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post #11 of 18
Ya, I get confused by what streams to a receiver with what cards/interface/games.

But with internal soundcards and headphones, it's mostly PCM I believe. In fact, Razer Surround uses a virtual driver that intercepts all 8 channels from games... I just set my Xonar to 2 channel input when I use it.
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post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by bevo View Post

I use hdmi for my receiver out of my gpu. Maybe it is just PCM. I'll have to look and see. I thought though some oc games were starting to support Dolby and DTS. I don't think nvidia cards have the ability to bitstream so my receiver just says multi channel in. Maybe someone with an amd card and receiver can let us know. I think they can bitstream with AMD.
You need hardware to do any DTS/DDL encoding, games do not have any kind of DTS or DDL support.
Console games are a different story as they are console games (native DDL encoding support in the hardware), but PC games don't have any kind of internal DTS/DDL support. So if you don't have HDMI/Optical/Coaxial with DTS/DDL encoding support, you can't output the 5.1 sound to a receiver.

And DTS/DDL has nothing to do with binaural simulation (=headphone virtual surround), they are just a way to transfer (digital) encoded 6-channel sound to a different location where it can be decoded back to full 6-channel sound. Speakers can't play encoded sound, it needs to be decoded by an AVR/etc first.

A little education:
All of the virtual surround techs are based on Head-related transfer function (HRTF for short).
What they do is that they take the full 6-channel sound and use the HRTF algorithms to make a 2-channel sound out of them. For example the Astro Mixamp works like this: (Click to show)
1. The mixamp receives DDL encoded signal from ps3/gaming console/PC soundcard with DDL encoding support.
2. The Mixamp uses its hardware to decode the encoded 6-channel sound to a full 6-channel sound.
3. Now Mixamp uses its Dolby Headphone HRTF algorithm to create a binaural simulation for 2-channel headphones (from the full 6-channel sound).
4. The DAC of the mixamp turns the processed 2-channel digital signal to analog, after amplification it's outputted to the headphones that are plugged to the Mixamp.
5. Now your headphones output virtual surround sound.
Demos for Razer, CMSS-3D and Dolby. (Click to show)
Some games like BF3 and 4 have their own internal headphone virtual surround support. You just have to put them on from options.
BF2(: Project Reality) is absolutely horrible without some sort of virtual surround as it doesn't have one build-in like the newer titles...
Edited by Tiihokatti - 4/15/14 at 7:53am
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post #13 of 18
^ That's not entirely correct. You can add encode/decode in software just as easily, some of the paid for players will do either, I think there were some older games with an included software encoder? What you need is a license to use the protected format/encoders, and it adds a cost to the product, and it becomes redundant if there's already another (hardware or software) licensed encoder before the final output (all consoles for example), so no one bothers.
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post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bevo View Post

I don't know if it's a gimmick or not. I think you're looking at this wrong. Audio is never reproduced the same twice. People have different speakers, amps, room acoustics etc. no I've is using the sane equipment that the people used who mixed the audio. For us to be able to get close to how they intended for us to hear it we need 3rd party software. Even on the highest end AVR it uses an auto calibration tool like audysey multi EQ.

We need this software to try and make our audio setups reproduce the sound the audio technician wants us to hear. I'm not saying you need the one he linked but you will need something. Surround sound is designed for 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setups not headphones. For you to be able to take something that wasn't designed to be right on your ear you will need software to help adjust for wearing headphones instead of using actual big speakers.

Whatever headphones you decide on and no matter if the game uses DTS, Dolby or PCM you will need another software to help your headphones know where the sound should sound like it's coming from. The software will also be able to tune in certain frequencies to help you hear footsteps or gunshots over top other sounds. This will not be how the sound designers intended you to hear it but it will give you an advantage that only additional software can.


You should really go check out the AVS forums or another audio site. You will get people there who know everything about home theater and gaming PC audio.

I wish I could just tell you what to buy but I'm not a headphone guy when it comes to gaming. I know how it works but There's just no replacing a big subwoofer and nice speakers. I only play at home so there's no need for me to take my audio with me.

