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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 106

post #1576 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
I lost track of those Mirror's Edge videos, if you know their link (some reason they weren't showing up on my searches) I think they would be great to make my guide more complete.
I feel comfortable discounting the SBX test videos from Battlefield, that Freke guy crippled the surround settings for the newer Creative DSPs.

I am getting quite good positioning with my SB Z, even with surround at 67%. DJ, haven't changed it yet, BUT after pretty extensive testing I found with my ears that I preferred boosting the surround setting with THX TSP to get a more out-of-head experience, particularly with rear cues. I think that once I've given 67% a fair chance in SBX, I'll boost it up again. Nameless, I am going to send the SB Z back to Amazon soon since I have the Omni, but if you'd alternatively like to buy it from me, I'd ship it to you instead... Either way though I just bought CS:GO and I'm trying the SB Z with that before sending the card away.

 

I gotta dig up those video links again myself...

 

As for the SB Z offer, I appreciate it, but I nearly emptied my bank account scoring a second-hand deal on one of these babies. That metal gimbal assembly...I'm expecting it to have smoothness where my HOTAS Warthog stick has stiction, and I also like the capabilities of its controller board. Should be adequate for my uses, and easy to mod as well.

 

Yeah, I guess I'm just far more of a controller enthusiast than an audiophile, and my wallet hates me for it.

post #1577 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I lost track of those Mirror's Edge videos, if you know their link (some reason they weren't showing up on my searches) I think they would be great to make my guide more complete.
I feel comfortable discounting the SBX test videos from Battlefield, that Freke guy crippled the surround settings for the newer Creative DSPs.

I am getting quite good positioning with my SB Z, even with surround at 67%. DJ, haven't changed it yet, BUT after pretty extensive testing I found with my ears that I preferred boosting the surround setting with THX TSP to get a more out-of-head experience, particularly with rear cues. I think that once I've given 67% a fair chance in SBX, I'll boost it up again. Nameless, I am going to send the SB Z back to Amazon soon since I have the Omni, but if you'd alternatively like to buy it from me, I'd ship it to you instead... Either way though I just bought CS:GO and I'm trying the SB Z with that before sending the card away.
Here's my Mirror's Edge videos. Since it's OpenAL game (and I'm using the correct device id), SBX doesn't do anything in it though and CMSS just enables HRTF in X-Fi case. Both are tested in stereo mode, not headphone mode. In my opinion, in OpenAL games X-Fi sounds sharper.

Zx:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0qL7BX_XcU&hd=1

X-Fi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GH5DsUJpY8&hd=1
Edited by Anarion - 12/30/13 at 4:56am
post #1578 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I gotta dig up those video links again myself...

As for the SB Z offer, I appreciate it, but I nearly emptied my bank account scoring a second-hand deal on one of these babies. That metal gimbal assembly...I'm expecting it to have smoothness where my HOTAS Warthog stick has stiction, and I also like the capabilities of its controller board. Should be adequate for my uses, and easy to mod as well.

Yeah, I guess I'm just far more of a controller enthusiast than an audiophile, and my wallet hates me for it.

If you don't mind me asking, what are you using the joystick for?

I highly doubt you are spending cheddar on that so you can just fly a chopper with some loud mouth kids in BF4 LOL.

And the age of amazing Jane's simulators are over too frown.gif
post #1579 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post


Here's my Mirror's Edge videos. Since it's OpenAL game (and I'm using the correct device id), SBX doesn't do anything in it though and CMSS just enables HRTF in X-Fi case. Both are tested in stereo mode, not headphone mode. In my opinion, in OpenAL games X-Fi sounds sharper.

Zx:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0qL7BX_XcU&hd=1

X-Fi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GH5DsUJpY8&hd=1

Agreed, golly, the X-Fi slaughters the Zx in that video, I even noticed the cop cars in the back ground properly whereas the Zx was a lot more mushy. Interesting.

 

Cheers

post #1580 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
Here's my Mirror's Edge videos. Since it's OpenAL game (and I'm using the correct device id), SBX doesn't do anything in it though and CMSS just enables HRTF in X-Fi case. Both are tested in stereo mode, not headphone mode. In my opinion, in OpenAL games X-Fi sounds sharper.

Zx:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0qL7BX_XcU&hd=1

X-Fi:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GH5DsUJpY8&hd=1

 

Just the videos I'm looking for, thanks!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post
If you don't mind me asking, what are you using the joystick for?

I highly doubt you are spending cheddar on that so you can just fly a chopper with some loud mouth kids in BF4 LOL.

And the age of amazing Jane's simulators are over too frown.gif

 

Rise of Flight, IL-2 Sturmovik, DCS World, Falcon BMS, that sort of thing. Hardcore flight sims are still around, just off the main radar compared to the MicroProse/Jane's golden age.

