The Interfaces – GSX1000 vs Mayflower ARC

last time on bad seed tech don’t forget to hit that like button hit that sub button and until next time stay up your looking for cheap PC games check out King Gwinnett click the link in the description below to help support the channel and never pay full retail again yeah I’m Brian P you’re watching bad C Tech and what’s you know what we don’t even have time to tick around we’ve got a lot of ground to cover today you’re watching part 2 of the making the most of your PC audio series and today we’re talking about interfaces we’re gonna start with onboard audio and work our way up to some pretty sweet DAC amp combos if you haven’t watched part 1 yet I highly suggest checking it out first and you can click the card up at the top there to watch that now it’s worth saying again that I cannot cover every audio solution out there I’d rather keep it to things that I’ve personally tested or own so I can give you the most honest information possible and again if you consider yourself an audiophile this video is not for you man just go watch some Frasier reruns or something alright let’s go so you’re probably going to start your PC audio journey with either onboard audio which is the audio chipset that comes on your motherboard or a USB headset and seeing as how I’ve

already covered USB headsets in part 1 I’m gonna skip that part so your onboard audio generally comes in one or two flavors inside the realtek or creative labs and the chips range and quality all the way from gross to I bet you can’t tell the difference between this and a sound card you simply do this or this and you’re off to the races now speaking of sound card don’t do this it’s 2018 so just know I’m not gonna go into the myriad of reasons why this is a bad idea just take my word for it and don’t do it I have a tendency to just ignore onboard audio and go straight to the good stuff but if I had to pick I would probably make sure that my motherboard came with the realtek chipset the reason why is that in the past I’ve had boards that were both the creative core 3d and real Tech one thing Realtek does is they allow for an optical out to carry real Dolby 5.1 or Dolby DTS signals and this is really important if you’re using an outboard surround system like a real surround system with the receiver in the whole nine yards core 3d has given you the ability to do this at a hardware level but an every motherboard I’ve had that had this chip they’ve locked it out at a software level or a driver level and required you to buy a higher end sound card based on the same chip set to get access to those features I think that’s garbage now it’s hardly common to see a

PC Gamer with a full-blown 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound they’re out there but it’s not really common with the announcement of the 65 inch big format screens that are coming out later this year in wireless peripherals you may see more pcs kind of shifting into that living room console area and so these systems might be a little more common going forward so those of you with like mountains of gold and treasure and nothing to spend it on it might be right up your alley the other experience I’ve have it creative that really rubs me the wrong way on the boards I’ve owned is that with my real Texan plug my headphones in one side my mic and the other side and get lag free monitoring or sidetone with creative I could monitor the signal but it introduced a lag that made it unusable the other thing you may have seen with creative onboard sound is the idea of op-amp these are a few different chips that you can plug into the board to color the audio I’ve owned a board that had op-amp but I’ve never actually used it it always seemed pretty gimmicky to me so I didn’t think much of it feel free to sound off in the comments if this is something you used before and I’m missing out on something exciting here the quality of onboard audio has really come a long way particularly if you spent big bucks on your motherboard probably wouldn’t be my go-to for music

listening exclusively but for gaming even made it with the mid-range pair of headphones it’s really not bad at all where are you gonna lack is the power on the amp being able to drive some really high-end headphones and the quality of the mic in that’s like the number one complaint it’s generally either really noisy really tinny or really over processed depending on the flavor not necessarily bad for you it’s bad for the squad now if you don’t gain socially all that often or you’re just really not concerned with the quality of the mic in you could easily get away with just buying a decent pair of headphones in a decent headphone amp and call it a day this is the HyperX cloud alpha mic being fed directly to the realtek on board and i’ve got the mic just like at the corner of my mouth notice on the meters that it comes in really hot pretty much just like rubbing 0db the entire time all right now you’re listening to the Sennheiser game one going directly into the onboard seeing really similar levels so that’s going to be controlled by the sound card itself and I’m gonna type a little bit here on the Corsair k70 RGB Ceaser Cherry MX speed switches that hopefully you’re not hearing too much of in the background and now the antlion mod mic 5 hook directly into the on-board it is worth noting here that for all the samples that we’ve done thus far I have had real Tex own noise suppression or noise cancellation

