Yet another headphone thread

"multipoint Bluetooth" is the term for connecting to multiple sources simultaneously.

Google that up, then cross reference RTINGS big ole list of Bluetooth headphone latencies.

Low latency Bluetooth exists, it's just not the norm.

Jonman wrote:

"multipoint Bluetooth" is the term for connecting to multiple sources simultaneously.

Google that up, then cross reference RTINGS big ole list of Bluetooth headphone latencies.

Low latency Bluetooth exists, it's just not the norm.

But are there many devices with multipoint bluetooth that are simultaneous sound?

I was thinking you may have to pull audio to the PC to mix it before sending it to the headset, but then the use case was a Steamdeck as the PC.

MannishBoy wrote:
Jonman wrote:

"multipoint Bluetooth" is the term for connecting to multiple sources simultaneously.

Google that up, then cross reference RTINGS big ole list of Bluetooth headphone latencies.

Low latency Bluetooth exists, it's just not the norm.

But are there many devices with multipoint bluetooth that are simultaneous sound?

I was thinking you may have to pull audio to the PC to mix it before sending it to the headset, but then the use case was a Steamdeck as the PC.

Multipoint didn’t seem like a solution due to lack of simultaneous and my lack of confidence in the Deck supporting low latency Bluetooth.

The Arctis 9 seems to support simultaneous wireless and Bluetooth audio. So I have one data point. Looking for some others to see what’s out there.

Mixing is how I do this at my desk. I was thinking I could do similar with the Deck if I sent the BT audio into the Deck’s mic input but it would require a couple dongles attached to the deck. One for BT receiving to analog input. One for PC audio out to headset.

Www.soundguys.com/bluetooth-multipoint-explained-28601/

Has a list of headsets at the bottom that support the functionality you want.

Jonman wrote:

Www.soundguys.com/bluetooth-multipoint-explained-28601/

Has a list of headsets at the bottom that support the functionality you want.

I looked at the list of headphones and didn’t see any that explicitly support listening to two sources at the same time. Most explicitly said they switch between two inputs. I don’t want switching. My Soundcores already do that. Possible some in the list do but it wasn’t explicit in the review.

Browsing a bit more. It sounds like multipoint should technically support my use case but I’m just not seeing any hard evidence that any headphones do.

Jonman wrote:

Www.soundguys.com/bluetooth-multipoint-explained-28601/

Has a list of headsets at the bottom that support the functionality you want.

I think those only connect simultaneously but do not allow sound to be played from multiple devices simultaneously.

I'm not aware of any Bluetooth headsets that allow you to mix two sources at the same time?

They have enough trouble maintaining audio quality on one Bluetooth connection, I can't imagine splitting its bandwidth in two for mixing would sound very good.

Unless they go as far as two entirely separate bluetooth antenna or whatever in a single device and then also putting in hardware to mix the sources.

I've seen external USB based options that will let you mix in a bluetooth source but the two I've personally seen and looked into that do it are very expensive dedicated mixing devices. Think things like the Go XLR. None of them have been small or portable.

Maybe VB Audio Voicemeeter Banana could help here, by mixing sources inputs on the pc?

Robear wrote:

Maybe VB Audio Voicemeeter Banana could help here, by mixing sources inputs on the pc?

That puts us back to the issue where the primary PC is a Steamdeck though.

Does Voicemeeter run on it? Even if it does, is there a device you can plug into it that will work as a bluetooth input?

Something that doesn't only work on Windows or MacOS and will also let the iPad connect?

No idea. Just know it's a mixer.

Yeah it's mixing software that's nice if you already have the ability to get all your sources to the device you want to handle mixing on.

So far, the closest I came to a solution is this little thing, called the Quidelix 5k:

IMAGE(https://i.imgur.com/pLB8dL0.png)

I bought it to use with nice headphones now that phones no longer have a headphone jack on them. I can sync it over bluetooth with my phone and it puts out enough juice to power even very nice headphones. Supports aptx, LDAC, all the best bluetooth stuff. I thought, it works as a USB DAC too, maybe it will do what he needs? But it's just like I thought, while it does function as an input, I can sync it to my phone, it won't play from both the USB source on the PC and from the phone at the same time.

And just like the aforementioned bluetooth headphones, multipoint doesn't allow both bluetooth sources to play at the same time either, it just switches between them. As soon as you press play on another source it cuts off the one that was playing before and starts playing the new one.

