Yet another headphone thread

In physical terms, fiber definitely can carry more bandwidth than copper. For the purposes of S/PDIF, it doesn't matter. Both interfaces are capable of carrying 192Khz/24bit signaling, which is as high as S/PDIF goes.

In absolute audio terms, copper is supposedly very, very slightly better than fiber -- I gather there's a little less jitter, and it's harder to damage the cables. But with fiber, you don't get ground loops, and you have electrical separation between components, so I stick with optical.

Malor wrote:
I gather there's a little less jitter, and it's harder to damage the cables. But with fiber, you don't get ground loops, and you have electrical separation between components, so I avoid copper.

This. I personally think jitter is usually only perceptible in the realm of meters, but in my last house, built in the early 1900s and where the voltage potential between house ground and TV cable coax would shock the everliving sh*t out of you, decoupling devices was the One True Path.

Thin_J wrote:
Were I to do a combination of things we've talked about for the kind of money we're talking it would absolutely be the Mixamp + AD700 + Mic setup.

There's a reason it's such a popular combo everywhere.

I'm looking for a new set of headphones but presumed I'd need an integrated mic for online multiplayer. Can someone explain what mic product you'd use in this instance?
Thanks.

crunchy wrote:
I'm looking for a new set of headphones but presumed I'd need an integrated mic for online multiplayer. Can someone explain what mic product you'd use in this instance?
Thanks.

A lot of people use the Zalman clip mic with the AD700's, but it's a fairly common opinion that the Zalman doesn't work well with the Mixamp. Heavy mentioned the Califone collar mics earlier, and I ended up ordering one of those to pair with my mixamp and other headphones.

Thin_J wrote:
crunchy wrote:
I'm looking for a new set of headphones but presumed I'd need an integrated mic for online multiplayer. Can someone explain what mic product you'd use in this instance?
Thanks.

A lot of people use the Zalman clip mic with the AD700's, but it's a fairly common opinion that the Zalman doesn't work well with the Mixamp. Heavy mentioned the Califone collar mics earlier, and I ended up ordering one of those to pair with my mixamp and other headphones.

I am going to take that back. Sorry!

I just gave the Zalman mic. a try with the new Mixamp 5.8 and it works just fine, at least over XBL. I think the old mixamps (I have the original launch unit) are defective. I have a feeling if you bought one after the 2009 redesign you will probably be okay.

Anyway, I had the Zalman at the middle of my chest where the HD600 splits into the left and right channels and all the voice messages I tried where quite good. It does not perform as well as the Astro boom mic, occasionally my voice drops out, but it works fine.

For $12, it is worth it to take the chance on it if you are getting a new Mixamp. So, just for the record: Zalman + Mixamp 5.8 is working well.

Ah, that's fine.

And it works out because I have the original Mixamp.

*Sidenote, not really headphone related but portable audio. If you want better speakers for your laptop or a portable speaker solution for your MP3 player, I highly recommend the XMI Mini Max II. The charging and connection solution is very well thought out and you can hold both speakers in the palm of one hand.

The audio they put out is obviously going to be skewed toward the upper range of the audio spectrum, but they're very surprising particularly on how loud they can get without distortion. I tend to listen to a lot of classical at times when I'm at work, and they're pretty much wonderful for that.

The only way you do better is with a much larger and less convenient setup. Using these means I can listen to music without screwing around with my laptop. The whole setup is battery powered, battery life is great, and it just works.

Well...I pulled the trigger on the Sennheiser HD238i headphones. I just can't live with the A30's as a portable music headphone and since my old PX100's bit the dust a while back and I sold ALL of my working headphones, I need a portable all purpose headphone. I am hoping that the HD238 will be the headphone that the A30 wants to be. Musically, I know the HD238 will excel. If the inline mic. works well with the Mixamp, it could be the ultimate A30. We'll see. The reviews I have read lead me to believe that it has the potential to be a good gaming headphone as well, but you never know till you slip them on your ears and fire up a game.

i'm going to jump the shark and put Turtle Beache's HPA2's on my wish list for my PC gaming needs (i.e surround headset/microphone)

Cayne wrote:
i'm going to jump the shark and put Turtle Beache's HPA2's on my wish list for my PC gaming needs (i.e surround headset/microphone)

Let us know how those work out when/if you get them. I was kinda eyeballing them too, to pair with the Mixamp for PC/360.

I just can't bring myself to buy a headset that gets destroyed in reviews for "Almost no low end sound". The sound in games is more important to me than graphics for immersion. If I'm firing a machine gun or using a grenade launcher I want to hear it all.

The HPA2's are "full 5.1" headphones. There's four drivers in each side, meaning there's also four plugs that need to be used for the DSS inline amp to do its job. The Mixamp only has one simple stereo out.

