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Thread: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

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    Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I was looking at a pair of Goldring DR150s but on AV forums people are posting that all phones are useless with on-board sound.

    Should I upgrade to a sound card ?
    What is this Dolby headphone I keep hearing about ?
    Last time I used a USB headset, it installed itself and disabled my speakers unless I uninstalled them from hardware manager. i.e. no sound even when they weren't plugged in ! How do I avoid this ?
    Or do I just get the DR150s and plug them into the case and not worry about it ?

    Thanks
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    Senior Member Pob255's Avatar
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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I'm not enough of an audio phile to say much on the subject.
    Some thing I will mention

    Normally USB headphones work indipendently from speakers&soundcard, becuase they are treated as a seperate sound device (ie they use software to emulate a soundcard)
    This makes it very hard to get USB headphones and a soundcard to play together nicely and not constantly battle each other to be the only sound outputting device.

    personally I have no issues with onboard sound, esp with the newer realtek AC97 or higher, the older ones could be a bit flakey

    I can suggest the Goldring DR50 headphones
    I got some for the otherhalf, so she can lissen to her mp3's and not me shooting stuff on my pc.
    The cost is low, the sound quality good, standard 3.5mm jack, very comfy
    Only issue I have is that the mesh backing on them lets out a lot of sound, not an issue for the person whareing them, just for anyone else in the room.
    http://www.play.com/Electronics/Elec...archtype=genre

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Thanks Pob. I'm no audiophile either !
    For me it's the other way round. The family want to hear the TV rather than the gunfire. I'm just looking to hold the sound in without losing the bass...
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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    As long as the TV is not in the same room you should be fine

    Although you may wish to invest in some surround sound headphones instead for shooting stuff.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Got any recommendations ? The research is driving me nuts, and I haven't even got into wooden knobs and power filtering lunacy yet.
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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    The Goldring DR150 is meant to be fantastic for the price:

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...roduct_ID/3928

    If you want to get a decent enough pair of closed back headphones consider the Beyerdynamic DT231 headphones:

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...Product_ID/879

    I had a pair of the original DT231(not the Galactic version) and they are very comfy.

    I currently use the Grado SR80 and Grado SR125 headphones which are great:

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...rch_button.y=0

    http://www.superfi.co.uk/index.cfm/p...rch_button.y=0
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 08-09-2009 at 04:09 PM.


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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Mwhahahaha. I may have advised you on AV forums under anothe user name. No escape...

    Dolby Headphone simulates listening to speakers over headphones. It can work for stereo (so it sounds out in front of you) or 5.1 (simulating surround). It's included on a few soundcards, notably the Asus Xonar (not DS) series.

    If you're using onboard, there is sometimes a headphone virtualisation option. It will be better than nothing.

    As for getting the USB thing, the easiest way to avoid it messing stuff up is just get headphones and mic that plug in using standard 3.5mm jack plugs.

    Edit:
    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Although you may wish to invest in some surround sound headphones instead for shooting stuff.
    Absolutely not required. Dolby Headphone (as above) or CMSS-3D headphone (on full spec X-Fi) do a better job of giving surround over standard headphones.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I think then the answer is - don't get the USB jobs they'll conflict with the onboard sound. (as I'cve experienced in the past). Get decent phones DR150 / DT231 and try them. If I'm not happy with the output, install the Asus Xonar.

    Excellent thanks all !
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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I'm sure there used too be some very good 4.0 heahphones that ran off 2x3.5mm jacksBut I cannot remember who made them/model number

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    The trouble isn't so much the design of 5.1 or 4.0 headphones, it's that no PC sound device is designed to accommodate them for gaming. With surround speakers you hear every speaker with both ears. With surround headphones you only hear some drivers with one ear. Hence they sound un-natural. That's not to say they don't work. Soundcards with headphone modes for stereo do work relativley well and can potentially sound natural.

    The other issue is you're spreading your money between 4 to 8 drivers instead of 2. You end up spending a lot more to get the same quality.

    Edit: I'm only going on my experience of Speedlink Medusa 5.1 headphones. There is a 5.1 set by Pskyo Audio coming out shortly that uses tubes to pipe the sound from each driver to both ears. Might sound relatively natural I suppose but it's going to be US$300.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Quote Originally Posted by Uriel View Post
    Mwhahahaha. I may have advised you on AV forums under anothe user name. No escape...

    Dolby Headphone simulates listening to speakers over headphones. It can work for stereo (so it sounds out in front of you) or 5.1 (simulating surround). It's included on a few soundcards, notably the Asus Xonar (not DS) series.

