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Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide: (9/10/2019: Grado WH1 'The White Headphone' Added)

Discussion in 'Video Games Discussion' started by mad lust envy, Jan 17, 2011.
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  1. Rebel975
    When I play games using my speakers and want to talk to my friends I have to use a standard Xbox mic. I was getting really annoyed by the wired Xbox mic, so I bought a wireless one. Unfortunately, the wireless mic has a horrible attachment system, where I always felt like it was going to fall off of my ear.

    I took the headband from a wired mic and glued it to a piece I cut off of the wireless mic's attachment system. It's rock solid because it attaches to the wireless mic like the wireless mic's original attachment system is supposed to, and I still maintain the size adjustability of the wired mic's headband.

    I'll add some shrink wrap tubing, and it'll be done.
    I also used a foam piece from a microphone instead of the standard gel inserts the wireless mic comes with. It helps drown out the low level hiss that this thing has, and, it's a 'one size fits all' style now.
  2. NamelessPFG
    If you want the best for both PC and console, then as I keep saying, you're going to have to use two different devices. Sound card in the PC, Mixamp on the consoles (barring the Beyer Headzone and Smyth Realiser).
    It'll cost a bit more, but not that much-just another $30-50 for a good sound card.
    Yeah, it's pretty quiet. I hear it gets louder if you change the sound setting to Stereo instead of Surround, but I just can't bring myself to do that since the surround effect is rather noticeable with the built-in speakers, and my portable cans of choice (HTF600 for the time being) are sensitive enough.
    By the way, what's your friend code? Mine's in the Online Networking Thread.
  3. Mikesin
    Hmm, I'm pretty sure I got my Astro Mixamp to work with my PC.. maybe because my soundcard had some Dolby features, definitely not Dolby Headphone though.., whats the technology my 'ASUS Xonar DS' has that enables my PC to use DH through my Mixamp?
  4. Phos
    Quick little bit about the DSS: It's hiss varies slightly with changes in volume.  
  5. Evshrug

    If your sound card is outputting 5.1 surround throught it's optical out port to your Mixamp, your Mixamp should process that to Dolby headphone. It's not CMSS-3D, but it should be as good as what you'd get from a console.

    I agree with NamelessPFG that separate components for specialized needs (surround processor for console and a sound card for PC) is the way to go for the "BEST" sound quality, especially if you put a high quality desktop amp just before the headphone in your audio chain. That said, the Recon3D USB does both PC and Console "surround sound" that is good enough for me. If the Mixamp is well and truly only going to be available in bundles or second hand from now on, the Recon3D USB is what I'd point console gamers towards if they want to buy new. I can't actually tell how the Mixamp and Recon3D USB compare for console gaming, but the Recon3D USB ought to still be cheaper and flexible for PC gaming too if summit-Fi isn't the goal.

    Btw, I've been playing a lot more Oblivion now that competitive FPS isn't an option for now. I don't know if the amp section is breaking in or something (doubtful), but I've noticed that with the InGame volume turned up to full, my Recon3D doesn't need to be set at full power volume setting, and in fact it seems like there are a few notches of headroom between comfortable listening and the Recon3D's max output.

    Mad, do you have any suggestions for Q701 headband comfort? I get by with little position adjustments and I can play for hours, but I am "thinning up top" and those bumps do bother me pretty frequently. Why did AKG even put them on there, what is the benefit over just having a plain leather headband?
  6. PurpleAngel Contributor
    My two cents
    I believe the Astro Mix-amp uses Dolby, but your Xonar DS sound card uses DTS.
    I would assuming the Xonar DS (DTS) can output 2-channel (PCM), which the Astro Mix-amp. should be able to work with (just 2-channel).
    The Xonar DS outputs compressed 5.1 (6-channel) digital out thru the optical using DTS Interactive, but the Astro Mix-amp is designed to take in thru the optical input DDL (Dolby Digital live).
    Not sure if those two standards are compatible, my gut says no (for 5.1 (6-channel) audio).
    Could always swap the Xonar DS for the Xonar DX or D1 (which come with DDL, Dolby Digital live).
  7. Evshrug

    Oh the Xonar DS optical-out outputs surround in DTS? Huh. Guess that may be part of the reason people are looking for a headphone processor that can convert DTS into headphone virtual surround.

    Time to reveal (more) of my knowledge limits: I thought surround tracks like Dolby and DTS were decoded by the player (or soundcard hardware/software) since the media's audio is encoded that way, and that your source player (DVD player, Xbox, PS, Computer with soundcard, etc) would de-tangle all that jazz at the same stage as the video. So even with a digital connection such as an HDMI cable or optical, a DAC or a screen would just be turning a "universal format" unencoded digital whatever into usable output (analog sound or the picture on a screen). That's what I thought PCM audio was... PCM can't carry a 7.1 or 5.1 channel audio signal?

