Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (2/2/2020: Drop + THX Panda review added)
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illram

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Did you test the headphones for movie watching? obviously interested in 5.1 and 7.1 when streaming on PC from Netflix/Hulu/Amazon...
The SXFI amp will create virtual surround from any 5.1 or 7.1 PCM source and appear to Windows as a 7.1 speaker configuration. So Netflix on the Windows app (NOT on a browser) will work but, like MLE said, it's hard to really tell the difference as most movies/shows don't use rear channels to a great degree. I tried it out with Altered Carbon and preferred Atmos to SXFI. Personally for media watching I use Atmos as it does not adulterate the overall audio the way SXFI does. For games though SXFI is very accurate and that wins out for me.
 
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Zachik

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I tried it out with Altered Carbon and preferred Atmos to SXFI.
Atmos as in real 7.1 or 9.1 speakers? Or is there another similar type product called Atmos??
 
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Zachik

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halcyon

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Sorry, I don't have the Creative SXFI amp, so I'm unsure at how SXFI works with that in comparison to the Air. Unless it has PC drivers and attached through usb, I wouldn't think it can do 5.1/7.1 conversions.
To clarify to others: Creative SXFI Amp can take in 5.1 / 7.1 sound via it's USB-C interface and is seen by Windows (v.1703 or later) as a multi-channel sound card and it will decode this as multi-channel into the HRTF mix.

AFAIK, when connected via it's USB-C connector to PS4 or Xbox, it only receives a stereo (not multi-channel signal), so it's not a true 5.1->Stereo HRTF Virtual Sound Solution for those platforms.

A quite thorough review of SXFI *amp* (not the SXFI Air headset) in it's current incarnation is at 4game.net [JAP, use google translate]:

https://www.4gamer.net/games/004/G000421/20190312095/

There is still too much reverb and it's current incarnation SXFI Amp is not highly recommended, the PC/Windows software and reverb tuning still need more work, esp. for headphone models that are not directly supoprted from within the SXFI Connect app.
 
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halcyon

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Has anybody measured in-game sound latency with various drivers, virtualizers and sound-cards?
Found it! Japanese 4Gamer.net does sound card latency measurements on Windows platform using a unified methodology. This will give you an idea of a rough latency in best case (no additional DPI latency from over crowded USB/chipset).

Here's a short summary of some tested cards:


Code:
Razer Seirē Elite MIC         -23 ms (DirectSound vs Fireface UCX)
ROG Strix Fusion 500          -18 ms (DirectSound vs Fireface UCX)
BenQ Zowie Vital              -13 ms (WASAPI vs Fireface UCX)
BenQ Zowie Vital               -1 ms (DirectSound vs Fireface UCX)

RME Fireface UCX                0 ms (baseline, not absolute measurement)
Creative Sound Blaster ZxR      0 ms (baseline 2, not absolute measurement)

Logitech G433 7.1 (wired)       2 ms (WASAPI vs Fireface UCX)
SteelSeries Arctis Pro/GameDAC  4 ms (DirectSound vs ZxR)
Logitech G433 7.1 (wired)       7 ms (DirectSound vs Fireface UCX
Sennheiser GSX 1000             2 ms (WASAPI vs Fireface UCX)
Sennheiser GSX 1000            11 ms (DirectSound vs Fireface UCX)
Creative Sound Blaster K3+     13 ms (DirectSound) vs. Fireface UCX
Astro MixAmp Pro TR            16 ms (WASAPI vs. ZxR)
Audeze Mobius                  18 ms (DirectSound vs. ZxR)
Creative Sound BlasterX G6     48 ms (DirectSound vs. ZxR)
Creative SXFI Amp              55 ms (DirectSound vs. ZxR)
SteelSeries Arctis 7           99 ms (DirectSound vs. Fireface UCX)

Yes, it is not much and there are two baseline cards which makes it more confusing.

