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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 110

post #1636 of 2471
No idea. Never tried optical on my STX.

I mean I want to believe its the nature of the encoding itself but the consoles do it fine without the delay. And their DSPs are nothing to write home about either.
post #1637 of 2471

I have acquired a ZxR for evaluation. (edit: Just to be clear, I bought one, am having some problems with it, and if they don't get resolved it will be returned. Everything else is just experimentation as a hobbyist.)

 

Since I am mainly playing CSGO I have to ask, does anyone else have a Z series with CSGO they could test and confirm some of the results I am getting?


Edited by EarwaxDAC - 1/15/14 at 10:01am
post #1638 of 2471

I'm not sure how good I am at testing audio, but I mainly play CSGO with Soundblaster Z SBX so if you need a second opinion I could give it a shot.

post #1639 of 2471

Earwax.. what problems are you having with it? I do not own the game, however I'm interested in what you've got to say about it.

post #1640 of 2471

Just got the SBZ, luckily mine came with Nichicon Gold Caps :D I do have a question though, the optical out port seems to be offset on the rear bracket, and hence my audioquest optical cables don't exactly "click" into the optical port (it works though, just not fully connected). I was wondering if anyone knew whether there were any slim adapters that could help protrude the optical port?

post #1641 of 2471

Problem description: Friends ask, "Why does it sound like there's a groaning pig in the background of your mic? You need to record yourself and hear this. It doesn't sound better than your Realtek, it sounds worse."

 

For the most part, the pig sound only happens when I'm in CSGO. I believe it is EMI noise from components inside my case. I can recreate some noise when doing other intensive things like running 3DMark, but nothing compared to CSGO.

 

I've taken a large number of recordings to test everything out.

 

If you care to know those details, they are:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Motherboard: Asus P8Z77-V LK

CPU: Intel i5-3570k

GPU: Asus GTX670-DC2-2GD5

OS: Windows 8.1

 

Test Microphones:

Rosetta Stone VoIP Headset Mic

Creative Labs ACM Mic (used only with ZxR)

Clip-on Lapel Mic

 

Sound Cards and ports:

Creative Labs ZxR ACM Mic Port

Realtek ACM887 Front Panel HD Audio Mic Port

Realtek ACM887 Back Mic Port

 

Recording Software: Audacity 2.0.5 Link

Reference Wav: First 14 seconds of this public domain wav Link

Player: Nexus4 on 100% volume with X-Mini speaker at 50% volume.

 

Methods used to obtain recordings:

I used the reference wav because I hate the sound of my own voice. It is public domain so long as I name the source, and the particular segment of the recording is conveniently self-cited.

 

I noted the bitrate and sample rate configured in Windows and matched this in Audacity quality settings.

Gain settings ('mic boost') were also tested and noted.

 

In most recordings, my lapel mic was 8 inches away from my speaker. Other positions are noted as such.

Creative ACM recordings had the speaker held in front of my mouth at a natural distance from the ACM.

Rosetta Stone headset recordings had the speaker held near my mouth at a natural distance from the directional boom mic.

The final performance had the lapel mic clipped to my shirt in a natural position with the speaker held at my mouth.

 

Total recordings: 19

 

Results:

I've yet to really compare them or do any blind tests on subjects to determine what the 'best' hardware and configuration is in comparison to the reference wav.

 

The Final Performance is the main problem I am having. In this test you can hear me:

  1. Start the recording in Audacity
  2. Open CSGO
  3. Connect to my local LAN server
  4. Type-in the rcon_password and issue a bot_kick command
  5. Click my mouse shooting a pistol
  6. Play the reference sound
  7. Alt-Tab out of CSGO (the noise stops here, which coincides with the GPU going to a lower utilization %)
  8. Stop the recording

 

Characteristics: ZxR Lapel Mic via ACM, 90% mic volume, no effects, no alchemy, normal sounds settings in CSGO.

 

Here is that file: Link 

(This 16mb file will be replaced by an mp3 at some point) 

 

 

Edit:

I did some more tests while recording inside of CSGO.

ACM alone: No noise

 

My lapel mic is 1/8" mono. I get pig noise when its plugged into the 1/8 mic input on the ACM.

Remove mic. Add a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter to 1/4 mic socket, no noise.

Plug 1/8 mono lapel mic into 1/8<>1/4 adapter, pig noise returns

 

Remove ACM 1/4" jack from back of ZxR, silent (of course)

Plug 1/8<>1/4 adapter into 1/4 mic jack on back of ZxR, low level white noise

Plug 1/8 mono lapel mic into 1/8<>1/4 adapter which is in 1/4 mic jack on back of ZxR, pig noise returns

 

I can't shake the it. Two different mics, it seems the only thing that can give me a clear recording is the ACM.

 

The only difference is these mics are mono. The ACM is stereo. Perhaps the ZxR has some non-optional circuitry to remove noise from a stereo mic? The 'noise reduction' is OFF in the driver. All of CrystalVoice is off. 

 

Is the mono mic jack perhaps leaving a channel open on the ZxR input thus resulting in the amp circuit picking up all this EMI noise? Edit: No, I plugged plain stereo headphones into the 1/8" mic input on the ACM and got them recording as a very bad stereo mic, and the pig noise returned upon alt-tab into CSGO.


Edited by EarwaxDAC - 1/15/14 at 7:40pm
post #1642 of 2471

Practically the same specs as me bar Windows 8 (I have just the vanilla Z). Straight off the bat I would point the finger at software (assuming everything is firmly plugged in). You sure everything is all sorted in that dept. ie all boxes ticked in exclusive mode, microphone boost at default, listen to this device unchecked (Windows sound CP)? Maybe play around with different sample rates for both playback and record.

