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SB X-Fi: CMSS-3D: Does it really make games sound better?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I've just got my XtremeMusic card and so far it sounds really good. I haven't had enough time to really compare it to my onboard sound, but so far it definitely sounds "louder" (bigger amplifier on the X-Fi card?)

I'm just wondering though, does the CMSS-3D really make games sound better?

I most play FPS games and bought the X-Fi XtremeMusic since it's supposedly the best gaming soundcard, but to be honest, I can't tell much of a difference (so far!) between my onboard and this card.

I've also tested it with iTunes and some decent-quality (192 Kbps) MP3s and I can't tell for sure if it sounds better than my onboard card.

(By the way, I'm using DT770/80 headphones)
post #2 of 23
What are you playing?
post #3 of 23
"Better" is a very subjective term...there is no scientifically proven way that the sound is better. It doesn't improve the sample/bit rates or anything like that. It's like most devices with audio...what sounds good to one person doesn't to the next.

Use your ears, they'll tell you what you need to know. I personally hate CMSS, even for games. Most people love it.
post #4 of 23
I love CMSS + EAX for videogames.
post #5 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joeywhat View Post
I personally hate CMSS, even for games.
So do I. Even more so now I use K601's instead of HD497's. Listening to the helicopter sample (given when you test it in the X-Fi's control panel) it sounds like the positioning is a bit better than plain stereo (even if the sound quality goes weird), but when I get in game and a few more sounds are going at the same time I find things are a mess, and I cannot position the sounds any better than with it off.
post #6 of 23
I for one think that turning on headphones EAX and CMSS settings is, for gaming, telling position and so forth, simply orders of magnitude more important than the headphones used. I fail to understand why people keep recommending the AD900 and such as being "better for position in games" than alternative X.

90% is down to the game and its implimentation of surround audio combined with EAX/CMSS. 10%, if its as much as that, is the headphones.
post #7 of 23
I'm the owner of an X-Fi Elite Pro, and I have gone back and forth between on and off many times.

As I said in my review of the Elite Pro, I think CMSS-3D headphone distorts the signal too much. Sounds in computer games just sound completely wrong too me, I also can tell where sounds are coming from just fine without it on, so the surround it offers isn't really that important to me.

I have never actually listened to CMSS over speakers, since I always use my headphones(unless I have someone over). So maybe for a nice 5.1 setup, CMSS works very well. I just really dislike it for my headphones.

However many people, including "hardcore" players that put in more hours than I do on more games think its just awesome so YMMV
post #8 of 23
CMSS3d completely butchers the soundquality, but it enhances spatial cues to simulate more surrounder sound and POSSIBLY more accurate directional imagining. However, it depends on game how well those things are implemented in the first place.
post #9 of 23
Did a bit of a vs b last night. Stereo wins big time. Cmss 3D just sounds confusing to me. SQ suffers for certain. I pretty much have one of the very best possible gaming setups period. Not being arrogant. I have spent years getting it right and can say pretty confidently that 2 speaker sound w/ EAX enabled at 48hz sounds very natural to me.

Playing COD2 with 3d enabled sounded like a big smashed up ball of sound. Stereo gave me far better near far left right and b/c I have Stax, up and down.

It comes down more to the headphones to me. Duggeh thinks different but really it comes down to what you hear and prefer so try both.
post #10 of 23
CMSS-3d does indeed destroy sound quality. The tradeoff is that with same games (battlefield 2) it doesn't really matter.
post #11 of 23
Although I agree that CMSS reduces SQ... I still think it's excellent for sound placing. Dunno about you guys but with it on I really like the fact that i can tell exactly where people are hiding in shooters. Even the exact height.

Stereo is nice and clean sounding but I can't tell if I'm being shot at from above or behind me when I'm using it. With CMSS i can tell the difference so I don't need to do a double take and look all over the place. I play games like Halo 2 and Quake Wars btw.
post #12 of 23
CMSS3d needs to be setup proper. That means unchecking "synchronize with control panel", turning on CMSS-3d, turning your X-Fi to 2/2.1, and setting your in game to 5.1. If not done proper, it's a waste.
post #13 of 23
How about EAX then? I haven't had the chance to check out the newer games that use it with proper equipment (EAX 5.0 being the newest?).

I'm about to get an amp and either a dac or a soundcard..
Basically my choices are either X-Fi (which one? dunno) and an amp (Arietta maybe) or Cantate.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
CMSS3d needs to be setup proper. That means unchecking "synchronize with control panel", turning on CMSS-3d, turning your X-Fi to 2/2.1, and setting your in game to 5.1. If not done proper, it's a waste.
SPOT ON!

With the new HL2 Ep2 game I tried this and it does sound GREAT. This is the onlyy game I have been able to try this with so far though. Every other game like BF2 does not have 5.1 as an in game menu option but for HL2 it sounds the closest to being there I have heard yet. thanks!
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by RubberDuk View Post
How about EAX then? I haven't had the chance to check out the newer games that use it with proper equipment (EAX 5.0 being the newest?).

I'm about to get an amp and either a dac or a soundcard..
Basically my choices are either X-Fi (which one? dunno) and an amp (Arietta maybe) or Cantate.
Yes, EAX sounds better then without, but not by much. I ended up turning EAX off since it would cause cack/pop issues in game. The difference is noticeable, but not huge.
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