Are audiophiles SOL when it comes to voice chat in games?

Megalith

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Yeah, I could buy a headset with a mic, but why would I want to listen through those when I own a pair of Neumann monitors? And setting up a desktop mic will invite ridiculous interference, right? What are my options?
 

|Tch0rT|

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A desktop mic should be fine as long as it's far enough away from your speakers to not cause interference/feedback. Also it depends on the mic. I was messing around with my Dayton UMM-6 I bought for Room EQ Wizard and wondered about the recording quality. I recorded some bits and then wondered about feedback. I got the mic right up to the speakers and no feedback. Some cheap ass mic I bought years ago would pick up the feedback like crazy.
 

Godmachine

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I use a Yeti mic. Much better sound quality than any headphone with a built in mic , or a zip mic or really much else other than a professional mic setup. And you can tune it to only pic up sound directly toward your face and this will cut down on feedback dramatically.

Buy a yeti and a Mic stand with an adjustable arm and you'll never have to worry about it every again and you'll have great sound quality.
 

Megalith

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Thanks, that looks really good. Although it looks like something meant for karaoke.

Speaking of Room EQ Wizard, I'm hoping the Yeti will work for that purpose too. Been meaning to figure out why the bass and mid-range is so thick at times from my seat (though it's probably simply to do with my speakers being corner loaded).
 

|Tch0rT|

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You'd have to ask over on Home Theater Shack forums if the Yeti will work with REW. It probably will but how accurate it is for that purpose is anyone's guess. I bought my UMM-6 from Cross Spectrum Labs and was tested on axis, 45 degrees, and 90 degrees with calibration files for each. Pretty nifty but I need to learn more about the graphs I'm looking at hehe. The calibrated UMM-6 from CSL cost as much as the Yeti mic from amazon.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I use a Blue Snowball- it's big, but it's cheaper than the Yeti and straight USB. I've tried the Zalman clip-on as well as the Logitech USB mics and I've been pretty disappointed in them, but the Snowball seems to be perfect for Ventrilo/Teamspeak/whatever.
 

Sycraft

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I have used two mics for the purpose of gaming on speakers:

The first is an Andrea NC-8. Cheap and light, like a headset but with no earpeice. Doesn't occlude your hearing and gives you a mic close to your mouth. Hard to go wrong with and unlike a desktop mic, you don't get a lot of leakage from your sound system in to your voice chat. All of $15 or less.

The second is a Samson SE50. They also have a cheaper version, the SE10. I got it for Dragon Naturally speaking, but it works well for voice chat too. It is an omni mic, so it picks up more of your speakers sounds, however it is close to your mouth so you can set it fairly low gain. Very nice and light, just kinda floats behind one ear. Way more expensive, $100 more the SE10, more for the SE50.

Another options is the Audio Technica Pro 8/HEMW. It is a bit larger and heavier than the others, but sits behind your head and doesn't occlude your hearing. It is a hypercardoid mic so extremely good at rejecting off-axis noise, almost nothing from your speakers will leak in to your voice chat.

Something like that is my recommended way to do it. A desktop mic is going to have more noise, due to being further from your mouth (and thus needing a higher gain) and is going to have more trouble hearing you if you turn your head. A good headworn mic is the way to go.

That's how I like to do it because like you, I use speakers. I have a massive SVS 7.1 setup, like hell I'm gaming on headphones :)
 

spaceman

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Headphones give better positional cues :-p

Depends. My speakers do a better job than my headphones currently. That is what 6 X 6 1/2" drivers and two tweeters at 400 watts will do though. The main difference is the size of the sound stage. It just makes it easier to figure out distance and location compared to headphones.

In voice chat. Well, if your speakers are great and the person you are talking to has a shitty mic.... It isn't going to sound nice regardless. So buy everyone that you play with a decent mic and get your smile on.
 

Sycraft

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Headphones give better positional cues :-p

No, not really. They have two problems:

1) HRTF calculations in games are not that great. Not their fault, as you need to know more about the output system (and even the listener) to do it right. So the surround field is not simulated as well as it should be. Also varies game to game, some are really bad at it.

2) No head tracking. One of the ways we localize sounds is by moving out head. We do it without even noticing. Our brain can process this and help localize things. However with headphones, the sound field rotates with you. So it doesn't work.