disabled someone let this marinate for a sec kind of give you an idea what the noise floor is like alright give you a little typing in the background on the MX speeds and then we’ll do one more test where we run it with the noise reduction on on the sound card all right now that mod mic v going right into the realtek but we have the onboard real tech noise reduction going right now give you a little bit of typing in the background I think you can tell that on that last test the noise floor was really high versus two semis uh but it seemed to do a better job with background noise reduction let’s let this one show for a second and the noise floor is just practically non-existent with this engage but be curious to hear how the signs in the final recording the next step up from on board is gonna range anywhere from 75 to 150 dollars roughly there are a few options that are sub $100 namely the Sound Blaster Omni external but I’ve not had the pleasure of using one so I really can’t comment on it now you’ve got one big question here that’s going to influence your purchase decision are you gonna be gaming exclusively or do you plan on streaming and/or creating content in addition to gaming because right now you could go with an external sound card with an amp or you could go with an audio interface and there’s some big differences between the two namely the inputs most external sound cards are gonna limit your mic into a standard 3.5 millimeter jack moving to an audio

interface opens up a whole new world of microphones because now you can connect via XLR you can use mics that require phantom power you can go an instrument in directly out of a DI box there’s just a world of flexibility with what you can do input wise with an interface and the audio out is no joke on this device either you’re not gonna get enough ant power to push some really high impedance headphones but where you are gonna get is a really clean out because this is geared primarily for studio work so you’re gonna get a revealing flat reference EQ it’s a very clean sound if you don’t mind games like that it’s a good alternative to a sound Court but you’re not gonna get any of the gaming features so you won’t get simulated 7.1 you won’t get EQ or presets or footstep mode all that stuff goes off the table when you’re working with an interface I use the focusrite scarlett 2i2 and it retails for about a hundred and fifty bucks there is a $99 version available to Focusrite solo that only provides one micro instrument in I really recommend if you’re gonna go this route to spend the extra fifty bucks up front and get the extra mic in because it’s going to allow you the flexibility to scale later like say you’re doing a podcast in your home and you have a guest on you can simply plug in another mic you don’t have to involve all this extra hardware or even worse look at upgrading your interface or buying an additional interface now the one major drawback of this unit if there is one is that mics with a 3.5 millimeter input are simply useless here you have to use something

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with an XLR despite all of the adapters that I’ve purchased and all the ways that I’ve tried to make my gaming headset mic work with this thing you simply can’t you do get zero latency sidetone or zero latency monitoring if you’re using an external broadcast mic in conjunction with your headphones of course you could just go with the USB microphone and forgo the idea of an interface altogether but there’s some really attractive mic options out there if you’re gonna go XLR and don’t be afraid to go used people’s dreams die everyday so don’t be worried about getting on Craigslist and finding a killer deal on a used high-end mic that may otherwise be out of your price range alright so right now you are listening to the GXL 3000 from CAD this is a large diaphragm condenser mic suitable for all kind of broadcast applications podcast voice over work and the like this is actually on the low end for condenser mics that goes for about like 155 bucks new I actually bought this use for way less than that like 10 years ago this is going right into the Focusrite – I – I’m about about four inches away from the microphone right now it is being fed with 48 volts of phantom power now if you don’t care about podcast or streaming or creating content and you just want a game you could get yourself an external sound card amp combo like the creative labs Sound Blaster XG 5 at roughly a hundred thirty-five bucks this little guys like the my first DAC amp combo it’s got 24 bit 192 kilohertz audio sounds market be cleaner than your onboard audio and it comes with

software there’s just loaded up with features got simulated 7.1 surround sound it’s got a footstep mode that actually works it’s got EQ and presets and voice changing it even has its own external digital volume knob it’s bus powered over USB as well so no power brake this makes it ideal to throw in your bag for laptop use and it sounds pretty legit it even supports higher end high impedance headphones up to 600 ohms but it sounds great at low impedance mode as well it pairs awesome with the HyperX cloud headset and you’d even be forgiven for thinking that they share the same logo it only has a couple real drawbacks actually one being the need for its own software and two being that it upholds creatives track record of offering a mic monitor input or site own but it introduces lag so bad that it’s not usable so here’s the HyperX cloud Alfa’s these are going into the Sound Blaster xg5 and here’s a little bit of typing on those cherry emic speeds in the background for you one thing that becomes really apparent here is that the levels are considerably lower than we saw using the onboard and sticking with the Sound Blaster XG 5 you are now listening to the Sennheiser game one to me these