 

Battlefield aircraft are too simplistic to justify something like that, even back in 1942 and Vietnam when not flying one with a joystick was a great way to get killed, arcade flight model or not. Now I hear they're pretty much "aim-to-fly" in BF3, even MORE simplified than the classic games' Ace Combat-esque physics.

post #1581 of 3297

http://www28.zippyshare.com/v/72259362/file.html

 

Latest Alchemy Release 1.44.02 with latest dsound.dll

post #1582 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


I've found that double-amping doesn't simply just add volume.
When my AKG K712 was plugged into the SB Z's headphone jack directly, I had to put the windows/card's volume at around 20% to not be too loud. Now I have my tube amp plugged into the headphone jack, the amp's potentiometer turned up to the sweet spot on the dial, and windows volume set at 83%. I think it would be a similar story with the FiiO E12 amp on low gain.


Are you saying that having another amp connected actually reduces the overall loudness level than when just using the headphone jack alone?

post #1583 of 3297

If connecting an amp to the headphone jack reduces volume then something is very wrong, or the amp has actually less than unity gain (less than 1x or 0 dB).

 

(Or the amp's potentiometer at the position you're using attenuates the signal a lot more than you think.)


Edited by xnor - 12/30/13 at 5:55pm
post #1584 of 3297

So I found out that splitting the TiHD's RCA outs to the headphone amp as well as the speakers have no detectable loss in SQ. Now since I do this, it's so much more convenient not having to unplug the speakers everytime I want to listen to the headphones. I usually leave the windows volume at 100%, and here lies the problem:

 

When I have the windows volume on at 100%, which is the recommended setting using a headphone amp, my speakers clip even at very low volumes with certain games. If I play music via spotify (320 bitrate) or FLAC files using winamp, there will be no clipping, but when I play games the bass is very distorted and results in clipping. This goes away when I lower the windows volume to 50%.

 

Why does it happen?

post #1585 of 3297

Hello everyone! After reading information in this topic,  I'm thinking of buying Z or ZxR model. I now have an old SB Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 (I use denniel K drivers) and Sennheiser PC 363D but I don't use its USB sound card because I don't like the positional audio of this soundcard, so I just plug my headphones directly to the soundcard in my PC. Mostly I play FPS games and use virtual surround 7.1 sound in my headphones and sometimes I listen to music in foobar with WASAPI plugin. So I have some questions:

 

- is sound blaster Z way better for gaming than SB Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 when using virtual surround in headphones?

 

- is there any sense of buying ZxR instead of Z if I mostly play FPS games other than listen to music? Does ZxR sound much better in games than Z when using virtual surround sound in headphones?

 

- does 7.1 virtual surround in headphones sound better than 5.1 or they are almost the same? Because as I understand Z/ZxR don't support virtual 7.1 sound, do they?

 

- and do I need to change any settings in windows sound control panel or SB Z drivers when switching from games to music or youtube video? I explain how it works now on my SB Audigy 2 ZS: So I just set "headphones"  and "optimize 3D effects when using headphones" in SB Audigy control panel and then I set 7.1 sound in windows control panel and it works fine everywhere. So, when I play FPS I just set 7.1 sound in audio options and it sounds great and when I exit the game and start watching video in youtube it automatically plays in in stereo mode, the same rhing for music, so it's very handy for me. Does the same work in SB Z/ZxR?

 

Thank you very much in advance!

post #1586 of 3297
  • SB Audigy 2 ZS 7.1?  That's an old card you have there. Lose it.

 

  • ZxR instead of Z? If you read a few pages back, you'll see that question answered in detail. If anything, it ought to increase the soundstage and give a bit more punch to everything. The directional cues may be better..depends on the sound engine. Music is where you'll see the most improvement. ....but if you're using ****ty sub $100 headphones/sets/speakers, then go with the Z. Your headset is very good if you avoid the USB soundcard - same as the PC360 I believe.

 

  • "does 7.1 virtual surround in headphones sound better than 5.1 or they are almost the same" groan.. that's the PR guys waving strobe lamps in your bunny eyes (well.. they like to think that). 2.1, 5.1 and 7.1 are terms to describe speakers. Using stereo headsets, terms like 5/7.1 are soley meant to suggest the surround effect the source outputs: ie the soundcard. They expand stereo to successfully reproduce a 2D, almost 3D soundscape, but in essence they are still stereo; if you had one of those pish headsets with 8 itty bitty speakers in it, then yes.. you truly could call that a 7.1 headset.

