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I am choosing a wireless headset for my PC (I hate cables) and am looking at Sennheiser RS 170 / 180. They supposedly sound great, however, there is a 25ms audio latency. I've heard that this is OK when watching TV or listening musing but is bad for games.

The question is - has there been any research / hard data that would show how much of a delay is noticeable by human brain? 25ms doesn't sound like a lot but I may be wrong.

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closed as off-topic by Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams, slhck Jun 27 '13 at 10:31

  • This question does not appear to be about computer software or computer hardware within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You won't notice it on Farmville. You will notice it on, say, Counterstrike. Your state of mind has a lot to do with your perception. – Ignacio Vazquez-Abrams Jun 27 '13 at 8:21
I feel like this would be better suited for a physical sciences based question board. I had a look at the available Stack sites, and there doesn't seem to be one where I would fit this question. Perhaps could possibly help? – Michael Frank Jun 27 '13 at 8:32
33ms is one "frame" at 30FPS. When audio is off by 1-2 frames it can seem "Weird" to me like something is wrong. Take a great movie and screw up the audio by 2 frames offset, and it seems more like a B movie, with it's poor sync. If it is only ever off by 1, then I would not notice it generally. Many editing programs only work by "frame" for the audio so being 1/2frame off is par, and not any kind of issue ever. How much during games? I couldnt cope with a wireless mouse in gaming, and I am a terrible gamer, that is less delay. I would put your 25ms on the line for acceptable. – Psycogeek Jun 27 '13 at 8:44
Questions about properties of the human body are not on topic for Super User, sorry. – slhck Jun 27 '13 at 10:31

I deal with this issue in my hobbies (audio engineering). The exact value depends on the person. For me, when recording for example a guitar track, anything beyond about 12 ms of latency gets very distracting and it is very hard to stay on time. That is, if you are monitoring your signal while recording to a click track (metronome). You will start to hear it as a delay effect instead of your "own" playing.

For passive actions, such as watching TV, the tolerance is probably a bit higher, but I would think not too much higher as you will quickly notice when someone speaks "late". It's like watching an overdubbed movie, where the mouth doesn't say the same things as what the sound "says" :)

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