The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound)
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Razz7

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Hi guys, I've read numerous topics/complaint threads now about Dolby Digital Live "latency", I'm wondering if CMSS-3D, SBX Surround, or THX Surround have the same problem with latency? I have the Astro A40's along with the 2013 Mixamp so I also don't know if i'm stuck with Dolby digital live because of the Mixamp, But if those other 3 Surround systems has no latency I would get rid of the Mixamp or keep it if it can use the signal.
 
Anyone know anything about this? thanks.
 
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The latency is so minute... it doesn't bother me at all. Certainly like a microsecond difference at least for me.
 
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The latency is so minute... it doesn't bother me at all. Certainly like a a few millisecond difference at least for me.
 
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Razz7

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The latency is so minute... it doesn't bother me at all. Certainly like a a few millisecond difference at least for me.
 
Do you know if there is any difference in latency with CMSS-3D and Dolby Digital Live?
 
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I never owned any CMSS euipment, so I cant help there.
 
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chicolom

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  Hi guys, I've read numerous topics/complaint threads now about Dolby Digital Live "latency", I'm wondering if CMSS-3D, SBX Surround, or THX Surround have the same problem with latency? I have the Astro A40's along with the 2013 Mixamp so I also don't know if i'm stuck with Dolby digital live because of the Mixamp, But if those other 3 Surround systems has no latency I would get rid of the Mixamp or keep it if it can use the signal.
 
Anyone know anything about this? thanks.
 
 
In my experience, the latency is when you use certain soundcards to encode into Dolby Digital Live.  For example, if I use my SB Z soundcard to encode into Dolby Digital Live (instead of just using it's own SBX Pro surround) then I get a bit of latency when that  DD 5.1 signal reaches my DSS.
 
The mixamp itself, for whatever reason, doesn't have this latency on consoles.  Perhaps they are faster at encoding Dolby Digital Live at a more hardware-level Vs. certain soundcards.  Since I assume you're trying to use it with PC though, it's possible your computer is creating some latency when trying to first to encode a DD 5.1 signal for the mixamp. 
 
I haven't heard any complaints about Dolby Headphone soundcards like the Xonar U3 or Xonar DGX though.
 
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In my experience, the latency is when you use certain soundcards to encode into Dolby Digital Live.  For example, if I use my SB Z soundcard to encode into Dolby Digital Live (instead of just using it's own SBX Pro surround) then I get a bit of latency when that  DD 5.1 signal reaches my DSS.
 
The mixamp itself, for whatever reason, doesn't have this latency on consoles.  Perhaps they are faster at encoding Dolby Digital Live at a more hardware-level Vs. certain soundcards.  Since I assume you're trying to use it with PC though, it's possible your computer is creating some latency when trying to first to encode a DD 5.1 signal for the mixamp. 
 
I haven't heard any complaints about Dolby Headphone soundcards like the Xonar U3 or Xonar DGX though.
 
So would I get less latency if I use CMSS-3D or SBX Surround instead of Dolby Digital live?, Also how would I connect the soundcard to the headset? Thanks.
 
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Pretty sure those also need Dolby Digital to work... I know THX Tru Studio does...
 
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Pretty sure those also need Dolby Digital to work... I know THX Tru Studio does...
Neh, not really. It's different in Computerworld...
The windows audio stack takes raw positional data and creates 7.1 channels of lossless audio. From that, creative's software either makes a virtual surround mix for stereo headphones, OR makes a DDL compressed mix for output through optical. The soundcards are actually optimized for 7.1-to-headphone mixing, it's a simple "apply this affect to that channel, send this % audio to that earspeaker," but they're not optimized (just "good enough") to actually process the math to compress 7.1 LPCM down to DDL.
 
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chicolom

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So would I get less latency if I use CMSS-3D or SBX Surround instead of Dolby Digital live?, Also how would I connect the soundcard to the headset? Thanks.
 
 
What is your setup now?  Your using a mixamp with your PC?  How are you getting DD 5.1 to the mixamp??
 
I think the problem might be whatever method your using to get DD 5.1 to the mixamp is causing latency.  "Dolby Digital Live" and "Dolby Headphone" are two different things, so don't be confused there. 
 
 

 
I don't notice any difference in latency between SBX Pro and using a mixamp with a console.  The latency comes when I tell my SB Z soundcard to encode Dolby Digital Live and then send that out.  I don't know if cards that "natively" support Dolby Headphone (Xonar cards I mentioned above) have any latency problems though.  They might not. 
 
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What is your setup now?  Your using a mixamp with your PC?  How are you getting DD 5.1 to the mixamp??
 
I think the problem might be whatever method your using to get DD 5.1 to the mixamp is causing latency.  "Dolby Digital Live" and "Dolby Headphone" are two different things, so don't be confused there. 
 
 
 
I don't notice any difference in latency between SBX Pro and using a mixamp with a console.  The latency comes when I tell my SB Z soundcard to encode Dolby Digital Live and then send that out.  I don't know if cards that "natively" support Dolby Headphone (Xonar cards I mentioned above) have any latency problems though.  They might not. 
 
Hi, Right now I only have the Astro A40 headset and the Mixamp, I am debating about getting a Sound Blaster Z soundcard for Positional audio, But read issues with latency via Dolby Digital Live as I do not want latency as I play Counter Strike on PC.
 
I connect the Mixamp with an optical cable from onboard motherboard audio.
 
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Oh Evs, I just thought the games were all DDL by default. I didn't know it was like that. I'm so used to the restrictions of console gaming.

No wonder Dolby Headphone sounds different on PC. I always thought it was inferior to the same games being played on consoles.

No wonder... DH may work it's best getting a legit DD feed, instead getting a converted feed from a PC.

Chico... wait, you're getting SBX on consoles? HAO?
 
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DH on the PC is superior due to having access to the "lossless" stream. It's only lossless in the sense of not having to be downgraded again with 640kbps AC3 encoding. File format or source is another matter. We can argue if Skyrim's audio samples can even get downgraded more. In the end the better the chain the more obvious DHP's weaknesses are revealed. So maybe this is what you're hinting at.
 
The AC3 stream does not have additional binaural info which Dolby Headphone could make use of. You can't just artificially add some info when the sound card drivers (or the Mixamp) knows nothing about the game world and gets fully mixed discrete streams only. DDL is a simple encoder, nothing more. 
 
DHP is too old for such an idea anyway. This is where DTS Headphone X has the theoretical advantage as DTS-HD streams can include binaural info if sound engineers want to. I don't see it anywhere though. Last thing I heard is Sennheiser joining the boat. I assume it's about calibrating their headphones. 
 
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Im not referring to lossless lr audio quality or whatever. I'm referring to positional cues sounding quite a bit different on pc than on consoles. I have never heard a game on both a console or pc that sounds better on pc.

I have been comparing games I own on both my ps3/ps4 and pc. Games like Tomb Raider, Left for Dead, Devil May Cry, etc. None, NONE of the games I own sound better on pc.
 
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Hi, Right now I only have the Astro A40 headset and the Mixamp, I am debating about getting a Sound Blaster Z soundcard for Positional audio, But read issues with latency via Dolby Digital Live as I do not want latency as I play Counter Strike on PC.
 
I connect the Mixamp with an optical cable from onboard motherboard audio.
 
I may be mistaken, but if you get an SBZ, you won't need the Mixamp on the PC (unless you super prefer DH to SBX).  The SBZ will do everything the mixamp will do but with one less link in the chain.
 
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