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[Gaming Audio] Astro MixAmp presets + Best Audio Gear Guide + Headphone Reviews  (Read 229241 times)

Offline K9ozzy

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I thought that's what the Turtle Beach controller Headset adapter plus is for? The little bear mc5 is only 3.5.  The Topping D70s and my Drop 789 both have XLR balanced in and outputs, so am I just losing those?

Offline AMG

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Alan, can I add this to my assembly?
OK, putting MixAmp at side... you already have chat/mix functionality on it.
Embrace wire mess... this is going to be a bumpy ride.

This is what I will do with your gear to incorporate Little Bear MC5 Mixer on the chain.

Let's get Game Audio the right way...
HDMI cable from your console → HDMI Audio Extractor [HDMI In]
HDMI Audio Extractor [HDMI Out]  → Monitor [HDMI In]
SPDIF cable → HDMI Audio Extractor [SPDIF Out]
SPDIF cable → JDS EL DAC II [SPDIF In]
RCA male-to-male extension → JDS EL DAC II [RCA Out]
RCA male-to-male extension → Schiit Loki [RCA In]
"Y" RCA to 3.5mm cable [RCA males] → Schiit Loki [RCA Out]
"Y" RCA to 3.5mm cable [3.5mm male] → Little Bear [Input 1]


Now chat audio...
"Y" Headphone/Mic Splitter [3.5mm 4 pole] → Console Controller [3.5mm 4 pole]
Mic  → "Y" Headphone/Mic Splitter [Mic In]
3.5mm extension → Headphone/Mic Splitter [Headphone Out]
3.5mm extension → Little Bear [Input 2]

... Optionally, you can add another playback device to the rest of the Little Bear Inputs: phone, tablet, PC, etc.


Finishing...
Little Bear [Main Output] → 3.5 mm male-to-male extension
3.5 mm male-to-male extension  → iFi Zen CAN Amp [3.5mm Input]
Headphones → iFi Zen CAN Amp [Headphone Output]

*Make sure Little Bear Main Output is at 100%*

The Outcome/Functionality
This way, you can EQ your game audio with Schiit Loki to your liking,
that signal get mixed with party chat audio or background music from a player or your phone etc.
Use MC5 Knobs to find the best level mix for each audio source.
Main output volume is controlled by Zen CAN volume knob
.

This is a MixAmp monster, like a monster truck  ;D.
HiRes Audio, Hi-Fi and multiple Audio Inputs fully controllable,
in a small matchbox size Mixer for $30 USD


That gives you a $400USD full studio mixer functionality.


 ;D 8)
« Last Edit: 11:48 AM - 07/17/21 by alanmcgregor »

Offline AMG

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Needless to say, with the iFi Zen CAN xBass and 3D functions, you can change your audio for immersive (3D) or fun (XBass) with a push of a button, that's awesome... no drivers and glitchy software at all.

Heck I will try this myself but... I can't handle cable mess man and my workspace is pretty limited,
Mayflower Arc MK2 via USB and one cable to my Hi-Fi headset and that's good enough for me :P

Offline Roman_M

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Alan, can I add this to my assembly?
OK, putting MixAmp at side... you already have chat/mix functionality on it.
Embrace wire mess... this is going to be a bumpy ride.

This is what I will do with your gear to incorporate Little Bear MC5 Mixer on the chain.

Let's get Game Audio the right way...
HDMI cable from your console → HDMI Audio Extractor [HDMI In]
HDMI Audio Extractor [HDMI Out]  → Monitor [HDMI In]
SPDIF cable → HDMI Audio Extractor [SPDIF Out]
SPDIF cable → JDS EL DAC II [SPDIF In]
RCA male-to-male extension → JDS EL DAC II [RCA Out]
RCA male-to-male extension → Schiit Loki [RCA In]
"Y" RCA to 3.5mm cable [RCA males] → Schiit Loki [RCA Out]
"Y" RCA to 3.5mm cable [3.5mm male] → Little Bear [Input 1]


Now chat audio...
"Y" Headphone/Mic Splitter [3.5mm 4 pole] → Console Controller [3.5mm 4 pole]
Mic  → "Y" Headphone/Mic Splitter [Mic In]
3.5mm extension → Headphone/Mic Splitter [Headphone Out]
3.5mm extension → Little Bear [Input 2]

... Optionally, you can add another playback device to the rest of the Little Bear Inputs: phone, tablet, PC, etc.