I was curious enough about his request that I've been digging for options for this for about an hour, because it honestly sounds like a pretty nice thing to be able to do. I just can't find a portable device that will do it.

pandasuit wrote:
Jonman wrote:

Www.soundguys.com/bluetooth-multipoint-explained-28601/

Has a list of headsets at the bottom that support the functionality you want.

I looked at the list of headphones and didn’t see any that explicitly support listening to two sources at the same time. Most explicitly said they switch between two inputs. I don’t want switching. My Soundcores already do that. Possible some in the list do but it wasn’t explicit in the review.

Browsing a bit more. It sounds like multipoint should technically support my use case but I’m just not seeing any hard evidence that any headphones do.

The only headset that I have seen that can do multiple devices and also do super low latency to the gaming device is the Xbox One headset. It uses a dongle for the low latency then connects to a second device via standard Bluetooth. I forget if it can play simultaneously though.

According to this you can: https://support.xbox.com/en-US/help/....

"Yes, you can! You can connect your headset to your Xbox console and then via Bluetooth to another device to listen in to both at the same time. For instance, you can listen to music from your phone while playing a game on your console."

Edit: But I'm guessing their USB dongle won't work on the deck

EvilDead wrote:

Edit: But I'm guessing their USB dongle won't work on the deck :(

It might actually? I found an old reddit post with two people talking about this and at the very bottom he says he used a USBC-A extender and their dongle to get his headset and mic working.

If the dongle works, in theory the bluetooth feature you described should still work? Or at least it sounds like it should, based on that microsoft support page.

You might have found his solution.

Thin_J wrote:
EvilDead wrote:

Edit: But I'm guessing their USB dongle won't work on the deck :(

It might actually? I found an old reddit post with two people talking about this and at the very bottom he says he used a USBC-A extender and their dongle to get his headset and mic working.

If the dongle works, in theory the bluetooth feature you described should still work? Or at least it sounds like it should, based on that microsoft support page.

You might have found his solution.

Oh, I didn’t even look at those. Good find. I have that wireless dongle already and I can get the headphones from work to try them. I could even try a controller with the dongle now just to confirm the dongle works with Steam Deck at all.

The other option I found that claims to support this use case is the Arctis 9 (at double the price).

pandasuit wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
EvilDead wrote:

Edit: But I'm guessing their USB dongle won't work on the deck :(

It might actually? I found an old reddit post with two people talking about this and at the very bottom he says he used a USBC-A extender and their dongle to get his headset and mic working.

If the dongle works, in theory the bluetooth feature you described should still work? Or at least it sounds like it should, based on that microsoft support page.

You might have found his solution.

Oh, I didn’t even look at those. Good find. I have that wireless dongle already and I can get the headphones from work to try them. I could even try a controller with the dongle now just to confirm the dongle works with Steam Deck at all.

The other option I found that claims to support this use case is the Arctis 9 (at double the price).

You sure that isn't the artic nova pro? The 9 doesn't have a DAC which is what allows the nova pro to bring in sound from multiple devices at the same time.

Baron Of Hell wrote:
pandasuit wrote:
Thin_J wrote:
EvilDead wrote:

Edit: But I'm guessing their USB dongle won't work on the deck :(

It might actually? I found an old reddit post with two people talking about this and at the very bottom he says he used a USBC-A extender and their dongle to get his headset and mic working.

If the dongle works, in theory the bluetooth feature you described should still work? Or at least it sounds like it should, based on that microsoft support page.

You might have found his solution.

Oh, I didn’t even look at those. Good find. I have that wireless dongle already and I can get the headphones from work to try them. I could even try a controller with the dongle now just to confirm the dongle works with Steam Deck at all.

The other option I found that claims to support this use case is the Arctis 9 (at double the price).

You sure that isn't the artic nova pro? The 9 doesn't have a DAC which is what allows the nova pro to bring in sound from multiple devices at the same time.

According to their website and the Amazon store:

The Arctis 9 dual wireless headset combines high performance 2.4 GHz wireless for premium gaming audio on PC and PlayStation, with the convenience of simultaneous Bluetooth connectivity for everything else.

Go wireless on any Bluetooth-enabled device, and even use both wireless types at the same time so you can easily take calls, listen to music, or VoIP chat while gaming or on the go.

