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Gaming Headset - G533 vs AKG K702 + AE-5 (or alternative)

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Ali3ta1r, Aug 29, 2018.

  1. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    New to the forum, but this seems like a good place to ask this question. So firstly, appreciate anyone who takes the time to assist on my question.

    So I am seeking a new gaming headset/audio set-up for purely FPS gaming (PUBG, CS:GO etc.) in a quiet room, I will not be looking to take any of this equipment outside or listen to an extensive amount of music through it. At this moment in time, I seem to have narrowed it down to 2 options through website/forum trawling:

    1. Logitech G533 Headset
    2. AKG K702 + a Sound BlasterX AE-5 + some surround sound software


    Much of my decision has been based on the tests shown on the Rtings website, where the G533 scores favourably on the sound tests, better than the K702 but I believe it wasn't tested in companion with a solid sound-card/DAC (which I understand it requires to drive it).

    Can anyone please provide any input on whether they think I am making the right choice on either of the above options, or if there is a better alternative out there? One of the key requirements for me is good positional audio (footsteps, gun-fire etc.) and as I understand good stereo sound with game settings can rival a 7.1 headset whilst providing a better audio quality.
     
  2. JHONO

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 8, 2004

    Posts: 731

    Location: Widnes, Cheshire

    I am currently using K702's with with an AE-5. It's a great setup. When playing Dying Light using the DSP 7.1 Headphone setting, positional audio is brilliant. I can hear easily hear the footsteps of zombies coming up on me when i'm lock picking :p

    Overall its a solid choice. The K702's in my opinion are sharp and good for those positional audio cues. Although they sometimes sound a tad bit harsh.
     
  3. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    Do you use Discord and a mic set-up with this? Any issues with it being an open headphone and sound-leak received by the mic when talking to people in-game?
     
  4. JHONO

    Hitman

    Joined: Feb 8, 2004

    Posts: 731

    Location: Widnes, Cheshire

    Im not using a mic at the moment. But a Modmic which is a decent mic to use with most cans is noise cancelling so im assuming not. I'm looking at getting one soon.
     
  5. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,159

    Location: Finland

    I have little doubt that K702 would beat those Logitechs in actual gaming capability "with hands tied behind back".
    Even if they don't drown details with closed design's strong bass, that design is serious challenge even for audio makers to get reproduction accurate enough for binaural sound.
    While K701/702 designed for that true "detail whoring" of neutral analytical sound is at absolute top level for binaural sound.

    Mad Lust Envy's guide puts it spot on:
    "The meaning of God-mode is strong with this one. If you want a headphone to pick apart details from everything around you, this one is pretty hard to pass up."
    Next level up would basically need on screen map showing locations of sound sources.
    (of course neutral bass from open headphone isn't high on "fun factor")

    Most "reviews" of any kind gaming headphones/sets just aren't any reviews, but either straight away marketing or completely lacking neutral testing/"playing field".
    Accurate headphones simply don't help any with stereo sound source.
    Without binaural cues brain can position sounds only to left or right ear or inside head.
    While without actually good reference even mediocre headphones would be better with binaural sound.


    Though of course if your head shape differs more from average, then your personal HRTF and binaural cues are different eating immersion.
    For head and ear shape customizable HRTF we have to wait for Creative to finish and release products with their "Super X-Fi" tech.
    Current Creative sound cards use HRTF algorithm based on average human head shape.

    Now if we could only get hardware sound processing back with sound card calculating output from game's actual audio data with true 3D sound source positions.

    You'll be going deaf far before any sound leak from open headphone becomes too much for microphone.
    Keyboard is magnitude bigger background noise source than headphones at hearing safe volume.
    Mechanical keyboard double so.
     
  6. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    Thanks EsaT for contributing to my question, very helpful. So it seems apparent I should opt for the K702's, but what additional equipment do I need to support these for gaming (i.e. soundcard, DAC, amp...).

    My initial instinct is the Sound BlasterX AE-5 as it's a purposely built for PC/gaming. However, I simply don't have the knowledge or understanding to know if that's true or makes a difference. I've seen people talking up the Sennheiser GSX 1200 PRO, Filio E10K and the Schiit Stack amongst others.

    I have a pretty strong budget if the audio would be noticeably better, and again this is mainly for FPS gaming (footsteps, gunfire etc. being priority).

    Do you have any thoughts on what direction I should be looking?
     
  7. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    For the benefit of any advice, my motherboard is an Z370 AORUS Gaming 7. Onboard audio is listed as:

    Audio
    1. Realtek® ALC1220 codec
    2. ESS9018Q2C chip
    3. Support for Sound BlasterX 720°
    4. High Definition Audio
    5. 2/4/5.1/7.1-channel
    6. Support for S/PDIF Out
    Maybe this doesn't need upgrading as it's quite a recent motherboard.
     
