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ISO High end sound card. No price limit. - Page 3

post #31 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

I play mostly Steam games on PC and I know that steam uses X-Fi Sound Blaster by Creative. So I am thinking I'll go with a creative card but I wanted one that supports TOS cables, etc. to use with my mixamp if I so choose, or will I not the mixamp and just the O2?

 

You don't need to bother with the Mixamp on the PC, unless you somehow find yourself preferring Dolby Headphone to CMSS-3D Headphone. Just connect the Objective2 right to the primary analog output jack on the X-Fi card. (If it's a Titanium HD, no worries; it includes a 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable to save you the hassle of buying yet another accessory elsewhere. However, Creative stupidly didn't color-code the RCA plugs, so you'll need to make sure they're plugged into the right channels and not reversed with a bit of testing.)

 

The X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) models have full-size Toslink S/PDIF ports with no need for adapters, while the X-Fi Titanium HD has mini-Toslink input and output on the RCA line-in jacks (so you do need adapters for those jacks, or you could just use the included Toslink to mini-Toslink cables).

post #32 of 51
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

 

You don't need to bother with the Mixamp on the PC, unless you somehow find yourself preferring Dolby Headphone to CMSS-3D Headphone. Just connect the Objective2 right to the primary analog output jack on the X-Fi card. (If it's a Titanium HD, no worries; it includes a 3.5mm to RCA adapter cable to save you the hassle of buying yet another accessory elsewhere. However, Creative stupidly didn't color-code the RCA plugs, so you'll need to make sure they're plugged into the right channels and not reversed with a bit of testing.)

 

The X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) models have full-size Toslink S/PDIF ports with no need for adapters, while the X-Fi Titanium HD has mini-Toslink input and output on the RCA line-in jacks (so you do need adapters for those jacks, or you could just use the included Toslink to mini-Toslink cables).

What what is the difference between the Titanium and Titanium High Def? Better sound quality? More jacks perhaps? Bit rates and freqs?

post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

What what is the difference between the Titanium and Titanium High Def? Better sound quality? More jacks perhaps? Bit rates and freqs?

Titanium was a whole line of products, it was the first PCIe-native X-Fi implementation, centered around the E-MU20k2. The "HD" card is the one with the built-in head-amp and other audiophile-targeted accessories. I don't think you can buy the straight Ti cards anymore. The Recon3D boards are probably most similar in functionality to the Titaniums, but also include the headphone driver component (and a decent freebie mic).
post #34 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

What what is the difference between the Titanium and Titanium High Def? Better sound quality? More jacks perhaps? Bit rates and freqs?

Like the previous poster said that the titanium HD is a higher quality implimentation, however there are fewer jacks & only stereo analog out. To get surround sound you have to use the toslink digital out. The 300ohm headphone rating seems to be a joke though as it's specs show no more voltage out than the lower impedance headphone jack rating & indeed using my headphones I detected no increased output from either headphone jack. Spec show only 1 volt out for either jack.

 

The stereo out however uses much higher qualty componants than the other titanium cards & the sound signature is tunable with different opamps that are easily replaceable. Other modifications to this card other than opamp changes are more difficult than say like the essense ST/STX cards.

 

Sound quality is great except for the high frequencies are a bit rough though with some very judiciously placed power supply bypass caps in the DAC power supplyhas this smoothed out increadably Bypassing the opamp power supply caps with metalized films helps overal detail but by themselve do not get rid of the roughness at the top end. The DAC bypass metalized film caps gets rid of the roughness at the very top.

post #35 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

What what is the difference between the Titanium and Titanium High Def? Better sound quality? More jacks perhaps? Bit rates and freqs?

T-HD (Titanium HD), better DAC, comes with replaceable op-amps, does not come with a true headphone amplifier, but can decently drive headphones up to around 250-Ohm.

The T-HD is about equal DAC/Op-Amp wise to the Xonar Essence STX/ST. The T-HD has the latest revision of the creative audio processor (the audio processor in the Recon3D series is a step down).

The T-HD can process surround sound out the RCA jacks, not sure about older cards.

post #36 of 51
Thread Starter 

Thanks guys! Very helpful stuff but forgive me if this is a newb thought. I believe since I play a lot of games centered around X-Fi technology that an X-Fi SC would be a better choice correct? Or does the ASUS emit the same sound quality as the T-HD in games recommend for X-Fi. For example: I have started playing Shogun 2 Total War. This game advertises, "Sounds better using X-Fi!". Does it really sound better using Creative technology or is ASUS just as good?

post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

Thanks guys! Very helpful stuff but forgive me if this is a newb thought. I believe since I play a lot of games centered around X-Fi technology that an X-Fi SC would be a better choice correct? Or does the ASUS emit the same sound quality as the T-HD in games recommend for X-Fi. For example: I have started playing Shogun 2 Total War. This game advertises, "Sounds better using X-Fi!". Does it really sound better using Creative technology or is ASUS just as good?

