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post #616 of 3105

Yeah this is a windows PC. Thanks for the suggestion I am going to start reading up right now.

 

So if I ordered something like the Asus Xonar DX 7.1 and plugged my mixamp into it then headphones into my amp it would work correct? I would be able to get Dolby Headphone virtual surround?


Edited by Tane - 8/23/12 at 10:54am
post #617 of 3105
Thread Starter 

The Xonar cards are capable of Dolby Headphone by themselves. You don't need the Mixamp, which is geared more toward console gaming.

post #618 of 3105

So I just purchased some AD700s to replace my Razer Carcharias and I like the sound so far, but I had a couple questions that hopefully some more experienced users could answer.

 

So I mainly play video games with my headphones (Specifically Counterstrike: GO right now), and decided on the AD700s because of its alleged sound stage. My question though is what settings are best to set my system to? I have looked around a couple different places saying different things and I have tried a bunch of different combinations and I'm not sure which one works best and allows for the full use of the sound stage.

 

I have a Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Professional Sound Card (Similar to this) As of this moment, I have headphones selected in my creative control panel. Should that be set to headphones? Also, what should my windows speakers configuration be set to? I tried 5.1 but it sounded a bit odd in counterstrike, which brings a third element to the picture. CS:GO has an option of headphones, 2 speakers, 4 speakers, and 5.1 surround. Should I set that to 5.1 if my windows configuration is set to 5.1? Or is it best just to leave everything at stereo? I just didn't know if I would get less of the effect of the sound stage if I used conflicting speaker settings.

 

Sorry for my noobness and questions, I just feel like I'm not getting the full effect of the headphones. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks guys.

post #619 of 3105
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

The Xonar cards are capable of Dolby Headphone by themselves. You don't need the Mixamp, which is geared more toward console gaming.

Awesome thanks for the info. The Mixamp I am assuming basically mimics the virtual surround sound for console games? Would there be any benefit of me getting the Xonar STX over the Xonar DX?

post #620 of 3105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tane View Post

Awesome thanks for the info. The Mixamp I am assuming basically mimics the virtual surround sound for console games? Would there be any benefit of me getting the Xonar STX over the Xonar DX?

 

The Mixamp just decodes Dolby Digital (or analog Dolby Pro Logic II) and outputs Dolby Headphone. Sound cards in general offer more features for PC gaming and higher sound quality at lower cost.

 

The Xonar Essence STX mainly gives you a FiiO E9-class amplifier (they use the same amp IC) built-in over the cheaper cards, along with a bit more sound quality. It should be up to the task of driving your Q701.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcmorris View Post

So I just purchased some AD700s to replace my Razer Carcharias and I like the sound so far, but I had a couple questions that hopefully some more experienced users could answer.

 

So I mainly play video games with my headphones (Specifically Counterstrike: GO right now), and decided on the AD700s because of its alleged sound stage. My question though is what settings are best to set my system to? I have looked around a couple different places saying different things and I have tried a bunch of different combinations and I'm not sure which one works best and allows for the full use of the sound stage.

 

I have a Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Professional Sound Card (Similar to this) As of this moment, I have headphones selected in my creative control panel. Should that be set to headphones? Also, what should my windows speakers configuration be set to? I tried 5.1 but it sounded a bit odd in counterstrike, which brings a third element to the picture. CS:GO has an option of headphones, 2 speakers, 4 speakers, and 5.1 surround. Should I set that to 5.1 if my windows configuration is set to 5.1? Or is it best just to leave everything at stereo? I just didn't know if I would get less of the effect of the sound stage if I used conflicting speaker settings.

 

Sorry for my noobness and questions, I just feel like I'm not getting the full effect of the headphones. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks guys.

 

I don't have CS:GO specifically, but you could try setting "snd_legacy_surround 1" in the console after you point ALchemy toward the CS:GO install directory. That usually works well for Source engine games.

 

Both Windows and the in-game setting should be set to 5.1 or 7.1 if you want CMSS-3D Headphone to work properly with software-mixed sources. CS:GO and other Source engine games are software-mixed until you set the console variable above, which switches it into DirectSound3D mode (which is why you need ALchemy for it to work properly).

 

I don't trust stereo software mixing in games because it's usually one-dimensional left/right panning only. Valve claims CS:GO has improved audio mixing by default, even for headphones, but I still question its effectiveness over CMSS-3D Headphone provided with DirectSound3D or OpenAL positional audio data.

post #621 of 3105
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

I don't have CS:GO specifically, but you could try setting "snd_legacy_surround 1" in the console after you point ALchemy toward the CS:GO install directory. That usually works well for Source engine games.

 

Both Windows and the in-game setting should be set to 5.1 or 7.1 if you want CMSS-3D Headphone to work properly with software-mixed sources. CS:GO and other Source engine games are software-mixed until you set the console variable above, which switches it into DirectSound3D mode (which is why you need ALchemy for it to work properly).

