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Low-End 5.1 Speakers vs Higher End 2.1 Speakers

Discussion in 'Sim Racing Hardware' started by Beef36, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Beef36

    Beef36

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    I run Logitech Z-5500 5.1 speakers today but have 2 spare Mission MX-3 Floor Standing Speakers, a matching Mission subwoofer and an AV Receiver looking for something to do. The Sim Rig does nothing but car racing.

    For sound quality am I better to stay with Logitech Z-5500 or switch to the large floor standing speakers in stereo?

    I play rFactor 2, Automobilista, iRacing, Assetto Corsa and Dirt Rally.

    Thanks
     
  2. PicoBp

    PicoBp
    #26 | HSRC - Banzaaaiii Touring Car Crew Premium

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    I'd suggest the quality 2.1 setup instead. You might loose some directional information, but you'll get much more detailed audio. But as you know, proof is in the pudding, give it a go and see if you like it better. ;)
     
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  3. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Quality bass in the mid and low ranges will enhance the thrill/realisim of engines. Also stereo positional effects, like kerbs, impacts, other cars. Stereo or dual A/B Stereo (Front & Rear Pairs) works surprisingly well surrounding a cockpit.

    You don't really need 5.1 / 7.1 surround sound or center and .1 channels.
    I think if you set up the more hi/fi level of equipment you may discover that *more (as in channels) is not always equal to better.

    Quantity Vs Quality
    Often more of something less is not an improvement over less of something better.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  4. Moxley6969

    Moxley6969

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    Sorry but lol @ comparing 2.1 to 5/7.1 If you honestly think it wont make that much of a difference, your Sadly mistaken....try it, you'll see for yourself. And if you dont think its that big of difference, your 5/7.1 was setup very poorly i might add.
     
  5. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    @Moxley6969

    Its not just channels he's comparing its "quality" of two very different systems.

    Unfortunately, many so-called, professional sim rigs sold in the 10K 20K 30K or higher ranges come with similar Logitech packages. They get the job done for most people they are decent enough but yes are a far cry from the quality and improved immersion something "audio pursuits" would appreciate.

    Audio is not taken in the same level of importance to say other components like steering wheels/pedals or indeed a display and graphics card. I feel mainly this may be as higher audio quality is not an essential factor for improving your laptimes, control or skill set but seen more as only an entertainment factor.

    To be fair many racing games do not really utilise the "center" or "surround" channels in ways that greatly enhances the experience. It's not as if we have within the games Dolby Atmos for full positional audio on multiple levels and moving beyond the limitation of channels. Or indeed that games are created with such audio mixes.

    For example, how many cars or games can you correctly hear the positioning of the exhaust, be it rear left, rear right or both? An engine more upfront (if the car driven has it) and things like transmission noises reverberating, with external sources from the game's environment being more engrossing.

    Audio for sims or racing in general to me have not greatly changed that much in the last 10 or so years, I could be wrong. Sure improvements in source samples being more authentic but I don't see someone with a quality stereo configuration missing a great deal against something with surround channels or a center channel. A good quality stereo system or with 2 sets of stereo can be excellent and I dont know how important someone will consider hearing a car behind faintly in the rear channels compared to improving the general audio quality and much better frequency reproduction a "better quality" hifi stereo or other may bring over the Logitech and many available 5.1 or 7.1 all in on boxed solutions.

    Its worth noting yes someone with a decent or high end 5.1 or 7.1 home cinema level of equipment will get enjoyable audio. I still question the real need or benefits of the surround/center channels in what they truly bring for sim racing?

    3D positional audio, be it with stereo headphones coming from the source or a speaker-bar based sound system. These are what seems to be on the rise or direction of things, these days.
     
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
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  6. asteroulis

    asteroulis

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    5.1 for positional awareness in the point that is supported by each title. Logitech z5500 are more than good speakers for gaming. Higher quality is welcome of course but not needed for gaming , especially if its costing you surround sound.
    My opinion of course...
     
  7. Emery

    Emery

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    You can see the car in front of you. You can only hear the cars to the left/right & behind, thus if you can't see the car in front of you, it's only stereo that will position it to the left/right... there's no technical reason for requiring surround sound.

    Yeah, I'm being "that guy"... honestly I'd like true surround sound, but I don't feel I'm missing anything with only stereo.
     
