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The Nameless Guide To PC Gaming Audio (with binaural headphone surround sound) - Page 118

post #1756 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

Unless the DAC on the Z is particularly badly implemented, it should not really "limit" the sound quality. The Xonar D1, which uses the same CS4398 DAC, performs very well according to my tests, and I would not use the more expensive Essence STX over it for the DAC alone. Then again, maybe the SBZ has a worse implementation, but I do not have that card, so I cannot test it.

On the other hand, built-in headphone amplifiers on sound cards are often mediocre, and it is not just a power issue (although for the Q701 to be used by roman797 it might be). So, adding an external amplifier to the SBZ may make sense. The Matrix M-Stage seems to have a grounded AC connector, though, so I would personally avoid it in a sound card based setup, in which ground loops are a frequent problem. The O2 (or perhaps the Magni) would be a safer choice.

Quick question, does the non-usb M-Stage have a grounded ac connector? If not then I might be able to use that with a soundcard.
post #1757 of 3087

I recommend a dedicated soundcard for signal quality, amping and especially for gaming features like HRTF.

 

Either: http://www.razordogaudio.com/ - look for the coupons at the bottom of the page, apply to them to a AKG K712 Pro or AKG K702 anniversary and get a Soundblaster ZxR.

 

or look for a Philips Fidelio X1 + Soundblaster ZxR. I recommend the former headphones due to exchangable pads. The situation is not really clear for the Philips. 

post #1758 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mad Lust Envy View Post

If you unplug and plug the headphones back in, does it default back to two channel, or will the sound settings stick with 5.1 surround?

For example:



Everytime I unplug/plug in my headphones, it always defaults to 2 channel, which does not work properly when trying to do the soundcard's virtual surround.

That and if I switch from wanting to go from basic stereo to virtual surround, I ALSO have to switch here...



I had to save the presets...

 

Sorry for recovering this old post: I'm unable to find the complete changelog (only found it on waybackmachine) but I noticed that an April update of Recon3D PCI-express drivers explicitly states of having solved the bug you mention :) By chance have you updated to the latest Recon3D drivers MLE?

I'm pretty sure you did but, just in case ;)


Edited by ilGaspa - 8/29/13 at 6:01am
post #1759 of 3087
It says I'm already updated. Still jumps back to stereo when I unplug the headphones and plug them back in.
Edited by Mad Lust Envy - 8/29/13 at 6:28am
post #1760 of 3087
Oh :| Guess I havent't been much useful then :/
That's strange, creative states having corrected this bug in the april release of Recon3D drivers but if you already have the latest ones I guess that the issue they are speaking of is a different one...
 
Still wondering why the Z I owned (returned it and now choosing between ZxR and Titanium HD) didn't show this behaviour.. Z drivers seems pretty similar to Recon3D ones.
post #1761 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Lol my point was the headphone port isn't even 116 db. Every z owner pretty much says the line outs sound much better in terms of sq. So imagine compared to the zxr's headphone out. Huge difference in sq. I notice it and other do too.

At the end of the day I was tying to justify roman797's dilemma by saying upgrading to the zxr isn't diminished returns .

 

I have not enough information about the headphone amplifier of the SBZ to comment on how good it is. I responded to the claim that adding an external amplifier to the line output of the Z would not be worth it because it would be "bottlenecked by the low quality DAC", which in my opinion is likely not the case.

post #1762 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by roman797 View Post

Quick question, does the non-usb M-Stage have a grounded ac connector? If not then I might be able to use that with a soundcard.

 

I think it is the same for the USB and non-USB versions, but I need to check (I do not use the M-Stage myself).

post #1763 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

 

I have not enough information about the headphone amplifier of the SBZ to comment on how good it is. I responded to the claim that adding an external amplifier to the line output of the Z would not be worth it because it would be "bottlenecked by the low quality DAC", which in my opinion is likely not the case.


Nowhere did I say it was a low quality DAC, its actually a pretty good one.  My point once again was to explain that unless you need the extra power from dual amping in series due to hungry headphones, it wont magically make them sound better.  Because you are still limited by the DAC's SNR further up the chain.  This compared to just getting the ZXR instead.  My apologies if i didnt explain properly, my intention was mainly to help or provide more insight.

post #1764 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

 

Nowhere did I say it was a low quality DAC, its actually a pretty good one.

 

You did say it would be a limiting factor in terms of "clarity/sound quality".

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

 

My point once again was to explain that unless you need the extra power from dual amping in series due to hungry headphones, it wont magically make them sound better.