 

I don't trust stereo software mixing in games because it's usually one-dimensional left/right panning only. Valve claims CS:GO has improved audio mixing by default, even for headphones, but I still question its effectiveness over CMSS-3D Headphone provided with DirectSound3D or OpenAL positional audio data.

 

Cool thanks for the help. I tried it out and can hear a difference already. What do the buffers/duration options do exactly? I noticed I had to play with them a bit to get it to sound right.

post #622 of 3105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dcmorris View Post

Cool thanks for the help. I tried it out and can hear a difference already. What do the buffers/duration options do exactly? I noticed I had to play with them a bit to get it to sound right.

 

I don't quite remember, but I do know that if you get audio crackling, distortion, or drop-outs, it generally helps to lower the Duration in increments of 5. I generally haven't needed to change the Buffers setting, though.

 

Going by the official ALchemy guide, it seems that if you need to set the Duration really low for things to sound right, but that ends up causing other problems, you might have to add more Buffers to compensate.

 

Quote:
'Buffers' is used to set the number of audio buffers used internally. The default value of 4 should be fine for most applications.

'Duration' is used to set the length in milliseconds of each of the audio buffers. The default value is 25ms.
The total duration of the audio queue used internally is equal to Buffers * Duration (i.e. 00ms by default). Experimenting with Duration values may be necessary in order to find the best performance vs. quality trade-off for each game. In addition, some games require smaller values than the default of 25ms because they use very small DirectSound Buffers for streaming, or they require faster playback position updates. Reducing the ?Duration? value can prevent audio glitches, pops and clicks.

However, lower values mean that there is more chance of the audio breaking up during CPU intensi've moments (e.g. lots of disc access during level loading). The recommended approach is to try the default settings, and if audio artifacts are regularly heard then try lowering Duration by 5ms and trying again. If the problem still occurs try dropping the value by another 5ms and so on (minimum allowed value is 5ms).
post #623 of 3105

So how do I tell if a sound card has a built in amp or not? I was looking at going a cheaper route and picking up http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102043 instead of the Xonar STX if that card I linked can drive a pair of q701. Or would this be a bad idea?

post #624 of 3105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tane View Post

So how do I tell if a sound card has a built in amp or not? I was looking at going a cheaper route and picking up http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16829102043 instead of the Xonar STX if that card I linked can drive a pair of q701. Or would this be a bad idea?

 

Technically, every sound card with analog outputs is amplified. It's whether the nature of the amp circuitry is suitable to your headphones or not that's the question.

 

If you care about having the best DirectSound3D and OpenAL game support, then picking up the X-Fi Titanium and a FiiO E9 or similar amp (since it doesn't have a "proper" amp circuit for the Q701) would actually leave you better off than the Xonar Essence STX.

 

Should the stock analog output quality not be good enough for you, there's always the option to use S/PDIF output to an external DAC.

post #625 of 3105

Hi people, I need some help.

 

I use on my PC my Beyer DT770 with a clip microphone for gaming. My girlfriend uses a Sennheiser PC31 headset. The problem is, when both of us are playing at the same time, her mic register her keyboard, me talking or my keyboard almost constantly. I have played with the settings of the mic device and Mumble -the voice chat software we use- as much as I can but I couldn't solve the issue. So we are considering buying some new hardware for her. Is there any headset you would recommend for this situation or we will be better going with the headphones + clip mic route?

post #626 of 3105

How do I know about which sound engine newer games are using? Like, I bought Sleeping Dogs, and I would like to know if I would benefit from using my Headphone with CMSS-3D, THX StudioPro or something like that, or it would just add useless reverb, then I'd rather use it with normal Stereo

post #627 of 3105
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

How do I know about which sound engine newer games are using? Like, I bought Sleeping Dogs, and I would like to know if I would benefit from using my Headphone with CMSS-3D, THX StudioPro or something like that, or it would just add useless reverb, then I'd rather use it with normal Stereo

Alec246,
This is a good question, I'm also interested if there's an easier way than google, since I've only just started to look beyond the limited but hassle-free (almost) world of console gaming.

Edit: here are a list of games from what I gather is the official OpenAL site that use OpenAL code, but it looks like it hasn't been updated since 2008: http://connect.creativelabs.com/openal/OpenAL%20Wiki/Games.aspx
Otherwise, I think any game with 5.1 or 7.1 surround audio gets translated by CMSS-3D headphone.

