PC Gamers At A Audio Disadvantage Against Console: Surround Sound vs Positional Audio

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Eastcoasthandle, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. CrunchyBiscuit

    CrunchyBiscuit Master Guru

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    My brother wanted me to post this:

    "@Eastcoasthandle, I believe you hit the nail on the head with almost all the issues you mentioned (technical details excluded, I'm no expert so I wouldn't know). For months now I have been struggling with positional audio issues. Thing is, I only started noticing these issues after I upgraded to Windows 10. In Windows 7, these issues were much, much less apparent to me. I now bought new speakers, I bought an external sound card, I bought a couple of cheap headphones, but I just can't seem to fix the positional audio issues and the issue of certain sound effects drowning out other sound effects. I can't pinpoint the position of my enemies correctly anymore, I can't hear how far or how close they are and I can't clearly hear if they're higher or lower than me. It's been driving me absolutely nuts. Now, I don't know if this is an issue between Win10/consoles, I can't be sure. What I do know for sure, is that ever since I upgraded to Windows 10, I have become a worse player because of the bad positional audio. As soon as I have money to spare, I'm probably gonna get myself the JBL Quantum ONE."
     
  2. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    If you do not have DDL, DTSC, or an analog multichannel setup and accompanying receiver to decode DDL, or DTSC if used (DDL\DTSC takes care of DAC through toslink\coax\hdmi?), or if a game (very rarely) will output a pre-encoded multichannel digital data track (like the one DDL\DTSC encodes from a 5.1\7.1 analog sound setup that has always been present in Windows), you will NOT have positional audio.

    To restate: If you do not have a setup where you can select 5.1 or 7.1 in native Windows sound panel speaker settings, press test and hear non-virtual, discreet channels with the test sound emitting solely from the speaker the test is coming from (no virtual speakers)... You do not actually have true positional audio.

    Prologic doesnt count (unless its plIIz on top of 5.1).

    95 percent of what Atmos offers doesn't count.

    There are no lingering issues. The sound support in this day and age is the same on console vs. PC. The sound system is ported over in every game we get that is a port.
     
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  3. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    I'm pretty sure his point with the picture was the setting Speakers = Surround, not Reverb.
     
  4. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Why in gods name are you talking about reverb? I never said a thing relating to reverb until he did? Makes no sense.

    He posted an unpatched screenshot with miles fast 2.0 enabled. REVERB just shows how much of a NOOB he is. Im not talking about reverb. Im talking about that "miles fast 2.0" vs DirectSound 3D (or whatever is wrapping it to whatver Windows is currently using). His game was unpatched, and he clearly did not know that Gothic has been updated to modern POSITIONAL sound capability (and dx11 if you fans didnt know...omg is an understatement...GD3D11\G2D3D11).

    He read the "reverb" sound option and ran with it. Literally told me that is what I was referring to, as I talked about multichannel audio (wtf?). I do not know why. It has zero to do with anything whatsoever. He does not know, and is propagating the misinformation I am debunking in this stupid thread. Listen to it or not: you, him, others... without question, are at a major DISadvantage not using real positional audio in Windows.

    Sorry to be so abrasive, but I have had DDL since Nforce1. I have had positional 5.1 surround sound in EVERYTHING since Nforce1 (FEW exceptions maybe 3)! OP is telling you we have no positional audio? WHAT happened to "handing down the knowledge?" In this case? Its literally right there and he\she is exactly wrong!
     

  5. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Gothics "Updated" positional sound IS Miles (MSS32)


    Miles/Mssa3d.m3d m3d 51.00 KiB
    Miles/Mssa3d2.m3d m3d 60.50 KiB
    Miles/Mssdolby.m3d m3d 64.00 KiB
    Miles/Mssds3dh.m3d m3d 50.00 KiB
    Miles/Mssds3ds.m3d m3d 49.50 KiB
    Miles/Mssdx7sh.m3d m3d 50.50 KiB
    Miles/Mssdx7sl.m3d m3d 50.50 KiB
    Miles/Mssdx7sn.m3d m3d 50.50 KiB
    Miles/Msseax.m3d m3d 53.00 KiB
    Miles/Msseax2.m3d m3d 68.50 KiB
    Miles/Mssfast.m3d m3d 62.50 KiB
    system/Mss32.dll dll 340.00 KiB
    system/Mssfast.m3d m3d 62.00 KiB
    system/Mssv12.asi asi 139.50 KiB
    system/Mssv24.asi asi 131.00 KiB
    system/Mssv29.asi asi 157.50 KiB

    Miles is the middleman sound provider, your ability to select Dsound (apart from that you're using a dsound wrapper) is because of miles.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  6. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Yes. Miles POSITIONAL AUDIO!

