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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 91

post #1351 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by chewy4 View Post

Is that the only way to get 3D sound in source games including CS:GO? That seems a little tricky with a Creative card since the source games don't showup on the list for ALchemy.

 

I'd say that I hope they have OpenAL native by the time HL3(or Ep3, whatever they end up calling it) comes out, but I'm sure that there will not only be a new form of 3D sound by then but we will have also transcended beyond physical forms and will only exist as energy that is not restricted by the bounds of three dimensions.

I think you should just set the game 5.1 and be done with it,  i've tried the snd_legacy_surround "1" + alchemy thing  last year in L4D2, it didn't work out that well, I had to set the game to headphones mode instead of 5.1 and  most sounds effects sounded way too different. 

 

You should try  cspromod 1.10 btw, much tighter movement and goldsrc-like  sound spatialization :)  

post #1352 of 3067

Ohhh I didn't see that stereo mix option. So I could have that checked for gaming with CCSM-3D on and send it optical out to my desktop DAC/amp. And then would I uncheck 'play stereo mix using digital output' for music listening, etc... (I'd probably just stay in game mode as well and just uncheck CCSM-3D). I am using Foobar right now but would I benefit from switching to Winamp with an OpenAL output plugin if I multitask a lot? Like I will listen to music sometimes, and then maybe be watching video in a web browser or something. And I am guessing drivers like ASIO or OpenAL wouldn't work in Google Chrome or games or...actually I don't really know how those things work at all. 

 

Basically I want gaming/music/internet sound with the minimal amount of switching settings as possible.

post #1353 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 and of course, it prevents other applications from playing audio at all while the media player has exclusive mode active.

Ah yes, thank you, didn't see that part. For that reason I may stay with directsound, but uhh I haven't heard of this OpenAL output plugin business, I thought OpenAL was an API..

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 so I just use Winamp with an OpenAL output plugin.)

post #1354 of 3067
Thread Starter 

OpenAL is an audio API. It's not really that different from WASAPI exclusive mode and ASIO for this particular use, as you're still bypassing the Windows sound stack.

 

It has come to attention that there are a bunch of Winamp OpenAL output plugins floating around, though. I'll have to upload the one I use at some point.

post #1355 of 3067

Or would I even have to uncheck 'play stereo mix using digital output' when listening to music. As long as the CCSM-3D is off that is, this would still be the raw signal that has not been converted analog to digitally yet correct? Or would I have to have it checked to get any sound to come through my external DAC.. gaming or otherwise?

post #1356 of 3067

I decided to settle on a Beyer DT 990 premium 250 ohm can.

This piece will be used for pc gaming and music.

Gaming: BF3, BF4, some rpg.

Music: Rap/hip hop, Rock/metal, all kind of electronic music.

 

My sound card is the standard one, which comes with the Rampage II Extreme mb: http://www.asus.com/ROG/RAMPAGE_II_EXTREME/

So this one ain't probably the best.

 

The tricky parts comes now.

As i'm setting a surround 5.1 set together, with some mid/higher end speakers, i'm gonna get some prober receiver, instead of the Denon avr-1912.

The surround receiver will maybe be used for driving the DT990 premium 250 ohm phone.

The 3 receivers i'm looking at: Yamaha ax 3010, Denon 4311 and Anthem mrx 300. So we're in the higher end of receivers.

 

My question is: Can i settle on the surround receiver as a good enough headphone amp, or should i get something like the O2, or similar.

I have been looking to get the Asus Essence STX sound card, but will that be overkill, if i'm not gonna use the amp?.

 

Hmm, it's a little messed, but hope you beautiful guys/girls get my point:).

 

Hope some one can help here.

post #1357 of 3067

I'm an avid gamer, and i,m looking to upgrading my sound. I first ran into Mad Lust Envy's thread, which prompted me to visit this thread for help( as a pc gamer)

 

as of now i use sony iem's for general pc usage, (games, youtube) with onboard audio. kind of bad, huh?