Madmalkav,
Why not try it in two phases, getting an external mic like the one that worked for you and using it with her existing headset, and only moving on to another headphone if needed after that? Seems to be the cheapest, most practical route to me.
Edited by Evshrug - 8/25/12 at 7:45pm
post #628 of 3105
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alec246 View Post

How do I know about which sound engine newer games are using? Like, I bought Sleeping Dogs, and I would like to know if I would benefit from using my Headphone with CMSS-3D, THX StudioPro or something like that, or it would just add useless reverb, then I'd rather use it with normal Stereo

 

The easiest way to tell is to check if the game directory has an OpenAL32.dll or Mss32.dll in it, though their absence isn't always a perfect indicator of what API or middleware a given game uses.

 

However, just because it doesn't use DS3D or OAL doesn't make CMSS-3D Headphone or whatever its THX TruStudio Pro equivalent is called totally useless, either. It's just dragged down to the same level of virtual 5.1/7.1 that Dolby Headphone and other technologies can do.

post #629 of 3105
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

The easiest way to tell is to check if the game directory has an OpenAL32.dll or Mss32.dll in it, though their absence isn't always a perfect indicator of what API or middleware a given game uses.

 

However, just because it doesn't use DS3D or OAL doesn't make CMSS-3D Headphone or whatever its THX TruStudio Pro equivalent is called totally useless, either. It's just dragged down to the same level of virtual 5.1/7.1 that Dolby Headphone and other technologies can do.


Thank you!

 

I know that it won't be useless, but without full use of the technology I prefer to use stereo quality with no sound degratation. It's a pity console gaming has destroyed the sound industries for games... Wow I remember the Audigy 7.1 Huge Box, offering EAX, and listening to those sound samples, man it was so cool...

post #630 of 3105

http://www.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=13285

 

 

CREATIVE INTRODUCES THE SOUND BLASTER Z-SERIES - A NEW RANGE OF ULTRA HIGH-PERFORMANCE SOUND CARDS DESIGNED FOR FUTURE GAMING AND ENTERTAINMENT AUDIO

Sneak Preview This Week at Gamescom 2012


SINGAPORE – 15 August 2012 – Creative Technology Ltd today announced its new ultra high-performance Z-Series of Sound Blaster®PCI-Express sound cards, elevating the standards of technology and performance for the future of gaming and entertainment on the PC.  Creative will preview the new Sound Blaster ZxR, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster Z at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 15-19 August 2012.

Sound Blaster ZxR

Sound Blaster ZxR

Sound Blaster Zx

Sound Blaster Zx

Sound Blaster Z

Sound Blaster Z

“The audio landscape for gaming and entertainment on the PC has changed.  As content creation and consumption evolves with the interactivity of the Internet, our vision is to enable the best listening experiences for music, video and games, and to transcend the basic concept of sound quality as a specification with enabling technologies that allow users to completely customise their PC audio,” said Low Long Chye, Director of Product Marketing for Audio.  “For audio playback, we use studio-grade components to deliver outstanding fidelity, and then greatly enhance the listening experience by implementing our SBX Pro Studio suite of audio technologies.  This enables complete customisation of audio playback, uniquely catered to suit individual tastes.  Our mixture of outstanding components and proprietary technologies also enables us to provide the highest quality recording experience for audio creation, which today expands beyond just music recording to include user interaction and creation with YouTube, eSports, and more.”

“We also recognise how voice communications in massively multiplayer online (MMO) and multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) games are so crucial to winning, and how clear communications in VoIP applications such as Skype are so important to having meaningful conversations.  This is where our CrystalVoice technologies enable users to experience the best possible sound quality – the level of quality that is exclusively available with Sound Blaster.  To complete the overall communication experience, all our sound cards comes standard with a high-quality dual microphone array,” added Low Long Chye.

Each New Sound Card Offers a Complete Audio System

To dynamically power compelling audio playback, the new sound cards leverage the Creative Sound Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor, which is designed to work in perfect harmony with Creative’s SBX Pro Studio technology and high-quality components to deliver a complete audio platform.  Sound Core3D also works seamlessly with CrystalVoice communications technologies and the high-quality beam-forming microphone array included with each of the new sound cards to deliver Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Voice Focus and 
Noise Reduction for clear online voice communications.  This complete system for voice communications also enables gamers to use speakers and the high-quality microphone array to achieve a better overall experience.

Sound Blaster ZxR – The World’s Best Sounding Sound Card (SRP US$249.99)

This flagship Sound Blaster ZxR is designed to provide the best gaming and entertainment audio performance in any sound cards.  It also delivers the ultimate audio playback and creation solution for the PC.  Studio-grade components, which include external digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that deliver 127dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), sockets for swappable Op-Amps, a high-end 80mW into 600 ohm headphone amplifier, and 192kHz pass through, are used to deliver phenomenal audio quality.

The Sound Blaster ZxR has multiple connections including a proprietary connector to the DBpro, a daughter board that offers optical output for outstanding playback; and professional-grade 123dB analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with RCA Aux-in and optical input for outstanding recording quality.

