XIM Community

[Gaming Audio] Astro MixAmp presets + Best Audio Gear Guide + Headphone Reviews  (Read 282762 times)

Online Oskool

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 1961
  • Grilled Salmon Chef
    • View Profile
Thanks for sharing. I listened to the recording and the balls sounded like they were falling mostly behind me and to the left/right. I didn't hear much front audio and it didn't sound like they were falling 360 all around me.

I can hear the barber walking behind me and in front of me in this binaural recording.

https://youtu.be/IUDTlvagjJA

My PC motherboard has a Realtek ALC1220 DAC. It can power the Sennheiser 560s headphones at 30% volume (-20dB) in Windows.

I've been looking at DACs and AMPs but don't want to buy anything until I decide which headphones I want. The FiiO K7 DAC/AMP has been getting good reviews and is tuned warm towards bass. I like that it has a digital volume knob so I don't have to worry about channel imbalance like with analog volume knobs. I wish it had an option for L/R channel balance though. Topping and SMSL are the only ones that seem to offer a channel balance feature.

So far the Hifiman Edition XS look the most interesting for under $500. I also considered the Sennheiser HD 6XX because it has natural sounding vocals, but I don't think it would sound very spacious for games and movies.
« Last Edit: 10:14 PM - 04/14/23 by Oskool »
Battlefield 1 PC player | La-Z-Boy recliner | XIM MATRIX with smoothing off | Razer Viper 8k mouse 800dpi | SteelSeries QcK cloth mousepad | Dell S2417DG 1440p 165Hz Gsync monitor | Char-Broil gas grill

Offline AMG

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 3670
  • 🇲🇽 Gamer - Audiophile - Coder
    • View Profile
You have much to learn young Padawan. :jk:

Is a good decision to wait before buying a DAC and Amp, specially amp which has a symbiotic relationship with your headphones. But is inevitable and needed step.

However, I have to say... you should avoid using PC Onboard Audio, specially Realtek and sorry to tell you but you haven't hear HD560S true sound capabilities either like at all -no exaggerating, Onboard audio is such big @#$% performance funnel for your headphones and on top of that you manage volume via software is even worse. That's al right I get it you trying to do your best what we have at hand.

But friend, you need a decent DAC and Amp to start "tasting" and testing headphones until you find the sound firm you prefer.

My humble suggestion, without breaking the bank. Get yourself something like Mayflower Arc Mini which has a HI-Fi DAC and powerful enough transparent amplification to power something difficult yet pretty good like HD600 or HD6XX nicely.

Yes is way better than Fiio offerings at the same price range.

Now if money is not an obstacle but you want to have a nice baseline without investing much: Schiit Modi 3 + Schiit IEMagni 3 or JDS Atom or ifi Zen CAN, are the best entry level to taste any headphone in the market  -exception Susvara needs a powerplant-.

Yes, HD6XX are very intimate headphone (meaning vocals sound like you were the mic) and its soundstage is narrow, but no useless for games, how spacious or narrow a hifi headphone must be, depends on the listener. Just like glasses some will find its "closer" midrange(where foot steps are) better than AKG 712Pro or HD800S which could feel way to spacious.

XS is what Sundara aspire to be, similar to Ananda, but with better sound separation, soundstage are about the same. Punchy bass is something that Sundara does better than Ananda, and XS also achieves. High midrange on Ananda sounds like very exciting like throwing much detail in your face... and is the biggest difference on XS, where is more smooth and ease... I prefer that... specially on female vocals, XS sounds more natural than Ananda which can feel nasal sometimes.

Anyways is a big rabbit hole.

but you need an entry DAC and Amp if you are going to dive in.

I know insist way too much but Mayflower ARC MK2 is all you need to for gaming and casual hi-fi music listening.

Online Oskool

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 1961
  • Grilled Salmon Chef
    • View Profile
I'll definitely look into a dac and amp. The sound stage of the Sennheiser 560s is just too narrow for me. I'll probably try the Hifiman Edition XS  headphones next.

It seems the two most important factors with amps is low distortion and high power output in watts. I'll shop around for the most powerful dac/amp combo I can get for $200.

Schiit Magni 3+ outputs 2.3 watts @ 32 ohm which is double what the JDS Atom Amp+ can do. The FiiO K7 outputs 2.3 watts @ 32 ohm too.

