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[Gaming Audio] Astro MixAmp presets + Best Audio Gear Guide + Headphone Reviews  (Read 229260 times)

Offline AMG

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Ya I'm not using an HDMI audio extractor since it reportedly can add input lag and disables free sync. Very sad looks like my mayflower arc may be retired.

I could plug my GSP 600s directly into the xbox controller. Or alternatively I read that the Astro MIXAMP PRO TR works with xbox. Would it be worth getting it? Would my GSP 600s work with them?

Thanks
I really doubt that adds input lag, makes no sense that accusation is only a pass-through in essence is like cable bridge, no image processing.

Just to clarify:
The only thing that can (in theory) add "input lag" is when video signal is processed by an intermediate device and sent to the TV in a different format, these processors are imaging or video processors like: cheap HDMI Switchers, Capture Cards, mClassic anti-alias remover(which doesn't) and specially: AV Receivers. That's why when you pick a AV receiver you have choose very wisely because it can remove HDR, not support VRR or lower the HDMI Bandwidth, good AV Receivers entry level are above $1000 -yeah quite pricey to screw it.

Anyways, you should be able to use the GSP 600 on XBSX/S with headset adapter.

mickyg77 - Yes, these is for gaming in general on PC however you have more flexibility and compatibility, Xbox is a closed environment.

HD 598 SR - Those are a pretty good cans, but a more like a beginner tier. A significant jump or upgrade will be HD600 / HD 650 / HD58X / HD 660S better yet feeling familiar. If you want more punchy and sharp sounding Beyerdynamic DT770 or DT990, Philips Phidelio X2 for a budget yet pretty bass fun cans, Audio Technica ATH-1000X open airy, like having speakers in-front on you, AKG K701 wide soundstage, anything of those it will make your money worth, but a decent DAC is a must to get the best results.

Offline sandak

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mickyg77 - Yes, these is for gaming in general on PC however you have more flexibility and compatibility, Xbox is a closed environment.

HD 598 SR - Those are a pretty good cans, but a more like a beginner tier. A significant jump or upgrade will be HD600 / HD 650 / HD58X / HD 660S better yet feeling familiar. If you want more punchy and sharp sounding Beyerdynamic DT770 or DT990, Philips Phidelio X2 for a budget yet pretty bass fun cans, Audio Technica ATH-1000X open airy, like having speakers in-front on you, AKG K701 wide soundstage, anything of those it will make your money worth, but a decent DAC is a must to get the best results.

Would you recommend different products for PC then? I plan on pulling the trigger on some of the teals tiered ones pretty soon, but if you have different recommendations to go with my PC and HD 598 SEs, I'd love to hear them.

Offline AMG

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Sorry for the late reply.

These recommendations applies also on PC.

However on PC you can squeeze even better sound quality because you are able to access to higher sample rates, better encoders like DSD (if your DAC supports it) and some exclusive hardware that needs drivers in the background like the Sennheiser GSX 1000 which is like a MixAmp do it right.

Beginners guide for Home Theater System

So I got many questions on my DM's and some request about making like a Beginners guide for Home Theater System, cause many of you really want to dig on that platform of high sound quality and on current COVID era going to the movies is still a risk and uncertainly, besides be able to enjoy current streaming entertainment series and movies.

Is a wide subject, I will try to do it as condensed and brief as possible yet informative. I would like to start to answering this FAQ.

1. A Home Theater Multi-Channel System (called from now on HTMCS) is better than a good DAC and audiophiles for gaming?
- For competitive, serious FPS gaming: No, and is not suitable. High quality Stereo imaging is faster and more precise than a HTMCS, where the speakers generates sound waves that travels in to the room bouncing all over, instead of the speakers going directly to your eardrums (headphones). Besides the fact that, if you play on a competitive scenario a Mic for team-com is a must and it can't be done on a loud HTMCS presence dominating your surroundings

2. A HTMCS offers a better immersive experience than HiRes DAC + Audiophile Headphones?
- "Doing it right", yes absolutely. However, this "Doing it right" means going for above $1800 USD solution to reach a point where you can say: my HTMCS is as good or better than my HiRes DAC/Headphones. Anything below that you will be better with your HiRes DAC/Headphones - no doubt!.

3. What about Soundbars and Home Theater in-a-box Packages (HTIB)
- Soundbars are pretty good, when need something better than your TV Speakers, if you are going for any modern ultra-thin display these comes with pretty weak speakers due the form factor.