Furthermore, a convenient external ACM (Audio Control Module) provides a built-in dual-microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections.  Designed to complement the Sound Blaster ZxR, the ACM adds convenience, extra connectivity and control, plus it enhances the look of any desktop. 

In addition to the impressive hardware capabilities, the proprietary SB Speaker-Calibration feature, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, all these three ensure an ultra-realistic cinematic audio playback and gaming experience.  From the hardcore gamer fragging an opponent on a first person shooter to a die-hard MOBA or MMO player engaging with thousands of players online, gamers can get a competitive advantage from excellent audio quality and positional accuracy.

In many of today’s most popular games, if gamers are not communicating, they are not winning.   For voice communications, Creative’s CrystalVoice technologies enable crystal-clear communications amongst gamers and their teammates.

Creative’s audio engineers designed the SBX Pro Studio suite of audio playback technologies so gamers can improve their audio experience and calibrate their game audio so they can hear the subtle nuances that gives a competitive edge.  Immersive surround sound, the ability to clearly understand teammates and enhancements of specific sounds in a gaming environment are just a few elements of SBX Pro Studio that enhance gaming audio.

SBX Pro Studio Features:

  • SBX Crystalizer - Enhances sound for games, music and movies by restoring low and high end frequency curves lost to compression 
  • SBX Surround - Delivers a 360 degree surround sound experience so gamers can hear sounds clearly from the front, back, above and below
  • SBX Smart Volume - Address the problem of abrupt volume level changes in music, movies and games by intelligently applying gain and attenuation to deliver consistent volume levels; includes Night Mode  to reduce the impact of explosions and bursts of sound so as not to disturb others after hours
  • SBX Dialog Plus - Enhances voices in games and movies for clearer dialog, allowing the listener to hear the dialog over the rest of sound track and over ambient noise
  • SBX Bass - Fills in the missing low frequency tones and give the extra impact for a better entertainment experience

Designed to deliver crystal clear vocal fidelity in multiplayer games, online chats and video conferencing, CrystalVoice technologies also enhance voice communications for VoIP solutions such as Skype.

CrystalVoice Features:

  • Acoustic Echo Cancellation - Eliminates echoes and enables whoever is speaking to listen to the other party clearly
  • Noise Reduction - Enables the person speaking to be heard clearly over background noise by constantly monitoring the environment and eliminating unwanted noise that interferes with the conversation
  • Smart Volume - Automatically adjusts the loudness of a voice to maintain a consistent volume level.  This makes it convenient for the speaker to converse normally, regardless of whether the speaker is close to or far away from the microphone
  • Voice Focus - Beam-forming creates a zone and suppresses noise outside it to enable whoever is speaking to be heard with amazing clarity.  Multiple microphones are used to focus, enhance voice, and eliminate sounds outside the zone
  • VoiceFX - Enables alteration of voice with a variety of effects, which can be used to enhance the tone of a voice, create interesting accents, or enable someone to sound like a completely different person

Sound Blaster Zx – High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$149.99)

The Sound Blaster Zx incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster ZxR except for the DBpro daughter board.

Clad in brilliant red EMI shielding and featuring glowing LED lighting, the Sound Blaster Zx is the bad boy of the bunch, with an attention-grabbing design that ideally complements any power gaming rig.  The Sound Blaster Zx leverages Sound Core3D processing with external DACs that deliver 120dB SNR. Other features include support for 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, gold-plated I/O connectivity, and SB Speaker-Calibration, which calibrates speakers to take advantage of room acoustics, resulting in an optimised audio performance.  The Sound Blaster Zx also includes the convenient external ACM (Audio Control Module) with a built-in dual microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections.  To enhance digital entertainment capabilities, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live encoding are included.   The product also includes high-quality optical and stereo cables.

Sound Blaster Z – High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$99.99) 

The Sound Blaster Z incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster Zx except for the ACM.  Instead, an external high quality dual-microphone array comes standard with this card.

An ideal all-around gaming and entertainment solution, the Sound Blaster Z comes with 120dB SNR and supports 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out.  It also features glowing LED lighting, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, an EMI-free analog input and output path, SB Speaker- Calibration and gold-plated I/O connections for pristine audio quality.

The Future of Audio for Gaming and Entertainment

Click http://www.soundblaster.com/technology/whitepapers/ and find out more about the future of audio for gaming and entertainment, and how Sound Blaster will be a major force with a new wave of applied technology.

Pricing and Availability

The Sound Blaster ZxR and Sound Blaster Zx will be available in December 2012 and the Sound Blaster Z will be available in October 2012 at the online store at creative.com/shop in Asia and authorised dealers in Asia at the following suggested retail prices:

Sound Blaster ZxR US$249.99
Sound Blaster Zx US$149.99
Sound Blaster Z US$99.99

Pricing and availability may vary according to region.

For more information, visit soundblaster.com.

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