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Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound processing in Headphones

Galz

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It was a moderator, though, but I get what you're saying. In any case it would just be weird to pay the same for a lower quality product just for a feature I don't know will be useful for gaming. I suppose no matter what I do, in the end it's a gamble. What scares me the most about SXFI (other than the reverb which might end up doubling up in good games that already add reverb according to the environment) is that it isn't tweak-able, so if their algorithm doesn't understand your head correctly, then that's it. While for SBX you have at least some ability to control it until it sounds optimal, and it leaves the reverb for the game engine only.

And yes, the demo videos make it sound like completely different EQ was used, regardless of direction. Not sure if intentional or not.
 

mysiak

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It is impossible to determine the direction to a source of frequency less than 100Hz.
Therefore, it is very strange that a personalized profile is so willing on bass boost.
Bass sounds are not directional, testing of LFE channel sounds as coming from "everywhere". Personal profile in SXFI has negligible impact on bass amount, but huge impact on channels direction and how natural the sound "feels". Bass response is different for different headphones profiles in SXFI. Not sure where I wrote something else.

Btw. "OOYH0" profile in HeSuVi adds bass in a similar manner, even if in smaller amounts. I would say that it's a result of a real room response.

It was a moderator, though, but I get what you're saying. In any case it would just be weird to pay the same for a lower quality product just for a feature I don't know will be useful for gaming. I suppose no matter what I do, in the end it's a gamble. What scares me the most about SXFI (other than the reverb which might end up doubling up in good games that already add reverb according to the environment) is that it isn't tweak-able, so if their algorithm doesn't understand your head correctly, then that's it. While for SBX you have at least some ability to control it until it sounds optimal, and it leaves the reverb for the game engine only.
I don't see the gamble - SXFI can be turned off and you can use SBX instead if you don't like it. GC7 is maybe "lower" quality product on a paper, but in real life and with HD560s there is zero chance that you would pass blind test comparing it to G6. But of course it's your call. :)
 
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Robbo99999

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Yes I understand the sense of direction is personal, however I doubt the amount of reverb is personal. SBX is supposedly also personalized with the parameter 0-100, isn't it? From videos it seems to a make a noticeable difference to perceived virtual speaker positions.
Basically, for games we don't actually want that "speaker simulation". We want a simulation of the environment in which we are located in the game, which the game engine is mostly responsible for, with the headphones just being responsible for the directions when the game outputs in 7.1. At least in theory that's how I understand it... But then again on the marketing side they market the SXFI as a gaming feature...

On reddit I saw someone claiming the quality on the G6 is noticeably better. God knows if I would actually notice the difference between that and the GC7, though...
Yes, 0-100 for the Surround affects the speaker position when using SBX, you should probably have taken in what was said in my original post of this thread:
and also in the following posts:
 

Sycraft

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I picked up a Soundblaster X4 today and... so far I'm not impressed with the virtualization. I'll have to give it some more time and testing but I'll probably send it back. The three big issues I have as opposed to Redscape:

1) The surround just isn't very convincing. It does a decent job of removing the sound from being in the head, but I don't really hear any surround. When trying the channel test in the software all the left and right channels sound pretty similar, the rear ones don't sound like they are behind me at all. Redscape and Nx both do a much better job with that.

2) The headphone EQ isn't great. Now that I could solve by using a separate EQ software or by just routing it through my ADI 2 but I found that it sounded pretty harsh with the HD800 preset, and it didn't have one for the HD800s. It is also non-adjustable. On the ADI 2 I'm using the Oratory settings to try and approximate a Harman curve.

3) The lack of head tracking. I mean I knew that it isn't going to have that, but it really does help it sound real to me.

I'm also not a fan of the lack of ASIO, means it won't work with Nuendo and such.

At this point, I'm still a Redscape fanboy. It isn't perfect, but the best I've found. Nx is also nice but has the issue of really crappy software (the VST plugin is much better if you are using it just in a DAW) and a head tracker with less updates per second.
 

mysiak

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I picked up a Soundblaster X4 today and... so far I'm not impressed with the virtualization. I'll have to give it some more time and testing but I'll probably send it back. The three big issues I have as opposed to Redscape:

1) The surround just isn't very convincing. It does a decent job of removing the sound from being in the head, but I don't really hear any surround. When trying the channel test in the software all the left and right channels sound pretty similar, the rear ones don't sound like they are behind me at all. Redscape and Nx both do a much better job with that.