However, what is apparent from the results they've done so far is:

- Directsound has more latency (on the average) than WASAPI (fairly obvious)
- USB cards do NOT always have more latency than PCIe cards (EDITED)
- enabling 3D sound virtualization (SXFI, Dolby Atmos, etc) on the sound card increases the latency
- extra sound card latency can be anything from 0 to 6 frames (on a 60Hz screen) (EDITED)
- this latency is ON TOP of what is already the sound processing latency in the game + in windows inherently (which is usually in dozens OR up to hundreds of milliseconds)

In summary: there is still WAY TOO MUCH latency in Audio on Windows for FPS gaming with 120+ Hz screens and on-time audio cues. I hope the industry and reviewers will pay more attention to this in the future. This is one area of performance, where newer technology is actually often times quite a lot slower (longer latencies) than older technology.

EDIT: Added more cards/headsets from the 4gamer.net testing.
 
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mindbomb

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They did find the gsx 1000 to be low latency.

i don't think virtual surround sound affects the latency in any significant way. Equalizerapo reports the latency for hesuvi, and it is less than 1ms for that.
 
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halcyon

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They did find the gsx 1000 to be low latency.

i don't think virtual surround sound affects the latency in any significant way. Equalizerapo reports the latency for hesuvi, and it is less than 1ms for that.
Thanks for the tip on GSX1000. I found other cards by google search from their site (can't really navigate their own site in Japanese that well).

The EQ APO calculation is for internal processing latency for selected convolutions, not the whole latency (of Windows / drivers / Equalizer APO / HeSuVi). One cannot measure the accuracy of a meter with the meter itself. You need external (calibrated tools).
 
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motorwayne

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The wait shouldn't be too long for the Creative Air and SXFI review.

Let's just say that may very well be my biggest review. It's freaking huge. :fearful:

Still working out some writing kinks. PLEASE HAVE PATIENCE, MY GOOD PEOPLE. It's coming.
Wow your review of the SXFi headphones is amazing. Sounds like I want these? Or should I be waiting for the AE-9?
 
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I don't know about the AE-9, but the Air is really freaking good for the price. It's like a mini Audeze Mobius in terms of features. Not 1:1 and Mobius definitely sounds better, but it's more than double the price.

I just wish it had an optical input for dolby digital decoding on consoles to SXFI, but then that would be weird on a headset. LOL imagine having an optical cable tethered to you. It's never been done, I don't think.
 
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I think the next step for headsets like this is for them to come with a box that attaches to consoles via optical/hdmi that sends a signal to the headset wirelessly via aptX low latency.

So an SXFI box that turns 5.1/7.1 to virtual surround like SXFI and send that processed signal to the headset.

I mean we already had the Mixamp 5.8 which did something similar and worked incredibly well. It just didn't seem to catch on back then. I think Astro gave up too quickly.a high end version of that nowadays with a cleaner dac/amplifier would be amazing. Though the Mixamp still needed a regular headphone, not a wireless one.
 
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motorwayne

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As I would be using them for gaming only on PC, would you suggest the Creative SXFI AIR C as the choice?
 
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As I would be using them for gaming only on PC, would you suggest the Creative SXFI AIR C as the choice?
But why, when you have an MMX300 and a decent soundcard?

If you didn't have anything, then yes. I definitely recommend the Air.

I know next to nothing about the Air C. It may or may not sound like the Air. Personally for the $20 difference, I'd get the Air. Even if you didn't use the Bluetooth, it packs more stuff than the Air C.
 
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motorwayne

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But why, when you have an MMX300 and a decent soundcard?

If you didn't have anything, then yes. I definitely recommend the Air.

I know next to nothing about the Air C. It may or may not sound like the Air. Personally for the $20 difference, I'd get the Air. Even if you didn't use the Bluetooth, it packs more stuff than the Air C.
The answer to your question "Why" is, I'm always interested in a more immersive experience, one of my hobbies is PC gaming and in particular outdoor FPS games, so immersion and that being there audiovisual experience is always the holy grail in my favorite genre, so I keep a keen ear to what's happening and try to add small improvements along the way. :)
 
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Question.
I have a desktop PC, with a soundcard. its an ASUS DG PCI ..
I also run a benchmark DAC USB unit coupled to a Violectric V200 amp.
So would i be best to run toslink from the benchmark to the optical in on the soundcard .... (so this would bypass all soundcard DAC right ? )
or just run the usb cable from the benchmark to the usb of the PC.

ive actually tried both, and it seems games, well BF V in particularly sound better via the toslink ..

no need to go via the internal PC soundcard at all ?

thanks.
 
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