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Old 03-16-2011, 01:38 AM
McMalakai McMalakai is offline
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Post HS1 USB on Win7 x64 - Microphone Issues

So I rolled the dice on these relatively new headphones only because of CORSAIR's other support in their other product lines.

I'm in Windows 7 x64 SP1.

Unfortunately, I seem to be having the same mic issues as everyone else in this forum. In some online games, people can't hear me, and when I self-test using the game, I can barely hear myself ( Team Fortress 2). In Ventrilo ( x64 3.0.7 ) my $10 analog mic sounds perfect whereas my $98 HS1 mic is "crackly, popping, has an annoying background tone".

First, let me say, to RAM_GUY or anyone else at CORSAIR reading this, consider sending a pair of the headphones to one of the Ventrilo programmers. You might get a much lower level of feedback on what's going wrong and where.

Things I've tried to fix "it" ( more on "it" below )
  • For the Microphone device, under the Adavanced Tab, I disabled Exclusive Mode.
  • Disabled all extra Playback/Recording devices listed in the Sound control panel.
  • Disabled RealTek HD Audio via Bios
  • Killed any unknown process, and kept Antivirus disabled.
  • Went ahead and shutdown a lot of ancillary services I run ( development crap, SQL Server..etc)
  • Removed the Corsair drivers, rebooted, and went with pure MS drivers
  • Tried different "Enhancements" tab settings for the recording device ( Corsair driver only, MS driver has none ).

So, some things I've noticed:
  1. Based on the codec the application uses, people may be able to hear you "fine", they just also hear a crackle/pop and sometimes a high or low frequency tone ( see below ). Most people in online games would ignore this ( lots of crappy microphone's out there ). But if the codec is a certain type and or format, you could come out as almost completely garbled.
  2. You can alter the background "interference" tone by changing the default recording format. This is under Recording Device->Advanced Tab->Default Format. If you enable "Listen to this device" on the Listen tab ( and this hit apply ) and then go to the advanced tab, you can switch through each of the formats and hit apply to hear the effect. I found this interesting. It tells me the source of the interference is before ( or irregardless of ) Windows 7 WASPI.
  3. The encoding CODEC and Format dramatically affects whether the crack/pop/tone coming from the HS1 is exacerbated or eliminated. Using the Ventrillo "settings" page as an experimental tool, you can try combinations that can demonstrate why some people say their microphone is "fine" and others say it doesn't work ( completely garbled ).
  4. The CODEC used in voice comms for Team Fortress 2 seems to be highly susceptible to audio artifacts. What is considered a 'light' static and nominal 'buzzing' at 16bit x 48000Hz will, after the CODEC, become inaudible.
  5. Changing the microphone level ( via either driver ) results in a noticeable 'pop' for each level of the change. I'm not an electrical engineer, but this artifact worries me.
  6. Sometimes my microphone lights blink. I thought this was only when transmitting, but sometimes they'll both start blinking in unison, and keep going even after i'm done transmitting. When are these supposed to blink? This could help us track down a problem.
  7. Using Ventrilo again to monitor the mic, it will report the incoming dB level, it registers AbsZero instead of 0. If you adjust the Hardware level slider for the HS1, until you start to get '0' for monitor level, the mic is then set way to low. This is troubling. This will prevent voice activation from working properly. Also, I can only imagine what it does to CODEC's
  8. The green bars shown in the windows device property pages that related to the microphone's current 'monitoring' level ( what it hears, same thing Ventrillo gives you as dB's when you click Monitor ) does not appear to be correlated well. While taping the mic may cause a spike, simply talking into it normally rarely causes what you expect to see change. Almost like the min/max is too large, and it takes extreme quiet or extreme loud to move the meter.
  9. Trying to configure Windows speech, in which step one is Setup your Microphone, no matter what levels I choose, it keeps telling me it can't hear anything. Again, I think this is tied to numbers that describe the current monitor level.
  10. Microsofts default drivers are about 10x louder than the Corsair drivers. ( see next one )
  11. The Microphone recording 'level' slider has two different ranges for the two drivers. MS is -16dB to +11dB, Corsair is -96dB to +33dB. But the MS level is much louder when you monitor the mic. There's probably some 'base' level recorded in the registry for the USB ID someplace.

I feel like something obvious is set wrong. Some floor/ceiling number probably had a decimal shifted on it. My gut tells me this is a driver issue. Some setup of the mic is wrong. This may affect the MS driver because it polls the USB device for some min/max pickup gain value, and that number is bad.

Anyhow, it's late. When I have more time tomorrow i'll try some more experiments. I really like the feel of the mic and the sound seemed fine for what little I used them ( can't game much w/o microphone ).
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