2) The headphone EQ isn't great. Now that I could solve by using a separate EQ software or by just routing it through my ADI 2 but I found that it sounded pretty harsh with the HD800 preset, and it didn't have one for the HD800s. It is also non-adjustable. On the ADI 2 I'm using the Oratory settings to try and approximate a Harman curve.

3) The lack of head tracking. I mean I knew that it isn't going to have that, but it really does help it sound real to me.

I'm also not a fan of the lack of ASIO, means it won't work with Nuendo and such.

At this point, I'm still a Redscape fanboy. It isn't perfect, but the best I've found. Nx is also nice but has the issue of really crappy software (the VST plugin is much better if you are using it just in a DAW) and a head tracker with less updates per second.
1) make sure that your source is set to 5.1/7.1 output and that you have the same configured in X4. For SXFI it helps to create more profiles and be really precise when taking them, even small imperfection can have big negative impact - you really need another person to do it (at least I couldn't take a good profile myself). When done right, the effect is very convincing. You still might not like it though, but mostly for the reverb. Also give SBX surround a try with different "strength" (I find value 67 to be the best compromise between virtualization and natural sound).

2) SXFI headphones profiles are IMHO way off, I always use "generic" profile and then use either external parametric EQ or built-in graphical EQ to tune/"fix" headphones response to my taste.
 

Galz

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1) The surround just isn't very convincing. It does a decent job of removing the sound from being in the head, but I don't really hear any surround. When trying the channel test in the software all the left and right channels sound pretty similar, the rear ones don't sound like they are behind me at all. Redscape and Nx both do a much better job with that.

That sounds just like what you are supposed to get if your source isn't 7.1 or gets downmixed to stereo before the virtualization is applied. As mysiak said, try fix that first.
 
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Robbo99999

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I picked up a Soundblaster X4 today and... so far I'm not impressed with the virtualization. I'll have to give it some more time and testing but I'll probably send it back. The three big issues I have as opposed to Redscape:

1) The surround just isn't very convincing. It does a decent job of removing the sound from being in the head, but I don't really hear any surround. When trying the channel test in the software all the left and right channels sound pretty similar, the rear ones don't sound like they are behind me at all. Redscape and Nx both do a much better job with that.

2) The headphone EQ isn't great. Now that I could solve by using a separate EQ software or by just routing it through my ADI 2 but I found that it sounded pretty harsh with the HD800 preset, and it didn't have one for the HD800s. It is also non-adjustable. On the ADI 2 I'm using the Oratory settings to try and approximate a Harman curve.

3) The lack of head tracking. I mean I knew that it isn't going to have that, but it really does help it sound real to me.

I'm also not a fan of the lack of ASIO, means it won't work with Nuendo and such.

At this point, I'm still a Redscape fanboy. It isn't perfect, but the best I've found. Nx is also nice but has the issue of really crappy software (the VST plugin is much better if you are using it just in a DAW) and a head tracker with less updates per second.
(Be careful about relying on the "Soundblaster Speaker Test Software" to test the surround effects - on the SoundblasterX G6 that I have the software stupidly turns of SBX processing during the speaker test so it doesn't actually apply surround virtualisation during that test - instead you'd have to use the file at the link in my first post: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nd-processing-in-headphones.25613/post-873029 )
 

Sycraft

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1) make sure that your source is set to 5.1/7.1 output and that you have the same configured in X4. For SXFI it helps to create more profiles and be really precise when taking them, even small imperfection can have big negative impact - you really need another person to do it (at least I couldn't take a good profile myself). When done right, the effect is very convincing. You still might not like it though, but mostly for the reverb. Also give SBX surround a try with different "strength" (I find value 67 to be the best compromise between virtualization and natural sound).

2) SXFI headphones profiles are IMHO way off, I always use "generic" profile and then use either external parametric EQ or built-in graphical EQ to tune/"fix" headphones response to my taste.
So where do you change the strength? All I see in the app is the ability to turn it on, battle mode or off. I think the pictures are done fairly well, I had my girlfriend take them so no I wasn't doing them myself. Also I feel like the effect should still be at least somewhat convincing in surround given that Redscape has none of that customization, and yet is convincing.

It does a reasonable job with making the sound out of my head, but it doesn't do well for surround. I mean maybe it sounds a little surround, but it does not give me the strong impression it is behind me, as actual speakers do.

Windows is set to 7.1 speakers on the X4 and the Creative App is set to Headphones, Virtual 7.1 surround. The Fraunhofer test and Windows speaker test aren't any better.

I'm also getting a little pissed at the apps, they seem to be really fiddly and prone to having issues. Any changes cause audio to stop and the SXFi app itself is kinda crap.

