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Please help me choose Headphone, Soundcard & AMP - Page 4

post #46 of 64

Xonar cards do have GX 2.5 though. Which can do EAX 2.0 natively then emulate 5.0. But until we get a card with CMSS-3D and DH, we have to pick.

post #47 of 64

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omark12 View Post

Correct. What I'm saying is when I got DH it sounds like i'm listening to 7.1/5.1 speakers. I like it better, I watch a lot of movies that have DD and DTS soundtracks that are emulated with DH, The directionality of the sounds still exist. 


Well, I can't say I've done extensive testing with movies yet. That's a different matter. Most of my experiences when it comes to directionality and headphones boil down to gaming, where it's important to know exactly where every gunshot, explosion, and footstep is coming from.

 

I have some DVD player apps that have built-in Dolby Headphone support in addition to my SU-DH1 DAC/DSP, so I could get around to testing movies with CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone at some point.

 

Also, I can't say I've actually experienced a proper 5.1 setup. The one in our living room is screwed up in the sense that the HDTV is where the front left speaker should be, so now the front left speaker's on the middle left of the room, and the right of the room is rather open. How are we supposed to acoustically treat a room with an open side like that? (And this isn't getting into how our subwoofer failed several years ago; turns out to be a common defect in the amp section.)

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by Omark12 View Post

Xonar cards do have GX 2.5 though. Which can do EAX 2.0 natively then emulate 5.0. But until we get a card with CMSS-3D and DH, we have to pick.


Every non-Creative device supports EAX 1/2; it seems to be part of the DirectSound3D API itself. As far as emulating EAX 5.0, I've heard very mixed thoughts and naturally have my doubts about how well it actually replicates the real EAX 5 sound from the X-Fi DSP. (Then again, Creative claims EAX 5 on some blatantly software-driven devices, like the X-Fi MB software suite for integrated audio codecs and the X-Fi Go! Pro.)

 

As far as having to choose between CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone, that is a bit unfortunate that we can't have both at the driver level and decide for ourselves, but there's always the option to get an Astro Mixamp, Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS, JVC/Victor SU-DH1, or other similar device. (Too bad that limits the analog output quality to whatever those devices are capable of.)


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/23/11 at 6:27pm
post #48 of 64
Thread Starter 

just been playing cs and trying some of these audio settings on my x-meridian and its bloody awful. hate these effects :<

post #49 of 64

I'm pretty sure the DSS and mixamp are just Dolby Headphone processors.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

As far as having to choose between CMSS-3D Headphone and Dolby Headphone, that is a bit unfortunate that we can't have both at the driver level and decide for ourselves, but there's always the option to get an Astro Mixamp, Turtle Beach Ear Force DSS, JVC/Victor SU-DH1, or other similar device. (Too bad that limits the analog output quality to whatever those devices are capable of.)



 

post #50 of 64

As far as I know CMSS-3D only shines in games with OpenAL and Direct sound 3D right? In others you just have to use CMSS headphone with the 5.1/7.1 option in-game?

post #51 of 64
Thread Starter 

i was playing around with gaming settings on my X-Meridian and i hated it... sounded horrible and somewhat echoey, as if being in a stone room

 

if this is what eax 5.0 and cmss3d is like i will not use these settings, instead relying on the analogue headphone output, paired with some cans with great soundstage instead

 

 

anyone give me any feedback on the sound of these settings?

post #52 of 64

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omark12 View Post

I'm pretty sure the DSS and mixamp are just Dolby Headphone processors.


That's because they all are. Feed them a Dolby Digital signal (DTS also works on the SU-DH1) over S/PDIF or Dolby Pro Logic II over analog, out comes a two-channel analog signal optionally processed with Dolby Headphone. When the X-Fi cards can do Dolby Digital Live, that's not an issue, and it's how I compare the two.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Omark12 View Post

As far as I know CMSS-3D only shines in games with OpenAL and Direct sound 3D right? In others you just have to use CMSS headphone with the 5.1/7.1 option in-game?