levels look a little stronger out of the box looks a little fuller less on a marinate for a sec noise floor looks really solid and here we go with a little typing in the background and now the mod mic 5 into the creative labs blaster XG 5 let it marinate for some noise floor looks really really clean and here goes some MX speed typing in the background now to truly make the most of this unit or any audio device for that matter we have to take a minute to talk about how Windows handles audio devices which is to say poorly a despite Windows plug and plate life style I have tried a lot of different audio devices on Windows 10 and I can tell you that not all of them behave the same so there’s two things you really have to make sure when you plug your audio device in number one you have to go in and make sure that there is a default device set for the main audio of whatever that unit is a lot of times it’ll offer a second output that’s used primarily for communication and it’ll have a lower bit rate than the actual main system so make sure you have the right once elected as your default output and the correct ones selected as your default communications output this is clutch you’ll also want to make sure that you go in and configure that output certain units that do simulated 7.1 surround give you the option of Windows of clicking 7.1 surround and assigning that to that output some that I’ve used don’t offer that option at all and they will only let you select stereo but in order to really reap the benefits of something like that your unit may require you to go in and configure that output so take a look at that you may have noticed this since the creators update Windows 10 has added something to its audio menu called spatial sound this comes in two flavors either Windows

sonic which is free or Dolby Atmos headphone which costs like 15 bucks or there’s a free 30-day trial these sound awesome when you’re watching movies kind of a no-brainer to turn these things on if you’re gonna watch movies on your PC just make sure that your audio device if it does its own separate simulated 7.1 processing that you turn that off because otherwise it’ll process the audio twice it’ll be a garbled mess so either let your audio device through the processing or let Windows spatial sound do the processing not both at the same time definitely check this out from movie watching as far as playing games it was kind of a mixed bag I haven’t had a lot of time to get under the hood with it so I’ll probably do a more full review of these features in the near future and that brings us to our next big price point and our heavyweight bout for the purposes of this video we’re talking about the 220 to 250 dollar price range now what I’ve done here is I picked a couple standouts that are PC gaming flavor that both attacked this situation from a completely different angle I know there’s Dax and amps out there that can go into the hundreds and thousands of dollars but we’re not pushing a full-blown Dolby Atmos 7.1 surround system we’re PC gaming so they need to be gaming flavored I’m trying to keep it in perspective and I know there’s alternatives out there like an audio engine but for the purposes of this video these are my two favorites I’m going to take them head-to-head right now the first comes in at 220 to 230 bucks depending on where you purchase this is the Sennheiser GS X 1000 gaming ham this guy is PC and Mac only it kind of feels like it goes out of its way to exclude consoles and despite

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only being 16-bit and 48 kilohertz it is a beast on the features now first off it’s damn sexy with its proximity activated touch panel and it’s smooth aluminum volume wheel when it’s sleeping at dims and it just display the volume level now I’ve heard some reviewers talk about how the display or the buttons in the corner or a little dodgy they don’t always respond I have yet to have that issue with this particular unit which I purchased their retail pretty slim long connections here with just a mini USB port and a 3.5 input for your mic your headphones in your speaker system this is bus powered over USB so that means no wall brick making this an ideal ride-along for your laptop bag it has four EQ presets flat gaming which pulls all the bass out and really emphasizes footsteps a music EQ and the story mode this would be ideal for any kind of movie watching or any single-player campaign any gaming for that matter outside competitive FPS it also has a chat mixed dial on the side it has one of my favorite features the world over it has the ability to add side tone to any gaming headset with no lag amazing but the real star of the show for this unit is Sennheiser’s proprietary binaural rendering engine that honestly creates usable simulated 7.1 surround audio it is incredibly immersive in the best-trick is that it doesn’t without sacrificing the quality of the audio at all there’s no tinny sounding or poorly mixed audio here this thing is just a beast it just adds like an instant level of immersion to your favorite open-world game and it’s flexible you can tailor it it has like two levels of reverb plus off and you can also adjust the surround so the emphasizes either the front neutral or rear and it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing depending on what game I was playing I would work with a

