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  • headsets for directional sound

    So I read the thread about the guy looking for a new inexpensive headset.
    But there wasn't too much discussion about specifically hearing things in specific directions. And I am not too concerned about price, though I don't want to pay more then I need to...

    I have the Altec Lansing AHS615 (sorry not allowed to post urls yet)

    And they work fine, and the mic is good and all that. But I have a hard time telling what direction the sounds are coming from. In Natural Selection that is extremely important.
    A local guy suggested the Zalman Headphones (ZM-RS6F) which claim to have real 3d sound, instead of virtual 3d sound.
    But they don't have a mic... and they seem inexpensive, which causes me to be concerned about quality.

    Now of course I could go with speakers and then direction would be easy, but if I can do it with a headset my wife will appreciate it. :)
    And of course there must be options out there for a separate mic that could be worn on the head with headphones and still work...

    Thanks

    DragonKnight

  • #2
    Re: headsets for directional sound

    If you can spend a little more, I highly recommend the Medusa 5.1 Pro Gamer. Simply amazing. http://www.medusa-usa.com/index.php?...edd1ce344694ea I was able to buy a used pair in mint condition for $90. If you have 5.1 sound you will be impressed. I had a pair of general stereo Logitech headphones that were really pretty good, but when I made this change I really noticed the crisp directional sound that you can dial in by channel. The best sound is in a games like CoD4 where it has a specific 5.1 setting. Games like BF2/POE2 sound good, but not as good. In COD4 you can hear EVERYTHING and the direction it is coming from. When I was a spectator I would sit there watching a player and listening saying to myself, "dude there is a guy creeping in on your left...oh, your dead now", or "all you have to do is turn left and you will see him, oops, never mind, he killed you". Incredible sound. Not sure how the sound in NS is set up, but if you have 5.1 you may want to check them out. Super comfortable, adjustable, easy to use mic.

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    • #3
      Re: headsets for directional sound

      I use the Zalmans. They're good inexpensive 5.1 headphones. The problem is it doesn't have a mic attachment like the Medusa headset. I use velcro to stick a mic on my Zalmans. I get the same feeling like jb4 when playing COD4. I hear people from different directions and it really helps. Natural Selection is an old game though and I never played it so I can't really say how good the 5.1 sound is. Part of good directional sound is the headphones but the software and sound card are big factors too.

      - It's who you game with.

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      • #4
        Re: headsets for directional sound

        Originally posted by =Sarc= View Post
        Part of good directional sound is the headphones but the software and sound card are big factors too.
        The software and sound card are what makes game sounds directional. They're much more important than the actual headphones when it comes to making sounds directional.
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        • #5
          Re: headsets for directional sound

          I use the Razer Barracuda and love em. They have crisp sound and hearing sounds from different directions in a headset is sooo cool.
          Link
          "The chief foundations of all states, new as well as old or composite, are good laws and good arms; and as there cannot be good laws where the state is not well armed, it follows that where they are well armed they have good laws." -Machiavelli

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          • #6
            Re: headsets for directional sound

            Thanks for all the info, So far I am liking the medusa, lots of good reviews.
            Now currently I have an ati radeon 9000. Any reason to believe that it is the reason I don't get good direction with my current altec lansing?

            And for my new computer, the guy building it said I don't need a sound card because the mother board has 5.1 support on it. And I am inclined to believe him since he would make more money if I had him put in a card, and I had come in expecting to have a sound card. So any other opinions on that? and if so, what card is the best bang for the buck.

            DragonKnight

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            • #7
              Re: headsets for directional sound

              The Radeon has no effect on your sound. I don't think video cards have that kind of power.

              Onboard sound is good in that it has features like 5.1 but gaming sound cards, or rather Creative sound cards, have X-Fi. Old sound cards have EAX2 but that's technology from 2000. X-Fi is the new stuff that gives sound occlusion, reverb, etc. This can help you figure out a little better where the sound is coming from (behind walls or from a room). You don't get that with onboard sound.

              - It's who you game with.

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              • #8
                Re: headsets for directional sound

                Originally posted by CingularDuality View Post
                The software and sound card are what makes game sounds directional. They're much more important than the actual headphones when it comes to making sounds directional.
                what makes a sound appear to be coming from a source while wearing headphones is an interesting topic.

                My advice is to get a sb xfi card or similar quality card with a decent stereo headset.

                in normal hearing conditions, sounds are shaped by your shoulders, head and the fleshy outer part of your ear (the pinnae). collectively these body parts shape the sound in a predictable way that allows you to perceive the location of the sound source.

                however, several other factors come into play.
                you have interaural (between the ears) time differences (sound reaches one ear before the other), phase differences (sound wave peak at one ear while valley is at other), and intensity differences (sound is louder in one ear than the other). You can take advantage of these facts to easily determine the sound source location by simply moving your head around. As your head moves, the location of the sound is pinpointed due to the ongoing stimulation at the ears produced when you move your head about. Whatever remains invariant under that movement transformation is specific to the location of the sound source. In addition to head related transfer functions, these 3 factors contribute greatly to sound source localization. It is widely accepted that HRTF and those 3 factors are the ONLY variable of importance in determining a sound source location.

                Theoretically, Stereo headphones should be as good as 5.1 sound for determining a sound source location. IN 5.1 the drivers at are located at something like center 12, 3, 6, and 9 oclock. Placing speakers in these locations eliminates any kind of natural head related function. The HRTFs have to be produced by software and are programed for the average head in vid games.

                you can make a very cool hrtf by getting stereo mics an sticking them where your ears are (Binaural recordings). The sound recorded under these conditions allows subjects to determine sound location with great accuracy.

                In some unpublished testing I did, 5.1 headphones were just as good or as bad as stereo headphones. If the HRTF was there, you could localize the sound effectively. Headphones had no effect. it was not even close. (we use a 6d (x,y,z, pitch, yaw and roll) motion capture machine and they point to where they think the sound is while blindfolded.) Accuracy for both types of headphone were identical. The only thing that made any kind of difference was how we modulated the sound (software) and the way we recorded the sound (binaural or monaural). neither of these interacted with headphones or had a main effect.

                Perhaps there is enough structure in the sound to support a pinnae related transfer function, but since most headphones sort of crush your pinnae, I find that this argument is a bit less compelling.

                Anecdotal evidence from many gamers says that 5.1 gives directionality better. I remain unconvinced.


                <edit> just found this interesting read on the topic. he does a nice job of presenting some cool stuff. </edit>

                http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/archives/000494.html
                Last edited by sc1ence; 12-19-2007, 03:29 AM.

                “Up, sluggard, and waste not life; in the grave will be sleeping enough!” Benjamin Franklin

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