Thanks a lot for the info!

I'm currently playing with razer surround in my onboard card + my current headsets. Positional audio is great. Only problem now is that I tend to simply miss some distant sounds: don't know if it's a "surround" effect, or just because my headphones are awful for gaming or something else. My teammates are still calling me deaf, but at least I can locate people much easier.

I still don't want to open my wallet just yet, before I can make sure I'll spend every cent in something I truly need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

I've used Dolby Headphone (on my Xonar ST) and Razer Surround extensively, and I prefer Razer Surround. It has better positioning, and it doesn't have that annoying revurb effect DH has. Razer Surround isn't a gimmick, it's true binaural audio, the real deal. Just be sure to disable all the other effects.



I don't quite understand what bevo is talking about, but it's different than DH or Razer Surround. I thought DTS, PCM and such are just different ways of encoding multi channel audio, and I thought most games use PCM. DH/RS actually produce the simulated speaker/binaural effect, DTS has nothing to do with that.

After I disabled all the effects, it's much better now.

Only problem is I would like to set it to 5.1, since CS:GO only supports 5.1. I feel it would be much more precise if I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bevo View Post

That's what I meant by the DTS, Dolby and PCM. The games are encoded with those and then you put another form of software in there to help out such as the razer one.
I'm just saying with headphones you more than likely need software to help headphones out. Just pass through audio isn't enough.

In other words, I don't really a good sound card, just the software that comes with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

Ya, I get confused by what streams to a receiver with what cards/interface/games.

But with internal soundcards and headphones, it's mostly PCM I believe. In fact, Razer Surround uses a virtual driver that intercepts all 8 channels from games... I just set my Xonar to 2 channel input when I use it.

But you still set your games to 7.1, right?
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by EduFurtado View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by bevo View Post

I don't know if it's a gimmick or not. I think you're looking at this wrong. Audio is never reproduced the same twice. People have different speakers, amps, room acoustics etc. no I've is using the sane equipment that the people used who mixed the audio. For us to be able to get close to how they intended for us to hear it we need 3rd party software. Even on the highest end AVR it uses an auto calibration tool like audysey multi EQ.

We need this software to try and make our audio setups reproduce the sound the audio technician wants us to hear. I'm not saying you need the one he linked but you will need something. Surround sound is designed for 5.1 or 7.1 speaker setups not headphones. For you to be able to take something that wasn't designed to be right on your ear you will need software to help adjust for wearing headphones instead of using actual big speakers.

Whatever headphones you decide on and no matter if the game uses DTS, Dolby or PCM you will need another software to help your headphones know where the sound should sound like it's coming from. The software will also be able to tune in certain frequencies to help you hear footsteps or gunshots over top other sounds. This will not be how the sound designers intended you to hear it but it will give you an advantage that only additional software can.


You should really go check out the AVS forums or another audio site. You will get people there who know everything about home theater and gaming PC audio.

I wish I could just tell you what to buy but I'm not a headphone guy when it comes to gaming. I know how it works but There's just no replacing a big subwoofer and nice speakers. I only play at home so there's no need for me to take my audio with me.

Thanks a lot for the info!

I'm currently playing with razer surround in my onboard card + my current headsets. Positional audio is great. Only problem now is that I tend to simply miss some distant sounds: don't know if it's a "surround" effect, or just because my headphones are awful for gaming or something else. My teammates are still calling me deaf, but at least I can locate people much easier.

I still don't want to open my wallet just yet, before I can make sure I'll spend every cent in something I truly need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

I've used Dolby Headphone (on my Xonar ST) and Razer Surround extensively, and I prefer Razer Surround. It has better positioning, and it doesn't have that annoying revurb effect DH has. Razer Surround isn't a gimmick, it's true binaural audio, the real deal. Just be sure to disable all the other effects.



I don't quite understand what bevo is talking about, but it's different than DH or Razer Surround. I thought DTS, PCM and such are just different ways of encoding multi channel audio, and I thought most games use PCM. DH/RS actually produce the simulated speaker/binaural effect, DTS has nothing to do with that.