 

  • On the new SBZ range, all that stuff is done for you - on intallation and reboot it'll always revert to 7.1 in the windows sound control panel - and that's a good thing. Just leave the windows sound panel alone. **** yeah ... you change everything in the SBZ control panel / quick flick between surround/stereo on/off.....   there's a good profile save option too****

Edited by SaLX - 1/2/14 at 8:00pm
post #1587 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wraithy View Post
 

Hello everyone! After reading information in this topic,  I'm thinking of buying Z or ZxR model. I now have an old SB Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 (I use denniel K drivers) and Sennheiser PC 363D but I don't use its USB sound card because I don't like the positional audio of this sound card, so I just plug my headphones directly to the sound card in my PC. Mostly I play FPS games and use virtual surround 7.1 sound in my headphones and sometimes I listen to music in foobar with WASAPI plugin. So I have some questions:

- is sound blaster Z way better for gaming than SB Audigy 2 ZS 7.1 when using virtual surround in headphones?

- is there any sense of buying ZxR instead of Z if I mostly play FPS games other than listen to music? Does ZxR sound much better in games than Z when using virtual surround sound in headphones?

Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS

 

My personal opinion is to replace the Audigy 2 Zs with a Sound Blaster Z, $60-$90

The Z, Zx, ZxR use the same SoundCore3D audio processor.

The Z's CS4398 DAC chip should be a fair bit better then the Audigy's DAC chip.

I'm guessing the ZxR's does not justify paying three times the price of the Z.

post #1588 of 3297
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Hopefully you disabled the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS

My personal opinion is to replace the Audigy 2 Zs with a Sound Blaster Z, $60-$90
The Z, Zx, ZxR use the same SoundCore3D audio processor.
The Z's CS4398 DAC chip should be a fair bit better then the Audigy's DAC chip.
I'm guessing the ZxR's does not justify paying three times the price of the Z.

After having both the z and zxr, I don't think its justified by the price. Unless you really will use the ACM and daughter board with the high quality ADC for recording. Otherwise its a waste of money. My ACM and daughter board sat in the boxing wasting away.

Now don't get me wrong, it is a fantastic piece of audio equipment and the main card is as high quality as you will get for a consumer level sound card. If it was $180ish without the extras then I'd say go ahead. Assuming it will be the only DAC you'd use for a long time. You'd be hard pressed to find an external unit with this DAC and decent amount of power for this price, let alone with the sbx features.

With that said, I would get the z to start with. See how you like it. It really is a great card for the price. Especially If you dont mind the OEM without the EMI shield(make your own if you hear static and electrical noises). $70 is a no brainer.

Then down the road you can always just grab another amp and use that, a lot of users here are doing that with great results. Or if you ever just wanted an external DAC or amp then just use optical out to retain the features like surround and Crystalizer etc.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 1/3/14 at 1:02am
post #1589 of 3297

Well, thank you very much for reply! Yes, ZxR is quite expensive but if it's really much better in games I would buy it though. But as I understand they are almost the same in games and ZxR is much better than Z predominantly in music which I listen to not very often and also my PC363D (or I can call it PC360 without usb sound card) are not really made for music though they sound pretty good in music for me. 

DJINFERNO806 from your personal practice of using Z and ZxR with headphones virtual surround in games, did you really find ZxR sound better than Z or good headphones (better than PC360) are needed to notice the difference? Most of all I play L4D2 and all I need is to hear the precise movements of infected. I've used razer megaladon for a long, the postional clues were quite good but the general audio quality was very poor + this headset was too buggy and often turned off while playing. Then I'v got my PC363D which are very good in many games but its usb sound card sounds terrible in L4D2, after megaladon I just can't determine positions of enemies it just confuses me. So finally I plugged my PC363D directly to SB Audigy 2 ZS, set to 7.1 virtual surround and for me it sounds much better than USB sound card. Good positioning sounds in L4D2 almost everytime but sometimes again confusing, I never experinced that with megaladons though their sound quality was very poor. So that's why I decided to buy new soundcard. I hope Z/ZxR have better in game positional audio and it will work just fine with my PC360.

I'm sorry if I'm asking questions you have already answered in this thread but it takes a lot of time to read everypage. And sorry for my english, it's not my native language :)

post #1590 of 3297
For your 360, I would just go with the Z. It would be more than enough and sound really nice.

Unless you need the extra amp power down the road or want to do op amp swapping.

The zxr won't make a difference in virtual surround over the z at least not that you would notice very much. Music is where you'll find the difference. But I would get the z and upgrade your headphones down the road first instead.

Like I said before I would get the z and then if you find you need more power, add an external amp down the road.

The 360 and the z should be a great combo as that's what I had first, well the 350 and 360. I'd swap em now and then. Some of the best sound stage and sq in a headset.
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