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What headphones/earbuds/IEMs do you have?

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Enforcer Team
Damn, after doing some more research on their forums I found out to be able to get 5.1 with the mixamp, you need a soundcard that puts out DDL which astro fails to mention on their website. I might have to keep looking for another headset :(.
Well to experience "true" 5.1 out of any system you need a system that does Dolby Digital or DTS. The Mixamp does emulate 5.1 surround though with the Dolby Headphone technology which I've found to be very good. Even if you get a sound card that supports 5.1 though you'll also need a source that has 5.1 - MP3's won't, most TV shows/movies won't unless ripped from Bluray.
 

El Diablo

Member
http://forums.astrogaming.com/showthread.php?t=2826&highlight=astro&page=4

From what I understand from the guys posts, if you don't have a card capable of doing DDL or DTS then the end result out of the mixamp and headphones won't be virtual 5.1 and will just end up being the 2 basic stereo audio streams.

This wouldn't be a big deal for me as I have a sound card I used to use which (from what I've been able to find online, THINK it does DTS/DDL), the only problem is that my motherboard is too small and if I try and put a sound card in, there's literally about 3cms of space between the sound card and my video card/video card fan. Once the computer is on for a little while and the sound card warms up it over heats my video card and crashes my computer if I try using it. It sucks because I don't even have the option of getting a sound card, it's just my on board I need to rely on, which from everything I've read, doesn't support it. I don't know what to do :(.
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Enforcer Team
http://forums.astrogaming.com/showthread.php?t=2826&highlight=astro&page=4

From what I understand from the guys posts, if you don't have a card capable of doing DDL or DTS then the end result out of the mixamp and headphones won't be virtual 5.1 and will just end up being the 2 basic stereo audio streams.

This wouldn't be a big deal for me as I have a sound card I used to use which (from what I've been able to find online, THINK it does DTS/DDL), the only problem is that my motherboard is too small and if I try and put a sound card in, there's literally about 3cms of space between the sound card and my video card/video card fan. Once the computer is on for a little while and the sound card warms up it over heats my video card and crashes my computer if I try using it. It sucks because I don't even have the option of getting a sound card, it's just my on board I need to rely on, which from everything I've read, doesn't support it. I don't know what to do :(.
Dolby Headphones can convert stereo to 5.1 surround (emulate) but it won't be a "true" 5.1 surround experience but it is still possible to get 5.1 from a standard connection. Your motherboard may be capable of outputting a DDL signal - if you give me the model number I should be able to look it up and see what I can find. I bought a dedicated sound card to be used for this purpose as well (outputting 5.1 to my speaker set) and ended up tossing it after a few months since I would rather use the slot I had for a wireless card.
 

El Diablo

Member
My motherboard is an Asus M3A78-EM with a Realtek ALC1200 on board sound card. Everything I've been able to find online has pointed in the other direction, I'll pray you stumble upon something I didn't :p.
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Enforcer Team
My motherboard is an Asus M3A78-EM with a Realtek ALC1200 on board sound card. Everything I've been able to find online has pointed in the other direction, I'll pray you stumble upon something I didn't :p.
Yeah, sadly the specs are scarce for the model but it looks like it has no surround sound support
 

El Diablo

Member
So if I were to buy the system would I just be getting stereo through it or would it be some ghetto form or 5.1 emulation if you know?
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Enforcer Team
So if I were to buy the system would I just be getting stereo through it or would it be some ghetto form or 5.1 emulation if you know?
Should be emulated 5.1 surround sound, which still isn't that bad as I use it on my 5.1 speakers for my computer (Dolby Digital Pro Logic), although if you're looking to play games that require precise audio reproduction than it won't work out as well
 

LocutusEstBorg

Contributor
Seems to be some misunderstanding about surround which makes me nerd rage. Can't be bothered to single out the incorrect posts.

Holophonic = Stereo with HRTFs applied so it sounds like surround on stereo headphones.
Dolby Headphone/CMSS3D Virtual/Hardware specific proprietary = Surround source to stereo holophonic (this is "legit" emulation of surround on stereo speakers).

DDL/DTSi = Uncompressed lossless surround source to lossy Dolby/DTS compressed surround output (surround speakers required).
DDL/DTSi Decoding = Lossy Dolby/DTS compressed surround input to uncompressed (but still lossy) surround output (surround speakers required).
There's no need to use it for stereo as the original uncompressed stereo can be directly sent over SPDIF (optical or coaxial).

