Razer Megalodon

Discussion in 'PC Audio' started by CaillinS13, Jun 26, 2009.

  1. CaillinS13

    CaillinS13 Member

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    It seems the new Razer Megalodon is due out on the 30th.

    Having been trying to chase the perfect HRTF based positional audio card since the Aureal I'm pretty excited to see whether this product delivers or whether it's just more Razer marketing hype (more than likely the latter).

    The key thing is obviously the Maelstrom audio engine, and I really want to know if the headset connects to it via a 3.5mm jack, or proprietary plug/adaptor, as I really want to be able to use my own phones on this.

    Hopefully this is the case, and they do a release down the track sans headphones with just the Maelstrom audio unit. There should be no reason why the HRTF can't work at least 90% as effective with a different set of headphones.

    Anybody looking to buy this set when they come out?
     
  2. Automaton

    Automaton Member

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    This certainly looks very appealing, very sleek looking, nice fat headband. I'm less than impressed with the Barracuda headset I use now so I'll approach this one apprehensively.
     
  3. Drubbing

    Drubbing Member

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    Avoid the hype (and inevitable disappointment). Get quality stereo headphones instead.

    Less money. Better sound.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    CaillinS13

    CaillinS13 Member

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    Wow, you totally missed the point of my post. I already own Beyerdynamic DT250 closed cans which I would like to use with the Maelstrom audio engine in the Megalodon. Would be good if people didn't jump to the conclusion in this thread that these are 7.1 headphones with 8 discreet drivers. They are just stereo headphones (and look pretty decent quality, almost like they used the Senn PC350 as a base) that are meant to be used with the Maelstrom audio engine that they've developed.

    After reading through the whitepaper on the Razer site, it seems they've gone to quite a lot of trouble to get their HRTF implementation to match the audio charactersitics of that particular pair of headphones, which would explain why it looks like they are hard wired to the controller. HRTF accuracy with different people has been known to vary quite significantly due to the differences in our ears and hearing, so cutting out the variability of different headsets seems like a good idea.

    Nobody else has really bothered doing much at all in this field since Aureal A3D got murdered by Creative, and the CMSS3D in the XF-I is the best we have at the moment, but it is distinctly lacking in non OpenAL titles. I'm really hoping Razer "gets" how good HRTF can be implemented in game titles and has been working towards this end. Everything in the whitepaper points to this being the case, but we'll have to wait and see.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  5. $3@N

    $3@N (Banned or Deleted)

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    Sounds like a big pile of shit... literally :lol:
     
  6. Benno1988

    Benno1988 Member

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    They look like AKG 701's :D :D
     
  7. Drubbing

    Drubbing Member

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    Yep, missed that. Good phones. But they're closed, (although the soundstage for a closed is very good, they still won't deliver the same as an open pair. I have them too) - so why are looking at bullshit technobabble like this?

    "The most important technology used within the Megalodon is the Razer Maelstrom Audio Engine, a highly upgraded virtual surround sound that originated as a military-grade audio technology developed for fighter pilots who needed precise audio warnings for incoming missiles. According to the company's statement, this audio technology has the ability to process audio algorithms up to 800% faster than traditional HRTF virtual surround sound technologies".

    Faster processing means...what exactly?

    Given they're going to all that R&D/Marketing hype, but going to sell it all for a mere US$150, bullshit is indeed what it will probably be.

    Better return on a souncard of the same value, I'd suggest.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  8. OP
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    CaillinS13

    CaillinS13 Member

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    I need closed cans because of the noisey environment, and to me, the DT250s are the best bang for your buck closed can at this level. But anyway, it's not a headphone epeen thread, I just want to get more details on the Megalodon (actually more the Maelstrom engine, couldn't give two shits about the actual headphones).

    I'm interested in this "technobabble" as to date in the last 10 years of sound card improvements (since the A3D), there hasn't been dick all R&D spent on improving proper positional audio through headphones in gaming. The market has focussed on 5.1 speaker systems. I'm starting to get the impression that people who give a shit about audio are only into music, and not gaming, and those that are into gaming, don't give a crap about proper audio.

