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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 101

post #1501 of 3391
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Skip .. hope you don't mind me asking, but why did you prefer the Mixamp over the SBZ with the X1? Or are you saying that, as the AKG needs a lot of power, it simply doesn't work well out of the Mixamp (kind of assuming that is what you meant)? Thanks.

I found that that K712 sounded thinner through the mixamp than the X1. The listening experience was bland. The SBZ headphone amp seems to correct this for me.

I have yet to try an amp to boost the mixamp. MLE's tread mentioned that Amos helped the Annies when used with the mixamp. The K712's are close enough to have the same benefit I believe.
post #1502 of 3391
Yeah, I use an amp with my K712's from my DSS, Recon3D USB, and from my SB Z card. Definitely imparts better control and refinement, although the SB Z was the closest without an extra amp to the amped quality target, and I was happy enough plugging it straight into the sound card for gaming (with a slight treble EQ-down).
Edited by Evshrug - 12/19/13 at 10:01pm
post #1503 of 3391

From what I've read the K series really scale up superbly with a powerful amp.. maybe the SBZ is sufficient, but again from what I hear they like MOAR juice!! Even the ZxR may not provide enough in the end.

post #1504 of 3391
They do scale up indeed... That's why my preferred amp uses a tube in a class-a amp configuration for plenty of voltage and that tube-character goodness, hybridized with high-quality solid-state transistors to provide plenty of current. I've realized that while it's easy to get enough voltage to make the 62 ohm AKG flagships loud (maybe too easy), more current (and lower amp distortion, THD) allows for better control and refinement, which can sometimes be just enough to reveal the separation of soundstage depth.

I don't like things TOO dampened down and controlled though, especially with digital recordings, because it can make the sound too "hard" and get an edge that fatigues me. That's why I like the tubes, it's all personal preference but you need balance.
post #1505 of 3391

TY Evs - yeah.. am reading through so many posts that point out that sound engineers DO NOT record for the select few that use neutral DAC's and amps. The majority of up to date DACS (found in smartphones, DVD players and TV's etc etc) use some variant of the Wolfson DAC along with budget amps. It's a complete falsehood when people say neutral is best when you consider that the most important thing - the actual music - is produced to the mass market. Maybe on some niche recordings sure, like modern Jazz, but congested over-produced crap like Miley Cyrus twerking on the iPhone... mmm  (mmm..as in not good, ie not in any sexual way).


Evs.. pls do me a favour - double amp your tube amp with your headphone out on the SBZ.... I know tube amps don't have a ultra low harmonic distortion and so it may not be great. I don't think anything will explode. I only ask this because the new Sound Blaster range as you know simply does not cater to the aftermarket crew who want to add an external amp. As DJ pointed out, the HRTF is designed solely for speakers.. and I think it was stv who clocked that it was a dumbing down measure.

post #1506 of 3391
That IS what I do, hook up my amp to the headphone jack. And it works very very well. I don't have any audible background hiss, it supplies the power to hit difficult notes without distorting, AND I can go from having windows volume set from around 24% to get listening volume with K712 plugged directly in compared to windows set to 85% and my amp's knob turned to the 9:30 position (7 O'Clock is off).

The E12 works well plugged into the headphone jack, too.

Side note: other common DACs today are new models from Cirrus and Sabre. And good DACs with good resolution are being made less expensive than ever before.
Edited by Evshrug - 12/20/13 at 12:00am
post #1507 of 3391

Double amping (in case anybody actually does a search in this thread)


Wow.. thanks Evs. I've seen extremely few verifiable posts that have actually stated that an external amp (low gain/low THD) can actually be used with the headphone out on the SBZ. The Magni works I'm told; and you would in turn have to assume the 02 does too. Many thanks.... was about to buy a Compass 2, but now.... Project Starlight may well be the answer with my SBZ.


Nice one Evs :smile: 

post #1508 of 3391
Hey, glad to help bud smily_headphones1.gif

My tube amp was custom-built so I have no idea what the specification/measurements on it are, other than the output impedance ought to be less than 10 Ohms, but the FiiO E12 is a pretty well-known quantity and indeed of quality. Could've sworn I mentioned earlier that I double-amped with my Recon3D USB and Turtle Beach DSS with good results, and would be using the SB Z in the same way without expecting trouble. If you look back, I was trying to say on this page that SB Z + amp (to the headphone jack) helps improve the sound reproduction... I wouldn't have bought the SB Z if I didn't intend to make use of the virtual surround! When the Omni arrives (so I can dual-boot to Mac again without unplugging my soundcard from inside), I intend to dual amp that too.

Seriously, a good amp doesn't make for double amping problems. In the world of speakers, the soundcard would be considered to be on pre-amp duty, while the external amp is on power amp duty. Usually power amps are REALLY powerful to drive those big speaker drivers, but conceptually it's the same audio path.

Funny thing: the Rock & Glass is absolutely my favourite amp so far (and Zigis has since upgraded it from the prototype I have), but it's possible it doesn't measure objectively "perfect." Don't knock double-amping till you've tried it. Is that Project Starlight a new effort from that garage guy who started out by improving on the Bravo and Indeed tube hybrid amps?
Edited by Evshrug - 12/20/13 at 1:05am
post #1509 of 3391

Well I bought a Siberia Elite and not impressed, will return it and start my upgrade from an old Logitech G35 from scratch...

