An universal wireless headphones / earplugs - a non existing audio hardware?

I need to buy headphones - and maybe earplugs also. And that is because I need something for music and something for games. And luckily I have a considerable amount of money to spend

So I watches some reviews or headphones, did some thinking about my own personal usage and ended up with reading info like this: The Sound Card + Wireless Heaphones Dilema! | Tom's Guide Forum

Long story short - please correct my findings if they are wrong and please answer my questions:


1] If headphones / earplugs will be wireless then I will have to connect them by Bluetooth? Unfortunately up to this day there are still many issues with Bluetooth [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3eVykPNGVg]

2] All wireless devices have mini-sound cards built in them? And so they do not need or even use onboard audio device of the PC or smartphone?

3] If I do want for whatever reason to use my external or internal PC sound card I need to plug my headphones / earplugs to it using mini-jack [Phone connector (audio) - Wikipedia]?

4] Manufacturers often do not list the frequency response / range. So I would need to seek outside a third party info about that

5] There are no wireless devices with frequency response above 20 kHz?

6] Could I force headphones to go through PC sound card with some specialized Bluetooth receiver which would have a cable with mini-jack [which I would plug into the card]?

7] If I want to have surround sound then I need devices with multiple mini-speakers built into them? Thus I should consider buying "typical" gaming headset for games [so that I would hear if enemies are approaching form behind] plus an "ordinary" stereo ones [for the purpose of listening to music] - because there is no gaming hardware who happen also to be leaning toward being an audiophile?

8] Assuming that I do not care for quality that much in games and do not play online [thus do not need an attached microphone] but just want to have surround effects - plus I like to play when laying in bed - thus for playing games I should consider using earplugs as they will be more comfortable when me head will lay on a pillow?

9] Assuming that I want to have the opportunity to hear the sounds above 20 kHz and want to avoid various interference and other problems - for music I should consider buying headset with a traditional cable attached to them?

10] Assuming that I want to have surround sound when watching movies - then I should use what? Is it possible at all to have surround sound in movies when using headphones / earplugs? [Of course I assume I need to have the movie file with an audio track in it being 5.1 or 7.1]

11] If the game does not support surround sound [like some older title] - then even the best hardware will fail at producing such effects? Or is this the time and place where a proper PC sound card comes in and saves the day [or at least fixes it to some degree] by emulating surround?

12] A long time ago [when I first tried to buy hardware but run out of money] a saved a note for my future self: "Windows Vista and Windows 7 do not allow drivers to have native hardware access to sound devices. This is because Microsoft have re-written the audio stack in every iteration of windows since the NT Kernel. Windows 8 fixes this in a way, but any games that use EAX or Creative solutions are likely designed for XP and won't work properly. And any sound cards that possess true hardware acceleration and 3D effects has probably only 32-bit XP drivers which may or may not work on 32-bit vista/7/8 - so no 64-bit support". Are there still problems with this on Windows 10 x64? And what does this really mean - that the user has to relay on headphones / earplugs surround capabilities and not those of the PC sound card?

13] If I want to cut of myself completely from the sound environment when watching movies - I need closed headphones and preferably with active noise cancellation feature? But when I need to have only some degree of blocking of outside sounds when listening to music - the I can take a pass on the active noise cancellation and / or use open-back headphones? And when I do not care about outside noise - I should be pleased using just earplugs?

14] What about digital audio converter? How would I insert it into my equations? Can it be used effectively with wireless devices?

15] Overall: there are no jack-of-all-trades headphones / earplugs and in the foreseeable future there will not be?