    Part of what lead me to this conclusion is that the Xbox 360 decodes DTS, and before MS added the HDMI port, Optical Out was the only way to get surround sound. So color me still confused why an optical-out can't carry out this functionality all the time.
  8. PurpleAngel Contributor
    HDMI can carry carry 8 channels of PCM (uncompressed audio), PCM seems to be universal.
    But to use S/PDIF (optical or coaxial) to send 5.1 (6-channels) of (PCM?) audio, it needs to be compressed, Dolby uses DDL (Dolby Digital live), DTS uses DTS Interactive
    Not sure if DDL and DTS Interactive can work together, I'm guessing (?) no
    Optical can only carry 2 channels of PCM or 7 channels (6.1, Dolby EX) of compressed audio, but 6.1 (Dolby EX) is not used anymore, but 5.1 is still going strong.
    As far as I know, Microsoft pushes game makers (for the xBox) into using Dolby, not DTS, but I need to read up more to double check.
  9. NamelessPFG
    As I keep saying, if they're using an external surround processor like that for PC gaming because their sound card doesn't support any form of binaural surround mixing directly, they aren't doing it right. (Well, I have heard of people who use X-Fi cards with Dolby Headphone processors because they want proper DS3D/OAL hardware acceleration, but don't like CMSS-3D Headphone as much. Weird, I know. Still a fringe case.)
    Unfortunately, I don't think the Xonar DS supports anything on par with Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D Headphone, so the only solution there that I can think of is to replace it with a different sound card.
  10. Evshrug

    Gave up on Microsoft's website... They are too obfusticating. I know I read it somewhere official, but here's a relevant paragraph from DTS' Wiki:

    "Sony's PlayStation 3 and Microsoft's Xbox 360 are capable of DTS decoding and output via TOSLINK or HDMI as LPCM. However, HDMI output on the Xbox 360 is only found on the "Elite" model and newer models available since mid-2007, with the release of the Falcon chipset. Also, the Xbox 360 cannot decode DTS from DTS Audio CDs. PlayStation 3 consoles can bitstream DTS over HDMI. The newer "slim" models are able to bitstream DTS-HD MA as well."

    I've also read a conflicting (older, pre-patch) thread post that surround audio on the 360 is converted to DDL when output via Optical Audio Out, no matter what format it came from. Maybe that's how it originally worked, I don't know next to anything about LPCM. I don't know if audio is treated this way through HDMI, in fact I saw a post that the first Prototype game was the first to use DTS audio on the 360 and a Receiver could, um, receive a DTS signal from that game and appropriate movie audio tracks. To finagle a DTS surround to headphones in virtual surround might be difficult... Hmm, makes me want to give my Yamaha another try with some DVD! Would be awesome to play Jurassic Park :D

    Nah, I don't really care enough :wink:

    Edit: yeah, I spun-off from pc-audio again. Like I said, Nameless' suggestion for a better sound card is definitely the simplest and highest quality solution to mix up some binaural gaming goodness. If you already have your console sorted with the Mixamp AND it's worth it to you to upgrade your PC audio, do that :)
  11. Fegefeuer
    They are both better in both [​IMG] although the K702 is very good in itself already. You can do competitive with all three. Now fun is a nother thing, that's where I consider subass, soundstage, imaging, separation the winners. 
    I'd say you get a better soundcard in the future and keep your current collection (if you want to go way down then get the HD800 - no prisoners). Watch out for the new Creative Lineup coming in December, they are very confident about it in the way they used to when they introduced the x-fi to the world. 
  12. Evshrug

    Where does their confidence come from beyond the usual new product marketing fluff? I mean, I hope it's great, and since Microsoft doesn't see the 360 reaching the end of it's life till about 2015 (they may have a 2 system overlap at some point, but we'll see), my hope is that enough gamers will lust after progress and re-invigorate the PC gaming scene. Growth sector = more R&D, hopefully something will come along to fill the shoes of OpenAL (DirectAX11?). I wonder why Microsoft dropped support for OpenAL in Vista. FWIR on Creative's snazzy new cards to be released on December, the S/Nr is supposed to be better than ever, but their new non-liscensed variant of THX Pro Surround doesn't inspire me to believe it's a true 3D replacement for OpenAL and it's ilk.

    If you read Creative's quarterly reports, it looks like Creative has been bleeding money for years, at loss margins as the PC audio enthusiast niche shrank. Those same reports seem to state that they're surviving by cutting costs "in an uncertain market," my guess is that they won't pour money into a drastically improved product until there is growth in their market.
  13. Naingolann
    I must've gotten an excellent one then, because I absolutely can't hear any hiss on mine with any headphone. [​IMG]
    When I link it to the E9, I usually max the volume on the DSS and it's still dead silent.
    Whenever it's gonna die though (hopefully never [​IMG]), I'll be giving the Mixamp a try, unless something new (and better) comes out. Right now, it's just too expensive...
  14. nyst01
    I had the same problem with the Q701 headband.  As crazy as it may sound, I threw a baby seat strap cover over mine. 
    Something like this: http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3591059
    I haven't had any comfort issues with the Q's since.  I can wear them all day when 'working' from home. [​IMG]
  15. Evshrug

    Yeah, I remember reading somewhere (the Q701 appreciation thread?) that someone else had used a seatbelt cover wrapped over the headband. I thought it might've been you, but, congrats first post lol! Wonder if they have that at my local Toys R Us? If not, it's right next to the Michael's arts and crafts store anyway :wink:

    Those headphone bumps really are my only caveat with the Q701's, it's funny because the K240 Studios DON'T have bumps on the headband, and people rave about the comfort of those. I literally cannot fathom their purpose... Last night I had an hour of music before sleep, laying on my rolled up pillow I rotated the cans till the headband was off my head and literally in front of my eyes, the sound quality lead me to an alert but meditative space; felt so nice :)
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