Only very expensive soundbars above $2000 USD can arguably give you a sound level compared to a simple multi-channel system, a decent HTMCS will single handed overpass any expensive soundbar, but in essence what you are paying for a quality soundbar is minimalist and practicability and no messing with cables and installations.

Home Theater in-a-box Packages, these are All-in-One solution, not bad is like buying a pre-assamble PC, where a HTMCS is more like building your own piece by piece. HTIB are cheaper (from $700 USD, includes speakers and AV receiver), practical to install brands like Onkyo give you pretty good solution bang per buck that will satisfies the majority of needs, for music listening, videogames and movies. However just like with a prebuilt PC there isn't much pieces that you can swap, improve, upgrade or grow up because most likely the speakers that came with the package are made to be powered for the included AV Receiver (AVR in short).

AV Receiver is
our "DAC" that also process video signal, is the brain of your Home Theater System it will decodes audio signals to stereo, surround like: Dolby Digital, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, video like HDR/Dolby Vision, handles resolutions like: 1080p/4K/8K, on a different refresh rates: 30Hz/60Hz/120Hz and handling image processing tech like VRR, FreeSync, etc.

AVR's on a HTIB are most likely basic, well built but where the product cut corners/cheap out is on the quality of the speakers included.

Good quality Speakers are not cheap and are a good investment, its technology doesn't change much and can last up to 15 years.

On the other hand AV Receivers, are expensive (above $800 USD) and they upgrade every year or so, upgrading connection technologies or goodies and sometimes big leaps that makes your AVR obsolete for a newer video equipment.

Keep in mind:
Good Quality Speakers + Cheap AVR performs better than Good Quality Expensive AVR + Cheap Speakers.

So, we can say if you want the best Theater Multi-Channel experience for your home you have to built it, piece by piece starting by choosing how many speakers aka channels you want. Focusing your budget on get the best speakers you can afford little by little, being your Front L, R and Center the most important, and then getting AVR that can handle the sound decoding and video processing that you want.

Building a Home Theater System can be a very daunting and expensive endeavor, yet rewarding like a building a swimming pool for your house -no kidding, if you are ok with a bath-tub settle with headphones, if you prefer a jacuzzy go for a HiRes and Audiophile headphones, if you want a pool without messing too much get  prefer a soundbar or basic HTIB these are like a Inflatable swimming pool. Funny Analogies yet kind of accurate.

One thing is very important if you go for the HTIB route or getting a AVR is to make sure it has a good accurate and precise Room Sound detection technology, every house is different and you need to treat a room specifically to get the most of your Home Theater.

5. What is Dolby Atmos, and why is so cool.

A channel means a Speaker, before surround technology put sound frequencies on each speaker, if the sound in your game or movie came infront the front speaker will sound, if goes back the surrounds will sound, left, right, center etc.

Dolby Atmos is a different paradigm, this technology uses every speaker to create a sound object in a 3D space, using several speakers to reproduce that sound entity, pretty cool. Dolby Atmos specification requires at least a couple of Height Channels (Speaker in the ceiling) in order to render this 3D sound space and the objects in it.


However, to enjoy Dolby Atmos your sound source should be decoded in this format. For TV and streaming only Disney+ and a few titles on Netflix or Prime comes with Dolby Atmos and of this bunch most are intended for Dolby Atmos 5.1.2. Only 4K Blu-ray can offered full Dolby Atmos Decoding up to 7.2.4.

What all this numbers mean?.
5.1.0 (5 Channel System)
5. is the # speakers at ear level.
.1 is the # of subwoofer in the system.
.0 is the # speakers for the height channels (Dolby Atmos and DTS:X)

So a 7 channel system is can be read like: 7.1 (all speakers at ear level) or 5.1.2 (5 at hear level, 2 for DAtmos).
9 Channel system: 9.1 or 5.1.4, yes this means more speakers in the ceiling and implies a powerful AMP or AVR that can process 9 channels, and you can go bananas on these 11. 13 etc. A good 9 channels AVR goes from $1200 or above, yep only the unit, without speakers.

Worth to mention: 5.1.2 for Dolby Atmos is what all the media content developers are using for streaming, movies and videogames. Getting more channels is intended for bigger rooms and audience, so everybody can get a good soundfield reproduction no matter where they are seated.

The importance of a good quality Subwoofer (SW)

The Sub is a big woofer that reproduce very low frequencies, but on reality is the girt that tights your sound experience together, it brings body to the sound waves it shakes you, hits you and moves you... is like a rumble feedback gives life to your home theater system. Don't cheap out on it and if your AVR supports it and you have a big room getting a second one might be a very good option.