So, apparently the new Creative cards here are the best all around option with good software support and features, and SBX provides a good surround option for gaming.

From what I've read in this thread and linked threads, is that the Zx external amp thing isn't good, the Z is better than the Zx, and that the ZxR is the best, the problem is, I don't want to pay 200+$ for the ZxR since I don't need the daughter board, I do want the main card and the external module.


How is the Omni external thing? I'm not sure how that works and what it is compared to the Z line of cards.

Finally, what headphones would be good to get for under 250$, SBX apparently works well on most, I was looking at the Sony MDR1, or the MK2 of it when that comes out for cheaper. I need it to be closed unfortunately, I'm really overwhelmed by different opinions on headphones here O: Seems impossible to find something comfortable, good sound, no weird build quality quirks. Help much needed, I'm here with an open and humble mind!

post #1510 of 3391
I am satisfied with the quality of the Z. I'm only getting the Omni because I need something that I can use with Mac OS X. The Omni is in the same product line as the Z-series soundcards, it's just an external thing that plugs in via USB.

The ACM external module that comes with the Zx and ZxR is more of a volume limiter... and it kind of masks the ultimate quality you can get from a soundcard. If you need external volume control, I recommend investing in an Amp instead, although the built-in amp on the Z is pretty good and to beat it you'd need to spend around $100. I found that it wasn't a big inconvenience to leave my headphone cable plugged in directly to the card, though I use AKG headphones with detachable cables so I could unplug the cable from the headphone and use a different cable to hook up to my Xbox.

Of course, the most convenient setup I've yet found was a Creative Recon3D USB, with the optical cable going to the Xbox and the USB going to my PC (which serves power to USB even when turned off). To switch sources, I just had to flip a switch on the Recon3D USB before booting the source.
Edited by Evshrug - 12/20/13 at 12:49pm
post #1511 of 3391

Ok, so the Omni and Z are the same price, both have the beamforming mic which is good. Though the Omni is through USB and has the volume control right there on your desk, which is rather convenient. Would the Z have better sound quality given it's through PCIe? The bonus for the Omni is that it's all one unit, and it doesn't have to go into my dusty and unstable PC build!

post #1512 of 3391

Hey guys hoping to recieve some advice on a couple things.. i just bought a Aune t1 and currently have He400's but am now in the market for an audio interface and quality monitors.


Im wondering if i should replace the Aune and get a better dac i can use the monitors with aswell and also whether running the pc>audio interface>dac/amp is possible and worth it ?


Ive also got a sbz an am hoping to run the virtual surround through them if possible too. Thanks for any advice.

post #1513 of 3391

So any people have experience with the SoundBlaster Omni? It's only 55$ on Amazon with the 30% discount, I'm thinking that and a JVC S680 (70$ amazon) would be a killer combination, the one thing I did notice is that the Omni doesn't have EAX 5.0, I'm assuming it still has SBX surround?

post #1514 of 3391
Originally Posted by Povell42 View Post


It could be something with my setup. But I have no issues with anything else and love the Sound Card itself with the Headphones plugged directly into the back.  I am currently using the Superlux HD668b headphone with it.  I am actually getting the Ultrasone Pro 900 in the mail tomorrow so I will test it with those, just to see if certain headphones emphasize the issue. 


I am kinda frustrated that I seem to be the only one that is experiencing a more dramatic change in audio quality through the ACM -  and I have tested 2 of them with the same result.  I will test it further and check out more games as well just to make sure that it is not just black ops 2 that suffers from it so dramatically. But to me it seem like the surround sound effect is somehow affected by the ACM.


I will agree that the mic is pretty good on it though.  It seems to be much better than the mic that came with the Z model.  I am definitely using it as a table top mic and a mic plug-in extension.    

In your post, you mentioned that the ACM's mic is better than the Z's mic but in your Amazon's review, you mentioned it's not worth US$50 for that. I just needed to know how much better is it relative to the Z's?


Is it better in terms of clarity, sound cancellation, sensitivity to pick up voice, or its ability to do its job of beamforming? Maybe some subjective percentages could help me understand how much better you felt it was over the Z? Also, if you have any experience with boom mics of headsets like the Sennheiser PC360 or something similar, could you comment whether the mic from the Z model is comparable in performance?


Reason why I ask is that over here is this part of the world, the difference between the Zx and Z is about US$30 and that I would like to buy the Q701 over the PC360 if I could use the Sound Blaster's mic. The omni-direction and lack of noise cancellation of the Zalman mic that you mentioned in your Amazon review is something I don't think I can live with. So would you reckon it's worth getting the Zx just for the better mic on the ACM over the Z if the difference is now US$30?


Thanks for your help.

post #1515 of 3391
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Double amping (in case anybody actually does a search in this thread)


Wow.. thanks Evs. I've seen extremely few verifiable posts that have actually stated that an external amp (low gain/low THD) can actually be used with the headphone out on the SBZ. The Magni works I'm told; and you would in turn have to assume the 02 does too. Many thanks.... was about to buy a Compass 2, but now.... Project Starlight may well be the answer with my SBZ.


Nice one Evs :smile: 

I use a Magni and I like it. Great little amp for music and gaming.

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