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Want to upgrade my current audio setup for PS4 and Xbox One (maybe PC)

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Timber, Jun 26, 2018.

  1. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    I know this has been asked before but I wanted to get some thoughts from users with regards to upgrading my current Audio Setup. I do apologise for the lengthy post. I spent quite on audio for my systems circa 2012/13 buying and trying a few different parts and only adding my AKG K702’s in 2015.

    My current setup:
    PC - Creative Sound Blaster ZxR. Love the software, SBX and ACM module for easy to adjust/plug in headphones. Fiio E9/E7 combo purchased in April 2012. I prefer the sound for lossless FLAC music. Probably because of the convenience factor this rarely gets used in comparison to my ZxR.
    Consoles - Astro Mixamp 5.8 (wireless) also purchased in 2012. Consoles connected with a LINDY 4 Way TosLink Digital Optical Audio Switch. Small hiss and quality obviously not as good as my PC options, but in general has served me well.

    Headphones - Sennheiser HD598, AKG K702, Astro A40’s (2012 variant - very rarely used, just for the microphone if I need it), Sony MDREX650APT IEM’s (mostly for my phone, but will use for gaming sometimes when I don’t feel like putting on bigger headsets).
    Speakers for PC are some Edifier R1600T Studio Plus 2.0 Monitors purchased in 2013.

    So I want to upgrade my console audio setup having recently upgraded to an Xbox One X and Samsung 4K TV. Rarely if ever use voice comms. My initial instinct was to look at the latest Astro Mixamp, but have started to question whether running separate audio equipment is wise. So choice I've got to, with my thoughts, are:

    • Astro Mixamp Pro TR for Xbox One - Workarounds to get the Xbox version of the Mixamp Pro TR to work with voice chat on both consoles. Requires I keep the LINDY switcher. And struggles with the AKG K702’s.
    • Creative Sound BlasterX G5 - No Dolby or virtual surround for consoles. However same price as Astro Mixamp, seems better value and quality. Can probably use my TV as the input (TOSLINK to 3.5 adaptor), thereby negating the need for the LINDY audio switcher. Can drive any of my headphones.
    • Creative Sound Blaster X7 - Dolby Digital, SBX, will drive any headphones. Again lose voice comms but could replace my existing Fiio, Mixamp and ZxR bits and will use my Edifier speakers too.
    • Schiit Stack of Magni 3/Modi 2 Uber - pure stereo, fine with all my headphones and speakers. Can ditch all the other bits and simplify things.

    So apart from the budget issue and whether this is overkill for the XBO/PS4, it feels like it’s a choice of virtual surround for games (X7), or better quality stereo sound (Schiit). Have always been curious about the Schiit stack so that’s definitely what my heart (if not my head) would buy.
    1. I just wondered what people thought given these choices, and whether I've missed anything?
    2. Is the X7 is comparable for stereo sound as the Schiit stack?
    3. I presume the Schiit stack will have no problem with outputting to the Edifier speakers?
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. TALON1973

    Mobster

    Joined: Jul 28, 2004

    Posts: 4,187

    Location: llanelli , south wales

    Personally I'd pick up a 2nd hand irdac v1 and a good Headphone amp. The dac has 2 optical inputs and a USB input for pcs. And a coaxial digital .
     
  3. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Cheers for the reply. I'm not as familiar with that unit so will take a look, although it looks like it would cost more. Maybe I should have been clearer but inputs or quantity of isn't a deciding factor. I.e. if I had to keep the optical switcher, that's not a problem.
     
  4. WhiteHartMart

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 1, 2011

    Posts: 71

    Location: Cornwall

    Went through a similar dilemma myself recently although voice chat was essential for me.

    Have owned the G5 in the past and it was good but then got the X7 which was a step up again (have the Bluetooth adaptor for simple wireless PS4 chat). Only problem for me was the cables needed for Xbox chat were excessive for a lounge set up (and the Xbox switched to becoming my main console) so now am selling the X7 and Bluetooth adaptor.

    Decided now on easier to drive headphones/headset (have gone for the Audio Technica ATH-ADG1X and a Xbox Mixamp Pro TR - gives me plenty of control over volume/chat etc on Xbox and will also be able to route game audio from PS4 to it. On the very rare occasion I want to chat on PS4, the headphones are efficient enough for the pad to be able to provide sufficient volume - yes I lose any surround processing on PS4 but thought that was a sacrifice I could make.
     