I'll play with it a little more but so far I'm not impressed.
 

Galz

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The more I read the more I am confused. Some are loving SXFI even for FPS games. Some like it for movies/atmosphere but say there is too much reverb. Some say gen2 fixed excessive reverb issues. Very little information about what battle mode does other than reducing/eliminating reverb, but seems like it also applies some eq and compression. What I did find that the personalization has a significant effect, but no way to manually tweak it other than repeating the process and hoping for better results.

For SBX, seems like many prefer it over other surround tech, and many prefer different surround values, but very little information about how it compares to SBX, especially in shooter, open world and competitive games. Many disliked scout mode's compression.

Quality difference between G6 and GC7 is arguable. Some say g6 sounds better, some say it is indistinguishable. Very few actually tried both...

GC7 is on Amazon 20$ off and free shiping to Israel with unknown expiration date. G6 is cheapest at local shop with a 15$ couppn available until end of the month (they might have similar ones later as well). I already ordered the headphones so I don't want to wait on the amp/dac too much, so need to choose soon.
 
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Robbo99999

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The more I read the more I am confused. Some are loving SXFI even for FPS games. Some like it for movies/atmosphere but say there is too much reverb. Some say gen2 fixed excessive reverb issues. Very little information about what battle mode does other than reducing/eliminating reverb, but seems like it also applies some eq and compression. What I did find that the personalization has a significant effect, but no way to manually tweak it other than repeating the process and hoping for better results.

For SBX, seems like many prefer it over other surround tech, and many prefer different surround values, but very little information about how it compares to SBX, especially in shooter, open world and competitive games. Many disliked scout mode's compression.

Quality difference between G6 and GC7 is arguable. Some say g6 sounds better, some say it is indistinguishable. Very few actually tried both...

GC7 is on Amazon 20$ off and free shiping to Israel with unknown expiration date. G6 is cheapest at local shop with a 15$ couppn available until end of the month (they might have similar ones later as well). I already ordered the headphones so I don't want to wait on the amp/dac too much, so need to choose soon.
The G6 will be better for music listening, as it's been measured here on ASR and performed very well. In terms of gaming, the G6 & SBX has been my best gaming solution for identifying enemy players position in online multiplayer fps (clear front & back localisation) as well as an overall feeling of immersion in the 3D soundscape. From what I've been reading in this thread I feel that the G6 is the better option over the GC7.
 

mysiak

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Quality difference between G6 and GC7 is arguable. Some say g6 sounds better, some say it is indistinguishable. Very few actually tried both...
I compared Creative GC7, X3, headphone amp Project Head Box S2, Apple DAC, Quedelix 5K, Fiio E10K Olympus and I couldn't hear any difference whatsoever between them with HD560s. The only time I was able to tell them apart was with sensitive IEMs - in this case Creative and Fiio caused hissing background noise, other DAC/AMPs don't have this issue. It is easily fixable with voltage divider though (like iFi ear buddy). I seriously doubt that G6 is audibly better than any of these.

As you are still debating whether you'll like SXFI or not, I still suggest getting GC7 as it has both features. It's the only way how you can be sure. :)
 
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Robbo99999

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I compared Creative GC7, X3, headphone amp Project Head Box S2, Apple DAC, Quedelix 5K, Fiio E10K Olympus and I couldn't hear any difference whatsoever between them with HD560s. The only time I was able to tell them apart was with sensitive IEMs - in this case Creative and Fiio caused hissing background noise, other DAC/AMPs don't have this issue. It is easily fixable with voltage divider though (like iFi ear buddy). I seriously doubt that G6 is audibly better than any of these.

As you are still debating whether you'll like SXFI or not, I still suggest getting GC7 as it has both features. It's the only way how you can be sure. :)
As long as the GC7's implementation of SBX is exactly the same as that of the G6 - I don't know if they are or if it's even possible to find out if they are.
 

Galz

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As long as the GC7's implementation of SBX is exactly the same as that of the G6 - I don't know if they are or if it's even possible to find out if they are.

Yeah, that's another question I've had a hard time finding an answer for, which is another thing to worry about :(
There was only 1 comment I found that claimed the SBX on the GC7 was bad, but not sure how reliable it is.
 

mysiak

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As long as the GC7's implementation of SBX is exactly the same as that of the G6 - I don't know if they are or if it's even possible to find out if they are.
Both GC7 and G6 use dedicated DSP chip (GC7 has another one for SXFI), so I suppose that they are the same. X3 uses software implementation, but I believe that they use the same algorithms. In my tests I didn't find any audible difference between them. SBX in HeSuVi sounds definitely different (and bad), so maybe there were some algorithm iterations in the past.
Yeah, that's another question I've had a hard time finding an answer for, which is another thing to worry about :(
There was only 1 comment I found that claimed the SBX on the GC7 was bad, but not sure how reliable it is.
You worry too much with no apparent reason. If you are so on fence between two models, buy both and keep which you like better.
 