Finishing...
Little Bear [Main Output] → 3.5 mm male-to-male extension
3.5 mm male-to-male extension  → iFi Zen CAN Amp [3.5mm Input]
Headphones → iFi Zen CAN Amp [Headphone Output]

*Make sure Little Bear Main Output is at 100%*

The Outcome/Functionality
This way, you can EQ your game audio with Schiit Loki to your liking,
that signal get mixed with party chat audio or background music from a player or your phone etc.
Use MC5 Knobs to find the best level mix for each audio source.
Main output volume is controlled by Zen CAN volume knob
.

This is a MixAmp monster, like a monster truck  ;D.
HiRes Audio, Hi-Fi and multiple Audio Inputs fully controllable,
in a small matchbox size Mixer for $30 USD


That gives you a $400USD full studio mixer functionality.


 ;D 8)

according to your lessons, I still can't stop, I want more all the time ... more ... and more)))))
Eve Spectrum 4k/144hz ✓ Xbox series X ✓ Xbox elite series 2 ✓ Jds ell dac 2 ✓ Jds atom amp ✓ Insignia audio extractor ✓Bayerdynamic dt 990 pro 250 ohm ✓ Audio-Technica ATGM 2 ✓ASTRO Gaming ,  MixAmp Pro TR ✓Shiit loki mini ✓iFi Zen Can ✓ Varmilo MA87 Koi with EC switch V2 Wired Mechanical KeyboardMA87MCu2W/WR2BnGJv ✓ ZYGEN NP-01G Esports Mouse (Glossy) ✓ BOSE SPORT EARBUDS BLUE ✓ Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 XB ✓ HyperX Cloud Mix ✓

Offline Roman_M

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Needless to say, with the iFi Zen CAN xBass and 3D functions, you can change your audio for immersive (3D) or fun (XBass) with a push of a button, that's awesome... no drivers and glitchy software at all.

Heck I will try this myself but... I can't handle cable mess man and my workspace is pretty limited,
Mayflower Arc MK2 via USB and one cable to my Hi-Fi headset and that's good enough for me :P



how can I further improve my assembly in signature (signature of my profile)?  I posted there everything that I bought thanks to you (:
Eve Spectrum 4k/144hz ✓ Xbox series X ✓ Xbox elite series 2 ✓ Jds ell dac 2 ✓ Jds atom amp ✓ Insignia audio extractor ✓Bayerdynamic dt 990 pro 250 ohm ✓ Audio-Technica ATGM 2 ✓ASTRO Gaming ,  MixAmp Pro TR ✓Shiit loki mini ✓iFi Zen Can ✓ Varmilo MA87 Koi with EC switch V2 Wired Mechanical KeyboardMA87MCu2W/WR2BnGJv ✓ ZYGEN NP-01G Esports Mouse (Glossy) ✓ BOSE SPORT EARBUDS BLUE ✓ Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 XB ✓ HyperX Cloud Mix ✓

Offline AMG

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I thought that's what the Turtle Beach controller Headset adapter plus is for? The little bear mc5 is only 3.5.  The Topping D70s and my Drop 789 both have XLR balanced in and outputs, so am I just losing those?
Turtle Beach Headset adapter, comes with its own DAC which gives you a button for footsteps detection, slightly better volume and buttons to Mix Chat/Game audio mix from the controller.

With a "Y" audio splitter you get none of it.  :)

"Going through the controller path" Method.
As far I know this and the MixAmp M80 and M60? might be the only way to get a decent DAC on Xbox Series S/X, without loosing VRR and [email protected] support

I hear some rumors about Astro is working on a firmware to make last gen MixAmp fully capable via USB on XB Series X/S, yes it does work USB only but not full Dolby decode support. SPDIF In will be useless. _Fingers crossed:

Oh forgot to mention, here is a lot of Xbox Headset Adapters that looks like the Official from Microsoft, but they are not... are chinese knockoffs... I don't trust on those, haven't tried it hence can't recommend it.

MixAmp M80 might be a good option if you want to keep using EQ profiles shared on this thread.