mix of features to get the setup that sounded best for me for that game and when I was done all I had to do is hold down one of the bars on one of the corners for a couple seconds and it’ll save that preset so I can recall it just by hitting one of the bars in the corners of the unit this was also pretty cool for movie watching you could really dial in some stuff that makes it sound like you’re sitting in the middle of a big IMAX theater just by using that reverb control in conjunction with the surround though I gotta say my favorite movie watching experience still goes to the windows own spatial sound it’s just an alley of its own the surround aspect is even better when you made it to an open-back headset that already has a pretty large soundstage so it mates perfectly with the Sennheiser game ones that we talked about in the last video both visually and from an audio standpoint music sounds good as well it wasn’t anything like over-the-top it didn’t absolutely knock my socks off it does color the sound a little bit it’s not gonna add like a ton of bass but you can definitely tell that the bass is punched up a little bit here for music listening I would definitely stick to 2.0 and avoid any of the surround say had a tendency to sound pretty weird and another drawback to this unit in addition to only being 16-bit is that it’s only gonna power cans up to 150 ohms I’ve heard reviewers say that they feel like you could push cans

as high as 300 ohms but I haven’t tested it so I can’t really speak to it all right now you’re listening to the HyperX cloud alpha going directly into the GS X 1000 this thing’s levels look insane on the screen let’s get some noise floor looks good and typing see how background cancellation looks just insane levels I imagine this is gonna sound really hot now we’ve got the Sennheiser game 1 going directly into the Sennheiser GS X 1000 these levels look really hot I’m afraid if I got too loud with this thing it’s definitely gonna clip so I would probably wear the mic a little further away from my mouth and usual with this let’s get some noise floor looks pretty good check out some noise cancelling with the MX speeds and it’ll do and now run on the mod mic 5 directly into the GS X I did pull this mic a little further away this time as opposed to on the g5 test because everything we’ve seen out of the GS X 1000 seems like the mic input is a lot hotter let’s check some noise floor and let’s get some background typing going on and levels actually look pretty reserved on this now if this was the first interface that I had heard at this price point given its ease of use and its flashy looks and its gamer centric feature set it probably would have been the last interface I ever bought for PC but only a couple days before I got the Sennheiser I had already heard this this is the arc from Mayflower electronics this is handmade here in the USA it retails for 250 bucks and it has a warranty of 10 and Holy Mother of God I did not know PC gaming audio could sound this good but full disclosure this unit was provided on loan from Tyler at Mayflower this is not for keepsies though I can tell you I will definitely be purchasing one of these from my own and I feel like that says a lot with a closed back

headset the audio is clean and detailed and punchy and it just feels like there’s a lot of power behind it it’s hard to explain but it’s like sitting inside like a car audio system that you know is really high-end and the guys only run it under a quarter volume but it just kind of gives that impression like a v8 engine just gotta at idle like you just kind of feel like there’s a lot more power behind it it’s really the only thing I can liken this to I’ve never even had the volume on this thing over halfway and I like the fact that it doesn’t use the Windows system volume like seemingly every other audio device that I’ve owned us there’s like there’s there’s simultaneously like a separation of different audio but at the same time it kind of all falls under the same overarching like sound character that that makes you know that everything’s in the same wheelhouse it’s like it’s seriously hard to explain when you add in an open-back headset like the Sennheiser game one it adds this shimmer and sparkle to the high end that I’ve only heard a handful of times in my life and I’ve only heard it in a professional recording studio environment it’s like Audio bliss as I said before I know there’s audio options out there like audio file options that go into the thousands of dollars but for being a PC gaming tailored product paired with the Sennheiser game one this is flat-out the best sounding audio I have ever had at my desk you may have heard of Mayflower electronics before due to their build out of the open source Oh – oh deck this sounds better than that and it has a mic in and a mic