For the HPA2's to work in their intended way you really have to plug them right into a soundcard and use all the plugs.

It's really not an ideal pairing at all, and there's no good way to even hook them up because of the HPA2's cabling system.

I can't see myself ever wanting headphones where I have to remove all the wiring for my 5.1 speakers every time I want to game. I think I'd much rather pay a bit more and get a USB setup with built in sound card, if for no other reason than hassle avoidance.

Arent the HPA 2's the same headphones as the HPX's with just a different quick disconnect cable? I was just using the model number he used as a place holder.
I have only used the USB amp that came with my Beyerdynamic MMX2's, and didn't care for it. It was always to quite for for chat. My friends could hardly hear me no matter what chat program I used. Take the amp out and chat was just fine. So that soured me on USB amps.

MannishBoy wrote:
I can't see myself ever wanting headphones where I have to remove all the wiring for my 5.1 speakers every time I want to game.

Could you not just put Y splitters for all the outs and have both plugged in? Or is that a big audiophile no-no?

Tigerbill wrote:
Arent the HPA 2's the same headphones as the HPX's with just a different quick disconnect cable? I was just using the model number he used as a place holder.

Yes. But I'm a little confused on why you'd want the HPX's at all if you're not going to be able to use all the extra drivers they put in the things.

In my opinion, you'll get better sound quality from a quality pair of stereo cans like the ATH-AD700's than you will from the HPX's, and the soundfield will be just as wide (or wider) on the Audiotechncias and give just as good of positional cues. The only thing you lose is the convenience of a built in mic.

If you're still set on the HPX's, Turtle Beach actually has a bundle specifically for use with the Astro Mixamp.

http://store.turtlebeach.com/hpx-1hp...

If you use that setup the HPX's only use 4 of 8 drivers they put in them.

Also, music is probably going to sound weird through them no matter what you do.

Thin_J wrote:
The HPA2's are "full 5.1" headphones. There's four drivers in each side, meaning there's also four plugs that need to be used for the DSS inline amp to do its job. The Mixamp only has one simple stereo out.

For the HPA2's to work in their intended way you really have to plug them right into a sound-card and use all the plugs.

It's really not an ideal pairing at all, and there's no good way to even hook them up because of the HPA2's cabling system.

Huh didn't pay attention to that, that will make it inconvenient to switch between speakers and headset... not sure if that's a problem for me, i would like the real 5.1 and most of my gaming i want to keep quieter to not disturb the GF.... hrmmm....

Should i look into just USB powered headset? I'd really rather not get an amp, i just want simplicity.

**EDIT** Oh just checked the website they include splitters so i can keep my speakers hooked up, and what looks like a small volume controller /sigh to switch between the two... i'll report back if i get these for X-mas, seems likely Amazon has em for $70.

Kehama wrote:
MannishBoy wrote:
I can't see myself ever wanting headphones where I have to remove all the wiring for my 5.1 speakers every time I want to game.

Could you not just put Y splitters for all the outs and have both plugged in? Or is that a big audiophile no-no?

I'd not say that's the way to keeping things clean. Plus, headphones settings on the sound are often very different than you want to set up for your speakers.

I've already got enough cable mess behind my PC. That's just not a solution I want.

Looking at the HPA2's that's exactly what they've done, with an inline control box to flip between.

I was looking at this package sold by a guy that frequents the MLG forums someone linked to earlier.
HPA2 Package for Xbox 360 or PS3
(but it appears that this setup no longer works, due to the dashboard update)
It comes with a decoder that would drive all the speakers. I believe it has multiple inputs so no switching all the cables between PC/360. Also I thought that setup was compatible with the Mixamp, but he makes no mention of it so I must have been mistaken.

As far as the Senn's and Audiotechnica's, I am leery of them due to all the bad reviews on their low end sound (as I stated above without naming them). I am not looking for MEGA-BASS or anything but I want to know that there is low end there.
I have no place to test out any pair of these even the HPX's, but I lean towards the HPX's based on a couple of comprehensive headphone/set reviews over at MLG.com. Steggy's Headset Reviews(TB HPX | Astro A40 | Senn PC350) and Headset Review Roundup Updated 11/6/10 They both state that the HPX's have an amazing sound stage and have good reproduction of high's, mid's, and low's; that's even with them only using half the speakers (no reviews show the above listed decoder in use).

You bring up music sounding weird, well it's a good thing I don't listen to much music at home. If I did/when I do; I don't have the highest quality mp3's and don't really care so that is a moot point. (I don't listen to music that needs the great reproduction anyhow).

What are the thoughts on the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 headphones for use with my XBox 360??

http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/...

