In a past project I turned a Pilot P51 PTT aviation headset (found cheap on ebay) into a nifty gaming headset. Loved that headset for a couple years, but I honestly didn't use it too often (I got a good speaker system and I don't get out much anyways, lol) so I recently gave it to a LAN-fanatic friend who loves them even more. Some highlights on this headset were the superior helicopter-grade sound damping, reasonable comfort for hours at a time, unsurpassed voice clarity on the mic, and of course the cool milspec look.
I've found another P51 cheap on ebay. And some premium "Titanium" 50mm drivers on alibaba. And I wanna play with Intel Edison modules now available on SparkFun. Plus, being familiar with the construction of this particular headset, I feel confident enough to use it as a guinea pig for my newly-acquired interest in black-nickle-chrome finishing. Maybe throw in a few RGB LEDs for swag. Make it better and badder than the last time any way I'm able.
Headphone engineering has apparently become a very involved and complex discipline, lol.
Audiophile terminology seems a bit too ambiguous, subjective, and overly elitist for my hard-tech hard-specs results-matter kinda mindset.
The way I figure it, the limits of headphone sound quality must be defined entirely by
- electrical signal quality
- frequency response of the speakers/drivers, along with their spatial proximity
- distortions caused by amplification
- acoustic geometry/properties of the cans and surrounding material
Anything else must be subjective (and psychoacoustic). To the disdain of the audiophiles I've consulted, I want (as much as possible) to "accurately reproduce" the original audio source, I don't want to emphasize bass or punch up the mids or add life or depth or whatever. And, while I wanna rock those Airwolf cans, I really don't at all care about being an audiophile brand whore - Sennheiser or Turtle Beach or Bose is only better to me if supported by verifiable technically precise and objective data. Besides, there's already plenty of hardware and software filters, DSPs, and equalizers which can customize or enhance audio to preference (I might even integrate some of these controls into my headphones, if I like).
To my mind this means I want speakers which have a flat frequency response (as little dB variance as possible across the audio spectrum) and which perhaps exceed the typical 20Hz-20KHz range. My mod might or might not sound as good as a $1000 professional audiophile headset, but why not? Any recommendations for better 50mm headphone drivers or technologies?
But wait, there's more!
3D surround sound, good stuff, I like it. Headphones cannot replicate the quality of 7.1 speaker hardware, sadly. Various virtual surround approaches can be done through software, pretty effectively, but human ears can tell the difference between a simulated soundfield and a real one. Also, the "location" of sounds in your gaming environment are locked to your monitor's POV regardless of any change in the position or angle of your head/ears - which sort of destroys the illusion.
I am thinking of combining those Edison modules with accelerometers, one for each ear can, to sense changes in hearing aspect as the wearer moves his head around. All the wireless headphones I've ever tried (BT and WiFi and other) induce a barely-perceptible signal lag ... so, for the time being, I'd keep it simple by using a wired connection, probably USB.
A bit of an ambitious project, since I'd probably have to code all the software for the headphones, the OS, and the game APIs. So - before I seriously begin, lol - is this accelerometer-environmental-sound idea viable, would it be useful, and has it already been done before? Advice or suggestions?