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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 71

post #1051 of 2276

Ya i cant explain the difference in the line outs or headphone out.  Its not noisy by any means, like the mixamp <2012(havent tried the 2013 version) or DSS.

 

But its almost like the headphone out is muddier and not as clear?  My noob explanations are no match for head fi I know lol.


Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/16/13 at 7:51pm
post #1052 of 2276
Hey, at least you're trying. Even if you can't explain why (all unknown things are "magic," till we work to understand them and they become science. For example, people used to think frogs were spawned by rain, but I think metamorphosis is way cooler), some people will give greater credence to your observations because you haven't been prebiased to look for something. So, there's that.
post #1053 of 2276

Basically (theory crafting):

 

1. Any headphone below 50-70 Ohms using the headphone out on the SBZ will run into problems (though not necessarily on the ZxR). The AD700 (the gamers cheap top headphone for positional audio) is 32 Ohms. Not good. Thing is I've read posts where people have been happy with the SBZ/AD700 ????

 

2. Using the RCA's/ Line out to an external amp in Speaker Mode with a very low output impedance headphone amp would alleviate the problem (for stereo anyway and this'd be perfect). Caveat being: it destroys any virtualised 3D audio for gaming and maybe movies if you want to use SBZ Pro using stereo headphones because you have to select Stereo Speakers and mimic headphones badly. This is also my question for SPDIF out.. can you select either Speaker and Headphone output or just Speakers to avoid this crap?

 

3. All that's left is double bloody amping the headphone out. Lob a very low gain amp on it (I've read that people have done it on the SBZ with no distortion, ie the Magni or 1x gain 02. Even a dirt cheap FiiO E5 could do it maybe??). That means you get an amp with 1 Ohm or less impedance so low impedance cans will work without distortion. Caveat is - it may distort the SQ because of double bloody amping.

 

Groan................ Anyway.. the SBZ plus an $100-140 amp means I might as well get a ZxR, or a SBZ OEM> Spdif > DAC/AMP (see the end of question 2). The ZxR/STX both seem to power low impedance cans well anyway, especially the Fidelio X1 which I want, even though there's a slight hiss with nothing playing at high volumes. Just worried about the above poster who's getting **** audio through a supposedly decent (and presumably common) setup.


Edited by SaLX - 10/16/13 at 8:09pm
post #1054 of 2276
^
Consistent with what I've learned. To your point #1, there are exceptions... Sony's MA900 has an impedance compensator built-in. And yeah, a dirt cheap FiiO E5 is a fine pairing with AD700s; the amp doesn't provide a lot of volume for high-ohm headphones (I guess you could plug those straight into the Z card though), but it is clean and without the EQ boost on doesn't add much distortion.

And to your point 3 caveat... Define distortion, and how much a negative effect it creates? Typical hifi speaker systems with separates have a dedicated preamp and power amp, you're effectively doing the same here with the headphones. And from personal experience, it doesn't magnify flaws of the first amp component, and sometimes I LIKE to change/distort the original signal... that's basically what my tube amp does, and it's my honest favorite way to listen with all the headphones I've tried it with.
post #1055 of 2276

Evshrug.. the only way I can 'define distortion' is solely from what I've read here I'm afraid. Double amping is seen as an ultra no-no - I asked what the difference was between double amping and pre-amping (thought it the same tbh as long as it was balanced), but I guess I didn't quite understand the answers. But as I said, some people have been absolutely fine double amping, and I appreciate that none of you here would ever want to guarantee X works with Y.

 

Have a FiiO E5.. whatever card I get (SBZ or ZXR) with the X1, I'll check it out and see how it runs out of both the Line/RCA outs and the headphone out too.. just to see. If it works I will get something better as I will have some cash to burn soon. I'd like to get an O2 amp anyway.

post #1056 of 2276
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post
 

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.


Well you're not alone but I have a ZxR instead (sitting in the drawer though) and I also get a borked / claustrophobic soundstage with headphone out jack when I'm looking for a more surround ("around me" experience). I don't think it's the hardware but the software, more specifically Creative's HRTF tweaks for "Headphone" speaker mode (if selected through Creative driver panel). Using RCA / lineout plugs and stereo for example to me brought a bit better soundstage but I didn't like the sound out of that as I've only got a ZO amp which isn't very good on relying to do the amping job, so it sounded a bit too "murky".