CMSS-3D Headphone excels in DirectSound3D and OpenAL games because it has access to the 3D sound buffer itself, yes. For games with software audio engines, they read the Windows speaker setting to decide how the audio should be pre-mixed before it even hits the sound card driver, so CMSS-3D Headphone effectively gets dropped to Dolby Headphone's level in terms of how much positional information it has to work with, being forced to emulate 5.1/7.1. It still reasonably works well in that state, but the lack of height cues is glaringly obvious. (Especially in games like Just Cause 2 with quite a vertical element to the gameplay.)

 

Summary: Set Windows to 5.1/7.1 and X-Fi to Headphones for maximum compatibility. Downmixing of extra channels is done whether CMSS-3D Headphone is on or off, so don't worry about missing sounds.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post

i was playing around with gaming settings on my X-Meridian and i hated it... sounded horrible and somewhat echoey, as if being in a stone room

 

if this is what eax 5.0 and cmss3d is like i will not use these settings, instead relying on the analogue headphone output, paired with some cans with great soundstage instead

 

anyone give me any feedback on the sound of these settings?


You shouldn't be using any EAX/environmental presets in the sound card control panel that add tons of reverb to everything. Those should be off at all times for exactly the reasons you've noticed. The point of having EAX is that the game engine has them mapped accordingly without needing tweakery in the sound control panel, and the sound card can handle it on its own DSP. Usually, the software audio fallback omits the environmental effects entirely, which isn't ideal at all because you're missing the intended sound. Worse off, it may have a limited number of channels, meaning that if too many effects play simultaneously, you won't hear some of them.

 

On a genuine X-Fi, EAX effects in games shouldn't have exaggerated reverb unless the game developer intentionally set it that way. The effects should be more subtle, with smoother transitions. Battlefield 2 and 2142, for example, certainly don't sound echoey at all in X-Fi/Ultra High mode.

 

It's certainly not easy to set a sound card properly for PC gaming audio, not helped by how they throw around buzzwords like that. Sooner or later, I'll have to write my own guide to sound cards and PC gaming audio, but since I don't own any modern sound cards that don't use X-Fi DSPs, it'll be tough to sort out your case as a C-Media user.

 

Just know that you're applying impressions on a C-Media card to how X-Fi cards might do it, which in essence means you're comparing an emulation of EAX 5 to the real deal and not sampling CMSS-3D Headphone at all, though in games with software audio engines, I can't tell enough of a difference from Dolby Headphone to say that one is better than the other, so you can safely carry those impressions over as to whether or not you like binaural surround filters. Some people don't like them at all and just game in stereo.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/25/11 at 10:57pm
post #53 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post
i was playing around with gaming settings on my X-Meridian and i hated it... sounded horrible and somewhat echoey, as if being in a stone room

if this is what EAX 5.0 and cmss3d is like i will not use these settings, instead relying on the analogue headphone output, paired with some cans with great soundstage instead

anyone give me any feedback on the sound of these settings?

The X-Meridian and most Xonar cards use the same audio processer, the C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788,

Asus just relabels their CMI8788 the AV100 & AV200.

None of these sound card come with CMSS-3D or true EAX 5.0

But they do come with Dolby Digital (like Dolby Virtual Headphone).

 

In some games, setting the game's audio to "Theater Cinema" works best, if the game offers the "Theater Cinema" option.

 


 

 

 

post #54 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 


That's because they all are. Feed them a Dolby Digital signal (DTS also works on the SU-DH1) over S/PDIF or Dolby Pro Logic II over analog, out comes a two-channel analog signal optionally processed with Dolby Headphone. When the X-Fi cards can do Dolby Digital Live, that's not an issue, and it's how I compare the two.

 


CMSS-3D Headphone excels in DirectSound3D and OpenAL games because it has access to the 3D sound buffer itself, yes. For games with software audio engines, they read the Windows speaker setting to decide how the audio should be pre-mixed before it even hits the sound card driver, so CMSS-3D Headphone effectively gets dropped to Dolby Headphone's level in terms of how much positional information it has to work with, being forced to emulate 5.1/7.1. It still reasonably works well in that state, but the lack of height cues is glaringly obvious. (Especially in games like Just Cause 2 with quite a vertical element to the gameplay.)