 

It is not necessary to "dual amp" (although the disadvantages of that are commonly overstated), since the card also has a line output. Power is not the only relevant parameter of an amplifier, it can affect sound quality in a number of ways, more so than "upgrading" an already decent DAC. Of course, when the built-in amplifier on the SBZ is really good enough, one might just as well use it and save the money for better headphones.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

 

Because you are still limited by the DAC's SNR further up the chain.

 

You still seem to be fixated on DAC SNR, even though I have already explained that 110+ dB figures are more marketing than something that makes a practically useful difference for music listening. Not to mention, it is the SNR of the entire system (including noise from the amplifier, the source CD, even ambient noise) that matters. If there is audible hiss, that is usually because there is too much gain (including too high headphone sensitivity) after the volume control. The Xonar ST/STX cards are actually an example of this (not sure if the ZxR is similar to those, but it could very well be), because the volume and gain control is entirely digital, and the analog section always runs at maximum volume and gain; that is why these cards can have audible noise with sensitive headphones/IEMs despite the use of a "high end" DAC chip. By contrast, a DAC with lower - but still good enough - specs paired with an external amplifier that has an analog volume control and selectable gain could in fact have less noise overall with the same headphones.

 

Now I do not say that using the ZxR would be a bad idea, after all, it costs as much or even less than some of the suggested external amplifiers anyway, but that the Z+amplifier combination could work fine without the DAC being a real limiting factor.

post #1765 of 3087

Well i guess we'll have to agree to disagree lol. 

 

I still think upgrading ZXR from the Z is a bigger upgrade in sound quality then to add an external amp.  It was for me anyway.  But at the same time I have never used the M-stage with the Z and seen its result so its just my opinion.

post #1766 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post
I still think upgrading ZXR from the Z is a bigger upgrade in sound quality then to add an external amp.

 

It is not proven, however, that you have actually heard a DAC quality improvement (let alone SNR in particular), and the difference is not due to some other factors.

post #1767 of 3087
Well guys I am still considering the soundcard/amp combo. The more I read, the more I am leaning towards the Titanium HD/m-stage combo. I know the titanium HD can be had for about $100 (even if used), does anyone think this is a good idea?
post #1768 of 3087
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by roman797 View Post
Well guys I am still considering the soundcard/amp combo. The more I read, the more I am leaning towards the Titanium HD/m-stage combo. I know the titanium HD can be had for about $100 (even if used), does anyone think this is a good idea?

 

Sounds good to me, especially at around $100!

 

I should have mentioned earlier that most of the decision between the X-Fi Titanium HD and ZxR largely boils down to preference: CMSS-3D Headphone vs. SBX Pro Surround in particular. Based on what little I can discern over YouTube videos, I still favor CMSS-3D Headphone, but that's just me.

post #1769 of 3087
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

Sounds good to me, especially at around $100!

 

I should have mentioned earlier that most of the decision between the X-Fi Titanium HD and ZxR largely boils down to preference: CMSS-3D Headphone vs. SBX Pro Surround in particular. Based on what little I can discern over YouTube videos, I still favor CMSS-3D Headphone, but that's just me.

Couldn't have said it better myself in terms of preference.  $100 is pretty awesome for a high quality card with great gaming support.  CMSS3D definitely is great when it comes to taking 3D cues from OpenAl and DirectSound3D.  I personally prefer SBX still though but that's only due to the EQ not being affected as much after listening to demos from both. 

 

The only other thing I would consider before pulling the trigger is driver support.  Especially under windows 7/8.  Do some research into the EMU2K(X-fi) cards' driver support in windows 7/8 and discern if you will be ok with it.  This was one of the reasons I decided in the ZXR over the THD after selling my Z.  Just read a lot of horror stories.  But make the decision for yourself.

post #1770 of 3087

Quick question,

I plan on picking up the AKG K702-A's sometime in the next week or so (birthday gift to myself). Primarily being a PC gamer, I've lurked back and forth between MLEnvy's thread and this one here, that being said I saw it mentioned a few pages back that I could use the Asus Xonar U3 to run Dolby Headphones through a DAC/AMP (extremely appealing as I have a mini-ITX system without room for a internal card). So my question is... Would the following work correctly to get dolby surround coming from my planned headphone purhcase?

Computer > Xonar U3 (SPDIF Out) > AudioEngine D1* > Schiit Asgard 2 > K702-A

* To be replaced with the Schiit Bifrost sometime closer to christmas (not sure if it's going to be much of a difference but I want my stack to match)

P.S. Not sure if it's all good to post in here for my first post on the site so don't crucify me if it isn't

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