 

on the first page of this thread

 

Nameless says ''-Buy a Stax Lambda system. You'll generally need $300-500 and a speaker amp for the cheaper sets, but I have yet to find a better headphone for gaming if you're looking for competitive positioning and comfort for hours on end.

-Alternatively, there's the HiFiMan HE-400, which is surprisingly comfortable with velour pads, has a nice cinematic sound presentation, and actually sounds surprisingly like a Stax SR-202/SRM-212 setup while being far less reliant on specialized amplification.''
 
wait...wait, so a stax lambda is what i'm looking for. I actually can't find one. only its older brother, the sr 507 ( released recently)
are the sonic qualities of both of them similar? i mean.. they are both from the lambda series ( I think ) 
 
Taken from Battle Of The Flagships (57 Headphones compared):
 
THE BATTLE OF THE FLAGSHIPS continued...
My quest to find the greatest headphone ever made!
by David Solomon
 
#17 STAX: SR-507
 
*Back To The Index
 
In 1960, Stax introduced the very first electrostatic headphone. Without delving into too much detail, let me say that electrostatic transducers operate differently from dynamic transducers. Dynamic transducers are far more common in headphone design. However, electrostatic transducers are highly praised for their extremely low distortion levels. Electrostatic headphones require a dedicated electrostatic amplifier. While Stax manufacturers several of these amps themselves, many third-party manufacturers have designed some marvelous electrostatic amps.
 
Stax introduced their Lambda series around 1980. More than thirty years later, Stax is still adding new headphones to this series. The SR-507 is the most recent addition to the Lambda series. The most obvious characteristic of this series is its rectangular-shaped ear-cup. The SR-507 is the only Lambda model I have ever owned. However, I have auditioned several Lambda models, including the SR-407 and SR-404 Limited Edition. I was highly impressed with the SR-404 Limited Edition, but I opted for the more easily-available SR-507.
 
The SR-507 is not Stax's current flagship (that designation belongs to the SR-009), but it is the current flagship of the Lambda series. Coincidentally, the SR-507 is the lowest ranking of the eight electrostatic headphones included in my list; not a bad feat for electrostatics, considering that #17 is still a very high ranking. When contrasting the general sound properties of electrostatic and dynamic transducers, I find that electrostatic transducers often sound more transparent, whereas dynamic transducers often possess more impact and character. The sound signature of the SR-507 is just a hair on the analytical side, but nevertheless, it manages to be very engaging.
 
 
STRENGTHS
TRANSPARENT: The SR-507 is a very transparent sounding headphone. It possesses a slightly cold temperament, but is transparent nonetheless.
 
TREBLE: The SR-507 exhibits grain-free treble extension. I prefer its treble presentation over most other headphones, save for the SR-009 and HE90.
 
MIDS: The midrange response of the SR-507 is very close to flat. I don't hear any awkward peaks or dips here.
 
DETAILED: The SR-507 provides the listener with a fantastic amount of detail. At its price, the SR-507 is the most detailed headphone that I have heard. The mids and treble sound extremely natural; upper-harmonics are audible without a sense of harshness.
 
DECAY: Electrostatic headphones tend to offer a faster decay than dynamic transducer headphones. The SR-507 most certainly showcases a fast decay.
 
TRANSIENT RESPONSE: From my experience, electrostatic transducers typically offer a liquid-like transient response. In terms of naturalness, the SR-507's transient response and decay surpasses that of most high-end dynamic headphones.
 
SMALL ENSEMBLE MASTER: I find that the sound signature of the SR-507 is best-suited for small ensembles, such as an intimate jazz combo or chamber ensemble. It is also handles electronic music extremely well. I find that its sound signature may be just a bit too bright to be optimal for rock music.
 
EASY TO AMP: The SR-507 requires an amplifier, but you don't need to spend a fortune to get it to sound good. Although I personally do not own any Stax amps, I have heard several Lambda models (including the SR-507) paired with Stax amps and I was mightily impressed with their sound.
 