You get better localization out of a good surround setup than you do out of headphones. Headphones can do as good a job, but you have to buy high end hardware like a Smith Realizier to make it happen. Regular headphones, not so much.

Dollar-for-dollar they are great, but they just can't give you the soundstage of a good surround sound system. I have Denon AH-D2000 and Shure SE420 headphones. They are nice, but they just can't compete sound wise with my SVS 7.1 setup. Sound quality wise, the Denon headphones are on par (though their bass is too high) but they can't match the sound field.
 

TESLA

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The cardioid pattern mics suggested here (many from Blue) should work. (I use a Blue Snowball myself.) Just note that even with a cardioid pattern room reflections can be a big issue when using speakers. (Room treatments will help here, and with potential benefit to your speakers, too.)

The Yeti should be OK for REW use, but there are far better options for the money, such as the aformentioned calibrated mic option.
 

IdiotInCharge

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For games with crappy sound, I agree that a 7.1 setup will probably outperform a set of cans- but head tracking? Do you actually move your head to look away from the screen and expect to hear something different?

I just change my POV in game, like I would in real life...
 

Sycraft

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For games with crappy sound, I agree that a 7.1 setup will probably outperform a set of cans- but head tracking? Do you actually move your head to look away from the screen and expect to hear something different?

I just change my POV in game, like I would in real life...

Yes. You make minor movements of your head all the time, even if you don't realize it. It doesn't take a large movement to cause a change in sound. With headphones, the sound field moves with your head, which is incorrect, and your brain notices this as wrong. Hence it does not sound as good as a surround sound system.

With a proper head tracking system that is calibrated to the headphones and listener, you can mimic a surround system so you can't even tell the difference with headphones on or off (the Smith Realizer does this). Without it, you just can't get realism.

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with playing on headphones, just don't kid yourself in to thinking they are the best solution. They are the best for the money, at $350, my AH-D2000 phones have sound quality on par with my speakers and one single speaker costs more than that, never mind the receiver to calibrate and drive them. So headphones are great if you don't mind wearing them and want good quality for the money. However, good speakers properly set up (in the correct positions, which for games is at 45 degree angles, using monopoles only) gives a better surround field.

This is something I actually get to test, as I do have both.
 

IdiotInCharge

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I agree with your overall point- if I were a stickler for such a thing, I'd be all over it. I used to use a 4.1 setup to great effect in Counter-Strike (back before they modeled walls in the sound and physics engines). Got regularly accused of hacking due to aiming with 'sound' and taking people out through walls and such.

And I'd love to try your setup; but personally, I have a set of Daytons that I still haven't unpacked after my last move due to not really needing the sound. My HD555's and X-Fi Fatal1ty have been very effective in the only game I really care about, which is BF3, though I will readily admit to enjoying 7.1 over HDMI when I had that set up.
 

Farkle

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"Audiophile voice chat" is kind of ridiculous since it's all compressed anyway, but this is what I would go with in an untreated room for voice work over TeamSpeak or whatever that is being recorded:

GLS Audio ES-57 (or a real Shure SM57, but for this purpose I doubt you'd notice a difference)
Rode PSA1 Swivel mount (Heil PL2T makes a lot of noise adjusting it in comparison)
Whatever pop-filter for when you get excited
Whatever interface with an a passable pre

If you have a treated room and enough space to avoid your speakers, look to condenser microphones such as the Audio Technica AT2035 or SE Electronics X1 with a reflection screen mounted behind it to muffle out some of the speaker and computer noise.
 

doug_7506

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In my experience this is the best combo:

Axon by Dolby instead of teamspeakl

Modmic as your mic, can attach to any headphones.

A good sound card. If you want the same setup for ps3/ps3/360/pc then grab a Astro mixamp Not compatible with xone yet, but they have something in the works.

A good headset of your choosing. This is too subjective to even suggest, but a good value pair with great sound would be ath-m50

$300 setup, but you can use it on all your systems and has amazing sound.

Happy gaming! :D
 

spaceman

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Axon by Dolby uses Battlefield Hero's in their video demo? Unprofessional!!
 

IdiotInCharge

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This Axon thing- is it a completely separate VOIP client, or could it be used to connect to existing Teamspeak or Ventrilo servers? Not a whole lot of information on their site :).
 