I'm leaning towards the Hifiman Edition XS headphones paired with the FiiO K7 amp/dac, but I'm going to shop around some more before deciding.

Thanks for your help and tips! I didn't realize planar magnetic headphones are so power hungry.
« Last Edit: 06:08 AM - 04/15/23 by Oskool »
Battlefield 1 PC player | La-Z-Boy recliner | XIM MATRIX with smoothing off | Razer Viper 8k mouse 800dpi | SteelSeries QcK cloth mousepad | Dell S2417DG 1440p 165Hz Gsync monitor | Char-Broil gas grill

Offline AMG

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 3670
  • 🇲🇽 Gamer - Audiophile - Coder
    • View Profile
I'll definitely look into a dac and amp. The sound stage of the Sennheiser 560s is just too narrow for me. I'll probably try the Hifiman Edition XS  headphones next.

It seems the two most important factors with amps is low distortion and high power output in watts. I'll shop around for the most powerful dac/amp combo I can get for $200.

Schiit Magni 3+ outputs 2.3 watts @ 32 ohm which is double what the JDS Atom Amp+ can do. The FiiO K7 outputs 2.3 watts @ 32 ohm too.

You are not really listening the real sound coming from HD560S neither XS. The more important factor with amps is dynamic range due power output.

This is an old audiophile analogy:
Look it like this. Sound is like a picture on a dollar bill with many micro details, measures to ensure is a legit bill.
Your headphone is the visual media (your eyes) to see that picture.

A headphone amp... is like an amplification lenses that allows you to see all those minute micro details unclose (dynamic range, speed, timbre).

From there, you can have:
a very small optic lense that doesn't have much amplification or
a lense that taints the picture or one that bends the image, etc. or
another that show the image as neutral "transparent" as it is (JDS Atom),

What you don't want is a digital zoom that distorts/pixelates the image that's what you get with soundblaster, Realtek and software volume control, you are actually lowering the bitrate to get a bigger frame.

I'm saying that if you get the XS first, and then a decent amp your XS will sound like a different headphone: YES, 100% an substancial improve version of what your expect and even showing you traits that you didn't know it has.
« Last Edit: 12:39 PM - 04/17/23 by AMG »

Online Oskool

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 1961
  • Grilled Salmon Chef
    • View Profile
Thanks for the explanation, it makes sense. It's really hard to shop for audio gear without trying it out first. I'm finding measurements and statistics for audio equipment don't really give any indication how they sound.

The best way to shop for audio equipment is finding a local store and trying out a bunch of headphones before buying them.

What makes me hesitate buying the Hifiman Edition XS headphones is people saying
planar magnetic headphones sound 'plucky' and 'metallic' compared to dynamic headphones.

Do you feel this is the case AMG? Do planars sound more artificial than dynamic driver headphones? Does timbre of vocals and instruments sound less real on most planars?
« Last Edit: 08:50 PM - 04/18/23 by Oskool »
Battlefield 1 PC player | La-Z-Boy recliner | XIM MATRIX with smoothing off | Razer Viper 8k mouse 800dpi | SteelSeries QcK cloth mousepad | Dell S2417DG 1440p 165Hz Gsync monitor | Char-Broil gas grill

Offline K9ozzy

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 42
    • View Profile
  • Gamertag: K9ozzy
Hi all, it's been awhile since I've been on here. Just wanted to give an update on my Xbox Series X audio setup.

Current setup:
Sennheiser HD800s
Astro Mixamp Pro TR
Schiit Lokius
IFI Zen Can
Antlion modmic

