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Spec me a headset

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by CaptainRAVE, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    My wife has finally had enough of my Logitech Z5500 system booming out. So she has offered to buy me a headset for Christmas. I don’t mind this as I have owned some brilliant headsets in the past.

    It must have surround sound. Ideally wireless. Obviously I want the sound to be of excellent quality.

    Options?

    Thanks :)
     
  2. Adam123

    Hitman

    Joined: Jan 11, 2009

    Posts: 758

    sticking around for suggestions.

    What budget are you trying to stick with?
     
  3. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    £100-150 I think, but could push a little higher. Depends on the offerings.
     
  4. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,376

    Location: Finland

    Then forget wireless.
    • There are only few wireless headphones from audio makers I would trust to have good sound quality.
      While gaming brands are pretty much just trinket production with huge profit margins, wires or no wires.
    • And wired headphones never run out of battery in the middle of gaming and we already have enough things to charge...
      I'm sure if you actually use it for its advertised use, you wouldn't call "smart"phones very smart with their battery always dumb.
    And that surround in package of headphones themselves is marketing BS in any way:
    • "True surround" headphones with garbage truck load of even cheaper trinket drivers are total scam.
      Headphones can never create binaural cues, no matter the amount of drivers.​
    • Using mathematical HRTF algorithms with standard two channel stereo headphones is the proper way.
      But to work well binaural cues need accurate reproduction and that's where gaming trinkets fall on their face more or less totally...
      Especially when they're mostly using closed design, which is major challenge for sound quality even for audio makers.​
    Most sound cards have included HRTF before this modern gaming garbage headphone fad.
    And for example Creative has better algorithm than common Dolby Headphone, likely used by dongles of most gaming headphones.
    Creative also sells their algorithms in software package for use with any sound card already in PC.
    Though OK good sound card doesn't cost much any compared to price we have to pay for high end graphics cards nowadays.
    (even very high end sound cards are rather cheap compared to high end graphics card)

    Also if you don't actually use it, that microphone would be another money drain, decreasing budget left sound quality.
    And there are ways to later mod standard quality headphones to headset with mic, if you need it.


    Fair £100 gets some very good headphones for binaural gaming from actual audio makers.

    If you want maximal details AKG K702 with its neutral bass and analytical sound would be one of the absolutely best headphones for competitive gaming.
    With good binaural sound simulation next step up would be game showing locations of sound sources in some on screen map.
    Bass is there if you listen for it and actually goes pretty low, but it simply stays on back seat to details.
    As downside AKG doesn't sell spare parts.

    If you want more "balanced" gaming immersion with good fun bass Beyerdynamic DT990 would do that.
    With open design punchy bass doesn't heavily bury details, unlike above neutral bass would do in closed headphones.
    And Beyerdynamic sells everything as spare parts, if something wears out.
    Also manual headband adjustment works better for different head shapes, than AKG's automatic adjustment:
    It has lots of length adjustment for bigger head and unlike AKG doesn't feel like cups are trying to crawl down on smaller head.
    There are couple different versions of it.
    But looks like standard straight cable equipped version has come down in price closer to studio use meant coiled cable Pro version.
    250 ohm version works fine with sound cards (except bad ones) because it actually doesn't demand much power, only some voltage.
    Even integrated Realteks drive it loud.

    Myself got 250 ohm DT990 Edition half dozen years ago, after fashion plastic of fashion design HD595 Sennheiser started rotting in 2½ years.
    Since then have also gotten relatively similar sound AKG K712 (more expensive and AKG's replacement earpads insanely priced) and second hand K702 for that neutral bass comparison point.


    Of course if environment is noisy open headphones have downside.
    Unless covered by what you're listening, you hear sounds of environment basically normally through them.
    But if you have own gaming room or corner in otherwise quieter environment that works also as advantage:
    At lower volume you hear very easily talk of other person without need to talk loudly.
    Same goes for getting attention. Other person doesn't have to come next to you and yell loudly, assuming you listen at hearing safe volume.
     
  5. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    A very detailed response, thank you. I need to process all of that!

    The Beyerdynamic DT990 look good. I will be using my Realtek onboard audio, but you say that will be ok? Am I going to need some kind of amp? (Leaning toward these based on the reviews around and mention of detail in the sound).

    Oh, the AKG K702s look good too!

    My room is quiet, so they don’t need to be noise cancelling and I don’t need a mic either.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2018
  6. V F

    Capodecina

    Joined: Aug 13, 2003

    Posts: 14,697

    Location: UK

    As I've said before, I'm always amazed the amount of people out there reading forums that hate this. Clean tight non boomy bass is lovely. I think the bass is powerfully clean on them, yet to so many they say there is no bass. So, it makes me wonder what they're used to.
     
  7. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    Have read quite a few people saying Realtek works well with the Beyerdynamic DT990. Definitely leaning toward those. I guess there is no harm in trying and going from there.

    Good thing I posted, I was looking at all the expensive gaming headsets and it sounds like the offerings posted above are much better.
     
  8. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    Going to order these I think - beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO Studio Headphones

    Is something like this needed at all? Creative Sound BlasterX G1 7.1 24-Bit/96 KHz HD Portable Gaming USB DAC Sound Card with Headphone Amplifier - Black
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  9. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,376

    Location: Finland

    Standard Realtek chip drives 250 ohm DT990 actually surprisingly well.
    But higher impedance meaning more demanding headphones is really false: 250 ohm impedance simply doesn't draw much current.
    For gaming with headphones Realtek is just lacking in features.
    Until having listened good headphones you can't guess how big difference binaural sound does to immersion.
    Besides good directionality you even get feel of distances...
    Instead of everything coming from next to ear and some sounds just being more muffled than others.