SirMaster

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I've always used a desktop mic with speakers. Never had any feedback issues. All the VoIP systems I have used (Mumble, Teamspeak, Ventrilo, Skype) have noise cancellation and ignore any sound coming from the speakers from going back into the mic. Seems to work fine for me.

I use a Blue Snowflake mic.
 

Valaire

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Axon and Mumble are the best. Axon requires no setup. Mumble can have slightly better quality but requires extensive setup. I have a lot of friends that are simply too incompetent to set up Mumble correctly, which is problematic. I host a Mumble server on my home server.

As to the question about Axon, it's a complete voip solution. It's a client that connects to Dolby's servers and you can make your own persistent chat rooms and invite your gamer friends.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Axon and Mumble are the best. Axon requires no setup. Mumble can have slightly better quality but requires extensive setup. I have a lot of friends that are simply too incompetent to set up Mumble correctly, which is problematic. I host a Mumble server on my home server.

As to the question about Axon, it's a complete voip solution. It's a client that connects to Dolby's servers and you can make your own persistent chat rooms and invite your gamer friends.

Would be effective if these people could build their systems to use the Ventrilo and Teamspeak protocols. I mean, why make it difficult? What community is going to use a VOIP solution from Dolby if it can't do everything that the established systems can do?
 

Valaire

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Well, I for one use it. It's got better audio quality out the gate than Ventrilo or Teamspeak by far. I'm not sure what you are asking/expecting. I believe it was initially developed as a niche product to showcase some of their Dolby technologies. I don't think they've made a big push to market it.

However, it's a very nice product, and has no costs, Dolby provides the central server for free. The lag is good, better than Skype (not saying much), but not as good as a finely-tuned Mumble server. The big plus for it is that it's free, requires little to no setup, and the tech just works, in terms of background noise and audio quality.

Is it suitable replacement for Mumble for a clan that regularly has 20 people on? Probably not, but it's great for a group of five friends.
 

Valaire

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Yeah, Dolby Axon is not targeted at that usage. It's for casual use, for sure. Mumble's best for clans, but I just wish a bit more attention was devoted to its UI. I say this as a person who uses it and has set up a server.
 

Godmachine

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Yeah, Dolby Axon is not targeted at that usage. It's for casual use, for sure. Mumble's best for clans, but I just wish a bit more attention was devoted to its UI. I say this as a person who uses it and has set up a server.

Mumble is like Linux , great platform , ultra stable , lots of customization but not easy to use and not user friendly enough for the masses.

Vent is the middle ground but I would gladly use Mumble over it for any kind of large group of players. Vent just isn't that stable with tons of people. Constantly goes up and down and up and down with anything more than 50+ people on it. Doesn't matter who the provider is. I've never seen Mumble take a dump with lots of people using it.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Mumble is like Linux , great platform , ultra stable , lots of customization but not easy to use and not user friendly enough for the masses.

Vent is the middle ground but I would gladly use Mumble over it for any kind of large group of players. Vent just isn't that stable with tons of people. Constantly goes up and down and up and down with anything more than 50+ people on it. Doesn't matter who the provider is. I've never seen Mumble take a dump with lots of people using it.

Our Vent server seems to be fairly stable- we don't have >50 people on it 24/7, but we easily exceed 100 users during tournaments and such. Rarely goes down, to my knowledge, and the client is very stable in my experience as well.

But I know that I'm not speaking for everyone :).

I think that we could benefit from something like Mumble, but Vent works, and if it ain't broke :cool:.
 

shadowlord

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with a little bit of work you can mod a mic onto most headphones.....

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dekard

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I'm a big fan of Sennheiser pc 360's. It's a simple, reliable and pretty damn good sounding solution. Is it a little expensive for what you're getting? I don't really think so, its a great solution and they sound quite good.
 

bitgod

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I'm waiting for modmic to get things going, which fingers crossed, sounds like it may finally be happening with the 4.0 coming out in the next few months.
 

dekard

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I'm a big fan of Sennheiser pc 360's. It's a simple, reliable and pretty damn good sounding solution. Is it a little expensive for what you're getting? I don't really think so, its a great solution and they sound quite good.
oh ya, and I run these off of a Xonar STX with the onboard headphone amplifier. It's great sound, if a little bit sterile.
 
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