6. Recommendations
A) If you want better sound than your weak TV speakers, I recommend to go for a pair of Bookshelf speakers with built-in amp and a subwoofer out, and get also a sub-woofer. These combo will give you far better sound quality than any expensive (two times) soundbard or a cheap home theater.
Power Monitors (Speakers) + Subwoofer.


B) If you want a Home Theater System and don't want to break the bank, check Onkyo HTS solutions, and that's pretty much it. Sometimes Yamaha also releases bundles but are rare.


Klipsch another good quality brand, also offers HTIB but these don't come with a AVR, only the speakers.

C) if you want to build your own Home Theater System without breaking the bank, and it will be better than any HTIB of $800 USD, pretty much at the same level of a $2000 USD system for about half the price, including Dolby Atmos capability:

Get Klipsch 5.1 HTIB speakers (around $350 - 450 usd) + 2 bookshelf speakers ($99 USD - 130 USD) + AV Receiver from $350 to $500 USD, Onkyo, Denon, Yamaha, Sony (highly recommended for easy to setup) for 7.1 or more channels and dolby atmos support. These speakers are very well made, it sounds fantastic and are very affordable.
Klipsch 5.1 Reference Theater Pack - Includes a powerful subwoofer, satellite speakers for your surrounds or heights(DAtmos), and well built center speaker for vocals

Klipsch Bookshelf Speakers - use it for your front L and R speakers

7.1 AV Receiver, my recommendation:
Sony STR-DH790 or Sony STR-DN1080

Both are very easy to setup, it has a great room tune/detection, Dolby Atmos, offers WiFi and Bluetooth support and eARC which is very important if you are watching streaming content from your TV and want Surround Sound on your speakers. Price around: $500 USD. Sony STR-DH790 it's a reduced version of theDN1080, it also offers Dolby Atmos but it has a weaker amplifier, is great for a small room and it can drive easily these speakers, this ones is around $350 USD.

When you go for a higher on quality on an AVR you are paying for more channels and more powerful amp, and if its possible an amp for each channel, or the option to use a separated amp. While these two AVRs are great for entry level if you want audiophile quality you need to go higher, next tear.

Hence my Top recommendation is: Sony STR-ZA1100ES (ES means Elevated Standard = Audiophile grade)

Best bang per your buck this one doesn't have wifi or bluetooth built in, but it compensates on sound reproduction quality and circuitry its DAC and Amplifier it has the same performance of a $2000 AVRs individual amps for each channel (7), is built like a tank, offers eARC, 4K at 60Hz all HDR, HLG, Dolby Vision processing, Dolby Atmos 5.2.2 and it has a DSP option that creates two virtual channels (surround back) so it sounds like a 7.2.2 system. You can find it from $700 USD on sale.

Yeah I know only Sony Receivers, I'm not trying to push this brand... but Sony goes the extra mile to make sure your first AVR setup turns to be a very easy and pleasant experience, what in other cases was very daunting and most likely required to hire a professional.

Marantz does have a high end AVR Receivers but are more intended for critical music listening, meaning aren't as "fun" or well tune out of the box for movies and videogames, offers DSP's(Equalizer) that can help you. Marantz AVR's goes from $1100 USD up to $3200 USD. The ZA1100ES sounds pretty similar to a $2200 USD marantz one, that's why is my value recommendation.

If you can afford Marantz, go with it you get more channels. Denon are also from the same brand than Marantz, is a cheaper version, I can't recommend those because they are know to have overheat issues. Personally, I had a bad experience with one so I don't feel comfortable to say go and buy a $1500 USD AVR that might brakes in a few months. Marantz, is worth it I own one (SR8012) loved it, sold it due moving to another place.


WARNING: HDMI 2.1 4K/120Hz
I don't recommend to spent in a $1500USD or more AVR 2020 model, currently there is a big issue with HDMI 2.1 support, is a very well known issue and it can't be fixed by a firmware update. If 4K/120Hz is a must for you... wait for 2021 or 2022 models to make your investment, VRR and Freesync Premium Pro is also very uncertain.

If you are OK with full 4K 60Hz support, get any 2018 - 2020 model. In all honesty that's what our current AAA titles can run in resolution mode. If you want 4K/120Hz for a fast phasing shooter, like CoD, my man...  you shouldn't play on a TV on the first place or using a HTS, go with gaming monitor and a good pair of cans.

