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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 84

post #1246 of 3278
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zerocraft View Post

Has anyone noticed windows sound settings reverting from 5.1 to 2.1 speakers randomly ?  I am not sure whats doing it... really annoying.  Also sometimes on restarting my speaker balance is thrown off, I usually keep everything maxed, but after restarts left and right front channels end up at 67, while everything else will remain at 100.

 

I'm also wondering if it's even worth it to bother with X-Fi anymore, 99% of games I play are newer ones with pre-mixed surround audio, so I am really considering switching to Dolby based stuff.  How do x-fi / xonar dgx perform when it comes to software rendered binaural techs ?  

 

Windows speaker settings never switch up on me like that, but volume resetting to a particular percentage in Headphones mode has been a quirk of X-Fi drivers for all cards other than the Titanium HD. I'm not sure why.

 

In software-mixed games where all you get is virtual 7.1 at the max anyway, they both perform about equally, just that CMSS-3D Headphone emphasizes treble a bit while Dolby Headphone emphasizes bass. Both are much, much better than playing in stereo, at least for me.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AzureBeat View Post

I don't doubt it, that's why I'm looking into this. My thoughts are that if the 3d ability is equal, then better sound quality becomes the most deciding factor, and if that is close, than other features become the decision maker. I had heard some comments that the SQ of the HD series was not so great.

 

They're certainly not coming from me. I have no complaints about the Titanium HD's analog output in its stock state.

 

Sound presentation-wise, with EQ, bass boost, and other such features off, it even seems to have a bit more bass punch than Auzentech's X-Fi offerings (Prelude and Forte), which were already no slouch in that department. Nothing overpowering to utterly skew the overall frequency balance, but a slightly increased presence I noticed for sure.

 

This is with the default JRC 2114D/LME49710 opamp configuration. I once tried swapping the JRCs with LME49860s, but that resulted in the most horridly V-shaped frequency response I've heard in a long time, with exaggerated bass and treble notes along with insultingly recessed midrange.

post #1247 of 3278
Great thread, got some questions for anyone with answers:

-how do you switch modes in the creative console? All i see is entertainment. It's getting annoying having to change a bunch of settings whenever I just want to listen to music. In win7 64 bit I can't see any gaming mode.

-does setting the windows audio configuration to 7.1 affect foobar, the browser or any other program? The boxes are checked where it says programs can take over the speaker's configuration. I'd like to just keep at that if it doesn't affect anything besides gaming.

- is cmss-3d the better choice when only playing single player or is DH better? (non-competitive gaming only)

-also is DH much easier to use compared to cmss-3D? It took me 2 days to get correct drivers since the official ones on creative's website were not working at all. Same goes for the official versions of their software. Does dolby headphone take into account the audio configuration of windows as well? How does it work.

Thank you
post #1248 of 3278
Thread Starter 

There are two ways to switch X-Fi modes (on real X-Fi cards only, software-based "X-Fi" products are limited to Entertainment Mode):

 

-All Console Launcher control panels have a "Mode" button at the lower-left corner. Click that, and you get your mode selection.

-Alternatively, right-click the Volume Panel system tray icon (looks like a metallic volume knob), and there's a Mode Switch area there. I find this method much more convenient.

 

Setting the Windows speaker layout to 5.1 or 7.1 shouldn't impact any other program negatively, since stereo sources sound exactly the same as in stereo speaker mode (provided that CMSS-3D Headphone's off). You have nothing to lose and everything to gain for surround sound sources!

 

Personally, I'd still use CMSS-3D Headphone for non-competitive play. Just having a proper 3D sound mix is its own immersion factor, and if the tonal balance isn't to your taste, that's what the EQ is for. But there are people known to prefer Dolby Headphone anyway, sometimes to the point of setting an X-Fi to Dolby Digital Live output and feeding a console Dolby Headphone processor with the signal. (This is how I formed my own CMSS-3D vs. DH comparisons, incidentally.) Only you can really decide which sounds better to you.