  8. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,159

    Location: Finland

    Sound BlasterX AE-5 would be basically everything needed.
    Creative has very good binaural simulation/HRTF algorithm and AE-5 has top level DAC and headphone output good for pretty much any headphone.

    Sennheiser GSX is genuine overpriced gaming hype product, just like gaming brand headsets.
    Its HRTF algorithm is sure among best with Creative, but for its hardware more proper price would be £50.
    Its using cheap Conexant chip meant for phones/tablets with worser DAC than budget level Audigy Fx/Xonar DGX and basic level headphone output!
    It essentially lacks both good DAC and that headphone amp...
    Creative's just released Sound BlasterX G6 would be many times better with top level DAC and headphone output apparently 1:1 identical to AE-5.

    Fiios or Schiits are "dumb" single pupose devices, because that's only thing what DAC can do.
    (they don't even have normal mic/line in connectivity of any sound card)
    And by themselves give only stereo sound with its "sound inside left or right ear, or inside head" immersion.
    Which is as good for gaming immersion as that description sounds once you've listened to binaural sound with good headphones.

    Unless implementation suffers from some interference there's likely zero sense for separate sound card at least now.
    That Realtek itself would have very competent DAC very likely fully accurate enough for human hearing.
    Anyway D/A conversion has been given for that ESS Sabre chip.
    Again while K702 isn't the easiest load neither it's hardest.

    And that Sound BlasterX 720 comes with same algorithms Creative uses for their sound cards.
    Once installed/set properly it should produce identical signal to Creative's sound cards.
    (occasionally motherboard makers bundle something actually good/useful with motherboards)

    I certainly would wait for Creative's "Super X-Fi" based products.
    Challenge of all HRTF's is that if listener's head and ear shape is different from average model used by algorithm, accuracy of binaural cues suffers lowering immersion.
    So should be easy to understand what ability to customize HRTF means.
     
  9. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    Excellent, again really appreciate the level of detailed advice provided EsaT.

    Could I ask your opinion on the testing done by Rtings, who according to their empirical/non-subjective tests (scores out of 10) the G533 compares more favourably to the K702s:

    G533
    Bass
    = 9.2
    Mid = 8.1
    Treble: 8.7
    Soundstage: 7.3

    AKG K702
    Bass
    = 7.8
    Mid = 8.8
    Treble = 7.9
    Soundstage = 7.4

    The reason I ask, is whether a non-audiophile such as myself will notice the difference?

    Very interested to see why the AKG K702 didn't score as well if the better headphone, which according to many it is.

    Also, does this dispel the notion that wireless sound is a poorer quality than wired? Like how once time they said wireless mouses would lag...
     
  10. Stoner81

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Jul 8, 2010

    Posts: 2,221

    Location: Derbyshire

    HyperX 2 is what I use and they have been great.

    Stoner81.
     
  11. Ali3ta1r

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    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    Just further my post above, here's the link to the Rtings page:

    https://www.rtings.com/headphones/t...-vs-akg-k702/505/332#usage*5003!threshold*0.1
     
  12. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,161

    Whoever did the scoring; what were they using the K702 with?

    If they don't say, then the score is not valid in my opinion. They could have been using onboard audio for all we know, which is not good enough really.

    Do they actually listen to the headphones they supposedly review, or just stick on them on some rig and go purely on the graphs?

    I notice they've given the G533 and K702 both 7.9 for critical listening; the G533 8.1 for sound and the K701, 8.0.

    Even just going by the graphs; to give both G533 and K702 both 7.9 for critical listening, is almost laughable in my opinion. Look at the left and right channel balance; the K702 is fairly even until the higher treble area, whereas the G533 looks to be all over the place from the bass up to the treble. I'm sorry, but for critical listening, you don't want the left and right channels to be all over the place.

    Someone picks up on this on Reddit, where he says Rtings gave Sennheiser HD598 7.8 for critical listening and as we know, the G533 gets 7.9. Having used both, he said the HD598 sound quality is far superior.

    Both K702 and HD598 really should smeg all over the G533 when it comes to critical listening, but according to Rtings, they are as good as, if not slightly better. While critical listening is not the all important factor when it comes to gaming like it is when using the headphones for music, it does make me question the validity of their headphones reviews.
     
  13. awaybreaktoday

    Mobster

    Joined: May 15, 2006

    Posts: 3,549

    Location: London

    When will the Super X-Fi products be released?
     
  14. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,159

    Location: Finland

    On the opposite for competitive gaming.
    Stereo music doesn't care really any about accuracy of reproduction to avoid sounding bad.
    Even total garbage trinkets can sound "not as bad as expected".
    But binaural sound relies on accurate analytical sound for accuracy of binaural cues.
    And those same trinkets sound total "head in bucket underwater" garbage with so and so directionality and zero sense of distances.