  8. Moxley6969

    Moxley6969

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    The Day you guys hear your opponents coming from or creeping up on your back door will be the day the light bulb goes on. ;)

    You truly dont know what your missing being able to hear a Virtual opponents audio travel through Physical space to then have them appear on your drivers/passengers door is a feeling that is hard to explain, its like a nirvana moment, similar to very frequent incidents with motion where thing's just feel Soooo F'ing Right, it makes you shed a slight tear in pure joy. :p

    VR users get Positional Audio now a days....pretty sure we didn't have that 10 years ago.
     
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  9. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    3D audio has been available in many options for a long time, can remember it back to around the 90s. I personally can recall, Q Sound (Q3D). SRS being another not to mention Dolby Headphone or Yamaha Virtual Cinema for headphones. There may have been other gimmicky options too.

    So yes positional audio over headphones is nothing new just maybe improved over the years. Besides for headphones our brain only really needs 2 channels to give a sense of positional placement, The Cetera Algorithm well represented by "virtual barbershop" found on youtube is a good example as are other binaural examples.

    Ever since Dolby Prologic II arrived, in approx 2000 with games for the PS2/Gamecube era has audio hardware had the ability to take any 2 channel source and extend/upmix it to 5.1. Many of us have enjoyed surround gaming for almost 20 years. Some of it may of only been Pro Logic or indeed Dolby Digital or DTS. I even recall the first Nvidia N-Force motherboards that included real-time Dolby Digital similar to at the time original X Box I believe. It wasn't that revolutionary from a gaming perspective, even if adding stereo and full bandwidth rear channels.

    Regards this "hearing cars from behind" and a light bulb coming on for the need/importance of surround channels in a racing sim perspective? I think this is rather over exaggerated in its importance or wow factor for some people.

    Try Assetto Corsa bring up it's excellent the sound controls, mute everything but have only audio for the other cars. Then tell me, can you hear them, from the stereo 2 channel mix when they are behind your car on track?

    If you can what would happen, if you run an amp with dual A/B stereo pairs and a stereo pair in front of the pedals and a stereo pair of speakers behind the seat? How much worse is that going to be, to an amplifier generating a dolby/dts mix be it 5.1 or 7.1 from the PC's game audio?

    I'd be curious to your findings...
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
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  10. Moxley6969

    Moxley6969

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    Everyone's entitled to an A** hole, oh i mean opinion. :whistling:


    Over exaggerated.....lol.....and how much have you vested in your tactile setup ?
     
  11. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Ahem, come now, no need for that kind of tone (lol)...
    I am interested to hear from the OP in how things go for him and his own preference he finds out of this.

    Your well aware of my interest in audio/tactile and I tried to offer an opinion with informative reading.
    Here I am rambling on with more but really to share my own experimentation for cockpit audio and if, its interesting for some excellent, or not then its easily ignored. Im not not seeking confrontation, debate or attitude just sharing.

    Firstly I would say I am glad you enjoy what you have with full surround audio but like I said, having cars in surround sound isn't anything new. Is it fair to question how big of a "WOW" these days or necessity it may be for most sim racers? So its exactly why I question your given perception of it. I can still remember the original Xbox Project Gotham back in 2001, with digital surround audio. So how or in what ways has sim racing progressed till today? Fair questions no, mmmmmm?

    I don't assume anything spectacular is happening now/these days from the developers/audio engineers between a sims stereo audio mix or compared to 5.1 / 7.1. Much of it these days likely relies on the audio mastering tools within the mix being made that hardware can place specific sounds already in the stereo mix but position them to a relevant channel. I am not an expert or audio engineer but believe mid/side stereo is relevant here for expanding the mix to multichannel speaker configurations? The point raised here is what really makes a 5.1 or greater substantially better to the original stereo mix?

    Own Tests
    For a cockpit scenario, I have experimented with A/B stereo and multichannel audio. Yet I don't like to rely on 1 LFE subwoofer output. Not when stereo left/right directionality is such a large part for a racing cockpits immersion.

    I prefer to use 4 subwoofers surrounding my cockpit and not use a .1 lfe channel at all. This can be used for enhancing the games audio be it stereo/surround channels or it can be used to output Simvibe "Chassis Mode" low frequencies normally only used on tactile also over a subwoofer to emphasise the tactile I do use and feel.

    Simply because from my own testing/experimentation for what I want/prefer. I find it's much more dramatic/immersive for our bodies/brain when we hear low-end audible bass and it is combined with powerful felt tactile and not just have one or the other.

