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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 11

post #151 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

I would assume use the headphone jack especially if you are using higher than 32 Ohm impedence headphones.  I see no reason to use the line out.

 

A line output is likely to work better (or less badly, depending on your point of view) with a high impedance load than with a low impedance one. A line input normally has an impedance of at least several kΩ, and that is what a line output is designed to handle best. In the particular case of the Sound Blaster Z, however, if the line output has the same maximum voltage (2 Vrms unloaded) as the line out, and is indeed driven by an NJM4556, it could in fact work decently with headphone loads, the only potential problem is high output impedance and/or capacitor coupling (both of which degrade the sound of low impedance headphones more).

post #152 of 2555
What I'm saying is to me music sounds a little clearer or better and has more definition through my headphones when connected to the line out versus headphone jack (a little, but noticeably so). It is hard to explain since i am not an audiophile. If anyone else can test this with their headphoneS and report back that would be great
Edited by melterx12 - 1/25/13 at 12:51pm
post #153 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by stv014 View Post

A line output is likely to work better (or less badly, depending on your point of view) with a high impedance load than with a low impedance one. A line input normally has an impedance of at least several kΩ, and that is what a line output is designed to handle best. In the particular case of the Sound Blaster Z, however, if the line output has the same maximum voltage (2 Vrms unloaded) as the line out, and is indeed driven by an NJM4556, it could in fact work decently with headphone loads, the only potential problem is high output impedance and/or capacitor coupling (both of which degrade the sound of low impedance headphones more).

Fair enough. I actually wasn't aware that's how it worked.


Melterx12 Are you sure you didn't change anything in the sbx pro studio. The speaker outputs and the headphone outputs might be storing different settings. Switch back and forth and see what settings differ.
post #154 of 2555

all the SBX settings are off. the only difference is using headphone jack the Speaker/Headphone configuration setting is forced to "headphone" while line out I use "Stereo" with Left and Right speakers "Full Range" box checked.

post #155 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by melterx12 View Post

all the SBX settings are off. the only difference is using headphone jack the Speaker/Headphone configuration setting is forced to "headphone" while line out I use "Stereo" with Left and Right speakers "Full Range" box checked.

Maybe the full range changes the low frequency crossover and that accounts for the sound difference.
post #156 of 2555

EDIT: I tried playing music while turning full range setting on and off and do not notice any difference whatsoever, so I do not think it is that.


Edited by melterx12 - 1/25/13 at 1:50pm
post #157 of 2555

Shame about the delay. Product page for the ZxR is up now though.

http://us.store.creative.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-ZxR-PCIe-Sound/M/B00AQ5PK6I.htm

post #158 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by BetaWolf View Post

Shame about the delay. Product page for the ZxR is up now though.

 

It's been up for a little while now. Though, bad news... Release has been postponed to March: http://jp.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/releases/welcome.asp?pid=13305

post #159 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by melterx12 View Post

EDIT: I tried playing music while turning full range setting on and off and do not notice any difference whatsoever, so I do not think it is that.

I would guess why the line output is a little more clear is because it is a more direct path straight from the JRC2114D, no heaphone amp, so the heaphone amp is apparently not transparent on this card. Good that your phones are so easily driven you can use that output. Personally I believe the most optimal solution would be to use a high class headphone amp connected to the line out, instead of the built in headphone amp. The potential for really high end sound seems to be there, as the aforementioned russian site could barely hear a difference between the Creative Z and a several times more expensive EMU 1616 using line out played back through high end gear. The same thing applies to Xonar ST/STX afaik, they sound better from their RCA-outputs than from their headphone amp even though the headphone amp is what got them highly acclaimed.

Anyway, I just received a Creative Z which I will put through it's paces in a few days. It's meant for my gaming box which is current high end hardware and Win 8, my box for music playback running Linux already has a Xonar ST so it will be easy to compare. I also have Xonar DX, Xonar DG, Audiophile 2496 and X-Fi XtremeGamer if I want to put my observations in perspective.

One interesting sidenote is that my sample of Creative Z also has Nichicon Fine Gold caps in all positions, the same as in Xonar ST, I suppose I'm lucky biggrin.gif
post #160 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

Anyway, I just received a Creative Z which I will put through it's paces in a few days. It's meant for my gaming box which is current high end hardware and Win 8, my box for music playback running Linux already has a Xonar ST so it will be easy to compare. I also have Xonar DX, Xonar DG, Audiophile 2496 and X-Fi XtremeGamer if I want to put my observations in perspective.

 

Can't wait to hear your conclusions.

post #161 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by xeizo View Post

I would guess why the line output is a little more clear is because it is a more direct path straight from the JRC2114D, no heaphone amp, so the heaphone amp is apparently not transparent on this card. Good that your phones are so easily driven you can use that output. Personally I believe the most optimal solution would be to use a high class headphone amp connected to the line out, instead of the built in headphone amp. The potential for really high end sound seems to be there, as the aforementioned russian site could barely hear a difference between the Creative Z and a several times more expensive EMU 1616 using line out played back through high end gear. The same thing applies to Xonar ST/STX afaik, they sound better from their RCA-outputs than from their headphone amp even though the headphone amp is what got them highly acclaimed.