SERIALIZED: To my knowledge, all currently-produced Stax headphones are serialized; the SR-507 is no exception.
 
 
WEAKNESSES
ANALYTICAL?: To my ears, the sound signature of the SR-507 is a bit on the colder side. I enjoy its analytical nature sometimes, but other times, I find its sound to be verging on icy.
 
SMALL SOUNDSTAGE: The soundstage here is narrow and without much height. If this headphone was to be criticized for having a weak spot, it would be its soundstage presentation.
 
COMFORT: I have tried other Lambda models which happen to be far more comfortable than the SR-507. I do not find the SR-507 to be particularly comfortable; the internal area of the ear-cup exerts pressure on my outer ear. But the real issue here is just how much the leather earpads heat up my head; I sweat within 20 minutes of using the SR-507. I would reach for this headphone more if this was not the case.
 
STORAGE: The packaging here is nothing fancy - just a cardboard box with Styrofoam padding inside. It's not the easiest task to put the headphones back in this box. In my opinion, the SR-507 ships with one of the least impressive storage boxes at its price-point.
 
 
ON THE FENCE
IMAGING: While the soundstage here is fairly narrow, the drivers are angled for a more realistic sound presentation. The SR-507 provides the listener with the ability to place instruments with a fair amount of precision.
 
BASS: The bass response of the SR-507 is very tight and shows excellent restraint. Even still, it is just a touch leaner than I would like. I would prefer the SR-507 have a weightier / fuller tone. Perhaps, this is from where my perception of the SR-507's analytical nature stems.
 
NEUTRAL?: The SR-507 is a fairly neutral sounding headphone. However, I wouldn't necessarily champion the SR-507 as a completely uncolored headphone.
 
CABLE: The quality of the stock cable is very good. I have never had urge to re-cable any of my Stax headphones. However, you all already know that I prefer a user-detachable cable design. :)
 
 
FOR THE PRICE
A-
 
At its price-point, the SR-507 is a very good value. Of course, you will need an electrostatic amplifier in order to power the SR-507. The biggest criticism that I have regarding the SR-507 is that the earpads cause me to sweat excessively. If you don't mind this aspect so much, the SR-507 is among the best headphones you can buy for its price.
 
 
QUICK CHECK
DESIGN: Full-Size
DRIVERS: Electrostatic
ISOLATION: Little to None
AMPLIFICATION: Absolutely Requires Amp
MY PREFERRED AMP: HeadAmp Blue Hawaii Special Edition
SOUNDS BEST WITH: Jazz / Chamber Music / Electronic
CABLES USED: Stock
REVISIONS KNOWN: None Known To Me
FLAGSHIP STATUS: Specific To Product-Line
PRODUCTION STATUS AS OF 2012: In Production
COST: $1099.99

 

 

 

One of the weaknesses is 'small soundstage', but a review of the lambda pro tells me of its incredible sound stage and detail.

i don't understand. the 507 should be better than the original( i think )

And isn't it true that good gaming headphones generally have large sound stages? at least what MLE posts.

so please help, i'm all over the place, i don't know what sound card can be used with the electostat amp, and what sound card to get in the first place.

 

Please Help

post #1358 of 3067

So I have been reading through this thread deciding on if I should got with an Xonar STX or Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion. Well it looks like the creative card is $100 off on newegg right now which comes to $99 but currently sold out. I was going to try a local Fry's to see if they would match it. It says it supports cans up to 600 ohm impedance. So I would not need an external desktop amp then? Is the amp included in this thing even half way decent? I am planning on picking up a pair of K702 anniversary if not just a pair of q701 instead. Anyone have experience with this card? Thanks

 

Edit after reading some reviews it basically says the Creative card is good for gaming and nothing really else. I may just get a Xonar DG and a pair of Samson SR850 for a quick cheap set up.