D) No budget constrains capability to grown and upgrade. Get the best speakers you can afford from Klipsch, Sony, Elac, etc. Your AVR should have at least 9 channels and pre-outs so you can add an external amplifer for your speakers for better results, and dual independent subwoofer outs. Brands for your AVR: Sony ES lineup, Marantz, Yamaha Advantage lineup.

E) For those who are looking to build a dedicated Theater Room for your home, unlimited budget, then you shouldn't look at AVR's, you need to separate these, just like we do with gaming DAC and Amps, you need a dedicated DAC and a dedicated AMPs for every your channel in your system. You are not building swiming pool, is more like your own beach.

That was a lot, sorry and I appreciated the time you invest if you get here.

P.S.
What about those expensive Bose Products?.
I don't hate Bose, I'm actually consumer of their products, I own a nice set of Bose Speakers for my PC, but in all honesty you can built something better (for less money) by choosing the pieces than getting from Bose, is like Apple. :D
« Last Edit: 04:04 PM - 01/26/21 by alanmcgregor »

Offline biscojoe

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just stumbled across this thread lol.... niceee...

so i have a question... right now i have my a40s and gen4 mixamp setup perfectly fine on my ps4 pro no problems...

i have a XSX tho that i bought a mixamp for as well.. with a40s... yea kinda pointless to get another pair of headphones but it was a convenience thing...

i've been reading that i can't do 1440p 120hz over this HDMI to Optical adapter and losing VRR support (is it that important compared to nice sound?) ... which is fine with me... i can still do 1080p 120hz or 1440p 60hz (who wants that tho lol)

i guess my question is... is it better to just use Dolby Atmos on my XSX (1440p 120hz) ? from what i've been told, sound over USB with the a40s/a50s is trash... that would mean that my mixamp would be useless though and i kind of don't want to... let it be useless lol... i'd much rather be using optical sound on my new gen... i like being able to adjust the knobs on the mixamp and change my presets on the fly with a press of a button. i'm an audio newb though so.. any information or help would be best.

i've been using this ZaliaS dudes EQ presets and some other custom ones from the astro discord... and i notice some EQs work better in the star mode (stereo) then the dolby surround. tho it's a matter of personal preference.



« Last Edit: 03:43 PM - 01/29/21 by discobiscuits »
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Offline AMG

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Hello discobiscuits, welcome  :)

Keep reading the thread if you want to know more, however a brief is:

  • MixAmp is a DAC/Amp, tuned to make the A40 headset sound better, but its speakers are crap by itself, you will do a LOT better by using a good quality audiophile headphone with your MixAmp, but you need to tune your MixAmp for those headphones, hence Zalias and  Emperor Potara EQ's shared on this thread, he develop them for many good quality studio headphones.
  • When comes to competitive or casual sweat gaming, Stereo will give you and advantage, more accurate positional audio than a emulated surround. Campaign or single player games are great using Surround DSP/EQs (like Dolby Atmos for Headphones) are like a filter (just like you took a photo and added sepia colors to make it "vintage")
  • Once you own a good headphone with amazing stereo imaging (precision, details, clear sound cues) you might release the MixAmp feels short, and you will be right a higher quality DAC with a more powefurl Amp will unleashed the full potential of your cans, and that's why some of us go for that path. At that point you don't need fake surround make up, stereo binaural mix in games will crush any fake surround, and for competitive you most definitely will have an advantage just like you do with your XIM. With your XIM you have the aim ready to take them down, faster and more efficiently, with a good DAC/Amp Headphones, you will hear them coming and their position on the exact moment they are about to go around the corner.

Is it audio more important than video, competitive wise... absolutely , human brain reacts to sound 7 times faster than visuals.

The issue with audio for gaming is that is full of oil-snake, a 120usd gaming headset get his @#$% kick for a 70usd audiophile headphone, you are in the matrix, the audio gaming matrix and we are trying to get you out of it.  ;)

So, Baby steps... MixAmp is great, keep it but that headset if you switch it for a good one, dude you realize how much you are missing.

For immersion with headphones there is nothing that can beat these, when the source is mixed on binaural stereo.
Where the recording is recreating our two ears and even skull accustics to represent a real natural sound experience.

For Surround, only way to do it is by using a multi-channel (speakers) system decoded for a good audio processor.

Surround on headphones, that is make up, nothing wrong if you like it but is not as good as real.
« Last Edit: 09:05 PM - 01/29/21 by alanmcgregor »

Offline Loïc Maggio

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Bonjour, serait t'il possible d'avoir le fichier ?