 

Summary: Set Windows to 5.1/7.1 and X-Fi to Headphones for maximum compatibility. Downmixing of extra channels is done whether CMSS-3D Headphone is on or off, so don't worry about missing sounds.

 


You shouldn't be using any EAX/environmental presets in the sound card control panel that add tons of reverb to everything. Those should be off at all times for exactly the reasons you've noticed. The point of having EAX is that the game engine has them mapped accordingly without needing tweakery in the sound control panel, and the sound card can handle it on its own DSP. Usually, the software audio fallback omits the environmental effects entirely, which isn't ideal at all because you're missing the intended sound. Worse off, it may have a limited number of channels, meaning that if too many effects play simultaneously, you won't hear some of them.

 

On a genuine X-Fi, EAX effects in games shouldn't have exaggerated reverb unless the game developer intentionally set it that way. The effects should be more subtle, with smoother transitions. Battlefield 2 and 2142, for example, certainly don't sound echoey at all in X-Fi/Ultra High mode.

 

It's certainly not easy to set a sound card properly for PC gaming audio, not helped by how they throw around buzzwords like that. Sooner or later, I'll have to write my own guide to sound cards and PC gaming audio, but since I don't own any modern sound cards that don't use X-Fi DSPs, it'll be tough to sort out your case as a C-Media user.

 

Just know that you're applying impressions on a C-Media card to how X-Fi cards might do it, which in essence means you're comparing an emulation of EAX 5 to the real deal and not sampling CMSS-3D Headphone at all, though in games with software audio engines, I can't tell enough of a difference from Dolby Headphone to say that one is better than the other, so you can safely carry those impressions over as to whether or not you like binaural surround filters. Some people don't like them at all and just game in stereo.



 



Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

The X-Meridian and most Xonar cards use the same audio processer, the C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788,

Asus just relabels their CMI8788 the AV100 & AV200.

None of these sound card come with CMSS-3D or true EAX 5.0

But they do come with Dolby Digital (like Dolby Virtual Headphone).

 

In some games, setting the game's audio to "Theater Cinema" works best, if the game offers the "Theater Cinema" option.

 


 

 

 



would you get the Titanium HD or the new Creative SB Recon3D PCIe (which has an inbuilt amp, but looks like no 3dcmss)  http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Recon3D-Fatal1ty-SB1356/dp/B00654PTT2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324671276&sr=8-2 ?

 

i was thinking initially of the Xonar Essence STX but i think ive been persuaded to get the gaming cards as i mostly do gaming!

 

they will likely be paired with an AD700 (with its huge soundtage).. but part of me wants to do something crazy like getting a Hifiman HE-500 or Audeze LCD-2... but i wouldnt have any money left over to drive them with good amps so this is probably a stupid idea!

 

i was however interested to ask you how the soundstage of the AD700 would compare with those expensive cans, and how would they fair for gaming!

post #55 of 64

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post

would you get the Titanium HD or the new Creative SB Recon3D PCIe (which has an inbuilt amp, but looks like no 3dcmss)  http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Recon3D-Fatal1ty-SB1356/dp/B00654PTT2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324671276&sr=8-2 ?

 

i was thinking initially of the Xonar Essence STX but i think ive been persuaded to get the gaming cards as i mostly do gaming!

 

they will likely be paired with an AD700 (with its huge soundtage).. but part of me wants to do something crazy like getting a Hifiman HE-500 or Audeze LCD-2... but i wouldnt have any money left over to drive them with good amps so this is probably a stupid idea!

 

i was however interested to ask you how the soundstage of the AD700 would compare with those expensive cans, and how would they fair for gaming!


I'm not sure about those Recon3D cards...the SNR specs say they're worse off with the Titanium HD, and I'm not sure what they have in place of CMSS-3D Headphone. At some point, I'll have to review one extensively.