 

What PCIe slot are you using btw?? Are you using the top slot nearest the motherboard? There isn't any other sound capture software enabled even. Maybe it's directx? This is a head scratcher. Push comes to shove you can use a USB mic.

 

I have occasionally heard of games giving weird feedback noise - but you say running 3Dmark gives the same if a lesser effect. (again perhaps software - DirectX??)  If it was me I'd barebones the PC, reinstall Windows then install the soundcard. You do have a good PSU btw?

 

Seems like there's a lot of sound problems with CS:GO http://steamcommunity.com/app/730/discussions/search/?q=sound+problem


Edited by SaLX - 1/16/14 at 4:36am
post #1643 of 2471
My bro started having weird noise issues with the mic too. Either it suddenly got damaged or there's some kind of interference. Actually... His PSU crapped out recently and at the same time did his GPU (coincidence... or not). I'm starting to wonder....

By the way, regarding the headphone mode for line out: http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=700607
Edited by Anarion - 1/16/14 at 7:38am
post #1644 of 2471

Here is my ZXR with upgraded Opamps which are as follows:

 

(Black): MUSES01

(Greens): 2x AD8597

(Blue): 2x ADA4627-1BRZs converted to a dual op amp-DIP8

 

Overall I'm extremely happy with this setup, I tried OPA627s for the fronts, but the 8597s are more neutral and transparent.

 

 

post #1645 of 2471
So I actually opened up the Z mic to use with games. My previous experience was limited to a few minutes and it wasn't enough.

Started playing dead island with a friend and let me tell you, its a really good mic.

With noise reduction and wedge angle at a minimum, it doesn't pick up any noise except my voice. And my basement is stupid loud with the HVAC units next to me.

My friends report that its really good sounding.

I did notice I have to make sure it's pointing in relatively decent angle to my mouth though(vertically angled) or it won't pick up my voice well enough. I assume its to do with the wedge angle perhaps. Or maybe that only affects the sound pickup horizontally... Have to do more testing.

Seems this mic is solid, not sure why a lot of people are complainging about especially on the creative forums. No issues for me so far. Maybe people are setting it too high on their monitors and not setting g wedge angles large enough?

One thing I've come to notice is that a mic and closed headphones don't mix well. Talking is awkward and loud lol. I use the "listen to this device" option in windows settings but its not perfect. It lags so I find myself speaking slower. I sound like I have a speech problem lol. Also that option is always on so I have to turn it on and off every time I game (just annoying really).

My question is, is there a better option for gaming with closed headphones and a mic?
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 1/16/14 at 11:28am
post #1646 of 2471
I need to retest stuff but in my case it seems to pick my keyboard typing noise quite badly. Noise cancellation seems to muffle the sound quite a bit.
post #1647 of 2471

I'm looking to exchange my current USB DAC iBasso D3 for something that's a little more suited for gaming and I'm currently thinking about buying one of the Creative cards. For headphones I use the AKG K701 with the Matrix M-Stage for amplification. Therefore, I think (given the nature of the K701), I'm not at all interested in the built-in amp of the Creative cards. The RCA output on the ZxR and the microphone go on the plus-side though.

 

Are any of these cards worth purchasing or am I better off looking elsewhere?

post #1648 of 2471
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCSUZoSo View Post
 

Here is my ZXR with upgraded Opamps which are as follows:

 

(Black): MUSES01

(Greens): 2x AD8597

(Blue): 2x ADA4627-1BRZs converted to a dual op amp-DIP8

 

Overall I'm extremely happy with this setup, I tried OPA627s for the fronts, but the 8597s are more neutral and transparent.

 

Why did you change them and what do you use the card for mainly? I'm a gamer.

 

Cheers

 

Motorwayne

post #1649 of 2471
Quote:
Originally Posted by roob View Post

I'm looking to exchange my current USB DAC iBasso D3 for something that's a little more suited for gaming and I'm currently thinking about buying one of the Creative cards. For headphones I use the AKG K701 with the Matrix M-Stage for amplification. Therefore, I think (given the nature of the K701), I'm not at all interested in the built-in amp of the Creative cards. The RCA output on the ZxR and the microphone go on the plus-side though.

Are any of these cards worth purchasing or am I better off looking elsewhere?

The rca and line outs on these cards don't have headphone surround. Only speaker surround so you can't use them with a headphone amp and expect that.

Unless you are willing to double amp the z with your matrix.

You could also buy an external DAC with optical in with the z and your m stage.
post #1650 of 2471
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post

Practically the same specs as me bar Windows 8 (I have just the vanilla Z).

What PCIe slot are you using btw?? If it was me I'd barebones the PC, reinstall Windows then install the soundcard. You do have a good PSU btw?

The PSU is a Seasonic X650 Gold. It draws around 250 watts (as measured with a Kill-a-Watt P4400) with both the CPU and GPU at 100% utilization. At this load it operates in silent mode (no psu fan spinning). The rest of the system runs very low rpm fans because of low ambient temps. Overall the rig is silent.

However, I could barebones it as you suggest. The fans and GPU could be introducing noise, and that would be the only way to reasonably question the motherboard. I am using the second 16x PCIe 2.0 slot. It is really only 8x. Asus reports this does not share bandwidth with the primary 16x PCIe 3 slot. The x1 slot is wedged between my GPU and my NH-D14 HSF. If I remove the GPU I could probably test with the x1, but the fit is awkward.
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