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[Gaming] Auzentech Forte vs Essence STX + which OS? - Page 2

post #16 of 53
Well, I've been using a Xonar D2 for the past few months. Great card and I love its implementation of Dolby Headphone but a few games are giving me issues. I always liked Alchemy's remembering of game profiles and by comparison having to remember what to do with DS3D-GX in individual games is a pain.

A few months ago I A/B tested my D2 against a Prelude and ended up keeping the Xonar, mainly due to Dolby Headphone. CMSS-3D headphone gives me a convincing sensation of hearing sound behind me but not in front of me. Dolby Heaphphone manages to do both adequately. Going to have another crack at X-Fi again though. I've bought myself a X-Fi Xtreme Music OEM with native optical out ports and have a Victor SU-DH1 winging its way to me from Japan. Planning to buy the DDL/DTS Connect pack from Creative and should be good to go.

I'll post a few impressions of Xonar vs SU-DH1 Dolby Headphone implementations when it arrives. If all goes well I'm hoping I'll be keeping the X-Fi. We shall see.

Edit: Xonar does DH1, DH2 and DH3. I tend to use DH1 for most things - occasionally DH3 for listening to music with no real soundstage of its own. Basically the Xonar (except DS, which doesn't have any Dolby tech) can be set to do all the processing that the SU-DH1 can.

Further Edit: Xonar can do DirectSound3D in Vista. DS3D-GX is Asus' equivalent of Alchemy. It also emulates higher levels of EAX up to EAX5. This works very well in some games. Bioshock sounds excellent on Xonar. When I tested the Prelude against the D2 most EAX5 effects were generally present and correct on the Xonar.
post #17 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ear8dmg View Post
I'll post a few impressions of Xonar vs SU-DH1 Dolby Headphone implementations when it arrives. If all goes well I'm hoping I'll be keeping the X-Fi. We shall see.
I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'll be glad to hear what you think though.

Quote:
Edit: Xonar does DH1, DH2 and DH3. I tend to use DH1 for most things - occasionally DH3 for listening to music with no real soundstage of its own.
I see, that's good to hear then. The .dll solution found in movie packages that could be used in foobar really sucked when I tried it. Almost put me off to DH completely.

EDIT:

Quote:
Further Edit: Xonar can do DirectSound3D in Vista. DS3D-GX is Asus' equivalent of Alchemy. It also emulates higher levels of EAX up to EAX5. This works very well in some games. Bioshock sounds excellent on Xonar. When I tested the Prelude against the D2 most EAX5 effects were generally present and correct on the Xonar.
Is that so? That makes this thing a bit tougher for those deciding, because DH completely destroys CMSS-3D for me. On the other hand emulating EAX would be a turn-off.
post #18 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'll be glad to hear what you think though.



I see, that's good to hear then. The .dll solution found in movie packages that could be used in foobar really sucked when I tried it. Almost put me off to DH completely.
I did A/B the Xonar against Foobar Dolby Headphone. The Xonar won hands down. I found that there was a great loss of dynamics and detail with the Foobar solution. Everything was present and correct on Xonar, just with wonderful sounding Dolby Heapdhone processing giving a nice 3d headstage to pretty much everything.

Edit: I don't think there's a problem with emulating EAX, as long as it sounds good. Some people have claimed there's a framerate hit but I've never noticed anything that would make a game less playable. The trouble is, the emulation doesn't always work. Some games won't let you enable EAX 3+. Others don't work properly and end up having to be patched or fixed in driver updates. Asus aren't known for overly frequent driver updates either.

Further Edit:
It's not just Asus and Creative that have got Direcsound3D working again. Realtek have issued 3dSoundback, an alchemy like program for all Realtek HD chips. C-Media have also issued a driver level fix for some of their standalone soundcards, akin to DS3D-GX on the Xonar.
post #19 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
Why would the routine be different on a PC then a receiver? It is licensed Dolby Headphone technology so it should be the same thing. Comparing two devices may be different based on the setup and the devices output quality.