I choosed Turtle Beach Headset Controller Plus, because:
is 100% XIM compatible and affordable ($20 USD)
On the XBSXS controller has limited functionality (mixer is fixed) but it works 100% with XBox One Controller which I'm using anyways to get 100% functionality with XIM and Titan Two.  8)

Now K9ozzy BTW did you get the Topping D70S? - heheh I mean if you did CONGRATS! is the PERFECT ENDGAME DAC for Gaming, and music... and movies... and music production/editing... and...  ::) everything hehe

OK back to the subject.
Topping D70s XLR Balanced Outs should go to DropTHX 789 XLR balanced In, that's how you stack them together in a Balanced scheme, right?,

What you get with from a balanced Scheme?... well, zero noise floor, better and stronger amplification hence more detail in your sound. However your DAC, Amp and Headphones wired has to be connected in using a Balanced wiring, yes no plug adapters on your headphone out.

Drop THX 789, is "not fully balanced" - accordly its creators, but for its performance you won't even missing a thing really,

Now going fully balanced... implies on getting third party well built cables, that might implies spending $150+ USD for a difference that it is noticeable but is not day an night noticeable, like your girlfriend with a better haircut, vs breast implants; LOL sorry can't help this analogies.

I don't know how convenient it is to make that investment, I think is only worthy if all your items are fully balanced. That's why I like iFi Zen CAN over my THX (sold it), it is fully balanced through-n-through and does have balanced outputs for monitors tsss for $120, uff... can't missed it. I found that weird 4.4.mm pentacon to XLR balanced cable, my HD660S came with a balanced 4.4mm pentacon cable, i can tell the difference vs non-balanced scheme definitely, is not a breast implants more like nice new haircut with a sexy outfit. OK I'll stop!

Putting all that a side, the main reason I choose Zen CAN over THX was is sound amplification... is a bit warm and I really like is more lively sound that produces... than the linear analytic flavor of the THX. My desktop DAC is already too revealing and analytic, is not a good synergy with the Amp.

Be aware if you are pairing or thinking of pairing D70S with Drop THX789 and on top a HD800S with its treble spikes, that combo sounds a katana like sharp.

If you allow me to make a suggestion, keeping the THX789 I will go for a Soncoz SGD1 instead of D70S. That one as dual DAC's like D70S nice sound-stage but uses the ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M warmer chips, which does have a lot of detail but the soft and sweet, IMO that's a better combo for THX789.

Is a softer version of the D70S with a bit narrower sound-stage and minus $150. Very well built, actually comes with two linear power supplies, and that's pretty awesome.

sound-stage implies sharp, open and treble sharp nature finding a DAC that delivers wide sound-stage with controlled and softer edges on the treble is weird... only high end... SGD1 does that. Another option, a bit more warmer will be Gustard X16 DAC.

Now if you can try it, and returned without an issues (I can't)
Definitely try Topping D70S first.
« Last Edit: 01:23 PM - 07/17/21 by alanmcgregor »

Offline AMG

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how can I further improve my assembly in signature (signature of my profile)?  I posted there everything that I bought thanks to you (:

Hehehe OMG that such a responsibility... is a very nice side hobby.  ;D

it can be a very deeeeep and slippery rabbit hole.  :-X

Please tell me you use your awesome audio gear to listen music on Tidal or something else man, get the most of your arsenal.

I think you are pretty much set man,

Maybe if you got bored of DT990 and still want a good musical and gaming headphone, I will say try Drop Sennheiser PC38X is great choice; they are more gentle with your ears with a great sound-stage and sound positioning, are not better than DT990 or worse, just different. Musically? definitely pleasant; right there vs high end headphones not even exaggerating. 8)

Offline Roman_M

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how can I further improve my assembly in signature (signature of my profile)?  I posted there everything that I bought thanks to you (:

Hehehe OMG that such a responsibility... is a very nice side hobby.  ;D

it can be a very deeeeep and slippery rabbit hole.  :-X

Please tell me you use your awesome audio gear to listen music on Tidal or something else man, get the most of your arsenal.

I think you are pretty much set man,

Maybe if you got bored of DT990 and still want a good musical and gaming headphone, I will say try Drop Sennheiser PC38X is great choice; they are more gentle with your ears with a great sound-stage and sound positioning, are not better than DT990 or worse, just different. Musically? definitely pleasant; right there vs high end headphones not even exaggerating. 8)



