5.1 Headphones

Buckland

Standard Member
I love my AV surround speaker system (Pioneer ax5i, dynaudios), but need to play it fairly loud to get the most out of it (especially given the kind of films that i like).
This is not always practical, given kids in bed etc.

Therefore, i thought it might be worth trying some 5.1/surround headphones.

Any views/recommendations?
 

cameronl

Active Member
hi there, I have some sennheiser wireless ones. They give a not bad surround sound performance though with very little base. They have the advantage that you can move around with them (i.e. kitchen) and still hear the movie.

CaM
 
B

bobbypunk

Guest
proper 5.1 by sony @ about £350
there are others but most are from obscure companies i don't recall
 

tom_nieto

Standard Member
I think Zalman made a pair of surround headphones with 6 drivers in them. Don't think they were too expensive, but I don't know what the quality would be like.
 

WhyAyeMan

Member
Theres supposed to be some Philips ones coming out based on the HP-1500 headphones for about £250, but as yet I have never seen them in the UK :(

An alternative for users of HTPC, is to use a software package like PowerDVD and use the Dolby Headphone functionality. I am contemplating going down this route myself, because my Terratec EWX 24/96 soundcard sounds much more dynamic than my Pioneer DV350 DVD player.
 
N

nthornhill

Guest
I read somewhere that the Marantz PS-17 (that thing with 2 channels of amplification and 7.1 preamp channels) was the launching hifi product for dolby headphone technology. Strange place to find it ;)

Oh, and I remember Sennheiser selling a surround sound device with their HD-580s for a while. It was meant to go between the source and headphones, and did some sort of surround sound tricks. No clue how it sounded, but since they were pretty much giving it away free with the HD-580s it can't have been that great.
 

Senninha

Active Member
Does anyone know where I could find wireless headphones AND microphone for a PC? I use the PC for VOIP, and it would be nice not to have wires trailing everywhere!
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Coming to this thread extremely late. :blush:

Anyone else reading this should note that there are two completely different approaches to "5.1 headphones":

1) A special pair of headphones with multiple drivers built into each ear-piece.

2) A conventional pair of headphones with some fancy signal processing which simulates (at the ear) what you would hear if you were listening to a 5.1 track over speakers. (This is not as simple as it sounds, because you have to simulate the effect of wall-reflections in the virtual room as well as sound coming directly from the virtual speakers).

The Medusa 'phones which nico35 is suggesting fall into the first category. So do the Zalman 'phones (the ZM-RS6F) that tom-nieto is talking about.

The remainder are systems that go down the signal-processing route.

The best-known algorithm for this is called "Dolby Headphone", but there are others.


Devices that have dedicated headphones:
  • The Pioneer device (the SE-DIR800C) uses Dolby Headphone, but (as far as I know) it is not available in the UK. It has fairly recently been announced in the US, though, so fingers crossed....
  • Philips do two Dolby headphone devices, one with corded headphones (SBCHP1500), the other with cordless (SBCHD1500). Again, neither is available in the UK yet, to my knowledge. There are rumours that the cordless one may become available soon. I asked Philips customer support about the corded version the other day, and got several different answers - the most recent one reckoned it might be available here in September.
  • The Sony MDR-DS5100 is a similar sort of product. It uses Sony's proprietary algorithm rather than Dolby Headphone - I don't know how the two compare.
All of these come with their own headphones that you cannot opt not to buy, which is a pain if you want to use better quality ones. :thumbsdow


Expensive possibilities:
  • The dual-SHARC verion of the Tag McLaren AV32R processor has a Dolby Headphone option, as does the AV192R.
  • The Denon A1SR has Dolby Headphone output.
  • As previously mentioned, there's also the Marantz PS-17, a rather elderly device which provides 5.1 channel processor/pre, but only two channels of power amplification.
Other possiblities:
  • The Denon ADV-M71 has Dolby Headphone capability. This is a little all-in-one sytem, which includes a DVD player, decoder, and two channels of (rather weedy!) amplification. It has 5.1 pre-outs, though, and the specs mention digital inputs as well as outputs. I've seen this for only about £350 or so - don't know how good the audio DACs are, though.
  • Finally there's the Lake Technology HSM6240 "TheaterPhone". Unlike the others, this is intended for audio engineers who are monitoring 5.1-channel mixes. It therefore doesn't take a digital input. Instead it has a 5.1-channel analogue input, and does its own A/D and D/A conversion. Not available in the UK. Cost was about £500+VAT and import duty to import one from Australia the last time I checked.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
Oh, and I remember Sennheiser selling a surround sound device with their HD-580s for a while. It was meant to go between the source and headphones, and did some sort of surround sound tricks. No clue how it sounded, but since they were pretty much giving it away free with the HD-580s it can't have been that great.
That was the Sennheiser Lucas, and was, by all accounts, fairly crap. :) Dolby Headphone can actually sound quite impressive, though. (IMO it makes headphones sound better than speakers costing ten times as much. :smoke: )
 

Rickyj at Kalibrate

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Has anyone actually used the medusa or Zalman headphones. Any feedback will be greatly received as have just moved into a flat, and late night loud listening is not an option with my current system.