Pro Logic = Surround source down-mixed to specially processed stereo (only done in mastering studio with special hardware/software). Not holophonic; sounds like ordinary stereo on stereo headphones.
Pro Logic Decoding = Pro Logic encoded stereo to surround (surround speakers required) (this is "legit" surround from a stereo source, not pseudo bullcrap).

The algorithms above CAN ONLY BE USED with the kind of source mentioned in bold. Any other kind of input/output requires a combination of two or more of the above.

Basically, there is NO WAY to get ANY KIND of surround from a stereo source if it is not a pre-encoded Pro Logic stereo source. Any emulation is bullcrap and sounds worse than the stereo source as they add unacceptable distortion, frequency shifting and echoes. You're better off cloning the stereo on the front and rear channels.

For your headphones, if you have a Pro Logic stereo source (MP3's cannot hold Pro Logic because by default they combine the common sound in the two channels. Pro Logic decoding requires the two channels to be intact), you need to DISABLE DDL/DTSi to send the unmodified Pro Logic source to the Mixamp. The Mixamp will then do Pro Logic decoding+Dolby Headphone to give you "legit" holophonic surround.

For surround sources like games you need to enable DDL/DTSi, and for movies which already have DD/DTS streams you must disable DDL/DTSi and enable passthrough to the Mixamp.

---------- Post added at 09:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:46 AM ----------

If you want holophonic stereo from your PC, then there is NO NEED for a Mixamp as the quality will suffer terribly from the multiple stage encoding. You have to buy a sound card that directly does one of the holophonic encodings I mentioned above. Just plug the headphones into the sound card directly.
 

FrozenIpaq

Justin B / Supp. Editor
Enforcer Team
Still stand by all my comments. We've already declared that you can't get surround from stereo - but Pro Logic does a DECENT job of emulating surround sound from a stereo source...We aren't audiophiles and when it comes to games; so long as we can recognize the direction of the sound and there's no noticeable distortion of the sound it's fine for us. I've hardly ever run into any source with Pro Logic stereo aside from some video files here and there (all experience I've had with Pro Logic is when it is mixed on speaker side).

From what I know of Dolby Headphones it does take a stereo source, Pro Logic and not, and translates it into 5.1. At least Dolby claims that it "enhances" stereo sources (those not mixed with Pro Logic II).
 

LocutusEstBorg

Contributor
Pro Logic is not emulation. It is close to real multichannel. The remaining channels are encoded out of phase in the two stereo channels and are extracted during playback. I've NEVER seen any consumer device that does Pro Logic encoding; what would be the point since you might as well directly do Dolby Headphone on your surround source if you wanted to listen on headphones. It is only to be used when there are insufficient resources to store/produce discrete surround channels (like in the PS2 or lengthy DVD movies). The Mixamp is an odd case where it does Pro Logic decoding+Dolby Headphone encoding, presumably solely for use with the PS2 and old audio CDs. New audio CDs use Q-Sound which is already holophonic and doesn't need a decoder, and it isn't crippled by compression like Pro Logic.

Enabling Pro Logic on random stereo sources is MEANINGLESS, it is just playing parts of the audio out of phase over the center and rear channels and has absolutely nothing to do with the intended direction of audio if say the source was a game. And the speakers don't "mix" Pro Logic, they extract.

Dolby Headphone takes a surround source and applies HRTFs an downmixes it into stereo, so it sounds like surround over headphones. The claim that it enhances stereo sources is a gimmick. Its physically impossible (unless its a Pro Logic source and the new Dolby Headphone encoders can decode Pro Logic+encode holophonic at the same time, much like the Mixamp does). They only started making this claim after TrueHD and stuff came out, presumably to keep with with all the HD gimmicks. Dolby Headphone has been around for decades and has only been for surround to stereo holophonic.

In any case Dolby Headphone itself sounds terrible IMO. The virtual rear channels are all muffled and sound like they are from the side instead of the rear. CMSS3D Virtual is miles ahead. Philips' and Yamaha's own implementation for their receivers and speakers far surpass both of them though.
 

El Diablo

Member
I ended up buying the Steel Series Siberia v2 headset since the a30s wouldn't work right with my sound card and I didn't want to get a USB only headset like the G35. After using this in games like CS and MW2 I can't believe what I've been missing from a good headset.
 
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