  5. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Yea, I've done a bit more reading today and tonight and just going back and forth with it. I'm starting to think neither of the Creative products are quite right for me. The X7 seems to be discounted at the moment. But looking into the AE-5 I can't help but wonder given the age of the X7 whether there is a danger it'll be replaced sooner, rather than later (although I don't have latest etc.). The Schiit Modi 2 Uber is out of stock atm via their EU site, so that temptation is taken away for now.
     
  6. WhiteHartMart

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 1, 2011

    Posts: 71

    Location: Cornwall

    If you don't mind sacrificing surround processing on PS4 and aren't fussed about voice chat (maybe just using the pad on the occasions this is necessary), I used to have a SMSL SD793 DAC/Amp - only about £55 - used this with both consoles (using Windows Sonic on Xbox) and it was superb value - might not need to spend more once you've tried it??
     
  7. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 3,898

    Location: Finland

    Sound BlasterX G5 is basically external side kick to AE-5, so I don't think X7 gets replaced anytime soon.
    It certainly doesn't lack in output power or anything.


    Schiit is still that unscrupulous audiophoolery hype company not caring about quality...

    Major difference in distortion between channels and solder splatter which shouldn't go through even the most rudimentary QC:
    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d-schiit-fulla-v2-dac-and-headphone-amp.3105/
    https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...it-fulla-v2-dac-and-headphone-amplifier.3154/
    Bad power filtering/worser than China stuff performance:
    https://audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/budget-dac-review-schiit-modi-2-99.1649/
    Again bad power supply with AC frequency leaking through in expensive product:
    https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...ents-and-review-of-schiit-yggdrasil-dac.2358/
    Another luxury product doing worser than products one tenth of its price:
    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...d-review-of-schiit-bifrost-multibit-dac.2319/
     
  8. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Thank you for the posts. I've spent far too much time reading about this over the past few days.

    I spent ages last night and today just testing my existing Astro Mixamp 5.8 (with and without the Fiio E9 Amp), plugging the Fiio E7/E9 combo into the PS4 via USB, trying Microsoft Windows Sonic in the Xbox settings and then trying just basic audio from the headset and the joypad. With various games. I realised just how much I need virtual surround. It adds so much to the overall experience. I love that you can now use an external DAC/AMP combo over USB with the PS4 and wish the Xbox did the same. However the built in Windows Sonic for headphones if very good (I need to try Dolby Atmos).

    Realising how much I prefer virtual surround for gaming means that I can't go with the Schiit stack as I thought I might be able to. Also the SBX G5 isn't going to work with virtual surround for both consoles, so it really just leaves the X7 or Mixamp Pro TR. And for various reasons I'm starting to lean towards the latter, mainly as it's cheaper. I already have the E9 to amplify the Mixamp if required. In theory the Mixamp Pro TR should be a slight upgrade on the existing 5.8 if only because I get rid of the wireless component. Basically I've returned to my original way of thinking rather than decide to update everything.

    I just thought it's been on the market for a while, and therefore probably nearer to being replaced rather than not.
     
  9. WhiteHartMart

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 1, 2011

    Posts: 71

    Location: Cornwall

    Being totally honest, the X7 (in my opinion) is far, far superior for Virtual Surround than the Mixamp Pro TR. While the white TR can be used for Windows Sonic/Dolby Atmos with the Xbox (by turning off all surround processing on the TR), you'll have to use the TR processing the for the PS4 and I just didn't like it at all, it sounded artificial and metalic to me. The X7 with the addition of the SBS options really did sound a level above :)
     
  10. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 25, 2012

    Posts: 5,845

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    You obviously haven't followed up with the responses from Headfi and SuperBestAudioFriends - those "tests" and accusations have been debunked, the author has obviously purposely slewed the results as no-one else can duplicate them and all other results have been an order of magnitude better and for the final piece of craziness - it is now widely believed that the author is none other than NwAvGuy, who has a serious axe to grind with Schiit over his argument with Jason Stoddard and Head-Fi, who banned him for failing to stop spouting rubbish.
    So to sum up, your accusation is a big pile of SCHIIT! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2018
  11. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,060