    You guys really played Bf2, Oblivion, Stalker, Bioshock, Crysis, Skyrim, Witcher 3... without positional audio? OUCH. I cant live without it.

    *PS: Regarding Gothic, its old. Its from 2001. Before it was patched, it used to revert to Miles 2.0 with no fix.
     
  7. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    Some people getting into those games don't know what A3D/EAX/Miles even are because they are either hidden by modern engines and set up the soundstage based on the systems speaker setting at launch or never had a sound card that could expose them.
     
  8. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Oh yeah, I know. I used Gothic because its a very old game that still produces excellent multichannel audio, I was gonna pick Stalker...

    Anyways, OP said that PC gamers are at a disadvantage because we lack positional audio. This couldn't be more wrong, and then you have a dozen people agreeing and then they are all wrong too... They dont get that Windows will output true 5.1 with DDL or DTS-C, in everything that has 5.1 support (every game since 2000). That it takes the analog, 3-cable solutions (front, rear, center) and encodes this into AC3 (or whatever it is) passing it through a single coax or toslink cable, and then decoded by your receiver juuust like your consoles do...

    and PC did it first by 10-15 years. Positional audio was pioneered by PCs, not consoles. It just went more noticed, because most digital decoding receivers are hooked to a home entertainment system, vs a pc.

    Its funny. If you go on ebay and look for small, desktop-sized HitB (home theater in a box) receivers that support DD decoding, they are all 100+ dollars... and 2 dollars at a Goodwill. Money if you can find one.

    *and the ONLY "major" pc game I cannot get 5.1 in from the past 20 years is "Giants: Citizen Kabuto." To this day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  9. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle Ancient Guru

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    This has also been my experience also. And I suspect we are not the only ones. But it wasn't an apparent problem until cross play was introduced in Modern Warfare 2019. Not until I playing it on console did I finally understand why they prefer High Boost, etc. When on my PC none of those audio options did squat for audio positioning. When playing with fellow pc gamers it wasn't an issue for me because I rarely, if ever, came across someone in chat boosting how they can sound whore. This didn't become known to me until cross play.

    As for headphones ...if price is a main factor and you can buy it with a liberal return policy I would suggest you give the HyperX Cloud Alpha S a try. I've used those for several months and in MW2019/Warzone audio positioning was still far better then my AE-7. Even when I enabled Scout mode for it. Which I really didn't like because it took the immersion out of playing for me.

    I'll admit Scout Mode from SB is a mixed bag. And got the impression there were a bit of reverb being pushed out. I could hear footsteps. But more often then not the sound stage for it was so wide it was hard to know where to look if I wasn't expecting someone. For example, if I'm behind a wall and I know there are enemies on the other side and hear footsteps it was easier for me to know where it was coming from. However, if I'm in a a particularly open area, uav doesn't show anyone nearby and I hear footsteps...I was at odds trying to figure out where it was coming from. Sometimes, the general area I looked was right plus/minus 20 foot radius.



    He cannot make a point like this expecting that we should ignore the obvious.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2021
  10. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    Get that Sound Blaster on the front page, some Logitech z-5500 speakers (NOTICE how expensive they are now, 4x price increase), hook that up with toslink or coax, enable DDL on the sound card, 5.1 in Windows, you will not have any more positional issues.
     
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  11. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle Ancient Guru

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    [​IMG]
    :rolleyes:

    I would never pay that price for single driver speakers like that. Even if you want to still ignore the fact we are discussing headphones I ceratinly wouldn't recommend someone to buy that. LOL
     
  12. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    They used to be 300. Its expensive for the same reason small, desktop sized HitB receivers are expensive and climbing on ebay.

    Instead of a giant receiver to decode DDL\DTSC, you have a small receiver that fits on your desk. HitB speakers\systems were MORE expensive than these speakers (in many cases) and sound just as good.

    *I have some of these sitting in a box a friend gave to me, they are fantastic, but I like my HitB better. I figure Ill let these climb. This isnt because of Covid either it was like this before.
     