I'm very biased for Xonar cards, but if a game maker is will to put "Sounds better using X-Fi", looks like the T-HD is the better choice.

post #38 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaSushi2 View Post

Thanks guys! Very helpful stuff but forgive me if this is a newb thought. I believe since I play a lot of games centered around X-Fi technology that an X-Fi SC would be a better choice correct? Or does the ASUS emit the same sound quality as the T-HD in games recommend for X-Fi. For example: I have started playing Shogun 2 Total War. This game advertises, "Sounds better using X-Fi!". Does it really sound better using Creative technology or is ASUS just as good?

 

Usually, such games are made to use EAX 5, which can only be handled properly by X-Fi cards. Anything else won't be able to render the sound as the game developer intended, thanks to Creative keeping EAX proprietary with version 3 onward. (Now, if the developers decided to use the EFX extensions present on all OpenAL devices instead of EAX, we wouldn't have this issue.)

 

If you want to be true to the source with such games, you're pretty much stuck with Creative hardware to supply the necessary reverb/chorus/occlusion/etc. effect support through their DSPs, regardless of what other sound cards or DACs might offer in terms of analog output quality. Otherwise, it's like playing a game with some of the fancier graphics effects turned off because your graphics card doesn't support the latest DirectX revision or OpenGL extensions, to make a visual simile.

 

Fortunately, the Titanium HD is a very competent card sound quality-wise, EAX or not. I guess Auzentech making better cards with Creative's own X-Fi DSPs and competition from Asus and HT Omega caused them to get their act together and make something to try and win over the budget computer audiophile crowd.

post #39 of 51
Yet again, "Recon3D is a step down" comes up - and I'll ask here for any evidence or proof of such, and probably receive silence. redface.gif

Anyways, Nameless is right on the whole EAX debacle, but I'd like to add that EAX 5 is relatively rare, and Asus has an emulator that's supposed to handle up through AdvanceHD (4) - unless they got sued.
post #40 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Yet again, "Recon3D is a step down" comes up - and I'll ask here for any evidence or proof of such, and probably receive silence. redface.gif
Anyways, Nameless is right on the whole EAX debacle, but I'd like to add that EAX 5 is relatively rare, and Asus has an emulator that's supposed to handle up through AdvanceHD (4) - unless they got sued.

In depth reviews were they compared the Recon3D to the Titanium HD favor the Titanium HD over the Recon3D.

post #41 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

In depth reviews were they compared the Recon3D to the Titanium HD favor the Titanium HD over the Recon3D.

Links? More information? How is "favor" defined? Is this measured or subjective? Etc?

I get that the audiophile types favor the Titanium HD (that's what it's marketed for, after all - $10 says if Creative released an "Audiophile Recon" it'd be hailed as the second coming (history supports this argument)) - but I've yet to see anyone actually substantiate it, beyond saying "nope, Recon3D is inferior, it sucks, you need TiHD!"
post #42 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post


Links? More information? How is "favor" defined? Is this measured or subjective? Etc?
I get that the audiophile types favor the Titanium HD (that's what it's marketed for, after all - $10 says if Creative released an "Audiophile Recon" it'd be hailed as the second coming (history supports this argument)) - but I've yet to see anyone actually substantiate it, beyond saying "nope, Recon3D is inferior, it sucks, you need TiHD!"

They do not say the Recon3D sucks, just that the Titanium HD is better.

As far as I've heard, Creative took one of their older audio processors (older design then what's in the Titanium HD) and added a DAC and ADC to the design and called it Recon3D.

And no I did not keep links to the reviews were this was said. I have no reason to,

No one ever post links to were they say the Recon3D matches the Titanium HD, your welcome to post those links?

The Recon3D was designed so Creative could sell it on the market for $75, they needed something cheaper to sell then the Titanium HD ($150).

post #43 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
Yet again, "Recon3D is a step down" comes up - and I'll ask here for any evidence or proof of such, and probably receive silence. redface.gif
Anyways, Nameless is right on the whole EAX debacle, but I'd like to add that EAX 5 is relatively rare, and Asus has an emulator that's supposed to handle up through AdvanceHD (4) - unless they got sued.

 

I have to admit, I haven't seen EAX 5 explicitly used in anything other than Battlefield 2 and 2142, maybe Bioshock 1 as well. Most of the time, if a game uses that sort of thing, it's A3D, EAX 2, or EAX 3. A lot of the OpenAL games out there opt for EFX instead.

 

As for the Recon3D's performance (or, should I say, the Sound Core3D's), word is that it can't do hardware acceleration like the X-Fi DSP does, and that's where much of the criticism stems from (along with integrated DAC/ADCs that measure up to less than the discrete components on older X-Fi cards). However, I'll have to reserve final judgment until I actually have Recon3D hardware in hand to review.

post #44 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

They do not say the Recon3D sucks, just that the Titanium HD is better.
As far as I've heard, Creative took one of their older audio processors (older design then what's in the Titanium HD) and added a DAC and ADC to the design and called it Recon3D.
And no I did not keep links to the reviews were this was said. I have no reason to,
No one ever post links to were they say the Recon3D matches the Titanium HD, your welcome to post those links?
The Recon3D was designed so Creative could sell it on the market for $75, they needed something cheaper to sell then the Titanium HD ($150).