Reviews seem to indicate that they work well, have nice sound, etc...

Yeah I've read those before.

I think you're seeing "light on bass" and misreading it as "no bass". I think upon hearing them you'd wonder what the hell everybody was talking about.

No, they don't have as much bass as a lot of far more expensive headphones, but I think coming out of the Mixamp, they have *almost* as much bass as the HD595's and those guys spend multiple paragraphs talking about how great those are. The only big differences between the two sets of headphones are in the soundstaging. It's a good deal more forward in the 700's, and a little wider and open in the 595's.

*This is a response to Tigerbill, not the post between. Left the window open a while

mudbunny wrote:
What are the thoughts on the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 headphones for use with my XBox 360??

http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/...

Reviews seem to indicate that they work well, have nice sound, etc...

What are you currently using?

A good inexpensive pair of headphones and an inexpensive amp will serve you far better, but they will not have integrated chat.

The X11's will work well, but just know you are paying $50 for what is, sound-wise, worth about $25. So, you are basically paying $25 for the Xbox integration. If you generally use inexpensive headphones, you should be satisfied and the simplicity of the setup is a plus. Also, if you wanted to step-up the quality and still maintain easy Xbox chat integration, you are looking at at about $100 at the bare minimum.

As an aside...

I found a good pair of $15 portable headphones, if anyone is looking for cheap knock around pair with decent sound:

http://www.amazon.com/JVC-HAS150BX-w...

It has a shorter cord than the Sennheiser HD201's and I like the fact that they are supraural headphones, which I prefer to the Koss KSC-75 ear clip style. They don't sound quite as good as the Senns. or the Koss phones, but they have a fun sound that is non-fatiguing.

Thin_J wrote:
If you don't do any console gaming the Mixamp probably isn't worth the extra cost. Just run the headphones and the mic to the soundcard and be done with it. The Mixamp's real strength is applying Dolby Headphone to a 5.1 signal.
tuffalobuffalo wrote:

MannishBoy wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
The HD555's should sound fairly similar to my 595's, so I'll say they do *almost* as well with positional audio and actually do better with music.

Saw this after looking around:

That's pretty interesting. I still wonder if they are the same speakers, though. I suppose there's a good chance.

The drivers are identical. The only other differences are in the design of the enclosure. Most people consider the 555's to be even brighter than the 595's after that mod. Whether that's a good thing or not is entirely subjective. It's worth a try if you already have the 555's though. You can always just undo it if you want the old sound back.


Has anyone here actually done this mod? Taking delicate things like this apart makes me a bit nervous, but I'm thinking about giving it a shot.

Looks like Geeks.com has a good deal on those TB HPA2's for $55 in a Dell XPS package/case. Their shipping gets you a lot of times, though.

Gunner wrote:
Has anyone here actually done this mod? Taking delicate things like this apart makes me a bit nervous, but I'm thinking about giving it a shot.

I might get a set for Christmas, and will definitely do it if I get them.

You all should be ashamed of yourselves. How dare you even consider desecrating the HD555's in such a way!

heavyfeul wrote:
You all should be ashamed of yourselves. How dare you even consider desecrating the HD555's in such a way!

:old:

I plan to mod in a mic, too :p

heavyfeul wrote:
mudbunny wrote:
What are the thoughts on the Turtle Beach Ear Force X11 headphones for use with my XBox 360??

http://www.turtlebeach.com/products/...

Reviews seem to indicate that they work well, have nice sound, etc...

What are you currently using?

Currently, my speakers are basic computer speakers, and the chat is through the Xbox headset, so this would definitely be a step up from that. As a bonus, it would also make my wife happy 'cause she wouldn't have to hear the sound of me killing stuff (or getting killed).

They will definitely be better than basic desktop speakers. I want to tell you to spend a bunch of money on a serious upgrade, but the X11's should be just fine.

MannishBoy wrote:
heavyfeul wrote:
You all should be ashamed of yourselves. How dare you even consider desecrating the HD555's in such a way!

I plan to mod in a mic, too

I hope you're happy. Fritz Sennheiser is rolling in his grave right now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fritz_S...

The man invented the shotgun mic and open headphones for god's sake.

http://wiki.faust3d.com/wiki/index.p...

heavyfeul wrote:
They will definitely be better than basic desktop speakers. I want to tell you to spend a bunch of money on a serious upgrade, but the X11's should be just fine.

Serious upgrades to the sound only comes after serious upgrades to the computer set-up.

Well, yes and no. Depends on what he has now. Onboard Realtek sound tends to be highly compatible and trouble-free, but it often doesn't sound that great. But if he's got an X-Fi or a Xonar, it'll sound really good.