  13. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle Ancient Guru

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    With the headphones in the OP I find this contrast:
    -they cost far less then what you proposed
    -more convenient to use
    -provides better sound stage do to it being closer to the ear, IMO
    I just don't see the need to go back to speakers. I graduated from that a long time ago and even with the flaws with traditional stereo headphones I wouldn't go back. It's cumbersome. It's intrusive for those who don't live alone (noise pollution). And you have wires all over the place. And those are just the icing on the proverbial cake regarding the nuances. I certainly don't recall audio positioning like I do with the aformentioned headphones. Although I do recall surround sound. With decent attenuation.

    You see, for me, speakers is what I see as "old tech" for PC gaming. Because back with Gothic, BF2 (I used the OpenAL.dll back then if I recall correctly), etc was out that was what we used back then. 1st 2.0, 2.1 then 5.1 setups I've all had before. I don't think I used headphones until I got my 1st pair of cheapo's when I preordered BF2. Roland, Turtle Beach, Sound Blaster, etc did an excellent job back then with speaker setups. SB was a bit more popular if I recall correctly.

    However, moving forward I won't be using speaker setups any more. They simply haven't evolved at the same pace as traditional home theater systems. And, IMO, were too expensive even back then for it's use case. Because I consider them "niche" today it's no surprised they are being scalped.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
  14. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    shame creative discontinued the Gigaworks 750
     
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  15. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    I understand everything but going "back" to speakers. IMO they provide a sound field that you cannot recreate with headphones, idc how much they cost. I have never used headphones for pc gaming exclusively, except playing with chat. Cant do it. Cant stand them.

    I have tried a lot of headphones over the years, and I never felt as engrossed as I do with a quiet room and a good speaker setup. Same with watching movies and such. Speakers for life.

    *and what Im proposing isnt THAT expensive, you absolutely do not need Z-5500s. They are just convenient and PC-exclusive speakers that support digital. You can do it if you know what to look for and it doesnt have to be expensive. You just have to use speakers.

    **I guess Ill edit this and just add: In case people dont know this, your motherboard most likely supports, via dual purpose input\output ports, analog positional audio. If you look at your motherboard manual, or maybe back of your board, it will say that your (for example) line IN port is also your rear speaker OUTPUT. You will have at least two of these ports: one for center, and one for rear. Your regular speaker jack remains your front left right.

    If you have a speaker system that can accept an analog front, center, rear you would hook these with mixing cables to the dual purpose ports that I think virtually every motherboard has now (you might need to assign them via software) respectively, set windows to 5.1\7.1, or even quadraphonic if that pops up and its right, and you would have true positional speaker audio in everything regarding games etc.

    You can also mod many realtek drivers to use your processor itself to encode DDL. Then you use your motherboards digital output to output the same as a DDL card. Set Windows to 5.1 and there you go. I did this and it was great, but I chose to continue with my old card until it dies (First DDL add in board ever after nforce2, they all are rare today.).
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021

  16. Eastcoasthandle

    Eastcoasthandle Ancient Guru

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    I'll stop here with your post so everyone can see. You explicitly state you've never used headphones (virtual or otherwise) for PC gaming. You are posting in a thread discussing positional audio for headphones with absolutely no personal experience or insight on what I am talking about. And a lot of your comments have been both recusant and jaundiced at best. Because my experience tells me that on console audio position is better then what I had for using headphones on PC.

    You can, by all means, continue to use your speakers for your gaming needs. No one suggested that you should stop. However, since it's very clear you don't posses insight, experience or a reasonable opinion on gaming headphones (or headphones for gaming for that matter) it's hard for me to take you seriously at this point. Like I said, I no longer use speakers for gaming as I've been there done that. As I found headphones better.

    With speakers, at best, I've found they offer surround sound through attenuation, directional audio and a bit of reverb. As you cannot isolate the audio to your ears but for the entire room. This isn't much of an issue when you isolate the audio to just your ears. But this is my opinion and for competitive fps my preference for headphones that offer positional audio, thus the creation of this thread.

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Update to using the headphones so far:
    Now with these headphones I've finally retrained my ears to take more notice to footsteps now. I found myself at times ignoring footsteps because of my previous audio solutions. So I intuitive ignore some of them. I no longer have to do that now. In Cold War enemy footsteps are a bit more distinctive then alley footsteps. Something we asked for in MW2019.