After I disabled all the effects, it's much better now.

Only problem is I would like to set it to 5.1, since CS:GO only supports 5.1. I feel it would be much more precise if I could.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bevo View Post

That's what I meant by the DTS, Dolby and PCM. The games are encoded with those and then you put another form of software in there to help out such as the razer one.
I'm just saying with headphones you more than likely need software to help headphones out. Just pass through audio isn't enough.

In other words, I don't really a good sound card, just the software that comes with it?

Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

Ya, I get confused by what streams to a receiver with what cards/interface/games.

But with internal soundcards and headphones, it's mostly PCM I believe. In fact, Razer Surround uses a virtual driver that intercepts all 8 channels from games... I just set my Xonar to 2 channel input when I use it.

But you still set your games to 7.1, right?

Today's sound cards are basically dumb DAC/AMPs, as they only do "processing" with DSP effects like an equalizer, SBX or Dolby Headphone. In theory a good DAC will improve positional audio. Most of the software part isn't important.

Yes, the game should output 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio if possible. 5.1 input shouldn't be a big problem with razer surround, as 2 channels will simply be unused, and you can adjust the rest. I've heard CS has some audio bugs with 5.1 output though, you may want to look into that.
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post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by brucethemoose View Post

Today's sound cards are basically dumb DAC/AMPs, as they only do "processing" with DSP effects like an equalizer, SBX or Dolby Headphone. In theory a good DAC will improve positional audio. Most of the software part isn't important.

Yes, the game should output 5.1 or 7.1 channel audio if possible. 5.1 input shouldn't be a big problem with razer surround, as 2 channels will simply be unused, and you can adjust the rest. I've heard CS has some audio bugs with 5.1 output though, you may want to look into that.

What would good DAC be? And could you please explain the theory you mentioned, as simple as possible? smile.gif

The bugs regarding the game 5.1 system seems to be resolved, or related to some hardware.

Anyway, if my surround software is set to 7.1 and the game to 5.1, to me something will be broken: there will be an area related to those "2 unused speakers" where the sound in that area would be outputed on another area, making the positioning inaccurate :/
post #17 of 18
I see. Maybe a Creative Z/Zx is a better way to go, as SBX should handle 6 channels natively. A Creative Zx is basically a good DAC/Amp.

An Aune T1 is good if you can find it cheap... I'm not up-to-date on good external DACs/AMPs, you should just get a soundcard if you don't game/listen to music on other devices.

Also, you should check this out. Apparently there's a way to enable hardware accelerated audio with Source games/Creative soundcards, and I believe CS:GO is Source.
http://source.gamebanana.com/tuts/11352


I'll try to sum stuff up... generating an accurate analog audio signal and powering headphones with that signal is actually really hard. The DAC is the thing that turns a bunch of "1"s and "0"s into a sound wave, and dealing with all the electrical non-idealities in the DAC itself is expensive. But wait, now that poor DAC has to feed a bunch of current to some power hungry headphones! They have resistance, weird reactance, the DAC has it's own internal impedance... that's where the headphone amp comes in! The headphone amp's job is to "insulate" the DAC from the annoying electrical properties of the headphones, but it also accurately amplifies that same signal so you can get plenty of volume. A cleaner audio signal should give you better positional cues... though I'm not gonna pretend to understand how a bad audio signal affects HRTFs!
Edited by brucethemoose - 4/18/14 at 8:04pm
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post #18 of 18
Wait, you have a Fiio E5 already... sorry, missed that part biggrin.gif. Any soundcard or DAC will work pretty well.

In fact, you could just mod your realtek drivers and stick with onboard audio, if you want to save money thumb.gif
https://www.google.com/search?btnG=1&pws=0&q=realtek+x-fi+mod

You should still check out the alchemy thing, that could give you true 7.1 hardware accelerated sound.
Edited by brucethemoose - 4/18/14 at 8:07pm
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