Edited by Tane - 2/23/13 at 9:59am
post #1359 of 3067
I have a couple of questions here, and a few answers for people.

Firstly, I think I now want to get an X-Fi Titanium HD, as it supports both CMSS-3D (3D sound virtualization) and THX TruStudio (2D sound virtualization)
From the demos I've tried, I don't like the sound of Dolby Headphone, as everything has far too much reverb.

3D sound seems to be on the way out, so even though the X-Fi supports CMSS-3D, I don't think modern games do? It seems like modern games would require you to set the card to 7.1, and then use THX TruStudio to create a 2D sound field. (a ring of directional audio around you, rather than a sphere)


I want to use an external DAC though, rather than the X-Fi's analogue outputs. It seems like the "what u hear" USB DAC workaround is not going to be a high quality option, and should be avoided.

Is it still possible to set the card to 7.1 to have it do proper headphone virtualization while using the optical output to a stereo DAC? I would also be putting a delay box in-between the sound card and DAC to sync with my TV.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Grymok View Post

I decided to settle on a Beyer DT 990 premium 250 ohm can.

...

As i'm setting a surround 5.1 set together, with some mid/higher end speakers, i'm gonna get some prober receiver, instead of the Denon avr-1912.
The surround receiver will maybe be used for driving the DT990 premium 250 ohm phone.
The 3 receivers i'm looking at: Yamaha ax 3010, Denon 4311 and Anthem mrx 300. So we're in the higher end of receivers.

My question is: Can i settle on the surround receiver as a good enough headphone amp, or should i get something like the O2, or similar.
With 250 Ω headphones, you need an output impedance of 31 Ω or less. (you need 1/8 or lower)

Reading the manuals, the Yamaha headphone output is 100 Ω, so it would not be suitable for your headphones. (or virtually any - I can't think of anything that is 800 Ω)
Neither Denon or Anthem specify what their headphone output impedance is.

Yamaha offers Silent Cinema headphone virtualization, which I know a lot of people don't like.
Denon just seems to offer a generic "virtual surround" option, which does not inspire confidence.
Anthem offer Dolby Headphone, and while that is not universally liked, it is probably the best of the three if you plan on using headphones with it.

So if that's what you're choosing between, and you don't want to buy a separate headphone amplifier, I would probably pick the Anthem.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grymok View Post

I have been looking to get the Asus Essence STX sound card, but will that be overkill, if i'm not gonna use the amp?.
Probably no point if you are going to be using digital out of the PC to the receiver.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tane View Post

So I have been reading through this thread deciding on if I should got with an Xonar STX or Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion. Well it looks like the creative card is $100 off on newegg right now which comes to $99 but currently sold out. I was going to try a local Fry's to see if they would match it. It says it supports cans up to 600 ohm impedance. So I would not need an external desktop amp then? Is the amp included in this thing even half way decent? I am planning on picking up a pair of K702 anniversary if not just a pair of q701 instead. Anyone have experience with this card? Thanks

Edit after reading some reviews it basically says the Creative card is good for gaming and nothing really else. I may just get a Xonar DG and a pair of Samson SR850 for a quick cheap set up.
The Q701/K702 have a 62 Ω impedance, so you want an output impedance below 8. They might be able to drive headphones up to 600 Ω, but I don't see a spec for headphone output impedance, so I don't know what the minimum impedance headphones are that they will be able to drive well. I suspect you might need an external amplifier to drive those correctly.

A lot of people seem to think that low impedance headphones are easy to drive, but that is not the case. They are easy to drive at a high volume, but require much better amplifier design, as they require a much lower output impedance to work well.

High impedance headphones are easy to drive, but not necessarily easy to drive loud. But if you listen at low volumes, you're probably fine regardless.
Edited by StudioSound - 2/23/13 at 2:02pm
post #1360 of 3067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by junrin View Post

I'm an avid gamer, and i,m looking to upgrading my sound. I first ran into Mad Lust Envy's thread, which prompted me to visit this thread for help( as a pc gamer)

 

as of now i use sony iem's for general pc usage, (games, youtube) with onboard audio. kind of bad, huh?