    Sound whoring won't make you a better player. But if you are it will heighten your ability to take out baddies, sweets and campers. Another thing I'm noticing now that I'm not using the AE7 is that movements are a bit more snappy and responsive. The same thing happened when I was on my HyperX Cloud Alpha S. In those examples the AE7 was disabled while gaming for the dac on the headphones.

    Is it a night a day difference now that I have positional audio? Nope, it's still subtle. There maybe other audio sounds you didn't hear before. But it's not a dramatic difference. I am now able to hear where enemies are without seeing them. IE: on the other side of a wall.

    Did it raise your K/D? Yes, it has. My average has gone up a bit now.

    Has this effect how you OC your video card and/or worry about how many FPS you have now? Yes, it has caused me to nearly forget about FPS now. I no longer worry about OC'ing my video card. I haven't had a OSD showing my frametimes after I bought the headphones. Kinda odd. As it was something I did all the time until now. In hindsight it simply wasn't a factor.

    Do you enjoy playing games now with the headphones? Absolutely. I've found playing those 1st person shooter games less frustrating to play now. Although the differences are subtle I now have an a slight advantage that others don't.


    What do I like about the headphones? I like the idea they have an on/off button. I no longer have to toggle between audio devices in win10 as win10 is intelligent enough to alternate between the 2 now. I could using thicker pads from wicked cushions (this is more of mod then replacement) but that might change the sound stage and I don't want to mess with that as of yet. They are comfortable to wear. But I have notice my ears get a bit warm after about an hour or 2. The software that comes with it allows you to input your head measurements (as it comes with measuring tape) and can fine tune it a bit.

    Would you go back to the Alpha S? No, I wouldn't. Perhaps I was a bit harsh in how the Alpha S provided positional audio. But they do work as a cheaper alternative. With 16bit audio it was a bit muddy for my taste and perhaps I should have made that clear from the beginning. And there were a few instances were audio position wasn't clear for me. But that was far and few in between to be honest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2021
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  17. AsiJu

    AsiJu Ancient Guru

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    Yes, did I claim something else?

    OP responded to your post / pic talking about reverb, to which I responded the point surely was surround, not reverb.

    I was not talking about reverb.

    Unbelievable that a single sentence post is misunderstood...
     
  18. NvidiaFreak650

    NvidiaFreak650 Master Guru

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    I try Philips Fidelio X2 @ 24bit 48hz with Sound Blaster X3 and DTS Headphones:X (DTS Sound Unbound app Balanced mode ). COD Black Ops Cold War MP sound way better then before, i can hear foot steps and detail in the world.
    I also try using Logitech Z-5500 5.1ch speakers with Sound Blaster X3 with DTS Headphones:X, my god it felt like i was using Dolby Atmos, neighbors hate it lol but it was very nice.
    Screenshot 2021-06-21 013538.png
     
  19. TimmyP

    TimmyP Master Guru

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    The question is, why did you (or whoever it was) mention reverb at all? I didn't bring it up. Someone else did, and put words in my mouth.

    Maybe I misspoke. I have an Astro A50 headset I use\used for LAN games and when Im playing online and my friends dont want hear my speakers. This headset is a digital headset with a toslink input. These are comfortable, and sound great. I just cant stand having them on my head, especially when I have a great external setup that sounds better, and I dont have to have anything on to hear it.

    With these headphones, DDL enabled on my card, 5.1 selected in Windows, and the set hooked up with optical\toslink, I get incredible positional 5.1 in everything. At the very least? This is on par with positional audio in consoles using headphones without question.

    I also have a Samsung Odyssey + headset with integrated AKGs that I use daily, so I do use headphones regularly.

    My point is: the ONLY way to get proper positional audio is to use DDL, DTSC, or analog 5.1 with an actual receiver, or headphones that will decode this properly.
     
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  20. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    Back in the day of my reviews on 3DSoundSurge, Mark sent me the GigaWorks (pre 750) and the Klipsch ProMedia 5.1. Of the two, I preferred the Klipsch, that sub was just a great performer, but I didn't care for the sats. So I replaced the sats with Klipsch Quintet II's, which was an amazing upgrade. ($250 at the time for the 4 sats + center) Mineral casing vs cheap plastic ftw, and better drivers.

    And since Waves NX was mentioned earlier, I would like to point out a caveat I have with that application: it tends to forget your measurements, and reload defaults. So just have your head measurements handy.
     
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