Originally Posted by ozz007
So if you have the HD-Titanium, would the ZXR be an upgrade?
is it worth the price upgrade?
It's very likely to be a downgrade if you prefer CMSS-3D Headphone to SBX Pro Surround, or like to play old DOS games with MIDI soundtracks running on the X-Fi's hardware MIDI synthesizer, complete with SoundFont support that lets you tweak the sound to your liking.
Analog output quality probably wouldn't vary that much, certainly not at this price point. If you're hoping to get a headphone amp out of the deal, why buy a new sound card instead of just putting that money toward something like a Schiit Magni or Objective2?
If the Titanium HD works for you, just keep it. The Z-series is more enticing to people who DON'T own Titanium HD-class cards already, because there's an actual value proposition there. But in your case, it just sounds like you want to buy new hardware because it's new, when what you've got works just fine, possibly even better in some ways.
Originally Posted by kazaakas
Hey people, I'm just wondering how exactly this card differs from the Titanium HD.
I've searched through the thread a little and I found out that:
- It's newer and will have "better support"
- it has a second card with some extra connections
- The SNR is 124dB instead of 122dB
...But what else is there?
Does it actually have an headphone amp or is it just a high powered jack like the TiHD? Does it still support CMSS-3D and ALchemy and all of that good stuff?
I'm a TiHD user with an external headphone amp and I love the card for it's insane versitality: Superb sound quality in bit matched Audio Creation mode for music listening and great positioning in Gaming mode with CMSS-3D headphone with ALchemy for games (I play a lot of source games which are DS3D based).
Should I feel bad for having a TiHD now this card is out?
They say it has a proper headphone amp IC now, which demanding dynamic/ortho owners on a budget might like...on the other hand, brief testing of the HE-400 out of the Titanium HD's headphone jack yielded no apparent flaws. The difference would probably be more obvious if I tested something like an AKG K/Q701. (And you already use an external amp anyway, so it's effectively pointless for you, just as any headphone amp not designed for electrostatics is useless to me.)
CMSS-3D Headphone is NOT available on any Sound Core3D device, Z-series included. If your preference is with THX/SBX Pro Surround, you won't have a problem with it, but if not, the only way to roll back is to go back to X-Fi hardware.
ALchemy is supported, but it's being routed to a software OpenAL device now, not a hardware one. This may or may not cause issues with certain games; the first two Thief games were notorious offenders 'til that newdark patch implemented native OpenAL support. Even with OpenAL-native games, you can have quirks; Battlefield 2 on X-Fi, Ultra High sound settings starts having reverb in the menu that shouldn't be present, and in general, it just doesn't sound right. The differences may only be obvious if you've actually heard the same game on a system with a real X-Fi card, though.
No, you shouldn't feel bad for having an X-Fi Titanium HD at all. The Z-series is meant to appeal to newer users who don't already have a top-tier sound card, and they seem to be doing an admirable job of that, but it's not really an upgrade for us X-Fi owners.
Originally Posted by ozz007
So if you have the TiHD and only using the SPIF is it worth the upgrade? I have it connected to a outside dac and an AMP. for my headphones. I only use the digital out.
Wait, you're ONLY using S/PDIF-out?
In that case, even the X-Fi Titanium HD is overkill over a cheaper X-Fi Titanium (non-HD)! You're just using the sound card as a glorified DSP, bypassing the DAC altogether.