I love love this setup.  Been running it for probably close to 2yrs I think and could be my endgame setup no problem.  It's phenomenal in competitive FPS games.  I primarily play PUBG and it definitely gives me an advantage over my buddies who will only use the wireless "gaming" headsets.  On that note, I recently (6ish months ago) bought the Steelseries Actis Nova Pro wireless headset for only one reason and thats cause they can pair with your phone so you can take phone calls and play at the same time and hear both at the same time as well.  I only ever use them 1 to 2 times a week for 30-60mins when my wife calls on her longer drive home.  On a very rare occasion (2-3 times in 6 months) I will use them to play a mindless single player game and stream music into them at the same time. With that being said...I hate em.  They feel claustrophobic, the sound is subpar, the positioning works but is weird, the Soundstage feels in my head or very small, and the earpads both the stock and upgraded ones are just not my favorite and hot.  I'll never be able to go back to "gaming" headsets. My previous non gaming headsets were the AKG 701ks and the Sennheiser HD660s.  In that order and loved them both.  With all this being said....tinkering with my audio setup is a lot of the fun for me and maybe you as well. Trying to find and implement the more interesting items like the Schiit Lokius equalizer is what I really enjoy.  I ordered the new Schiit Syn Universal Surround Dac/Preamp/Headphone Amp, and I'm hoping it's here in the next few days.  It's a dac/amp combo that also allows you to manipulate the Soundstage through "width" and "presence" knobs among doing some other stuff as well .  Very interesting technology (similar to how IFI's "xspace" button works) and I'm excited to see how it performs especially when combined with the Sennheiser HD800s that are already known for their massive soundstage.  Also interested to see how the dac/amp combo compares to the IFI Zen Can.   I'll put it in place of the IFI Zen Can but keep the Schiit Lokius for fine tuning the sound signature and then also keep the necessary evil Astro Mixamp for chat capabilities.   I'll give an update once it comes in and I get it setup. I'm also about to start dabbling in using IEMs for gaming. I don't really know why other than I just want to try it.  Anyways hope you all have a great week and hope to get back with yall soon. Link to the Schiit Syn page below

PS: I love my IFI Zen Can and highly recommend it.

https://www.schiit.com/products/syn





Offline Brooker88

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 69
    • View Profile
Good afternoon everyone.

With the release of xim matrix I'm wondering what audio route to go on XSX.

I want to keep VRR & I'll be playing at 1440p 120hz (not sure if that's important or not)



Edit: Ideally I would like to be able to control my voice/game sound, so guessing mixamp would have to be Included in the setup?

Edit: Looking to get the LG 27GR95QE-B which also is 1 of the only monitors I've seen in a long time that includes an optical out for audio
« Last Edit: 05:46 AM - 05/12/23 by Brooker88 »
| PS5 | Razer Huntsman TE | G Pro wireless 25.6k DPI | Sync' OFF | LG 24GL600F 144hz 1080p | G440 Hard mat | Xim/Mouse 1000hz |

Offline ceebs

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 2085
    • View Profile
  • Gamertag: ceebs_63
  • PSN ID: Captain_Minxley
Hi ceebs!
Unfortunately ifi Zen DAC V2 is USB input only, lacks of other digital inputs like SPDIF(RCA) or TOSLink(Optical) you can't not connected to a HDMI audio extractor, like the one you posted, there isn't an optical input to feed the DAC.

...

And for XBox Series X, get a Y audio splitter connect to the controller and get the headphones out and connect to the 3.5mm input of the ZEN CAN, this way from the ZEN CAN you can switch between two sources: RCA(ZEN DAC) 3.5mm (Xbox Controller headphone out).
Thanks for your response, as always, my friend.

I love the simple solution that the highly rated Chord 2 would give me, but I'm not prepared to spend another 500 to get it, as I'd only use it for gaming and I rarely game these days. So I'm sticking with the iFi DAC and amp for the PC and the PS5 (I got a cheap switch to swap between the two without having to unplug and re-plug anything) and just use my Xbox wireless headset when gaming on the Series X.
But, thanks again for your excellent advice.

Where's HL3?

XIM Matrix/Apex/4, PS5, Xbox Series X, Allreli T9+, Swiftpoint Z, Ember Edge, AKG K702, iFi Zen DAC v2, iFi Zen CAN, Cooler Master GP27U - 4K 144Hz.

LIAN LI A4H2O, ASRock Z690M-ITX/ax, Intel Core i5 12400, EK-AIO Basic 240, 32GB Crucial DDR4-3200, 2xSamsung 980 Pro Gen4 2TB, Crucial MX500 1TB, KFA2 RTX 3080 SG, Cooler Master V850 SFX Gold and if you've read this far, you too are a genuine geek, my friend!

Offline JuHeard41279

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
I just got my matrix setup and I use my mic thru my controller and I getting very bad static. Can anyone help me figure out what the issue is? I did not have this issue previously with my Apex. Im also currently using a EKSA E900 Pro USB Gaming Headset that I got from Amazon. Plsssss somebody help me!!

Offline AMG

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 3670
  • 🇲🇽 Gamer - Audiophile - Coder
    • View Profile
I don't have XIM MATRIX yet but, as the thread about Best Audio Gear, we discourage using Audio through Remote Play.