Thank you Alan for another piece of advice, you will always help us, I am very glad that we have you 😊.  If there is anything else interesting for the xbox series X, I will buy this (an amplifier, sound card, or some other remote control, I always want more, thanks for the headphone advice (: I'm waiting for another article from you, I really appreciate you.  I will thank you later $
Eve Spectrum 4k/144hz ✓ Xbox series X ✓ Xbox elite series 2 ✓ Jds ell dac 2 ✓ Jds atom amp ✓ Insignia audio extractor ✓Bayerdynamic dt 990 pro 250 ohm ✓ Audio-Technica ATGM 2 ✓ASTRO Gaming ,  MixAmp Pro TR ✓Shiit loki mini ✓iFi Zen Can ✓ Varmilo MA87 Koi with EC switch V2 Wired Mechanical KeyboardMA87MCu2W/WR2BnGJv ✓ ZYGEN NP-01G Esports Mouse (Glossy) ✓ BOSE SPORT EARBUDS BLUE ✓ Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 XB ✓ HyperX Cloud Mix ✓

Offline K9ozzy

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Thanks Alan.  Yeah I ordered D70s and it'll be hear Monday.  I'm gonna test drive the IFI Zen Can too.  I was worried about the possibility of the sharpness of my current setup withe 789 and HD800S.  So I guess there is no way to get fully balanced signal start to finish with the ifi zen can and incorporate game chat?

Offline Roman_M

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Thanks Alan.  Yeah I ordered D70s and it'll be hear Monday.  I'm gonna test drive the IFI Zen Can too.  I was worried about the possibility of the sharpness of my current setup withe 789 and HD800S.  So I guess there is no way to get fully balanced signal start to finish with the ifi zen can and incorporate game chat?


D70s - for xbox series X?
Eve Spectrum 4k/144hz ✓ Xbox series X ✓ Xbox elite series 2 ✓ Jds ell dac 2 ✓ Jds atom amp ✓ Insignia audio extractor ✓Bayerdynamic dt 990 pro 250 ohm ✓ Audio-Technica ATGM 2 ✓ASTRO Gaming ,  MixAmp Pro TR ✓Shiit loki mini ✓iFi Zen Can ✓ Varmilo MA87 Koi with EC switch V2 Wired Mechanical KeyboardMA87MCu2W/WR2BnGJv ✓ ZYGEN NP-01G Esports Mouse (Glossy) ✓ BOSE SPORT EARBUDS BLUE ✓ Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 XB ✓ HyperX Cloud Mix ✓

Offline AMG

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Thanks Alan.  Yeah I ordered D70s and it'll be hear Monday.  I'm gonna test drive the IFI Zen Can too.  I was worried about the possibility of the sharpness of my current setup withe 789 and HD800S.  So I guess there is no way to get fully balanced signal start to finish with the ifi zen can and incorporate game chat?
Awesome! with Zen CAN + HD800S that must be a magnificent sound-stage experience.

You might need this: hard-to-find Male 4.4mm to Female XLR balanced cable - Link is the one I got.  ;)


Quote
"So I guess there is no way to get fully balanced signal start to finish with the ifi zen can and incorporate game chat?"
No, because for that we need a balance DAC for chat audio, and we barely have a single ended decent one (TB Headset Adapter) and a balanced Mixer.

Let me set this clear, Balanced doesn't implies better sound specially, you can perceive any if
1. your audio signal is equal or below 48KHz (gaming)
2. your headphones are equal or below 300Ohms,

Only by running 600Ohms headphones with above 96KHz recordings you start to pick up the differences between frequencies, mostly balanced tends to benefit mid-range to treble.

Balanced was created to eliminate noise floor (background hiss) period. 35 years ago noisy audio was an issue to beat on consume audio Hi-Fi. Back then electronics (single ended) couldn't handle and remove it properly. Studios use very hard to drive (high impedance) headphones as a way to mitigate noise floor, because harder to drive headphones equals less audible noise floor. Hence very powerful audio interfaces to feed those headphones, but these introduce another issue: high electromagnetic interference.

Balanced audio circuitry was the engineering solution to mitigate both: noise floor and electromagnetic interference.

Now...technology has come a long way since. If we told an audio engineer from that era, that now have 21Ohms impedance headphones he couldn't believe it, same for a computer scientist used to work on room sized computer, when they see our phone which is light years more powerful than that.

Same with audio interfaces, technology has advance big leaps and current hi-fi audio has eliminated noise floor substantially on single ended devices. Like the 789 there are versions single ended only with same low noise performance, heck even on a dongle!.

So, balanced has turned Hi-Fi nowadays more like a "marketing trait" it is more efficient but current single ended electronics are catching up. The only way you may listen noise floor is if you are using very efficient 21Ohms on a Maxed Out volume at +12dBa (high gain), and no music or sound present... who does that?

