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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 70

post #1036 of 2456

Yeah that is what I was thinking too, that what is sent to the internal dac was pcm signal as well. It makes a lot of sense.

 

Yeah, those customer reps aren't the greatest. It seems like they just took a gander at the box and told me what they read off of it. It is like,  "I didn't ask you to read me the box, I am asking you to use your "internal" knowledge of the products to see if you can give me a some sort of reasonable answer."

 

Yeah I was really going to use it for my headphones, but I was looking at the Asgard 2 which has the line out for power monitors or stereo amplifiers. 

post #1037 of 2456
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodflowerz View Post


Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I want to connect the Xbox to this card, and then connect my PC and xbox (via the Creative Z) to my external DAC.

Can the optical output 5.1 sound including all the Creative effects? I cannot find any mention of this in the manual.

I think you may have gotten confused with what creative was telling you. The card can output SBX mixed stereo, the problem is (because of licensing) the sound card cannot decode Dolby Digital Live 5.1 surround from your Xbox, only 2 channel PCM. That's why I have the Recon3D USB... the only device I know of that can process computer surround (through USB) or console surround (optical DDL5.1).

The Recon3D USB does not have an optical output, but I've had good results connecting an amp to the headphone out port.
Edited by Evshrug - 10/16/13 at 12:58pm
post #1038 of 2456

I was reading my ZXR Manual for some info on this and I came across this that will answer this once and for all.

 

 

 

So you can send PCM with all the sbx goodies to a DAC from optical out.

 

BUT now my question is, what type of SBX surround HRTF algorithm will it use?  What I mean by this is, HRTF for headphones and speakers has to be calculated differently.(Speakers have to have cross talk cancellation and need to make up for the fact that sound reaches your ears regardless of what speaker, etc etc)  Up until now I have noticed a difference in how this is done and I figured the Z would switch what type it uses based on whether you select STEREO or HEADPHONES in the z panel.

 

But what does it use for this?   Some testing is needed and I want to break out my optical to my av receiver but im so lazy lol.

post #1039 of 2456

I've looking into this option as well:

 

SBZ (OEM) > SPDIF (2ch virtualised 3D) > external DAC/AMP (Maverick Audio TubeMagic DAC or an Audio-GD 15.32 etc - any that accept SPDIF in) > Stereo headphones.

 

One thing though - and I'd appreciate some help - in the new SBZ control panel when outputting via SPDIF, can you select 'Headphones' as opposed to Speakers in the Creative CP? I know that you've got to select Stereo Mix as well.

 

Creative Control Panel (Click to show)

 

 


If you can only use Speakers (in stereo - pretending they are headphones), then this is brick wall. Although the X-Fi's could output stereo CMSS-3D Headphone and work well via SPDIF, I worry that new SBZ Studio would mess up the HRTF for gaming* if you are forced to use the speaker option.

 

*This is when using the lineouts to an external amp, not using headphone out. (and sorry Ethan if you're reading this! - just want to get it right)

 

@EDIT* DJI - you beat me to it :) Also - the image you posted when it says "select speaker in playback device".. doesn't that refer to the default device in windows sound control panel, where many would make the mistake of selecting the SPDIF out, not "Speakers"?


Edited by SaLX - 10/16/13 at 1:23pm
post #1040 of 2456
I wonder why Bloodflowerz and watsaname are looking for really complicated extra DAC setups, when really it sounds like what they're trying to improve is the amping section? Just connect an appropriate power amp to the line-outs or (le gasp!) the headphone out.

The Z has a better DAC than the FiiO D03k... And I've only read specifically that the E07k can NOT process DDL or DTS signals, else Mad Lust Envy or NamelessPFG would be ALL over that.
post #1041 of 2456
^ lol true story. Lol I didn't think about the why, just gave them advice based on what they wanted.

Ya the DAC on the z is amazing for what you pay.

Anywho, I did some more testing with sbx surround using rca to my headphones...

Gaming was terrible, direction is borked. If an object is to the left it plays out of both sides albeit one is louder but not by much. Same goes for vice versa. Also rear sounds play beside your head and center just plays out of both sides equally and loud. I'm not gonna lie it gave me a headache and I wanted to throw up, I swear, not exagerating.