As for soundcard not Decoding. Not so, there are many soundcards out there that will decode a Dolby Digital signal.
Maybe theres some PC cards out there decoding DD signals, but the claro halo dosent and it is clearly stated in the manual.

I was reading the astro mixamp manual and thats where they explained that dolby headphone can work with either dolby digital or dolby pro logic2 (optical or analogue).

Since you connect your headphones straight in the sound card and the claro halo dosent decode a dd signal, well its obviously in "dolby pro logic mode" so its no near as good as it should be. Sure, I could set the sound card in dolby digital live mode, connecting my mixamp via the optical out of the claro, but then that totally destroy the purpose of that card, at least for me, considering I bought it mainly for DH.

Thats why I think that, with the claro halo, you cant have the real DH experience.
post #20 of 53
Note: Claro halo doesn’t provide AC3 signal decoding such as Dolby Digital or dts.
For licensing and copyright protection purposes, soundcard manufacturers
are effectively prevented from adding DD/DTS decoders to their products.
The reasoning is that the only legal use of DD/DTS decoders is for playback
of licensed soundtracks from DVD movies. So please set to PCM 2ch on
your external digital devices such as PS3 or XBOX360.

http://www.htomega.com/filedown/halo0818.pdf
post #21 of 53
Basically, Xonar can do anything with Dolby Headphone that it can do with analogue speakers. I'm not sure it will decode DD from optical in though.

Edit: The multichannel version of PowerDVD comes with the D2. Why would they do this if the card could decode DD? My old Audigy 1 could definitely decode DD using SPDIF passthrough rather than software but I don't think the Xonar is capable of this.
post #22 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by RicHSAD View Post
I see 3 PCIE x1 slot on that mobo .. you can fit a sound card there no problem.

If you need 5.1/7.1 over analog, you will have to go for either the Forte or the D2X. As far as sound quality goes, the Essence is definitely the way to go.
There may be 3, but the one to the left of the pci-e x16 slot in that picture is completely covered by my video card, the one next to it is too close to my video card to put a sound card in, and the one on the far right side, with the Forte, will have it hanging over the edge of my memory slot clips.

So between the Xonar D2X and the Essence, which is better and by how much? I can get an Essence for $213 here in Canada and there is actually a mail in rebate for a D2X bringing the D2X to $167. So is the Essence really worth $46 more?.
post #23 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pm@c View Post
There may be 3, but the one to the left of the pci-e x16 slot in that picture is completely covered by my video card, the one next to it is too close to my video card to put a sound card in, and the one on the far right side, with the Forte, will have it hanging over the edge of my memory slot clips.

So between the Xonar D2X and the Essence, which is better and by how much? I can get an Essence for $213 here in Canada and there is actually a mail in rebate for a D2X bringing the D2X to $167. So is the Essence really worth $46 more?.
Why is it too close? I'm sure it would fit perfectly on the top of the video card. It will be close, but they wouldn't be putting slots there if you could not use them.

If you do not need the multi channel capabilities of the D2X, then yeah, I think paying a little extra for the Essence would be well worth it. Again, better sound quality and you get an headphone amp..

You can get Essence STX for 197$ + 10$ next day shipping here: ASUS Xonar Essence STX PCI-E1 SPDIF Sound Card 124DB SNR W/ Headphone AMP - DirectCanada

That's where I ordered mine a couple of months ago.

Edit: Even cheaper here: http://www.1click2computers.com/prod...0ESSENCE%20STX
post #24 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
Maybe theres some PC cards out there decoding DD signals, but the claro halo dosent and it is clearly stated in the manual.

I was reading the astro mixamp manual and thats where they explained that dolby headphone can work with either dolby digital or dolby pro logic2 (optical or analogue).

Since you connect your headphones straight in the sound card and the claro halo dosent decode a dd signal, well its obviously in "dolby pro logic mode" so its no near as good as it should be. Sure, I could set the sound card in dolby digital live mode, connecting my mixamp via the optical out of the claro, but then that totally destroy the purpose of that card, at least for me, considering I bought it mainly for DH.