    Having AKG K702, K712, DT990 Beyer and HD595 Sennheiser gives plenty of comparison basis between music and gaming.
     
  15. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,159

    Location: Finland

    G533 getting such high bass score kinda tells it has strong bass of closed headphones.
    Which is very hard to keep from seriously burying/drowning details like foot steps etc even for actual audio makers.
    For gaming trinket manufacturing that's magnitudes more unlikely.

    And whole sound stage claim is rather weird.
    Headphones can't create anything which isn't already in signal.
    Brain positions sounds basing to direction dependant changes head and outer ear causes to signal received by both ears from sound source.
    Headphone can't ever create any of those cues.
    Which is why pure speaker stereo mix sounds so artificial with headphones.

    And binaural sound with spatical cues in signal relies only on accurate reproduction to give proper positioning of sounds.
    Small supra-aural headphones and even IEMs would give good immersion, if they have accurate enough sound.

    Super X-Fi tech was first demoed in CES and there were other "demo shows" during spring.
    Some of those news mentioned Q3 for release, but I think there might be some finalizing still going on.
    https://klgadgetguy.com/2018/06/07/...ge-the-way-you-watch-movies-and-listen-music/
    https://www.straitstimes.com/tech/audio/surround-sound-with-a-dongle

    Maybe there's going to be more simultaneous release including PC centered products.
    That dongle without any mic input etc just isn't replacement for traditional sound card.

    While Creative just released Sound BlasterX G6, which is updated G5 with AE-5's headphone amp and some other tweaks, internal sound card line up hasn't seen much updates.
    Sound Blaster Z-lineup is 6 years old with Sound BlasterX AE-5 being only newer card.
    Though initial models might be focused on upper end of price range.

    Myself certainly waiting to see PC centered Super X-Fi products.
    We simply don't come with standardized head shape.
    Now if we would only get HW sound acceleration back to games with sound card able to access original ingame 3D sound source locations.
    Pre-baked 5.1 and 7.1 simply lack vertical data.
    Well, guess something like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X would be best hope.
     
  16. Ali3ta1r

    Associate

    Joined: Nov 15, 2017

    Posts: 32

    So I've narrowed it down to two headphones that are totally different to ones I started this forum with.

    Either the:
    Sennheiser Game One (G4ME One) - https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/sennheiser/game-one-g4me-one-gaming-headset
    Or:
    Beyerdynamic DT990 - https://www.rtings.com/headphones/reviews/beyerdynamic/dt-990-pro

    From the audio profiles on Rtings or from any first-hand experience with either headset, does anyone have any advice where my money would be best spent?

    Whichever one it ends up being, is more than likely going to be paired with a Creative AE-5 Soundcard (should that factor into any considerations...)

    Looking forward to your thoughts.
     
  17. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,159

    Location: Finland

    DT990 would be quite quite different from AKG K702.
    With strong bass it's step behind in details and simultaneous low frequency sounds can make foot steps etc harder to distinguish.
    Though it's far from bad, in fact very good (because of that treble as balance to bass) but simply not at highest level.
    And that bass delivers high in "fun factor".
    Instead of mostly sounding shy, like neutral bass, it punches clearly when there's bass in signal.
    If goal is easiest distinguishing of foot steps etc., there are better headphones.
    Again if wanting "balanced" sound with also good fun bass punch it's very good for its price.

    Headband has really lots of adjustment range, so should be comfortable for wide variety of head sizes.
    Also mechanical design is from time when durability was high in priorities with steel inside headband cushion etc and its maintenance friendly
    And if something wears, Beyerdynamic sells basically every part as spare part for cheap DIY repairs.


    Game One is based on some HD500-serie model.
    Have read conflicting comparisons to some HD500-serie models, so who knows if Sennheiser has done changes during years.
    Anyway upper HD500-models are pretty neutral on their bass, like AKG K702, making distinguishing details easy.
    But Sennheiser doesn't go to AKG's analytical accuracy level, instead of having somewhat smoother sound for music enjoyment. (HD600-serie quite heavily)
    So for "competitiveness" they're excellent, but not at absolute top level.
    Again neutral bass is... well, pretty neutral and simply doesn't punch much, unless signal is bass heavy.
    Lower bass might be also little behind AKG K702.

    While that dual sided ear cup attachment is lot better than single sided attachment of current HD500 serie (had to retire my HD595 in 3 years) there's still that hinge of it to headband, which isn't the best possible construction.
    Sennheiser uses overall little smaller but oval shaped ear pads.
    So for their size they are really comfortable, but if you have more rounder ears...