Using 5.1/7.1 test files also confirmed this.

I guess my theory was correct. Sbx surround has different modes based on what is used for output. Similar to cmss3d modes except you can't change these ones. What a shame for people who external amps that game.

This is for those of you using line outs for headphones, you may want to think twice if you game with sbx surround.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/16/13 at 1:37pm
post #1042 of 2456
^ well...
Then I'd go back to recommending hooking up a "power" amp to the headphone jack then, just considering the soundcard to be a DAC+PreAmp.

Sorry to hear about your nausea frown.gif
post #1043 of 2456
^ lol yup I guess thats the only option.

Thanks, my heads still piercing lol


@ salX,

I'm not sure about that option I never use digital out. I assume windows? When I had my z, that option was always available and I had speakers set in windows as default.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/16/13 at 1:43pm
post #1044 of 2456
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I wonder why Bloodflowerz and watsaname are looking for really complicated extra DAC setups, when really it sounds like what they're trying to improve is the amping section? Just connect an appropriate power amp to the line-outs or (le gasp!) the headphone out.

The Z has a better DAC than the FiiO D03k... And I've only read specifically that the E07k can NOT process DDL or DTS signals, else Mad Lust Envy or NamelessPFG would be ALL over that.

 

No, it isn't the E07k Evshrug.

It's the D07 - http://fiio.com.cn/products/index.aspx?ID=100000039443512

 

The D07 does decode DTS and DD.

post #1045 of 2456
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

^ lol true story. Lol I didn't think about the why, just gave them advice based on what they wanted.

Ya the DAC on the z is amazing for what you pay.

Anywho, I did some more testing with sbx surround using rca to my headphones...

Gaming was terrible, direction is borked. If an object is to the left it plays out of both sides albeit one is louder but not by much. Same goes for vice versa. Also rear sounds play beside your head and center just plays out of both sides equally and loud. I'm not gonna lie it gave me a headache and I wanted to throw up, I swear, not exagerating.

Using 5.1/7.1 test files also confirmed this.

I guess my theory was correct. Sbx surround has different modes based on what is used for output. Similar to cmss3d modes except you can't change these ones. What a shame for people who external amps that game.

This is for those of you using line outs for headphones, you may want to think twice if you game with sbx surround.

 

Hey all

 

Thanks very much for all the hard work, investigating and contribution to this thread! Many thanks from me!

 

The idea was, I want a separate (external) DAC and AMP for my Music. However, as I am a gamer, I also want to Downmix 5.1 sound into stereo surround from both my Xbox and PC. So, for this reason, wanted to throw the SB Z into the mix to process these effects as and when I require it, and disabling it for my music reproduction.

 

There are other options, such as the Beyer Headzone (too damn expensive), Xonar with Dolby Headphone (crappy drivers and surround effects), and the Mix Amp, which does not have optical out.

 

So, the solution is to amplify the headphone amp section of the SB-Z to get the right effects?

post #1046 of 2456
Benbenkr,
That's pretty interesting. I don't have need for it, but I'll look into it because it could be nice for others. I wonder what/how it decodes surround into stereo... there's no mention on their page of a DSP, or virtual surround. Hopefully it doesn't just use front R/L channels, or mash all back, front, and side channels down into just sounding like side channels.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodflowerz View Post

Hey all

Thanks very much for all the hard work, investigating and contribution to this thread! Many thanks from me!

So, the solution is to amplify the headphone amp section of the SB-Z to get the right effects?

Yes. You may even find the SB-Z's DAC to satisfy you.
Edited by Evshrug - 10/16/13 at 2:30pm
post #1047 of 2456

Yeah the thing about using the line out of the z is that it completely borks the sound stage when doing pretty much anything. I tried all the different options under the speakers section and it kept giving me screwed up sound stage. It sounded everything is coming from in front of me, sort of like speakers. rather than giving the proper surround feeling. 