Thats why I think that, with the claro halo, you cant have the real DH experience.
Well just saying your claro cannot deocde a Dolby signal is much different then what you wrote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
A pc sound card can't decode a dolby digital signal, its a dolby restriction. It can only ENCODE it but then you need to bring that signal to a decoder.
Which is to say no card can do it. As for DH, I find setting on the card and the card itself have a great deal to do with the quality of DH. Maybe you should check out a different card if your not happy with the current one you have.
post #25 of 53
Quote:
Well just saying your claro cannot deocde a Dolby signal is much different then what you wrote:

Which is to say no card can do it. As for DH, I find setting on the card and the card itself have a great deal to do with the quality of DH. Maybe you should check out a different card if your not happy with the current one you have.
Why then HTomega would put such claims in their manuals? Its not that I refuse to believe you, I just dont understand.

"soundcard manufacturers are effectively prevented from adding DD/DTS decoders to their products"
post #26 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shike View Post
I haven't had experience with the most recent edition on the Asus, but generally from the past the hardware implementations have just had better configurations and sometimes offer more configurations. For example, my SU-DH1 allows three settings of Dolby Headphone. I use number two because the first doesn't have as large a soundstage and number three tries to echo a concert hall sucking life out of the system IMO. Number two does exactly what I'd expect, imitate an average listening room.

If the Asus improved upon this then it's a step in the right direction, but unfortunately is still not suited for gaming due to no DirectSound emulation.



As for which card to get . . . the Forte. While most games are switching over to OpenAL many have not. Even fairly recent games have had sound issues in in-game movies because the audio required directsound. Prince of Persia, Mirror's Edge, and a few others come to mind off the bat.

This is why you basically need Audio Alchemy. There's no way around it really AFAIK. Either that or you're gambling on devs making both an awesome game and avoiding directsound 100%. Hope that helps
The ASUS cards have DH1,2,3 with setting for each. I also find the soudn quality of the card has a great deal to do with the quality your going to hear with any effect also.

You only need Alchemy for Direct Sound games under Vista -well older games that use Direct sound. Games with the OpenAL API works perfectly fine with hardware accleration under Vista.

Xonars have GX 2.X which intercepts directsound and other effect calls and translates them into effect calls the Xonar effect engine can understand.
I own both card so I am not gambling on anything
We developed software a little while back that allowed a person to use two cards one with a hardware DSP and one for output. They were linked internally using low latency software patch. This gave the user the ability to have full hardware gaming effects but higher quality sound from the second card. Any fatures avilable on either card was avilable to the user.
The software is called "Velbac"
To note, I have been playing Mirrors edge and have had no issue with the STX and ingame videos...
post #27 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
Why then HTomega would put such claims in their manuals? Its not that I refuse to believe you, I just dont understand.

"soundcard manufacturers are effectively prevented from adding DD/DTS decoders to their products"
Just because the Claro cannot doesn't mean other cards can't.
While it is true it is not a common feature there are some cards that have this feature.
Look at the Audigy 2, CL X-fis..they can decode a Dolby Digital signal from the digital input. How that works in Vista or what the deal is when the encoder is installed is another question.
post #28 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by ROBSCIX View Post
Just because the Claro cannot doesn't mean other cards can't.
While it is true it is not a common features there are some cards that have this feature.
Look at the Audigy 2, CL X-fis..they can decode a Dolby Digital signal from the digital input. How that works in VIsta or what the deal is when the encoder is installed is another question.
The only other popular card with DH is the essence STX. Can it decode a DD signal?
post #29 of 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by FatMom View Post
The only other popular card with DH is the essence STX. Can it decode a DD signal?
What?
Lets see:
Auzentech X-meridian 7.1
HT Omega Claro(+)
HT Omega Halo
-add in every 8788 based card out there....
Xonar D2
Xonar D2X
Xonar DX
Xonar HDAV 1.3
Xonar STX
Xonar ST

All these cards have DH... I already stated it is not a common feature but it is available on certain cards.
post #30 of 53
Is it available on a card with DH.
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