You are not missing a thing on gaming because our headphones are 80Ohms - 300Ohms and our audio source is not that detail.

Is not the same Hi-Res music, specially if the recording has been improved to run at higher bitrate and resolution, is not a sublimal experience either, you might hear details that you never pick up before on your favorite music and that's why you mainly are paying for on audiophile gear.

And there is the controversy that... digital domain is not as good as analog turnable recordings, which I think is not but that doesn't implies something is better than other both has its own traits to enjoy IMO. Man, I like to hear Lo-Fi recordings on my Hi-Fi gear because is relaxing LOL! there is studies that says white and pink noise is good for your brain health and helps to sleep.

So we don't need a balanced chat audio, to hear our teammates gas station microphones right? ;)
« Last Edit: 06:04 PM - 07/17/21 by alanmcgregor »

Offline AMG

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Thanks Alan.  Yeah I ordered D70s and it'll be hear Monday.  I'm gonna test drive the IFI Zen Can too.  I was worried about the possibility of the sharpness of my current setup withe 789 and HD800S.  So I guess there is no way to get fully balanced signal start to finish with the ifi zen can and incorporate game chat?


D70s - for xbox series X?

One word: GODLY.

Like playing on a 8K TV.
While your video signal is 720p :P LOL, OK 1080p... maybe.

Is overdoing it, overkill, etc, don't get me wrong D70S is S U B L I M E,
But if you pick a $200 usd DAC and compare it to a $650 it will be pretty hard to notice the difference, and if there is... is not a $450 difference, the limit is not the DAC... is the quality of the signal and how is recorded.

So balanced doesn't implies better sound, guarantees less noise which can help to use high volume to pick up more subtle details on a good recorded high resolution audio source. A more expensive DAC doesn't guaranties to fix or improve a sound source, in fact at this point highlight its flaws.



Offline K9ozzy

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Once again Thanks Alan!  Diminishing returns I do understand.  Yes I like the detail, I'm more after the Soundstage and imaging.  After reading all your suggestions I decided to go with the Topping D70s.  Monoprice Monolith Thx Dac/Amp combo was a close 2nd.  I'm gonna pair the D70s with the Zen Can and if I don't like it, I'll send the Zen Can back.  I have a feeling ill love it tho.  If not I still have my Drop 789 which I love.  Then paired with my Sennheiser HD800s
  This has been an adventure with the goal of finding my end game absolute overkill audiophile gaming setup.  I think it could be among the items coming in the next few days 🤞.  Thank you Alan and Roman

Offline K9ozzy

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Oh and yes the 4.4 pentaconn adapter cables are difficult to find.  I never would have realized I already had one for my Sennheiser HD800s if you wouldn't have mentioned it lol.  I'll have to run "RCA in" to the IFI Zen Can until I get some cables in. 

Offline Roman_M

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Once again Thanks Alan!  Diminishing returns I do understand.  Yes I like the detail, I'm more after the Soundstage and imaging.  After reading all your suggestions I decided to go with the Topping D70s.  Monoprice Monolith Thx Dac/Amp combo was a close 2nd.  I'm gonna pair the D70s with the Zen Can and if I don't like it, I'll send the Zen Can back.  I have a feeling ill love it tho.  If not I still have my Drop 789 which I love.  Then paired with my Sennheiser HD800s
  This has been an adventure with the goal of finding my end game absolute overkill audiophile gaming setup.  I think it could be among the items coming in the next few days 🤞.  Thank you Alan and Roman

we will wait when they bring you iFi, then you will need to do a test :) And then we'll see
Eve Spectrum 4k/144hz ✓ Xbox series X ✓ Xbox elite series 2 ✓ Jds ell dac 2 ✓ Jds atom amp ✓ Insignia audio extractor ✓Bayerdynamic dt 990 pro 250 ohm ✓ Audio-Technica ATGM 2 ✓ASTRO Gaming ,  MixAmp Pro TR ✓Shiit loki mini ✓iFi Zen Can ✓ Varmilo MA87 Koi with EC switch V2 Wired Mechanical KeyboardMA87MCu2W/WR2BnGJv ✓ ZYGEN NP-01G Esports Mouse (Glossy) ✓ BOSE SPORT EARBUDS BLUE ✓ Turtle Beach Stealth 700 Gen 2 XB ✓ HyperX Cloud Mix ✓


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