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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 84

post #1246 of 3297

From NwAvGuy:

 

"Sadly the E11 cannot operate while external power is connected via the USB jack. That means it’s impossible to use it as a regular desktop amp as the battery will end up dead and you can’t listen to it while it’s charging".

post #1247 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarium View Post
 

I don't plan on getting another DAC besides the sound card. Plus doesn't using an external DAC bypass the sound card's 3D positioning? I plan to do one of the following:

 

(Sound card/DAC --> external amp --> headphones)

 

1. Sound Blaster Z OEM --> E11 or Magni --> HD 598

2. Titanium-HD --> E11 or Magni --> HD 598

3. Xonar DX --> E11 or Magni --> HD 598

 

Now just to choose a good valued sound card for 3D audio and DAC, and an amp that's sufficient for 50-ohm headphones with low output impedance, both with a budget of approx $100-150.

Yup whatsaname is correct,

 

It was confirmed on here multiple times that through optical out, you still get SBX surround.  Which SBX surround mode is decided when you select speaker/headphone in the z control panel.  So select headphone mode and then select mix 2 channel/stereo audio option(not sure whats its called, i forgot) from one of the tabs.  Optical will send out the same PCM stereo signal that goes to the DAC.  Free of dolby or dts encoding and upmixing.

 

 

In reference to your options above;

 

TiHD out is your best option for SQ due to the DAC.  I would say the Z is not too far behind but the headphone amp imho is a bottleneck to the that really good DAC.  Most z users will tell you it sounds better from line out like night and day.  Now I am not sure if thats due to the impedence mismatch or the lower SNR of the amp(109db) or just some other factors.  Maybe both, but either way that's something to keep in mind.

 

DG is your cheapest but also worst SQ of the options.  

 

So at the end of the day ask yourself, you want the best SQ or the Z's SBX surround or you want to go the cheapest route with the DG?

post #1248 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post
 

Yup whatsaname is correct,

 

It was confirmed on here multiple times that through optical out, you still get SBX surround.  Which SBX surround mode is decided when you select speaker/headphone in the z control panel.  So select headphone mode and then select mix 2 channel/stereo audio option(not sure whats its called, i forgot) from one of the tabs.  Optical will send out the same PCM stereo signal that goes to the DAC.  Free of dolby or dts encoding and upmixing.

 

 

In reference to your options above;

 

TiHD out is your best option for SQ due to the DAC.  I would say the Z is not too far behind but the headphone amp imho is a bottleneck to the that really good DAC.  Most z users will tell you it sounds better from line out like night and day.  Now I am not sure if thats due to the impedence mismatch or the lower SNR of the amp(109db) or just some other factors.  Maybe both, but either way that's something to keep in mind.

 

DG is your cheapest but also worst SQ of the options.  

 

So at the end of the day ask yourself, you want the best SQ or the Z's SBX surround or you want to go the cheapest route with the DG?

 

I thought the Z has a better DAC than the TiHD. I'm not sure why is the TiHD so expensive right now, it's $150 on amazon for a new one and on ebay they're selling old ones for all over $130's some even $200's. At that price I may just get a SBZ OEM for $50 when it goes on sale again.

 

The thing is, is there even an appreciable difference in SQ upgrading from my Titanium Fatal1ty Pro (with 109 dB playback) to the Z's 116 dB. The whole point of me upgrading in the first place is to NOT having to use a separate headphone amp (and possibly connect my speakers AND headphones to the sound card at the same time).

 

Having to spend $177 on my headphones already, thinking it as a pretty big investment for something I use only at night, and now realizing that I will have to shell out more for a new sound card and amp, makes me kind of hesitant unless I'm getting a lot of bang for the buck here. I just got into reading bunch of different ways of enhancing my SQ though sound cards, amps, DAC's, all of which are relatively new concepts for me. I'm not totally crazy about having the absolute best SQ on my headphones, especially when I use my speakers almost exclusive before 8PM.

 

That being said, I'm still looking for new ideas to enhance my SQ, I just bought a ZXR to "try out" from amazon to see whether it really makes a huge difference and worth spending more money than my headphones for something to improve the headphones itself. I do realize having a nice sound card also enhance the SQ on my speakers too though (I'm using Klipsch iFi 2.1's).

post #1249 of 3297
No the zxr and tihd use the same burr brown dac, pcm1794. The z uses the cirrus logic cs4398.

So if your not crazy about sq for headphones, just use the z and call it a day. And if you find the impedance mismatch an issue add an amp in the future.
post #1250 of 3297

very inter ,Something tells me they're not bringing back the MIDI synthesizer with customizable SoundFonts, either. That little feature can make 1990s games with MIDI music sound really nice, much more than the usual software Microsoft synth can do.thanks for your sharing.

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post #1251 of 3297

Do the line-out and headphone out plugs on the ZXR use different DAC's? I'm assuming both use the burr brown DAC?

 

Also, if the output impedance on the headphone out is higher than I want, couldn't I just plug the headphones (via the external amp) through the line-out instead? Why is there different SNR dB's on the line-out vs the headphone out?

 

Also, is there also a line-out vs an "amped" headphone out on the SBZ OEM?

post #1252 of 3297
There is only 1 DAC in a card.

Both line outs and headphone outs use it. But for the headphone out, there's also the amp after the DAC which has a different snr.(wouldn't worry too much about this number in the case of zxr)

Anyway yes you can use line outs but like its been mentioned numerous times here, you won't get headphone surround through it.