pass-through and an optical in for consoles and RCA apps in the back for a powered speaker system that are Auto sensing and it’ll power headphones of up to 600 ohms it also has a DSP bass boost feature which adds some really clean Loen I found this to be absolutely exhausting in the HyperX closed-back headset because they’re already really bass heavy but in the open back Sennheiser game once it added some really clean low-end back into the headset but it didn’t any of the detail or shimmer on the high-end which made for the best music listening experience I’ve ever had at my desk also it is worth noting here that whenever you engage the bass boost or come out of bass boost there’s a couple seconds while the unit gets its feet under itself and comes back on every reviewer has pointed this out most of pointed out that it’s an annoyance this doesn’t bother me at all if anything it kind of adds to the character that this is a handmade device now there’s no software here and it is driverless so if you’re using this over USB you’re gonna get 24-bit 96k low Hertz if you’re using over optical you can push that to 24 bit 192 kilohertz there’s no flash here we’ve seen this look before it’s very utilitarian so it’s not gonna get anybody’s attention on the desk and it doesn’t offer side tone and it needs its own wall power so portability is definitely gonna be impacted by that but what it does which is provide clean audio in and out it does very well I’ve honestly spent over two weeks trying to decide which one of these is gonna earn a permanent home on my desk let’s take a listen to how the mic input sounds all right right now we’re listening to the HyperX cloud alpha this

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is going directly into the mayflower arc and this mic is really really close to my mouth right now system volume which is where you’re gonna want to control your mic input is set to a hundred in Windows let’s get some noise floor and let’s see how those MX speeds sound with me talking over the top all right now with the Sennheiser game one going directly into the mayflower arc and I actually put some distance on the mic this time so it’s coming in a lot hotter than the HyperX let’s get some noise floor and let’s see how we sound with a little bit of keystrokes in the background and done rounding out the testing today we’ve got the mod Mike 5 going right into the mayflower arc and yeah we’re about done let’s get some noise floor and get a little background action and I legitimately wish you guys could see the floor of my studio space right now it is covered with headsets and wires and it feels so good to do my last mic test so the Sennheiser really has some features I hold dear specifically for social gaming the idea of chat mix is great and being able to add lag free side tones to any headset is a huge plus though it is less mission-critical for me when I’m using an open bagged headphone and I can kind of hear the environment around me and the surround sound is no joke it adds a lot to games like the division grand theft auto 5 battlefield 1 and I love the fact that it’s super portable but it’s really restrictive when it comes to being able to expand to high-end headsets down the road or high-end headphones down the road and it didn’t really blow me away in terms of music listening now on the other hand

the mayflower are cared with the Sennheiser game one is just flat-out the best audio experience I’ve had for gaming and music and it sounds spectacular for movie watching too because this pairs very well as an interface with windows new spatial sound options now to drive this point home of how high-quality this unit sounds I have demoed this unit for two friends in my home and both of them halfway through their respective favorite songs have stopped and asked me how they can get their hands on one for themselves the Sennheiser did not elicit that reaction plus the arts audio is so clean and detailed it is even exposed flaws in my own audio mastering for my videos and that makes it valuable as a studio tool as well coupled with the fact that this thing will power headphones up to 600 ohms this leaves a wide-open upgrade path if I want to go all the way down the rabbit hole with this super expensive audiophile headphone and an external mod mic setup and that’s as detailed as I can lay it out for you obviously if you want to spend more money you can there’s even options from creative they go up to like 350 bucks but those are two of my favorites the real big question here for these two is how important is simulated 7.1 surround gonna be to you

only your gonna know your taste you need in your budget again everything I talked about in today’s video will have affiliate links in the description below if you’d like to grab your art directly from Mayflower they are on pre-order right now but because of that they’re offering a discount so you can get on pre-order right now for 219 instead of the usual 249 that’s a hell of a deal I really want to hear from you guys in the comments what did you think of this video this was easily like the biggest topic that I’ve ever attempted to tackle and I learned a truckload I sincerely hope this was helpful I hope you learned something and that’s it for this time i’m bryan pease thanks so much for watching don’t forget to hit that like button hit that sub button and until next time stay up

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