 

I don't consider CMSS-3D Headphone that hard to set up, really. It's a one-time process of just setting the X-Fi to Game Mode, then the speaker layout to Headphones, then setting Windows to 5.1/7.1 speakers. Of course, it's something that Creative should have completely automated to begin with, but that's just the way it is.

post #1249 of 3278
Thank you for your reply, the problem I have with the setup is that whenever I want to listen to music I have to set the control panel back to 2.1 channels and that changes window's configuration to 2 channela as well. I keep hearing about a setting that makes it so that your settings don't affect the windows configuration but I don't see it. Is it just not available in windows 7? The settings issues aren't that dramatic, admittedly, but I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong or if I ddidn't have the correct software versions for my OS.
post #1250 of 3278
Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamKing View Post

Thank you for your reply, the problem I have with the setup is that whenever I want to listen to music I have to set the control panel back to 2.1 channels and that changes window's configuration to 2 channela as well. I keep hearing about a setting that makes it so that your settings don't affect the windows configuration but I don't see it. Is it just not available in windows 7? The settings issues aren't that dramatic, admittedly, but I was just wondering if I was doing something wrong or if I ddidn't have the correct software versions for my OS.

You shouldn't be changing around those settings in the creative control panel at all if you're using the same device. If you're using headphones, keep it on headphones mode, not 2.1 or 5.1. The 2.1 and 5.1 settings are for actual 2.1 and 5.1 speakers.

post #1251 of 3278
Oh so headphone mode doesn't affect sound quality? I thought 2 channels was the preferred setup for music with xfi cards.
post #1252 of 3278
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

You shouldn't be changing around those settings in the creative control panel at all if you're using the same device. If you're using headphones, keep it on headphones mode, not 2.1 or 5.1. The 2.1 and 5.1 settings are for actual 2.1 and 5.1 speakers.

The main reason to change it to 5.1 instead of 2.1 is when one is using either CMSS3D headphone,Dolby headphone or Tru studio pro 3D. All 3 works best when you have windows speaker settings set to 5.1 instead of stereo in windows as well as games. As all works best when set like that. They don't work that good if you keep it on stereo. I tested both ways and keeping it on 5.1 while using all 3 worked the best, When your gaming. Of course you don't use it and use stereo when your listening to music. Because using either 3 for music would be ewww, But when it comes to gaming then they works wonders when they are config right. Mainly for the above and below sounds in games.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DreamKing View Post

Oh so headphone mode doesn't affect sound quality? I thought 2 channels was the preferred setup for music with xfi cards.

I notice that headphone mode did when I was gaming, I don't recall if I notice when I was listening to music, This was years ago when I had a Auzentech X-FI Prelude and a pair of AD700's.  I know I had to switch to 2.1 speaker settings to use the headphones. As Headphone took Alot of the AD700s sound stage, when ever I had it in headphone mode.  Could been a driver issue as this was many years ago.   Last time I used Headphone mode again, I had a X-FI HD PCI-E and DT880 pro-250 running thru a external headphone amp. And every thing was fine with games. But like I said It could been a driver issue all of those years ago, When It annoyed me to use Headphone mode while gaming with those pair of AD700s I had.

 

Because I remember playing Hellgate London(no not the global the orginal servers) and getting annoyed and exiting out switching it to 2.1 speakers and being happy.


Edited by genclaymore - 1/25/13 at 1:44am
post #1253 of 3278
Thread Starter 

I literally couldn't tell apart Headphone and 2 Speakers modes on the X-Fi cards (either with Daniel_K X-Fi Support Pack 2.5 drivers or the Titanium HD's drivers) for music, no matter how hard I tried. Nor could I tell apart the Windows settings for Stereo and 5.1 Speakers with those same music sources. People kept saying there was a difference, and I really did try to find it, but I found absolutely nothing.

 

Fortunately for me, that makes things quite convenient when switching between games and music, as that just means I have to switch CMSS-3D Headphone on or off, respectively.

 

If you're really insistent on a pure audio path for music playback, you might even switch to Audio Creation Mode to enable ASIO support and bit-matched playback, then use an ASIO plugin with the media player of your choice to ensure the purest audio from the source. However, I don't really hear enough benefit to justify switching between Game Mode and Audio Creation Mode all the time, especially with Winamp's OpenAL plugin.

post #1254 of 3278

I remember the non-headphone modes sounding terrible on my Audigy when gaming(sounds switching back and forth way too suddenly), haven't tried them on my Titanium yet. I don't see why there should be any problems using it for music, it's made for headphones. Headphones are also 2 channel...

 

It should only effect CMSS-3D I would think, since then it wouldn't need to add crossfeed.

post #1255 of 3278
Thread Starter 

Remember what I said about USB DACs being unsuitable for gaming compared to S/PDIF ones?