    I've got a sneaky suspicion that esat works for Creative. ;)
     
  12. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 25, 2012

    Posts: 5,845

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    LoL, you could be onto something there :D
     
  13. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    I personally suspect a Schiit stack of a Modi/Magni would be be great audio quality and perfect for certain scenarios. I imagine it would work well with the headphone selection I have. That said as a gamer first I've realised I can't do without surround so will park this for now. It's interesting because a lot of the comparison over the years are based from people in the US (or NA) so compare a couple of $100 Schiit units against a much expensive Creative X7 ($400). Where as obviously here in the UK, the units are broadly the same price and therefore something you can ignore in the consideration.

    Yep. Remember I've already got the Mixamp 5.8 and ZxR in the PC. So I sense I have a very good idea of both. It basically boils down to spend £110 on the Mixamp Pro TR because it's enough and will cause little disruption to my setup, or buy the X7 (c.£240) which means I can probably sell off my existing bits. I imagine for PC gaming the difference between the ZxR and X7 will be negligible but a big improvement for the consoles.
     
  14. WhiteHartMart

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 1, 2011

    Posts: 71

    Location: Cornwall

    Good point - although, from my experience, the Dolby Headphone Surround on the 5.8 I had was far better to my ears than the TR iteration - there's a lot of comment all over the web about how the TR seemed a backward step in this regard. Used to love the 5.8 I had :)
     
  15. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Really? You've thrown a curve ball :)

    I assumed the Pro TR would be clearer due to the updated components and the fact you remove wireless from the equation. So actually there's another option - do nothing and just stay with what I have.
     
  16. WhiteHartMart

    Associate

    Joined: Aug 1, 2011

    Posts: 71

    Location: Cornwall

    Yea - I only bought the TR cheap 2nd hand to provide a method of feeding audio (with Windows Sonic/Atmos) to my decent headphones without relying on wireless audio to the Xbox controller. I hated the TR surround processing as do many. My X7 is light years in surround quality imo - although I can't justify keeping it for the hour or so a week I get to use it, hence why I'm selling it ;)
     
  17. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Thank you @WhiteHartMart. Your input has been invaluable.

    You've made me realise the new Astro Mixamp Pro TR is pointless for me. I've done some investigating and it's clear the newer Mixamp is probably a negligible upgrade over the older one. It basically means one box instead of two, easier Microphone integration and that's it.

    So basically it's the X7 left, or do nothing. As mentioned I could offset the cost by selling on the Fiio, Astro Mixamp 5.8 and ZxR. Need to think on it. And yep your scenario makes sense as to why the Mixamp is enough.
     
  18. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 3,898

    Location: Finland

    Dolby Headphone has those different modes, so maybe there was some change in those?
    While Dolby appears to have new HRTF algorithm for its Dolby Atmos for Headphones, I don't think they would license it under old Dolby Headphone name.
    And most likely everyone would want to advertise use of that algorithm.


    Same could be said about those pushing products lacking features beneficial for use purpose.
    Anyway don't work for any audio company.
    Though not that Finland hasn't been without its "audiophile" product makers like one special cable seller once.
    Things whose performance etc can't be easily observed or measured (like CPU/GPU) by every user tend to attract such.
     
  19. rids57

    Soldato

    Joined: Jul 25, 2012

    Posts: 5,845

    Location: Ankh Morpork

    What's that supposed to mean?
    I recommend Schiit a lot because I have them myself (Modi and Modi Multibit DACs and Magni 3, Magni 2 and Vali amps) and have compared them with other equipment. As for features - I recommend them where the user is looking at something for listening to music, whereas I push sound cards (I have a SB Z and an STX) if gaming is the main focus.
     
  20. Timber

    Wise Guy

    Joined: Oct 21, 2002

    Posts: 1,211

    Location: London

    Thank you again for the help (particularly @WhiteHartMart). Took delivery today of the X7.

    Very initial impression are: on the PC basically my ZxR, albeit with a couple of subtle differences (playing a FLAC Lossless track via Foobar 2000) which might just be settings. Played Rocket League and Wolfenstein on PS4 and it's a dramatic improvement from the Astro Mixamp, or even the Fiio E07/09 for that matter. Just need to start removing the old bits and getting this properly setup.

    [​IMG]