Seems like the Xbox Wireless Adaptor requires a separate driver in Linux. There is an open source one in early development. It claims to support some headsets. I haven’t tried it on the Deck at all yet so no idea how that would go. Far more hassle than a headset with a USB-C dongle. I’ve tried my Razer Barracuda X in the Deck and it just works immediately with its USB-C dongle. It’s too bad the newer Razers don’t support Bluetooth and 2.4Ghz wireless at the same time. They switch back and forth.

Now you have me interested. I have a bunch of headphones but that's the only low latency one I own.

As a quick experiment I used a 3.5mm TRRS to double TRS adaptor (headset splitter) so I could have an audio source sending audio into the mic input of the Steam Deck and headphones plugged into the output of the Deck. As expected the Deck doesn't loopback it's mic input to the headphone output by default and there isn't a UI setting for it but you can tell PulseAudio to do so on the command line using something like:

pactl load-module module-loopback latency_msec=1

I did this in desktop mode but I wouldn't be surprised if it worked in game mode if I captured it as a script I could run from Steam.

This now allows me to use a bluetooth receiver connected to the mic input of the Deck as a way to get audio in from any bluetooth device and I can either use analog audio out to my headphones or I can use a USB-C dongle for a wireless headset and just tell the Deck to use that for output only.

This is...not great. But it works and I didn't have to buy anything to just try it.

It's not solving the problem with a nice double input set of headphones which is what I was hoping to find but it is essentially a way to use the Deck to mix audio for me and output to any headphones.

On my desktop PC I have an analog audio mixer on my desk I use to mix multiple sources into one set of headphones nicely but it is nothing close to portable and for the Deck I want something very portable.

Edit: I switched the Deck from desktop to game mode after enabling this and the loopback is still happening. I guess it doesn't do anything but swap UIs and leaves all the modules as is. As I expected rebooting the Deck does not restore the loopback module so I'd have to reload it on each reboot.

New Soundcore buds that allow simultaneous connections with one being low latency via dongle.

They say the USB C dongle will work with Quest, Switch, PC, PS4, and PS5. I'm wondering if that would work with the Steamdeck as well.

EvilDead wrote:

New Soundcore buds that allow simultaneous connections with one being low latency via dongle.

They say the USB C dongle will work with Quest, Switch, PC, PS4, and PS5. I'm wondering if that would work with the Steamdeck as well.

Unfortunately the website implies that it switches between audio sources (with Bluetooth being higher priority) instead of allowing simultaneous listening. That’s a deal breaker for me.

Since they work with PC and Switch they should also work with Deck.

One thing to note is the pass through connector on them is power only and limited to 18W.

Ah, that's too bad. I didn't catch that it couldn't play audio from both simultaneously.

pandasuit wrote:

Since they work with PC and Switch they should also work with Deck.

One would think but I don't know enough about USB C as an audio output. It might have some specific hardware spec or OS level support. I noticed they didn't mention Xbox or any phones for dongle compatibility.

EvilDead wrote:

Ah, that's too bad. I didn't catch that it couldn't play audio from both simultaneously.

I was excited when I saw your post then sad when I read more. These would have been pretty great if they supported simultaneous listening.

I just ordered the SR850s and a Fiio USB C DAC for my upcoming Amtrak trip. Hopefully the 850's are as good as I hear.

Just got some sony wh-1000xm4. I'm having a sound issue that appears to be related to noise cancelation.

Every time there is nothing being spoken and no music playing it sounds like the headphones are cutting off or being hit with anti sound maybe. This only happens when noise cancelation is on and not all the time. I'm not sure if this is just how noise cancelation works or if my headphones have a problem. The change in sound is instant so I never miss a spoken word or music but it can be very jarring listen to two people talk to each with weird anti sound between each natural pause. It is kind like someone is changing the volume up and down each time someone stops and starts talking.

To get around this problem I play constant background noise of star trek space engines you hear on the show that is always in the background. I also tried changing the level of noise cancelation but that usually brings in to much noise or fails to block the sound I want blocked.

Any idea what is going on?

Sounds like bad headphones, I’d exchange them.

Funny I noticed a similar problem with Amazon Prime videos only, and it happens regardless of the headphones I'm using. It's very odd.

WizKid wrote:

Sounds like bad headphones, I’d exchange them.

That, and also i suggest trying other NC headphones too make sure this isn't a perception / audio processing thing in your brain.