 

I may have to reconsider that statement now. I don't know what the hell happened with using the Recon3D USB and the Live! 24-bit External in that fashion, where it introduced enough noise that even a non-audiophile could notice, but the JDS Labs-built ObjectiveDAC I got to review along with Mad Lust Envy's HE-400 has NO such problems. Just tell Windows 7/8 to replay "What U Hear" through the ODAC output, and it sounds just fine...

 

I'll have to experiment a bit more to see if I can reproduce the issue. The Recon3D USB and Live! 24-bit External had their drivers installed, which may have had something to do with it, but the ODAC is conveniently plug-and-play, completely driverless beyond what comes with Windows. (Unfortunately, that makes it unsuitable as a gaming audio DSP by itself...)

post #1256 of 3278
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Remember what I said about USB DACs being unsuitable for gaming compared to S/PDIF ones?

 

 Just tell Windows 7/8 to replay "What U Hear" through the ODAC output, and it sounds just fine...

 

So you can use the soundcards CMSS processing and output it over the USB to the ODAC?

 

If so that's awesome. I can get rid of the headphone jack into the O2/ODAC from the Titanium HD's RCA and just use the USB?

 

I wonder what would be best for use - the Titanium HD's hardware or the ODAC.

 

(unless I'm reading it wrong and it's not what you mean)

post #1257 of 3278
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by raband View Post

So you can use the soundcards CMSS processing and output it over the USB to the ODAC?

 

If so that's awesome. I can get rid of the headphone jack into the O2/ODAC from the Titanium HD's RCA and just use the USB?

 

I wonder what would be best for use - the Titanium HD's hardware or the ODAC.

 

(unless I'm reading it wrong and it's not what you mean)

 

Yeah, anything the sound card normally outputs, be that pure stereo or processed with CMSS-3D Headphone, goes through What U Hear (Stereo Mix). That's the whole point of that "input" in the Recording tab.

 

You should be able to use the ODAC through USB in theory now, though honestly, I don't notice a dramatic difference between the two right now, at least with the Titanium HD as the default audio device. They both do the job of outputting clean analog audio very well.

 

I'll probably just stick with the Titanium HD for my desktop and consider getting an ODAC later if I want to set up a dedicated music jukebox somewhere in my house, since the ODAC is more of a "plug-and-play, no muss, no fuss" sort of device.

post #1258 of 3278
Quote:

Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post


You should be able to use the ODAC through USB in theory now, though honestly, I don't notice a dramatic difference between the two right now, at least with the Titanium HD as the default audio device. They both do the job of outputting clean analog audio very well.

 

 

Yeah - I don't expect a huge difference between the 2, but it could tidy up the desk a little (no need for the extra cable into the already crowded front panel of the O2) and let me play music straight through the DAC without having to change inputs/audio etc.

post #1259 of 3278
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Remember what I said about USB DACs being unsuitable for gaming compared to S/PDIF ones?

I may have to reconsider that statement now. I don't know what the hell happened with using the Recon3D USB and the Live! 24-bit External in that fashion, where it introduced enough noise that even a non-audiophile could notice, but the JDS Labs-built ObjectiveDAC I got to review along with Mad Lust Envy's HE-400 has NO such problems. Just tell Windows 7/8 to replay "What U Hear" through the ODAC output, and it sounds just fine...

I'll have to experiment a bit more to see if I can reproduce the issue. The Recon3D USB and Live! 24-bit External had their drivers installed, which may have had something to do with it, but the ODAC is conveniently plug-and-play, completely driverless beyond what comes with Windows. (Unfortunately, that makes it unsuitable as a gaming audio DSP by itself...)
Huh. Background noise was specifically something I thought was really decently controlled on my Recon3D, especially compared to what people described with the DSS and Mixamp. Is the ODAC's USB cable the same you used with your Recon3D (I'm also wondering what type of USB cable the ODAC uses, as it will be my first "high quality" DAC experience)? I have like 4 different kinds of USB cable, I should have the one needed.

Maybe I could use the Recon3D in conjunction with a USB DAC in the future wink.gif
post #1260 of 3278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


I'm also wondering what type of USB cable the ODAC uses,
 
Maybe I could use the Recon3D in conjunction with a USB DAC in the future wink.gif

It takes the mini-b plug (same as the mixamp) with a ferrite bead/choke recommended.

 

How would you use the Recon3D (it's external isn't it?) with the second external DAC? Doesn't it only output analogue after processing?


Edited by raband - 1/26/13 at 4:48am
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