 

I want to avoid the headphone out as much as possible, because I think it doesn't sound that great. I don't know if it is the built in amp, dac, or maybe just the screwed up impedance(using ad700s currently), but the sound stage is very claustrophobic to me. It sort of has this feeling of iems where everything sounds like it is inside your head rather than coming from outside your head. Depending on the what I am listening to voices are unbearable, it sounds like with they are drilling into your head with every word they speak. This phenomenon is most noticeable to me in Adele's album - 19 and listening to any of Totalbiscuit's videos on youtube.

 

Yeah I realize that the d07 probably isn't the best and was looking at the audio gd 15.32.

post #1048 of 2456
I used to run AD700! <3

What you're hearing is more likely due to impedance mismatch... Fact check me, but I think the SB-Z has a 22 Ohm output impedance, while the AD700 only has 32 ohms impedance. You'll have a better experience with low output impedance and higher current.

Even something like a FiiO E5, which has like 0.5 output impedance, ought to help some of that glaring sound and spread apart different voices. The helicopter guns in CoD4 really bother me without a low output-impedance amp. You don't really need the extra wattage of a FiiO E11, but the sub-bass boost may also help the AD700 sound fuller, it's reviewed as doing a very good job supporting soundstage depth, and you'll have a bit more power on tap in case you later on buy more power-hungry cans. Any amp more expensive would be overkill, and you probably wouldn't be able to tell a difference with your AD700.

I forget which amp you were considering, but E11 + AD700 will probably net you the most spacious soundstage you will hear from headphones... If you like soundstage, your upgrade path will probably look something like AD700 (which I had for 3 years), Sony MA900, AKG Q701 or K712 + a tube amp, and then... well this is where I'm at now, feelin very happy, but next would probably be a Sennheiser HD800 or AKG K812, if I could ever justify their cost.
Edited by Evshrug - 10/16/13 at 3:00pm
post #1049 of 2456

Ya I have also read a lot of users complaining about the Z's headphone out sounding too small of a sound stage and things seem to mashed together.  But personally I have never had that issues. 

 

I never thought of it at the time but I guess my old PC350's(150 ohm) or my current DT770/250 ohm would be the reason.  I wasn't experiencing impedance mismatch i guess.  Lol ya I know I have a thing for high impedance cans.  But to be fair, I couldnt justify having the ZXR and not taking advantage of its decent power output and the 250 ohm have a much smoother and flatter response.  I like bass a lot but when I listened to the 80 ohm, it was ridiculous.  If I could describe it, it sounded like when I tried the Razer Tiamat 2.2(albeit a lot clearer) a long time ago.  They literally have 2 extra drivers just for low frequencies.  Everything just gets swepped away under the low frequencies.  What a headache.  The 250 ohm was so nice and it still gives deep bass when needed.  During some scenes from Act of Valor, the drivers would vibrate my head, but never compromise the mids or highs. Anywho, end rant lol.

 

Oh and another thing, you guys are right about the headphone out not being as good as the line outs.  I mentioned it before but it seems the maxim headphone amp seems to "bottleneck" the sq.  It is rated at significantly lower SNR than the DAC.  I know SNR doesnt always mean much but in this case you have to admit its pretty obvious when you hear the two.  If its not the SNR then its something else, but logic dictates that the only difference in the audio path being the headamp, it must be the reason.

post #1050 of 2456
SNR (or as I like to write it, as a former math and science geek, S:R) is more about hearing background noise, at least for consumers/listening. There is a point where you don't actually hear background hiss anymore, but you still get a sense that the background isn't entirely "black." And past that point, it simply doesn't make a difference.

I'm no audio engineer. I would guess that higher S:R is more important when you have really sensitive equipment... but S:R is not directly related to driving a headphone with adequate voltage and current. It's also not related to output impedance, which is where I think watsinaname is having his issue. The ZxR headphone out is like 10 ohms, and the Z like 22? I don't remember exactly, but Wat needs simply to address the ohms. Recommended rule of thumb (there are exceptions) is an output impedance 1/8th of the headphone's impedance will sound best.
Edited by Evshrug - 10/16/13 at 7:24pm
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