). While I didn’t do any measurements, one thing that seemed apparent was that there appeared to be no difference whatsoever between the default “generic over ear” profile and that of the specific profile for the ‘Aurvana Live! Special edition’ closed backs that came bundled with the SXFI AMP. In effect, changing the profile from generic over to Aurvana Live Special edition seemed to have no effect at all whether using the Aurvanas in question or whether I was comparing generic vs the Aurvana profile when using *other* headphones such as K7XX, Fildelio X2, HD800S etc. Meanwhile, changing profiles from generic to AKG K7XX, Fidelity’s X2, DT880 or HD800 all resulted in a significant and immediately noticeable difference.

    So, assuming that generic and Aurvana Live special edition profiles are indeed the same or at least so very similar as to not be able tell the difference, then that means Creative was / is treating the Aurvana Live Special editions as “reference” or optimum for the purposes of SXFI VSS, I.e. as is, with no compensation necessary.
    In any case, whether using the associated compensation profiles or not, in those headphones I tried, the size of soundstage hierarchy was as one would expect. The HD800S was top, followed by the K7XX, the Fidelio X2 not too far behind, and the Aurvana’s last by a considerable margin.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  11. TeeReQs
    You might be able to find a used pair through eBay, or on here where someone would be willing to ship to you. You could also go for a pair of HD598/599, and buy a detachable mic for them.
  12. SierraMadre
    No. Dolby Atmos for headphone when fed vanilla Dolby content is effectively just Dolby’s successor to Dolby headphone and will still result in vanilla virtual 5.1 or 7.1. If and only if fed with Atmos content will the 3D object based processing kick in giving you height effects etc.
    SXFI virtualises speakers as per the source content just like other forms of VSS only it uses ear and face mapping along with headphone compensation to optimise and personalize the effect for the user. If that content is plain two channel stereo then the effect will be akin to listening to stereo speakers set in front of you. If the content is already binaural then applying SXFI might result in a greater sense of “3D” audio but I haven’t tried it and it would mean double binauralisation (once during the recording/mixing stage and again when processed by SXFI) which isn’t ideal and is a topic of contention. For virtual 5.1/7.1, the SXFI needs to be fed multichannel PCM surround content via USB.
    DTS headphone X does not require an in-game option for 5.1/7.1 virtual surround as, like most other forms of VSS, it is just a post processing algorithm applied to multichannel content. Most of the DAC/amps that feature it apply it to decoded Dolby digital 5.1.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2019
    halcyon likes this.
  13. SierraMadre
    The Fidelio X2s are a good choice and often see heavy discounts. Black Friday is approaching and also the release of the successor Fidelio X3s early next year so it should be quite easy to find the X2s within your price range if you can be patient and also diligent in searching for a good deal.

    The Philips SHP9500 are also a good choice but you’ll give up some bass and a little bit of soundstage in exchange for them usually being much cheaper than the X2s. They are also about to be succeeded by the 9600model early next year so again, you might be able to find it even cheaper than usual as retailers look to shift inventory in anticipation of the new model.

    AKG712 Pro are very good but can fluctuate wildly in pricing. They often see heavy discounts but if you can find one in your price range then they would be well worth it.

    If the Sennheiser 37X is out because Drop doesn’t ship to your country then what about the mass retail versions? Sennheiser Game One, 373D etc.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  14. Yedaself
    Whish I had bought Fidelio X2 when I had a chance, they were like $120 months ago in my country but now out of stock. SHP9500 is easier to find and quite cheap. I did a little price search and their cost to me for the headphones you mentioned. So I can buy SHP9500 for $122, Game One for $207, X2 for $212, PC373D for $214 and you didn't mention but HD599 for $208. They are quite close on pricing except SHP9500 but which one to buy.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2019
  15. SierraMadre
    Out of those, I’d choose the Fidelio X2s.

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