Reasons: very bad audio definition and lag. This is not XIM MATRIX Issue in general you shouldn't used audio through remote play for the same reason we don't use video through remote play.

If you want a wireless solution, there is many bluetooth headsets on the market compatible with PS5, or USB sound cards.

For the best audio, I recommend USB DAC compatibles with PS5 or even better Hi-Fi HiRes DAC's with SPDIF Toslink input (HDMI extractor required).
« Last Edit: 09:17 PM - 05/17/23 by AMG »

Online Oskool

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 1961
  • Grilled Salmon Chef
    • View Profile
I decided to try in-ear monitors (iem) and bought a $20 pair of 7Hz Salnotes Zero.

https://www.amazon.com/Linsoul-7Hz-Zero-Composite-Detachable/dp/B0B76S5Z8B

Honestly, I can hear more footsteps with these cheap iems compared to any headphone. I think it has to due with the speaker being so close to my ear drum.

The 7Hz Salnotes Zero doesn't have much bass but they sound pretty good. Not nearly as good as headphones but I can hear footsteps better with the Salnotes Zero.

I might try more expensive iems and see if the bass gets better but I find it interesting I can game with $20 iems and hear more footsteps than any headphone I've tried.

If I had to describe the feeling of wearing iems I would say they're like wearing ear plugs. The iems do hurt my ears after a while so I'm going to invest in some more comfortable ear tips.

Windows Settings: 48kHz / 32-bit / Stereo
Battlefield 1 Settings: Stereo / Large Speakers
« Last Edit: 02:33 AM - 06/22/23 by Oskool »
Battlefield 1 PC player | La-Z-Boy recliner | XIM MATRIX with smoothing off | Razer Viper 8k mouse 800dpi | SteelSeries QcK cloth mousepad | Dell S2417DG 1440p 165Hz Gsync monitor | Char-Broil gas grill

Offline tenat

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Thanks for sharing this guide, as a new gamer here I really like it.

I also would like to ask something here, if you allow me? thanks!

Offline tzerony

  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 270
    • View Profile
I decided to try in-ear monitors (iem) and bought a $20 pair of 7Hz Salnotes Zero.

https://www.amazon.com/Linsoul-7Hz-Zero-Composite-Detachable/dp/B0B76S5Z8B

Honestly, I can hear more footsteps with these cheap iems compared to any headphone. I think it has to due with the speaker being so close to my ear drum.

The 7Hz Salnotes Zero doesn't have much bass but they sound pretty good. Not nearly as good as headphones but I can hear footsteps better with the Salnotes Zero.

I might try more expensive iems and see if the bass gets better but I find it interesting I can game with $20 iems and hear more footsteps than any headphone I've tried.

If I had to describe the feeling of wearing iems I would say they're like wearing ear plugs. The iems do hurt my ears after a while so I'm going to invest in some more comfortable ear tips.

Windows Settings: 48kHz / 32-bit / Stereo
Battlefield 1 Settings: Stereo / Large Speakers

Keep us posted please. I am playing with my Philips Fidelio X2HR for over a year now - thanks to Antithesis for recommending :)

However was never sure about IEMs. Should you find any comfortable and performing IEMs, I am happy to get a recommendation.

Offline AMG

  • MVP
  • *
  • Posts: 3670
  • 🇲🇽 Gamer - Audiophile - Coder
    • View Profile
IEM are very popular on professional players, the actually use those inside of the sponsor headset.

The thing with IEM there is a lot of chinese stuff, something very high quality on afforable price and most very poor, sounding and built quality wise.

Brands that you can trust:
Moondrop (Its Aria model is great for gaming and music, around 80 usd)
7Hz
Bleesing
TIAAudio
Fiio

Offline Brutalimp

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 473
    • View Profile
IEM are very popular on professional players, the actually use those inside of the sponsor headset.

The thing with IEM there is a lot of chinese stuff, something very high quality on afforable price and most very poor, sounding and built quality wise.

Brands that you can trust:
Moondrop (Its Aria model is great for gaming and music, around 80 usd)
7Hz
Bleesing
TIAAudio
Fiio


I agree that high quality IEMs sound fantastic and I use it sometimes for piano, but man I could never get a pair to be comfortable for extended periods of time. Really wish there was a way to make IEMs more comfortable. I even tried all the aftermarket high quality foam and other solutions.