Anyway, I just received a Creative Z which I will put through it's paces in a few days. It's meant for my gaming box which is current high end hardware and Win 8, my box for music playback running Linux already has a Xonar ST so it will be easy to compare. I also have Xonar DX, Xonar DG, Audiophile 2496 and X-Fi XtremeGamer if I want to put my observations in perspective.

One interesting sidenote is that my sample of Creative Z also has Nichicon Fine Gold caps in all positions, the same as in Xonar ST, I suppose I'm lucky biggrin.gif

popcorn.gif
post #162 of 2555

I just switched from Forte to Zx. It definitely does sound different and in my opinion the ACM is a must or the volume output is just way too high. I'm using Sennheiser HD 595. I've also wondered whether or not it would be better to just use the lien out instead, I've tried to do testing between headphone out and line out but to be honest, I’m not sure if I can really tell the difference (there doesn't even seem to be volume difference), though line-out does seem to sound a bit cleaner and have higher dynamic range. I used to use line-out in Forte since it was too loud even at lowest setting without volume controller. Zx line out volume levels are more comparable to Forte’s headphone out than line out. First thing I did was to disable all SBX and stuff liek that. Windows audio panel is set to Stereo mode with full-range speakers ticked.

 

By the way, the headphone amp in Zx and Z is Maxim MAX97220A so I do not know if that’s bottlenecking the quality. Someone with really hood ADC should do test but for now, I stick with line-out since it doesn't seem to have any issues driving my headphones. Now that I've done a bit longer comparison it does definitely feel like line-out is better when it comes to detail, sounds awesome. Forte line out was a bit sloppy sounding (for the lack of better word; especially for bass) and Zx definitely has better micro detail and more natural sound. If you have sensitive low inpedance headphones, I'd definitely use line-out.


Edited by Anarion - 1/30/13 at 8:11am
post #163 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post

I just switched from Forte to Zx. It definitely does sound different and in my opinion the ACM is a must or the volume output is just way too high. I'm using Sennheiser HD 595. I've also wondered whether or not it would be better to just use the lien out instead, I've tried to do testing between headphone out and line out but to be honest, I’m not sure if I can really tell the difference (there doesn't even seem to be volume difference), though line-out does seem to sound a bit cleaner and have higher dynamic range. I used to use line-out in Forte since it was too loud even at lowest setting without volume controller. Zx line out volume levels are more comparable to Forte’s headphone out than line out. First thing I did was to disable all SBX and stuff liek that. Windows audio panel is set to Stereo mode with full-range speakers ticked.

 

By the way, the headphone amp in Zx and Z is Maxim MAX97220A so I do not know if that’s bottlenecking the quality. Someone with really hood ADC should do test but for now, I stick with line-out since it doesn't seem to have any issues driving my headphones. Now that I've done a bit longer comparison it does definitely feel like line-out is better when it comes to detail, sounds awesome. Forte line out was a bit sloppy sounding (for the lack of better word; especially for bass) and Zx definitely has better micro detail and more natural sound. If you have sensitive low inpedance headphones, I'd definitely use line-out.

The maxim spec sheet says it operates at  112db SNR so when the sound leaves the Cirrus DAC(116db SNR) and goes to the headamp, I guess it gets a noisier.  Maybe this would account for the quality difference perhaps?  I know it has to travel through the buffer stages too and i guess it could get noisier along there as well?  My understanding of opamps and headamps isnt really high so im not sure.

 

I honestly dont mind the difference in quality right now since the minute the ZXR is released im selling my Z and jumping on that.  The Z was just a temporary solution to my annoyances with the essence STX.  Last minute buy really.


Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 1/30/13 at 11:03am
post #164 of 2555
What annoyed you about Asus' STX?
post #165 of 2555
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

The maxim spec sheet says it operates at  112db SNR so when the sound leaves the Cirrus DAC(116db SNR) and goes to the headamp, I guess it gets a noisier.  Maybe this would account for the quality difference perhaps?  I know it has to travel through the buffer stages too and i guess it could get noisier along there as well?  My understanding of opamps and headamps isnt really high so im not sure.

 

I honestly dont mind the difference in quality right now since the minute the ZXR is released im selling my Z and jumping on that.  The Z was just a temporary solution to my annoyances with the essence STX.  Last minute buy really.

Cirrus DAC is actually rated 120dB SNR in their specs, 116dB is creative's real world value. But as far as I know, headphone amp chip definitely does not improve the signal since it will boost noise too.

 

This probably explaisn the difference:

http://www.abload.de/img/headvddsa.png


Edited by Anarion - 1/30/13 at 11:27am
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