 

on the first page of this thread

 

Nameless says ''-Buy a Stax Lambda system. You'll generally need $300-500 and a speaker amp for the cheaper sets, but I have yet to find a better headphone for gaming if you're looking for competitive positioning and comfort for hours on end.

-Alternatively, there's the HiFiMan HE-400, which is surprisingly comfortable with velour pads, has a nice cinematic sound presentation, and actually sounds surprisingly like a Stax SR-202/SRM-212 setup while being far less reliant on specialized amplification.''
 
wait...wait, so a stax lambda is what i'm looking for. I actually can't find one. only its older brother, the sr 507 ( released recently)
are the sonic qualities of both of them similar? i mean.. they are both from the lambda series ( I think ) 
 
*review truncated for brevity's sake*

 

One of the weaknesses is 'small soundstage', but a review of the lambda pro tells me of its incredible sound stage and detail.

i don't understand. the 507 should be better than the original( i think )

And isn't it true that good gaming headphones generally have large sound stages? at least what MLE posts.

so please help, i'm all over the place, i don't know what sound card can be used with the electostat amp, and what sound card to get in the first place.

 

Please Help

 

One thing I should have elaborated on is that not all Lambda-series models sound similar. Far from it, actually; modern Lambdas don't sound much like vintage Lambdas. But between the original SR-Lambda, SR-202, and SR-303, soundstage is the one thing that HASN'T changed.

 

Also note that soundstage is relative; someone used to loudspeakers might find all headphones to sound closed-in, even renowned open-back models. The problem I have with audiophile reviews is that everything audio-related is inherently quite subjective.

 

Another VERY important thing you overlooked was the reviewer's notes on imaging: "While the soundstage here is fairly narrow, the drivers are angled for a more realistic sound presentation. The SR-507 provides the listener with the ability to place instruments with a fair amount of precision." This is what you really need for a binaural mix to shine through headphones; it just so happens that headphones with larger soundstages also tend to have better imaging, especially regarding depth (front and rear distinction).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
I have a couple of questions here, and a few answers for people.

Firstly, I think I now want to get an X-Fi Titanium HD, as it supports both CMSS-3D (3D sound virtualization) and THX TruStudio (2D sound virtualization)
From the demos I've tried, I don't like the sound of Dolby Headphone, as everything has far too much reverb.

3D sound seems to be on the way out, so even though the X-Fi supports CMSS-3D, I don't think modern games do? It seems like modern games would require you to set the card to 7.1, and then use THX TruStudio to create a 2D sound field. (a ring of directional audio around you, rather than a sphere)

I want to use an external DAC though, rather than the X-Fi's analogue outputs. It seems like the "what u hear" USB DAC workaround is not going to be a high quality option, and should be avoided.

Is it still possible to set the card to 7.1 to have it do proper headphone virtualization while using the optical output to a stereo DAC? I would also be putting a delay box in-between the sound card and DAC to sync with my TV.

 

First off, you just need CMSS-3D Headphone. It's not that software-mixed games are incompatible with CMSS-3D Headphone, but that they won't feed it with proper 3D positional audio data so that it works at its best. In other words, CMSS-3D Headphone just gets dragged down to the virtual 5.1/7.1 level automatically, where it still performs well. It's just that, if given the choice between 3D audio that sounds like real life would, or a virtual 7.1 speaker system trying to imitate real life positional audio, which would you choose? (Too bad the game industry doesn't seem to agree with me here.)

 

THX TruStudio Surround never impressed me; it failed spectacularly in Battlefield 2, when a tank somehow snuck up from behind me despite its loud engine noise and drove on. Thank goodness it was a friendly one, but still, that should NEVER have happened. CMSS-3D Headphone would have pinpointed its exact location long before it was next to me.