    I created a configuration that means I can easily mix sources, having "Game Audio" & "Simvibe" combined. So both may be output to the 4 subwoofers or and also to the tactile depending what I want to do. This can work quite well to enhance directional events, be it other cars passing or wheels on kerbs. Yet with my own testing, compared to using a single .1 based subwoofer such can't bring the same directional enhancement for the low end as having an independent sub on all 4 channels can to represent basically each wheel for a sim based or cockpit environment.

    Yes I have on/off bummed about with various degress of hardware to a point of reaching rather expensive gear taking several years to amass but it was just what came about with continued messing around and own wonders of, what if? Thus far, for a cockpit solution to increase directional and audio/tactile immersion my own progress ended up with the following:

    Having the largest BK LFE for sheer low end 5Hz - 50Hz with Clark Synthesis TST 429 for the general tactile detailing and smooth response. Each are the best models with their own benefits. With two units, this reduces the workload over a single tactile unit for a start (via crossover control) so it helps when additional or multiple effects are applied. Having a decent quality 12" subwoofer also combined with them just presents much more authority to what you feel/hear in its immersion or sense of realism for not only bumps, kerbs, passing cars but of course engines too.
    The subs don't even have to be loud but they are certainly missed when not used.

    So having these 3 units representing one channel over 4 independent channels is reaching for me a rather high level of immersion. While I can use other tactile for Simvibe EM or SSW roles, I am not sure how I can improve much upon it and have the audio effectively combine with the tactile. Perhaps for some stereo is enough, or A/B front/back stereo pairs, these would match my subwoofers in a dual stereo or surround configuration, or is full multichannel going to be much benefit? I don't feel much need for a center and specific surround channels with the configuration I am using as do feel each wheel/corner is being well represented with my Frankenstein setup, even moreso than a standard multichannel config offers. I also think the left/right channels are more important than rear surround channels for obvious reasons highlighted.

    Likewise for the OP he may prefer what his floorstanders offer in stereo with better bass response, clearer and more robust stereo representation. Each to their own really.
     
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017
  12. Beef36

    Beef36

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    Thanks for all the replies. I'm an audio noob and struggle to hear good vs great sound differences. However the big stereo speakers certainly sounds a lot meatier, guttural and clearer than the smaller Z-5500s. When I crank it up I can hear it several houses down the street with no distortion. The front stereo speakers are very good and I don't miss the centre channel.

    But I think I miss the two rear speakers.

    Would it be folly to setup the 2 Logitech Z-5500 speakers as rear speakers in Stereo X 2 mode, when paired to the bigger Mission speakers up front?


    Cheers
     
  13. sjb266

    sjb266
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    Do yourself a favour.. get a used pair of logitech x-230 speakers and place them either behind your head or behind your elbows pointing up.. The sub will need to be placed near you as well..

    I've spent a lot of time and money searching for the best sound solution for my rig.. and this is it! I guarantee you will be happy! 5.1 is a waste of time..
     
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  14. Mr Latte

    Mr Latte
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    Thanks for your response and glad to read you are hearing improved detailing, better frequency presence and possibly wider dispersion for improved stereo within your room.

    It is worth trying to implement the other speakers for rear units. As these may be much closer to your ears they won't need the same volume neither.

    Their given presence may not be as detailed to your hi/fi speakers, espically with the mid range bass but they certainly will help immersion. I believe you will find an added increase in perception of stereo/directional effects with a rear stereo pair. Just ensure the volume/placement is comfortable and not annoying or taking away from the front pair.

    Things like, kerbs or cars to your left/right perhaps should be more distinguishable and satisfying as you get the stereo transitions both in front and behind you.

    A good subwoofer based configuration can have benefits for frequencies below what many normal/traditional speakers produce. Especially sub-harmonics (frequencies below 20Hz) that contain more bass bandwidth, This is bass you can feel more rather than hear. Many popular yet decent sub/sat packages struggle to deliver bass below 30Hz which isn't by any stretch super low or strongest bass.

    This is also an area tactile/buttkicker type units can expand the audio presence and immersion.
    However like subwoofers, not all units will produce good bass energy/tactile below 30Hz or 20Hz neither.

    For the best representation of the very lowest frequencies, typically requires more capable/expensive hardware (subs and tactile) for the best results. For example you won't find dedicated home cinema enthusiasts installing something like a Logitech or similar subwoofer as it's not really capable of fitting the purpose. Yet many would not spend several hundred £/$ on a subwoofer alone, that does fit the purpose and general requirements for best immersion.

    Audio has a habit of having a price/performance-related factor, regards the output dynamic range but peoples levels of happiness for it, greatly varies. Ultimately someone happy with what they have has all they need.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2017