It's a replacement component - they're replacing X-Fi with Recon. I've heard none of the claims you're making, and again, would like some evidence beyond "let's all blindly dislike this because it's new!" I don't mean to come across as attacking you though - I'm actually curious, and perhaps somewhat vexed that nobody seems to have anything beyond "no it's just inferior."

Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I have to admit, I haven't seen EAX 5 explicitly used in anything other than Battlefield 2 and 2142, maybe Bioshock 1 as well. Most of the time, if a game uses that sort of thing, it's A3D, EAX 2, or EAX 3. A lot of the OpenAL games out there opt for EFX instead.

As for the Recon3D's performance (or, should I say, the Sound Core3D's), word is that it can't do hardware acceleration like the X-Fi DSP does, and that's where much of the criticism stems from (along with integrated DAC/ADCs that measure up to less than the discrete components on older X-Fi cards). However, I'll have to reserve final judgment until I actually have Recon3D hardware in hand to review.

Yeah, Battlefield is the only example I had in mind for EAX 5. Amazing what absolutely closing your software and restricting the user-base to a VERY small installed hardware base does to adoption. rolleyes.gif

Creative bundles 4 and 5 together under the "Advanced HD" monkier on their EAX Games List, further confusing the issue. I remember when I got my Audigy though, that EAX 4 was relatively rare in practice, and normally if the card was running EAX processing, it was for 1-3 that could be handled by VIA, C-Media, etc hardware as well.

Regarding the Recon3D:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I've noticed absolutely nothing in terms of a "downgrade" from the X-Fi Prelude. It isn't as audiophool special (I can't swap opamps and it isn't wrapped in gold foil to keep aliens away), but it works surprisingly well. I don't know what the limitations of SoundCore's processing are, but it would not surprise me if it is not as full-featured as the EMU20k. The need for outboard h/w accelerated audio is just so trivial at this point. They do claim it's hardware accelerated, and there's nothing that says it has to be worse than the 20k, but I've not seen any benchmarks that either support or refute a performance benefit (that said, it's not like X-Fi did anything for my overall performance - all it would guarantee is that you take less of a hit if you enable tons of audio features). Finally, the drivers are MILES ahead of the X-Fi. I consider this card to be what X-Fi should've been - as easy to use as the Audigy, with better ergonomics and features.

The only legitimate complaint I see is that the ADC/DAC stages aren't as fancy as the TiHD X-Fi EP, or X-Fi Prelude, but they're more than suitable and you have to remember it's a lower cost part (all three of those were ~$200 list and the TiHD is cheap because it's going the way of the dinosaur). A lot of reviews (as in, all the ones I've found thus far) just state "not for audiophiles" with nothing to back that - which goes back to my marketing jab - the TiHD has "audiophile" stamped on the box at least a dozen times, and they got the reviews to say as much. Same for the various higher priced Asus cards (I don't know the naming scheme, ST and STX are mentioned a lot though).

All I can find on the DSP is this:
Creative SoundCore3D - http://www.creative.com/oem/products/chips/soundcore3d.asp
I've seen it mentioned as both Creative CA0138 and CA0132 (I don't know if these are revisions or what). It does have EAX Advanced HD 5.0 logos appearing with it in marketing literature, so I assume it supports EAX - I am not aware of any software implementations of EAX 4/5 though.

That chip does not appear on any Audigy branded hardware (including the Audigy Live aka X-Fi Xtreme (CA0106)). So that rules out "old hardware" afaik.
post #45 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post
All I can find on the DSP is this:
Creative SoundCore3D - http://www.creative.com/oem/products/chips/soundcore3d.asp
I've seen it mentioned as both Creative CA0138 and CA0132 (I don't know if these are revisions or what). It does have EAX Advanced HD 5.0 logos appearing with it in marketing literature, so I assume it supports EAX - I am not aware of any software implementations of EAX 4/5 though.
That chip does not appear on any Audigy branded hardware (including the Audigy Live aka X-Fi Xtreme (CA0106)). So that rules out "old hardware" afaik.

 

X-Fi MB(2) software package for integrated audio codecs, for a start. I've tried some modified Realtek drivers in conjunction with X-Fi MB2 on a notebook, but it only got up to EAX 4.0.

 

The X-Fi Go! Pro also claims to support EAX 5.0, and I highly doubt a little USB stick can pull that off without software audio rendering.

 

I don't think the Recon3D handles it the same way the X-Fi MB2 software does, though, new drivers and all that. But for me to put its positional gaming audio capabilities to the test against established X-Fi hardware, I'd need to get my hands on the actual card, and I don't feel like spending $100+ just for a review.

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