And yes the z has line out as well in the form of the l/r speaker ports beside headphone port.
post #1253 of 3297

The ZxR has extras most of us don't need.

 

I wonder if I got a SBZ OEM and an external DAC/Amp (or combo, and IT MUST BE connected via SPDIF/Toslink/Optical): Are there any products out there that, at the very least are considered to be a sidegrade to the ZxR -  for roughly the equivalent amount of cash? I'm struggling to find anything bar some obscure Chinese imports.

 

The E17 is not as good a DAC/Amp to kick off with as far as reports here go.

 

Any suggestions??.

post #1254 of 3297

Got my ZXR today, quite impressed with all the extras, though I really have no need sans the ACM to control the headphone volume if I don't have an amp. After turning all the stupid SBX pro studio effects, I can definitely appreciate an improvement of SQ over my old Titanium non-HD. The Burr-Brown DAC has amazing clarity.

 

I'm not sure how the headphone output supposed to sound like with low impedance headphones, but vs an E11 additional amp, connecting to the ACM directly with my headphones yielded a more muffled sound.

post #1255 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

The ZxR has extras most of us don't need.

 

I wonder if I got a SBZ OEM and an external DAC/Amp (or combo, and IT MUST BE connected via SPDIF/Toslink/Optical): Are there any products out there that, at the very least are considered to be a sidegrade to the ZxR -  for roughly the equivalent amount of cash? I'm struggling to find anything bar some obscure Chinese imports.

 

The E17 is not as good a DAC/Amp to kick off with as far as reports here go.

 

Any suggestions??.

 

Ya I am pulling my hair out trying to figure this out too.  It seems that the only way to make a decent side grade from the zxr would be to drop $500 minimum on a DAC and amp.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Solarium View Post
 

Got my ZXR today, quite impressed with all the extras, though I really have no need sans the ACM to control the headphone volume if I don't have an amp. After turning all the stupid SBX pro studio effects, I can definitely appreciate an improvement of SQ over my old Titanium non-HD. The Burr-Brown DAC has amazing clarity.

 

I'm not sure how the headphone output supposed to sound like with low impedance headphones, but vs an E11 additional amp, connecting to the ACM directly with my headphones yielded a more muffled sound.

 

 

So from the zxr to acm and to headphone it was muffled compared to using the zxr to acm to e11 then to headphone?


Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 11/9/13 at 4:41am
post #1256 of 3297

Unusual way to do it plugging in your external amp into the ACM. Try plugging your amp into the soundcard directly???

post #1257 of 3297

General question - The Creative forums (ok they're crap)...... I've been registered there for over a month and I still can't post. I can't even look at my own profile as I "lack the permissions"????? What hoops am I missing here?. It must be incredibly frustrating for someone who has a problem and goes there expecting to post and finds that he or she can't.

post #1258 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Ya I am pulling my hair out trying to figure this out too.  It seems that the only way to make a decent side grade from the zxr would be to drop $500 minimum on a DAC and amp.


So from the zxr to acm and to headphone it was muffled compared to using the zxr to acm to e11 then to headphone?

Yea, it sounded not as clear and heavy on bass when I have my headphones plugged directly into the ACM. When I had ACM --> E11 --> HD598 it sounded much better.

Is there a cheaper alternative than the ZXR to get the Burr-Brown DAC on a sound card? I think currently the most budget way is to get the same sound quality is to get a used/refurb Titanium-HD then attach an external amp to it like the E11 or even Magni.

Btw, is using the Pro Studio the only way to get surround on the headphones using ZXR?
post #1259 of 3297
Do us a favor and ditch the ACM and THEN do the above tests again please Solarium? Let us known what you find?


No the only other cards with that pcm1792/94 dac is the tiHD and st/stx. And trust me you won't get anywhere near the same sound quality using optical to a magni and e11. External quality similar will have to run you into the $400-500+ category most likely.

Yes pro studio is the only way.
post #1260 of 3297

Connecting the HD598 via the line-out directly, with the speaker setting under stereo and any SBX Pro Studio effects off, is DEFINITELY better sounding than the headphone out. In fact it's even better sounding than headphone out --> E11 --> HD598. When listening to Norah Jones' "Come Away With Me" album it's by far the best sounding experience I've ever had (I use this album to test out different headphones and amps). I'm not even sure if these headphones need any amplification since I'm using the line-out and at 30/100 windows volume it's sufficient loud enough for me that I wouldn't go higher.

 

Edit: Just tested line-out --> E11 --> HD598, compared to directly via the line-out without amp, the addition of the E11 makes very little appreciable difference. I can hear a bit more clarity, but it makes the music more "grainy" and "dry"... I'm not sure how to describe it better, but without the amp the music sounds more smooth like flowing water, while with the E11 it feels more dry and grainy. I prefer the HD598 directly out of the line-out more than via the E11 as well. Of course, I'm sure maybe the E11 isn't as good as an amp paired with the Burr-Brown DAC, and you need something better like the Magni.

 

BTW, does anyone have any experience connecting headphones directly to the Titanium-HD's headphone out vs line-out? Does the TiHD headphone out (without the built-in amp) sound better than the ZXR's with low-ohm headphones like the HD598's? Also, how is the 3D processing of the TiHD different than the Z series, and which is the generally preferred one?

Edited by Solarium - 11/9/13 at 8:06pm
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