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Robbo99999

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Yeah, that's another question I've had a hard time finding an answer for, which is another thing to worry about :(
There was only 1 comment I found that claimed the SBX on the GC7 was bad, but not sure how reliable it is.
There's no exact answers for you, there's always gonna be an element of trial & error by yourself to try the different solutions and see which you prefer the most. In an earlier post I listed all the different surround options I've tried (a few), and the G6 SBX was the best.
 
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Robbo99999

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Both GC7 and G6 use dedicated DSP chip (GC7 has another one for SXFI), so I suppose that they are the same. X3 uses software implementation, but I believe that they use the same algorithms. In my tests I didn't find any audible difference between them. SBX in HeSuVi sounds definitely different (and bad), so maybe there were some algorithm iterations in the past.

You worry too much with no apparent reason. If you are so on fence between two models, buy both and keep which you like better.
Good point about buying both & then keeping the one he likes best. (return the other one)
 

Galz

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Israel is not so friendly about returns, basically no returns of used items. The GC7 is from Amazon, though, so I guess I can try that 1st as they are more likely to accept the return in needed. However that still won't let me try both. Getting the G6 from Amazon would cost about 30$ more. But buying it locally after black Friday coupon expires may also increase the price by anorher 15$ (and it is from a shop that will not allow returns of used products).
 
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Robbo99999

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Israel is not so friendly about returns, basically no returns of used items. The GC7 is from Amazon, though, so I guess I can try that 1st as they are more likely to accept the return in needed. However that still won't let me try both. Getting the G6 from Amazon would cost about 30$ more. But buying it locally after black Friday coupon expires may also increase the price by anorher 15$ (and it is from a shop that will not allow returns of used products).
Ok, in that case I'd get the GC7 first and try it. I also checked the specification pages of the GC7 and the G6 and they both use SB-Axx1™ as the SBX audio processing technology, so that should be the same implementation of SBX (as some of their other surround products like the G3 aren't advertised as having SB-Axx1™ even though they have virtual 7.1 surround and SBX). Yeah, I'd definitely try the GC7 first then.

And like @mysiak said, it means you can try both SXFI and SBX if you get the GC7.
 

Spyart

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So I found SBX100.wav in Hesuvi (full amount of vitualization and reverb as well) works increadibly for me! Even for stereo content it really widen short "scene" of headphones and makes it close to the real nearfield setup (no, I don't used downmix). Bass is just fluid but it's pretty strange that the graph in EQ APO doesn't show any changes in bass. It's only one virtualization pattern where reverb is just fine as in the room and no creepy comb filtering stuff around. Pretty happy with that. Regarding EQ correction after that virtualization I can recommend Toneboosters Morphit (Harman OE target) with full Morph to 200%. Now I'm thinking more values of Morph drives you a bit far from the "speakers" and that's what my goal.
Now I'm dreaming of converting this virtualization on the ASIO side but I tried capture impulse responce with Hesuvi tool but obviosly got downmixed "edition" and I'm not happy with that :-(
 
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Robbo99999

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So I found SBX100.wav in Hesuvi (full amount of vitualization and reverb as well) works increadibly for me! Even for stereo content it really widen short "scene" of headphones and makes it close to the real nearfield setup (no, I don't used downmix). Bass is just fluid but it's pretty strange that the graph in EQ APO doesn't show any changes in bass. It's only one virtualization pattern where reverb is just fine as in the room and no creepy comb filtering stuff around. Pretty happy with that. Regarding EQ correction after that virtualization I can recommend Toneboosters Morphit (Harman OE target) with full Morph to 200%. Now I'm thinking more values of Morph drives you a bit far from the "speakers" and that's what my goal.
Now I'm dreaming of converting this virtualization on the ASIO side but I tried capture impulse responce with Hesuvi tool but obviosly got downmixed "edition" and I'm not happy with that :-(
I personally don't like it when I put Surround at 100 for SBX. Keeping Surround below 40 preserves the most audio fidelity, whilst also providing front & back localisation (talking gaming, wouldn't use SBX for music). SBX changes won't show in EqualiserAPO as I assume it intervenes at a different point in the audio path.
 
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