 

Also, if you get a high-end card like the X-Fi Titanium HD, I wouldn't waste time with external DACs. Not nearly enough improvement for the money spent, if you ask me.

 

Finally, setting the card to 5.1/7.1 under Windows (and Headphones under the card's control panel) is always advised by default. Note that having "Play Stereo Mix using Digital Output" on still keeps the analog outputs functional, so you're transmitting the same audio through both analog and S/PDIF at the same time.

post #1361 of 3067
Quote:
With 250 Ω headphones, you need an output impedance of 31 Ω or less. (you need 1/8 or lower)

Reading the manuals, the Yamaha headphone output is 100 Ω, so it would not be suitable for your headphones. (or virtually any - I can't think of anything that is 800 Ω)
Neither Denon or Anthem specify what their headphone output impedance is.

Yamaha offers Silent Cinema headphone virtualization, which I know a lot of people don't like.
Denon just seems to offer a generic "virtual surround" option, which does not inspire confidence.
Anthem offer Dolby Headphone, and while that is not universally liked, it is probably the best of the three if you plan on using headphones with it.

So if that's what you're choosing between, and you don't want to buy a separate headphone amplifier, I would probably pick the Anthem.
Probably no point if you are going to be using digital out of the PC to the receiver.

Not sure if i did mention, that the sound card in the pc, will do the surround, then i just use the receiver as an amp, running in "Direct" mode.

 

But i felt over this http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-XFi-Titanium-Fatal1ty/M/B001BDPLJA.htm for something like 70$ used.

Not sure how that will compete with the Xonar DG and Essence STX. For me it sound like a nice price. 

Anyone tried this card?. Gonna decide me before tonight, where the deal end.:)

post #1362 of 3067
Thread Starter 

The X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) is a decent card and quite competent for gaming, but the price is a bit high. The non-Fatal1ty versions drop the EMI shield and the 64 MB of X-RAM, but that's not really anything important to lose given how much cheaper those tend to sell for. (Or would sell for, given that Newegg no longer sells refurbed ones for $40-50.)

 

It sounds like you're going to be using a receiver as the primary DAC and amp, though, so there's no real point in spending the extra for the Titanium HD specifically. The X-Fi Titanium should suffice.

post #1363 of 3067
Can't sleep Nameless?
Also, were you recommending the Titanium or the Fatal1ty card?
post #1364 of 3067
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

First off, you just need CMSS-3D Headphone. It's not that software-mixed games are incompatible with CMSS-3D Headphone, but that they won't feed it with proper 3D positional audio data so that it works at its best. In other words, CMSS-3D Headphone just gets dragged down to the virtual 5.1/7.1 level automatically, where it still performs well. It's just that, if given the choice between 3D audio that sounds like real life would, or a virtual 7.1 speaker system trying to imitate real life positional audio, which would you choose? (Too bad the game industry doesn't seem to agree with me here.)

THX TruStudio Surround never impressed me; it failed spectacularly in Battlefield 2, when a tank somehow snuck up from behind me despite its loud engine noise and drove on. Thank goodness it was a friendly one, but still, that should NEVER have happened. CMSS-3D Headphone would have pinpointed its exact location long before it was next to me.
I thought that the game needed to use certain APIs for CMSS-3D to work, and that for games which only output "standard" 7.1 surround, you would have to use THX TruStudio.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Also, if you get a high-end card like the X-Fi Titanium HD, I wouldn't waste time with external DACs. Not nearly enough improvement for the money spent, if you ask me.
The headphone output is only suitable for headphones that are 280 Ω or higher - my headphones are all below 50 Ω, so I would need an external amplifier anyway.