[The last time I researched this topic I went to some audio oriented forums - and got too technical information and / or attitude of "we know everything and you know nothing so do not waste our time with you pitiful questions". Plus back then I was only thinking about music]

Short answers from me:

  1. Yes, but bt5 is usually non problematic.
  2. Wired don't, wireless do as the signal is digital.
  3. Yes, almost all.
  4. I feel most do, except a few, but they can be misleading.
  5. There are, but remember that wireless is in a (signal-)noisy environment, so lower range could sound better.
  6. There are a variety way of routing, but that sound like worst of both worlds.
  7. You have only two ears (at least I think so, correct me if I am wrong in my assumption). But there are a wide variety of ways to get to the surround feeling, and source material varies in how it benefits.
  8. This is a personal preference and you have to try it. I find earplugs hurting on the pillow.
  9. Are you a dog?
  10. Virtual surround have come a long way, and those who are specially mastered for headphones sounds amazing. It works, but milage may vary depending on the source.
  11. Emulating surround is a p o s.
  12. Software is able to take control of the playing device on windows 10, but it is up to the drivers and the sound card.
  13. Noise canceling is best if you are outside in a noisy environment. Unless you have a noisy home noise canceling is better off. There are various active noise canceling headphones and the newest models support adjusting the amount of cancelation and some ai for passing through voice etc.
  14. For wireless devices the DAC is usually in the headphone, as it must support the protocols that works over bluetooth. For wired you could use a DAC, if you feel the need.
  15. If you want to use something for running, gym etc, earplugs are the better option. If you need to use it while commuting and traveling I would recommend investing in active noise canceling headset. If you play multi-play and or streaming a gaming headset with a better mic is an option. But if you use it mostly at home I would recommend headphones without noise cancelation, and if you game or stream a separate mic is usually a better option. It depends on your budget and needs.
2 Likes

Don't and do - but in regards to my first sentence or the second?

So I am risking interference above 20 kHz when sending the signal wireless - of which I can have no control? And to reduce the risk of that I should use a cable connection [which is suppose to have some sort of screening]?

No. but in a recent years I dismissed whole lot of music that I like on the account of various high frequencies sounds. And I had a series of tests done by specialized doctors, confirming that I have a hearing above normal

That might look now like contradiction - but it there are still some high frequency sounds that I like. [And my current ordinary stereo set is not producing all the frequencies]

Wireless headsets have a sound card in the essence that they have to interpret and output the sound from the bluetooth sender in your PC. So your bluetooth device will be the "sound card" in the PC side. Some bluetooth devices have dedicated features for high end audio. For your use case you have to find support for LDAC or LHDC as those have support for the highest bandwidth.

What will happen is that the higher the frequency range you want, the more data must be transferred, and if there are interference in the transmitter frequency you risk not receive enough data for continuous audio. This will typically sound like stuttering and sometimes popping as the device don't know what to do and thus go silent for the milliseconds it lasts. Lowering the frequency range of audio will avoid or lower the stuttering and popping.

High frequency sound for human ears are from typically 1000 Hz and up to 4 kHz. When doctors tests they monitors your response to sine frequencies up to 8-10 kHz. How they characterize excellent hearing is how well you responds to each testing frequency, and how close those are to the average frequency response curve. The more you diverge from that curve is where it gets more and more difficult to distinguish certain voices.

The width of the spectrum does also change with age, and up to early 20s most people are able to hear up to 20kHz, but when you are in your 40s you are lucky if you can hear frequencies up to 15kHz.

I have no problem believing that you have above average hearing, but that usually implies that the voices from 1kHz to 4kHz are crisp and clear for you. The frequency above those are usually only the harmonics for the sound in the lower spectrum, which of course are important, but they will not manifest as distinct sounds (if they do they typically sound painful for humans). But if many of the harmonics are missing we will usually notice it as muffled or boxed (like the telephone audio which typically don't go over 4kHz/8kHz). The brain are also excellent at reconstructing harmonics (and subharmonics).

If your stereo set have problem with certain higher frequency voices, you should rather check speaker placement as the case if more likely to be that the frequency response curve is off, rather than you cannot experience frequencies above 20kHz.

If you listen to digital audio also make sure that you listen to the audio with sampling frequency same as the source (or a multiple). Meaning if you listen to CD, ensure your chain are only at 44,1 kHz (or 88,2k). Some set parts of the chain to 48kHz (or 96k/192k etc). That is because re-quantization of the audio signal is a very difficult process.