    Once having headphones it's easy to test difference from recordings.
    Standard stereo here:
    https://youtu.be/d1_20T8x_OI?t=12m57s
    For binaural sound go to start of video.
    It's like different game.


    You better remove links to competing site.
    Pro version has some more head band clamping force than Edition, but actual head band inside cushion is steel.
    So unlike plastics it doesn't break if you grab from head band (not from ear cups) and bend it little to loosen it up.

    Sound BlasterX G1 has really low end audio components.
    It's barely better than lowest end Realtek chips you could find from motherboards.
    Per price many USB sound cards have worser audio components, like D/A converter, than internal sound cards.
    For example same price level Audigy Fx has class higher quality D/A conversion.
    Again Sound Blaster Z has two classes higher quality DAC.
    https://www.overclockers.co.uk/search?sSearch=sound+blaster+z
     
  10. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,251

    Amazing how someone can be a member for 14 years and still not know not to post competitor links to products OcUK sell.
     
  11. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    Is it worse, I was also a mod :p

    To be fair they don’t sell the first. Forgot to check the second.

    My biggest problem is that the PCI express slot squishes it against my 1080Ti resulting in colossal heat. It is why I don’t use my Xonar D2X anymore. Might see what other ports are free.

    Out of curiosity, how does the D2X hold up these days?
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2018
  12. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,376

    Location: Finland

    If only available PCI-e slot is above graphics card that's certainly problem.
    In another forum once hit to case of heat from GPU below sound card and CPU above literally causing glitching/malfunctioning of sound card.
    Below graphics card would be better position, because heat rises upwards.
    What motherboard do you have?


    D/A conversion/signal quality wise D2X is certainly still capable.
    Most important advances in audio have happened years ago.

    For gaming with headphones common drawback of Xonars is use of old Dolby hype Headphone.
    Whose bass bloat is just about tolerable with neutral bass headphones like K702.
    With above neutral bass headphones like DT990/K712 it sounds rather horrible.
    After all we're talking about accurately hearing what's happening in the game and at most controlled bass boost.

    And headphone output just has very mediocre 50 ohm output impedance:
    https://reference-audio-analyzer.pro/en/report/amp/asus-d2x.php#rw3
    Though I guess it should be called positive that it's not 100 ohms, like in most "DX-family" cards and latest gaming hype Strix Raid Pro.
    But that would still cause bloating of bass in say HD5xx serie Sennheisers.
    Whose lowish impedance rises to 200 or higher at driver's resonant frequency near 100Hz.
    And heavy decrease of electric damping factor in most headphones. (related to how tightly signal controls driver)
     
  13. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    Fortunately the PCI-e slot is below the GPU. There is also a little more room between them than I remember (probably because my replacement 1080Ti is not quite as bulky as the original that I had). I have popped the Xonar D2X back in for now and it doesn't seem to be getting hot or affecting temperatures (I had also forgotten how much better the sound is from it!).

    This is my motherboard - z87-d3hp.

    So a Sound Blaster Z, such as this one https://www.overclockers.co.uk/crea...ound-card-retail-70sb150000001-sc-087-cl.html, would give me a better sound with the Beyerdynamic DT990s? For one thing it looks like it has a dedicated headphone socket which my D2X doesn't have (so I would have to either plug into my Logitech Z5500 control pod or have to change out the front speaker connection for the headphones whenever I want to use them).
     
  14. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,376

    Location: Finland

    Second long/"x16" PCI-e slot is electrically max x4 and wired from motherboard's chipset, so that's perfectly good for use of sound card.
    That should leave breathing room for 2½ slot graphics card.

    Sound chip used by board is Realtek ALC892 chip, which is about as low as it usually gets.
    Though if implementation is best possible, it wouldn't be that much below Sound BlasterX G1 in technical signal quality.
    And most above lower end motherboards have Realtek chip capable to better signal quality.
    That should explain why I'm not fond of such cheap USB sound cards/dongles...
    (even if it has good binaural sound simulation for headphone gaming)

    SB Z has separate outputs for headphone and line outs, if you would want to keep also speakers for occasional use.
    Only one of "outputs" is active at once and selecting between headphones and speakers is done in control software.
    SBZ switcher can be used to automate switch behind hotkey, with also change of other settings:
    https://forums.guru3d.com/threads/s...s-headphones-mode-switching-available.381416/
    It would be good pair for 250 ohm DT990, which doesn't care about 20 ohm output impedance.

    Having headphones connected to sound card in rear of PC is actually one of those situations where straight 3 meter cable of "normal" DT990 Edition (or Pro Black Limited Edition) would be good.
    While coiled cable can be better for plugging into some USB sound card (avoiding excess cable length easily falling to floor) it might not reach to behind PC without extension.
     
  15. CaptainRAVE

    Caporegime

    Joined: Nov 21, 2004

    Posts: 28,713

    @EsaT thank you, you have been very helpful. I will be adding the DT990 250 ohm Headphones (with straight cable) and Creative Sound Blaster Z to my Christmas list!