I would only be buying this card for the CMSS-3D & THX TruStudio processing, not the audio output stage. If there are cheaper cards that can do this with a digital output, I would rather save the money as it won't make a difference. (the DAC I am planning on buying is immune to jitter) Because the X-Fi Titanium HD is an older card now though, it's starting to get discounted. The new SoundBlaster Z series is actually worse from a gaming perspective, right? (no CMSS-3D, only SBX Pro Studio?)
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Finally, setting the card to 5.1/7.1 under Windows (and Headphones under the card's control panel) is always advised by default. Note that having "Play Stereo Mix using Digital Output" on still keeps the analog outputs functional, so you're transmitting the same audio through both analog and S/PDIF at the same time.
So I can definitely set the sound card to 7.1 and have it mix to a stereo digital output for headphones?

The reason I'm asking is that when using HDMI right now for example, I can only output a stereo signal. It doesn't even let me try to set the device to 5.1/7.1
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) is a decent card and quite competent for gaming, but the price is a bit high. The non-Fatal1ty versions drop the EMI shield and the 64 MB of X-RAM, but that's not really anything important to lose given how much cheaper those tend to sell for. (Or would sell for, given that Newegg no longer sells refurbed ones for $40-50.)

It sounds like you're going to be using a receiver as the primary DAC and amp, though, so there's no real point in spending the extra for the Titanium HD specifically. The X-Fi Titanium should suffice.
Do they support THX TruStudio though?
post #1365 of 3067
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
Can't sleep Nameless?
Also, were you recommending the Titanium or the Fatal1ty card?

 

I have a notorious habit for staying up much later than I should.

 

The fact that some of my Internet pals stay up pretty late on the US West Coast while I'm all the way on the East Coast (three hours worth of time zone difference) doesn't help matters.

 

I find the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty cards to just be overpriced versions of the basic X-Fi Titanium, but if the prices are close enough, you might as well go for the Fatal1ty variant.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by StudioSound View Post
I thought that the game needed to use certain APIs for CMSS-3D to work, and that for games which only output "standard" 7.1 surround, you would have to use THX TruStudio.
The headphone output is only suitable for headphones that are 280 Ω or higher - my headphones are all below 50 Ω, so I would need an external amplifier anyway.

I would only be buying this card for the CMSS-3D & THX TruStudio processing, not the audio output stage. If there are cheaper cards that can do this with a digital output, I would rather save the money as it won't make a difference. (the DAC I am planning on buying is immune to jitter) Because the X-Fi Titanium HD is an older card now though, it's starting to get discounted. The new SoundBlaster Z series is actually worse from a gaming perspective, right? (no CMSS-3D, only SBX Pro Studio?)
So I can definitely set the sound card to 7.1 and have it mix to a stereo digital output for headphones?

The reason I'm asking is that when using HDMI right now for example, I can only output a stereo signal. It doesn't even let me try to set the device to 5.1/7.1
Do they support THX TruStudio though?

 

I apologize if I gave you that impression, but CMSS-3D Headphone works with all games. It just works better with games that use the APIs in question.

 

If you insist on running an external DAC, then the non-HD X-Fi Titanium models will be fine, and save you a bit of cash in the process. (I don't bother with external DACs, and the only one I've got-a JVC/Victor SU-DH1 Dolby Headphone processor-is noticeably worse than the Titanium HD regarding analog output.)

 

The Sound Core3D cards (Recon3D, Z-series) are already worse in my experience because of THX TruStudio Surround (which sounds noticeably worse than CMSS-3D Headphone to my ears, no matter what game is used for testing) and the lack of a true hardware OpenAL renderer (the software OpenAL renderer used, similar to all their USB devices and the X-Fi XtremeAudio line, has a few quirks with certain games). Throw in the lack of a hardware MIDI synthesizer (hey, I still play my fair share of DOS games with spiffy SoundFonts!) and other omissions like ASIO, and I find it difficult to recommend them. At least the Recon3D USB had the benefit of also being a console headphone surround processor.

 

As for HDMI, if you absolutely need HDMI audio output, you have ONE option, and that's the elusive Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD.

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