I know the Pioneer and Phillips are likely to be better, if or when they finally manage to make it to our shores. BUT no doubt they will carry a hefty price tag to show that.

Thanks

Ricky
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
BUT no doubt they will carry a hefty price tag to show that.
The Zalman and Medusa systems are really not in the same price bracket as the DSP-based solutions. Both sell for something in the £40-£50 range (if you shop around).

The Pioneer system has a "suggested retail price" in the US of $475.

There are several different Sony "VPT" systems. They start at $300 and go up to $800. (Sony don't want to let me link directly to their site, so go to http://www.sonystyle.com and choose Accessories\Headphones\Virtual Dolby Digital)

Sony have actually launched a couple of new products since I last looked - the $500 one looks interesting.

A bit of Google searching will probably bring up some reviews of the Zalman product.

Manufacturers' pages:

Medusa
Zalman
 

Senninha

Active Member
The Pioneer system has a "suggested retail price" in the US of $475. [/url] [/B]


Ouch! You can pick them up much cheaper in Japan (usual places, Akihabara, Shinjuku side streets etc).

It may just be that the dollar is so weak just now, and/or early adopter pricing. I hope they would be much cheaper here due to strong pound, but that would be unusual...
:(
 
Y

yellowbug

Guest
Originally posted by yumyum33
Has anyone actually used the medusa or Zalman headphones. Any feedback will be greatly received as have just moved into a flat.

Looking for some cans myself for dvd viewing, have read several negative reviews of the Zalmans (apparently dialogue sounds as though it's coming through a drainpipe). I have tried but have not managed to find any reviews or comment on the Medusa's, though at the price and also being aimed at the PC market I have my doubts.

I too would be interested to hear if anyone has used the Medusas or found any reviews. Also, any other recommendations for 5.1 reproduction.

Ade
 

bonzobanana

Well-known Member
I've got a set of medusa 5.1 headphones and as I work nights and keep the shift roughly even when at home at weekends I find them very useful indeed. I've been very happy indeed with the performance but it doesn't match a proper home cinema setup but it does offer a good surround sound effect. Considering afterhours sell them for about £47 delivered and any profit they make goes to an excellent charity I would say its definitely worth picking up a set. You get the main headphones which also features a microphone. A headphone amplifier uint and transformer and a load of extra cables and instructions in I might add a very posh box. Please note you do need a dvd player with 5.1 phono outputs though. It doesn't decode itself. There are lots of players with these nowadays. The AMW P80L is a good player if you don't mind a lack of RGB scart output. It features dd/dts/dpl2 decoders and all the dsp effects you could possibly want to fully test these headphones. Its under £40 at www.dabs.com.

I've used my sennheiser PX-100s with headphone surround options on my pc and its not a patch on the sound quality of the medusa headphones connected to my AMW dvd player.
 

NicolasB

Distinguished Member
I came across another expensive Dolby Headphone option today. Dolby themselves make a "reference" decoding device, the Dolby 564. This is capable of decoding DD, DD EX, or PCM digital streams, and produces both (up to) 7.1 channels of analogue output, the same in PCM digital output, and (independently) Dolby Headphone output.

Inputs are AES rather than SP/DIF, but that might not be a problem. Analogue outputs are XLR, no RCA. And, of course, it can't decode DTS!

Click here for more info.

It costs about £3K, I think.
 

BAD Dave

Active Member

sceptic

Active Member
exocet said:
Anybody know if these are any good

http://products.sony.co.uk/productdetail.asp?id=14_39_6011#

As i'm thinking of getting a pair :thumbsup:
I didn't know Sony were making 5.1 cans.
Unbeatable are doing them for £160. Maybe Ask Direct will get hold of some at a more affordable price
I tried a search on Headfi but the site is down.
Anyway I'd also be intererested to see the views of anyone who's tried them.
Otherwise, exocet, I'm afraid you'll have to be the first to try them and let us all know. ;)
 

Exocet999

Standard Member
hmmm might just go for em they do look pretty swish

Might ask my local sevenoaks delaer see if he can get a pair i can try

:smashin:
 

ripkord

Active Member
I have the medusas, cant beat them for online gaming and watching movies (considering they were only £50)
 

Rickyj at Kalibrate

Distinguished Member
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