    Anyway, I'm not trying to defend Razer, they don't have a good track record with audio products, and this one may well be just as crap as the others. Then at the end of the day, we still won't have an audio card that can even hold a candle to what the Aureal 3D could do with wavetracing (10 years ago!).
    Do a thread search on binaural sound and hrtf and listen to some of the prerecorded binaural clips that I posted ages ago to get an idea of whats actually possible with HRTF done properly.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  9. Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

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    Ok, so what exactly is special about the headphones specifically?
    What makes them "7.1".

    If they're just standard stereo headphones with a dongle and some special software, then in theory any standard stereo headphones would work just as well.

    Proper HRTF material works very well on ANY stereo headphones and in fact the difference when you're listening to a binaural recording on a closed pair vs an open pair is a lot less than a non binaural recording on the same open vs closed pair (then the headphones own presentation of the sound has more effect, ie: closed sounds more closed).
    In other words - if you've got a decent soundcard that can process positional audio cues and convert them into stereo for headphones (a la A3D2) it's going to give you good positional audio via headphones even with a cheapie set.

    Definition, detail and clarity are what you'd pay extra for if you were to spend $200 instead of $50 on "normal" headphones, which will definitely make a difference in games as well, but I'd be much more likely to trust my money with a company that at least has a track record of making good audio products (and I don't mean PC speakers).
    The positional audio performance you can get these days with a decent soundcard and decent headphones is actually very good. I game a fair bit (currently using an AD900/Auzentech Forte combo) and I have absolutely no trouble at all telling which direction sounds are coming from in most games. Some games don't have great sound, or great "surround via headphone" support but most of the good ones do.

    There's a couple of important factors here to keep in mind:
    You can't pull positional audio out of your butt. For headphones to perform well in games effort actually has to be put into decent HRTF support by the game developer as well as the soundcard manufacturer.
    "Downmixing" multi-channel (eg: 5.1 or over9000.1) to stereo (headphones) generally doesn't sound anywhere near as good, but it does work (Dolby Headphone for example is processed surround, but remember it is "static" and prerecorded in that a movie always sounds the same, but PC game sounds are constantly changing depending on the users position and surroundings etc - ie: in a movie stuff like echo and so on is already in the soundtrack, whereas in games sound effects are processed in realtime (occlusions/reflections etc).

    One of the reasons A3D2 sounded so good was that developers actually had to program game levels to take account for room dimensions/material etc (beyond "big room with carpet" or other variables which is what EAX was pretty much limited to). This meant that games that properly supported A3D2, while being used with an A3D2 soundcard and headphones, sounded amazing.
    The downside was it took a lot more effort for game devs to implement properly. EAX, despite being inferior in almost every way, was a lot simpler for devs to add into their games ( EAX: "this is a big room with carpet" A3D2: "this is an XbyY room, the walls are X thick made out of material B, 2 walls have coverings A, the floor has covering C" etc) AND more widely used, due to Creative having the larger installed userbase.

    So in other words : for something as good, or better, than A3D2 to come along it probably needs to be supported at not only a hardware level (soundcard) but game developers also need to put some effort into it.
    Chances of that happening are unfortunately quite unlikely as "over9000.1" is what everyone aims for these days. "Surround sound via headphones? THAT'S UNPOSSIBLE, I need to be surrounded by speakers to get surround sound!"

    But like I said, decent soundcard + decent headphones = good positional audio via headphones, it doesn't need to be super fancy.

    By the way, if I remember correctly, A3D2 was based around nasa/air force training technology, I'm not sure who owns the original patents to the technology in question in either case, but Creative do own all of Aureal's IP since Creative bought what was left of Aureal after running them out of money with bogus lawsuits.

    Who knows, the Megalodon might be great, but I'll believe it when I see (hear) it, and the more a company uses technobabble to sell a product the less faith I have in them.
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2009
  10. Automaton

    Automaton Member

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    Was there a particular game title that was a good example of the effort developers had to put in to get A3D2 to work well? I'd like to experience it.
     
  11. OP
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    CaillinS13

    CaillinS13 Member

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    The original Halflife worked brilliantly with it. Though you'd have to have a soundcard with A3D hardware support, like the Diamond Monster Sound MX300. I think at the time there were quite a few cards that had A3D hardware support in one shapre or another (excepting Creative).
     
  12. Snufkin

    Snufkin Member

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    Yep, the original Half Life did it brilliantly, as long as you had an A3D2 card.

    There were (are) plenty of cards with A3D support, but very few with A3D2 support - that died with Aureal.
     

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