 

It saddens me to say that I get better soundstage with onboard Realtek ALC1150 (what I'm using). :/ Creative should really bring back the possibility to use any speaker config out of any port or maybe simply do "hi-fi" mode with any HRTF tweaks disabled and just following Windows audio standards. I don't like all these "dumbing-down" and slipstreaming of functions when you should let advanced users try every possible config for themselves to decide what they think sounds best.
 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 10/16/13 at 10:23pm
post #1057 of 2276

RPG - see that you're using closed back headphones in the main. Think a pair of open backed headphones would open up the soundstage for you? Have read all your other posts.

post #1058 of 2276
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

Evshrug.. the only way I can 'define distortion' is solely from what I've read here I'm afraid. Double amping is seen as an ultra no-no - I asked what the difference was between double amping and pre-amping (thought it the same tbh as long as it was balanced), but I guess I didn't quite understand the answers. But as I said, some people have been absolutely fine double amping, and I appreciate that none of you here would ever want to guarantee X works with Y.

 

Have a FiiO E5.. whatever card I get (SBZ or ZXR) with the X1, I'll check it out and see how it runs out of both the Line/RCA outs and the headphone out too.. just to see. If it works I will get something better as I will have some cash to burn soon. I'd like to get an O2 amp anyway.

 

Well... while double amping is "bad", it is just general rule that people follow — similar concept to 1/8th of an output impedance.

 

From my experience, double amping only shows its ugly side when both signals are riddled with high THD to begin with. If the soundcard line-out (or in the Z's case, the headphone out) isn't clean, then double amping it with another external amp will just highlight the distortion. Where if you connect your headphones directly into the soundcard, chances are you wouldn't be noticing much of a distortion issue.

 

It goes on a case by case basis I believe. So to answer the question if the SBZ is fine being double amped or not, well... mostly yes. I say mostly because you WILL have to feed the Z off a very clean amp, something like a FiiO E12. The Maxim MAX97220A is stupid for having such a high output impedance in the first place, but at least it is rather clean.

post #1059 of 2276

Pardon my lazyness of not having read everything but does the SBZ not behave like the X-Fis (TiHD in my experience) as in going from lineout -> Amp will still give you every headphone feature if you set to headphones?

 

I'm running mine to my DAC/AMP and do notice differences between speakers vs. headphone during gaming. When using headphones the speaker option is of no real use at all and sounds weird. 

post #1060 of 2276

^

It doesn't behave like the X-Fi cards.

 

Headphone out is headphone out on the Z, line-out is line-out. There's no mixing and matching, which is really a step backwards.

Perhaps Creative is making it as simple as possible to understand for the masses, headphones to the headphone out and speakers to the line-outs. People don't have to mess with the software or do tweaks or something in between.

 

Unfortunately for those who wants more control... they lose out.

post #1061 of 2276

Thing is BenB - it wouldn't even occur to your average user to buy an external amp. At least with the X-Fi's and with a bit of poking around here and on other forums some people would appreciate the benefits of buying amplifier. At least back then they had a choice.

 

Agreed - this sucks. Do you think though that this could be changed in a future patch - it isn't a hardware feature at all is it?


Edited by SaLX - 10/16/13 at 11:55pm
post #1062 of 2276

I'm pretty sure as of right now, it is just an issue with the different HRTF algorithms on the headphone out and line-out. I doubt Creative will ever make a change in it because if they really are just making it simple for the masses, doing this would complicate matters.

 

Perhaps a driver mod in the future may fix this. But taking a look at the Creative Z drivers, it isn't as open-ended as it was with the X-Fi drivers back then. A lot of limitations all around.

post #1063 of 2276

This is just getting more complicated by the hour.

 

So now, not only being stuck with using the headphone out of the SBz to get all the surround effects at it's best, we also have issues with the built-in headphone amp and impedance?

 

Do all the SB-z series (Zxr, Zx and Z) use the same Texas Instruments headphone amp?

post #1064 of 2276

No only the ZXR uses the TI headamp, the Z/Zx use the Maxim headamp.

 

To summarize again, ZXR - roughly 10 ohms output impedence

                               Z/Zx - roughly 22 ohms output impedence.

post #1065 of 2276
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post
 

No only the ZXR uses the TI headamp, the Z/Zx use the Maxim headamp.

 

To summarize again, ZXR - roughly 10 ohms output impedence

                               Z/Zx - roughly 22 ohms output impedence.


Thanks DJINFERNO806!

 

So, would my Beyer T5p @ 32ohms have issues with any of these?

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