    If you're using onboard, there is sometimes a headphone virtualisation option. It will be better than nothing.

    As for getting the USB thing, the easiest way to avoid it messing stuff up is just get headphones and mic that plug in using standard 3.5mm jack plugs.

    Edit:

    Absolutely not required. Dolby Headphone (as above) or CMSS-3D headphone (on full spec X-Fi) do a better job of giving surround over standard headphones.
    Just have to say with a good enough headphone/IEM you can get 3D sound, which is already in the source. Boosting the "3D" effect through sound driver is not the right way to do it. The 3D effect is only for speakers, which by placement not perfectly aligned to your ears, or you simply want to make use of all the speakers available.
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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I do not think that it is important how 3D sound is done. They can use tricks to fool my ears/brain all that want, if it works, I am happy. I am using a pair of headphones known for great soundstage, but even that benefits from CMSS in movies to my ears (and everyone who've tried my setup). I prefer that feature off when I am listening to music. For games, it depend (the implementation of CMSS is actually different for movies and games and in some games I do prefer it off).

    The reason I discourage 5.1 headphones is not because I think it is the wrong way round to do it either, I just don't think that they fool my ears as well, and audio quality seems to be sacrificed in the ones I've tried, making them inferior to many cheaper traditional headphones.

    I've never used a Goldring headphones, so I can't comment how dependant they are on a quality soundcard. Based the headphones I've tried, a decent discrete sound card is always better than the onboard I've tried, though some are less affected than others Grados are somewhat forgiving, but the Beyerdynamic DT880 most definitely not (I dare say it sounded *bad*).
    Last edited by TooNice; 08-09-2009 at 06:38 PM.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Quote Originally Posted by arthurleung View Post
    Just have to say with a good enough headphone/IEM you can get 3D sound, which is already in the source. Boosting the "3D" effect through sound driver is not the right way to do it. The 3D effect is only for speakers, which by placement not perfectly aligned to your ears, or you simply want to make use of all the speakers available.
    I agree with you about 3d information, if we're talking a live stereo recording as source.

    Most music is mastered for speakers and game audio is also intended for speakers (with exceptions such as CSS). Speakers are the ideal listening set up and headphones are a compromise unless you're listening to a binaural recording.

    What I'm talking about is taking source material intended for speakers and making it sound similar on headphones. Dolby headphone works, and on the right set of headphones can give a very convincing experience, but isn't perfect. There isn't really an established 'right' way of doing it.

    How do you think some headphones achieve 3d sound from standard recordings? Headphone manufacturers use all sorts of technology such as crossfeed, reflectors and angled drivers to get the effect. Dolby headphone and CMSS-3d just attempt to do the same thing with dsps or hrtf algorithms. Why is that wrong?

    Edit: There is a wrong way I suppose, and that's to use two things that serve the same purpose at once. For example (angled drivers + crossfeed) + Dolby Headphone = pointless.
    Last edited by Uriel; 08-09-2009 at 07:41 PM.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    My Grado headphones are not only very easy to drive but sound decent even with the Realtek ALC882 onbound sound on my SD37P2. Better equipment will sound better with them but you can always get a Beresford TC7520 at a later date:

    http://www.homehifi.co.uk/main/main.html
    Last edited by CAT-THE-FIFTH; 09-09-2009 at 12:58 AM.


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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    I've had a look about, I'm sure I remember there was a very good 4speaker analog set of headphones a while back, but I just cannot find it.

    I did find that sharkoon do a 5.1 analog hetset (mic detachable)
    http://www.sharkoon.com/html/produkt.../index_en.html

    Also TurtleBeach Ear force X52 or HPX
    Probably some others out there as well

    One thing I will say is I like the exaggerated positional sound you can get even with just stereo headphones esp if like myself your surround sound speakers are not correctly spaced about the room tend to blend together too much esp as many stereo effects carry sound across the speakers.

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    Re: Headphones - 'Ware the audiophiles !

    Um, I've tried a few Grados in the SR-series, and they I find them comparatively easier to drive than almost any other decent headphones I've tried. The Grados never really sounded -bad- even on those generic USB Pen drive with MP3 player built-in you get on Ebay. They always sound like a good pair of headphones, though you do not realise -how good- until you put through some decent source.

    The DT880 on the other hand genuinely sounded like a defective pair of headphones.

    And my Westone UM2 picked up a clearly audible amount of noise (again, I thought they were defective).

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