Offline sandak

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I went ahead and got the JDS Labs El Dac II + JDS Atom Amp along with Sennheiser HD600 and I'm blown away how good it sounds in games and of course music (using Amazon 30-day trial since they have HD music).

I do have some questions. I'm not sure if I want to be using XMOS driver or just the one that Windows automatically installed. I am using the XMOS one right now and it's hard to do a compare of the two drivers to see if I can notice a difference. Also, what sampling should I be using?

Next thing we need to get Alan to do for us is give us optimal settings in game. Fortnite.. Warzone... that'd be great  ;).

Offline biscojoe

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one thing i like about Astro... is that they have pretty solid support on their discord and have some people who work on EQ presets constantly for a variety of games... always responding to customers requests.

for me, there is nothing wrong with my A40's and mixamp. i fished out enough money for them, no need to upgrade. it does the job. and for console gaming, i believe the A40's and mixamp do it's job right.
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Offline AMG

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one thing i like about Astro... is that they have pretty solid support on their discord and have some people who work on EQ presets constantly for a variety of games... always responding to customers requests.

for me, there is nothing wrong with my A40's and mixamp. i fished out enough money for them, no need to upgrade. it does the job. and for console gaming, i believe the A40's and mixamp do it's job right.
How can you make that assumption if you haven't try something different?.

Philips SHP 9500 a product which since its conception all its budget was invested on creating a product to deliver a best sound performance, for only $54 USD competes with $120 headphones, pair it with the MixAmp a is such a HUGE improvement over the A40, but well... that's your choice.



Offline mastercvs

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Thanks for sharing. I will look into some of the suggestions. I've been educating myself on what the best headphones would be as I would like to give a pair as a Christmas gift. I also looked to information in german and came across this article that talks about what to look for in headsets. https://www.kaufberater.io/headset-test/ If you are interested you can easily put it in google translate or deepl. https://www.deepl.com/en/translator
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Offline thejoshie

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So a question:

I have a Fiio K5 Pro,

I'm having a problem wher, even with a mod mic and a splitter, my Mic isn't getting regitered by my ps5. My headphones (Superlux HD 668B) works fine.

What setup do I need for my Mic to work?

Offline AMG

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You need a USB soundcard compatible with PS5 that allows you to use your mic with your Playstation.

Then with a Y RCA to 3.5mm adapter, connect the 3.5mm to the USB Sound-card Headphone output, then connect the RCA ends on the back of the RCA In in the FIIO K5, set it on RCA In.

Other workaround if your Display has SPDIF out (most TV's has it) or 3.5mm audio out, connect this to the FII K5 Pro, while you have the mic connected to the USB soundcard mic in, and set your Playstation as Audio Output: HDMI Audio IN/Mic: USB Soundcard.

The best method is feed FIIO K5 using a DIGITAL audio input, but PS5 removed the SPDIF Out. On PS4 you were able to use SPDIF as your audio out and a USB Card or USB Mic for your mic only, combining these two devices.

You can do this on PS5 but you need a HDMI Audio Extractor, this takes the digital audio signal from your console HDMI cable, video goes to your display and digital audio (SPDIF) goes to FIIO K5.

Notice: HDMI Audio Extractors HDMI 2.1 to have 4K @120Hz aren't available yet, only 4K @ 60Hz and 1080p @ 120Hz/144Hz (HDMI 2.0b).

Offline Xenaph1

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Hi Alan,

I bought a GSP 600 with the mixamp yesterday and wondering if you have nice preset for apex legend ? I think you are running GSP as well ?

Thanks

Xenaph

Offline Xenaph1

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Hello,
Does you used Dolby almos with GSP 600 or stéréo uncompressed ?

Thanks

Offline Bagura32rus

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Hello Alanmacgregor!
Can you please tell me, I have Xbox Series X connected in this order astro mixamp pro tr gen3 - jds labs atom amp - ears HyperX Cloud Alpha Cloud9 Edition (I think to buy DT990Pro 250 ohm)
I have an audio extractor, is it worth adding it here and connecting it with an optical cable?
Also tell me which DAC is better for me to take, in Russia I have only three options: 1) Schiit Magni3 2) Topping D30 3) TOPPING E30
Here are my photos of the complete set, I will be glad for your help.https://imgur.com/a/YKYloRl
I play on a Dell S2721DGF monitor, it has a line-out!
« Last Edit: 09:59 AM - 02/19/21 by Bagura32rus »


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