 

Besides, with those expensive orthos, they may be revealing of a less high-quality source, so you might be happier with the Titanium HD + external amp in the end. (Also, their impedances are fairly low, so I'm not too concerned about impedance matching, just low sensitivity coming from something like the AD700. So sensitive that if you plug it right into the sound card and use above 6% volume, it's going to be too loud for comfort.)

 

As for how their soundstages compare to the AD700...sorry, never heard an HE-500 or LCD-2, though I'd like to at some point. About all I can compare to the AD700 would be the Stax Lambda line in general, which is pretty much AD700 on steroids in terms of strengths.


Edited by NamelessPFG - 12/26/11 at 3:06pm
post #56 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post
would you get the Titanium HD or the new Creative SB Recon3D PCIe (which has an inbuilt amp, but looks like no 3dcmss)  http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Recon3D-Fatal1ty-SB1356/dp/B00654PTT2/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324671276&sr=8-2 ?

i was thinking initially of the Xonar Essence STX but i think ive been persuaded to get the gaming cards as i mostly do gaming!

they will likely be paired with an AD700 (with its huge soundtage).. but part of me wants to do something crazy like getting a Hifiman HE-500 or Audeze LCD-2... but i wouldnt have any money left over to drive them with good amps so this is probably a stupid idea!

i was however interested to ask you how the soundstage of the AD700 would compare with those expensive cans, and how would they fair for gaming!

I really doubt Creative Labs would drop CMSS-3D, I believe they renamed it THX TruStudio PRO, sounds better in advertising, then CMSS-3D.

Lots more people have heard the word "THX", then CMSS-3D. The THX TruStudio PRO might even be an improvement over CMSS-3D.

 

I personally would get the Recon3D, just because it's the newest card.

 

The Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is a very easy set of cans to drive, does not take much of a sound card or amp to power them.

and they really do not improve that much with expensive amplifiers.

 

The ATH-AD700 lack of any real bass makes them great for FPS, makes it easier to hear the mids and highs.

I doubt you'll find a set of more expensive cans that are really that much better at FPS.

But that lack of thump makes them less desirable for action movies and music that sounds better with bass.

 

You can get the Sennheiser HD-558 (50-Ohm), more bass then the AD700s, $123 at Electronics Expo, use coupon code "BOUNTII",

Sell off the AD700s.


 

 

 

post #57 of 64
Thread Starter 

http://vr-zone.com/articles/creative-s-sound-core3d-gets-nekkid-in-front-of-the-camera/14353.html

 

seems as though it isnt very good :(

 

btw, does EAX work in windows 7?

 

ive read somewhere that there are problems with it and Vista??

 

so im likely to go with the Titanium HD + AD700 (unless i go with the HD 800 lol - any ideas how they are for gaming?? reviews suggest they have some of the biggest if not the biggest soundstage out there)


Edited by XenatR - 12/27/11 at 4:40pm
post #58 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post
http://vr-zone.com/articles/creative-s-sound-core3d-gets-nekkid-in-front-of-the-camera/14353.html

seems as though it isnt very good :(

btw, does EAX work in windows 7?

ive read somewhere that there are problems with it and Vista??

so im likely to go with the Titanium HD + AD700 (unless i go with the HD 800 lol - any ideas how they are for gaming?? reviews suggest they have some of the biggest if not the biggest soundstage out there)

Up through Windows XP, EAX worked fine,

Microsoft changed how audio functioned starting with Windows Vista, EAX no longer functioned.

Creative Labs came out with Alchemy, which allowed EAX to work with Windows Vista and 7.

Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is great for FPS, but it is a bass light headphone.
 

 

 

post #59 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Up through Windows XP, EAX worked fine,

Microsoft changed how audio functioned starting with Windows Vista, EAX no longer functioned.

Creative Labs came out with Alchemy, which allowed EAX to work with Windows Vista and 7.

Audio Technica ATH-AD700 is great for FPS, but it is a bass light headphone.
 

 

 


ok cool thanks! do you know if it is just a one-off install?

 

post #60 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by XenatR View Post
ok cool thanks! do you know if it is just a one-off install?


I would assume Alchemy comes included on the install CD that come with the Creative Labs sound cards.

 

 

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