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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 114

post #1696 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meduseld View Post
 

Hi 

 

I have a question.

 

For gaming and mostly music, I'd like to know which is better between Soundblaster ZXR; Asus Essence One and Cambridge dacmagic.

 

Thanks

 

Doesn't the DACmagic have an optical input? 
 

If your willing to spend that much, I would just get a good external amp/DAC combo WITH an optical DAC, and then pick up a cheaper soundblaster Z.  Then you could run the optical out from the soundblaster into the external device (such as the DACmagic) for your gaming with surround sound, and just use the external device by itself for everything else (music).

post #1697 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenkr View Post

I read that Evshrug has gotten the SB Omni, how is it doing thus far?

Been thinking about it for a while now and considering I might switch to a full ITX/M-ATX PC build soon... the Omni doesn't seem like such a bad option.
Don't be mad, but... I haven't gotten around to setting it up yet. Feel kinda bad that (I think) I missed the return window for the SBZ.

One thing though, I do believe the Omni actually does have ALchemy... I remember reading it on the box, I'll confirm tonight.
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post

Wow. 

Downloading SB Z drivers from Creative's website is incredibly slow.  A 162mb package and it's going at 25-50 kb/sec - basically dial-up speeds.   ETA is over an hour.  Is this normal?

Talk about slow servers.  Creative, I am disappoint.

Well, they are based in Singapore.
Steam downloads really slow for me, for some reason.
post #1698 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by chicolom View Post
 

 

Doesn't the DACmagic have an optical input? 
 

If your willing to spend that much, I would just get a good external amp/DAC combo WITH an optical DAC, and then pick up a cheaper soundblaster Z.  Then you could run the optical out from the soundblaster into the external device (such as the DACmagic) for your gaming with surround sound, and just use the external device by itself for everything else (music).

thank you 

So you suggest me to connect my dac on the sound card to get the creatives software? 

At first I wanted to plug in usb but if what you propose is better ok.

post #1699 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Meduseld View Post
 

thank you 

So you suggest me to connect my dac on the sound card to get the creatives software? 

At first I wanted to plug in usb but if what you propose is better ok.

 

 

Basically.

 

If you already have external amp and optical DAC hardware, you don't need to pay twice for more DAC/amp hardware in the soundcard when you won't be using it.  If you have an external optical DAC, you only need the soundcard for it's surround processing.  The soundcard is able to output the surround-sound-processed stereo signal digitally over it's optical ouput.  So you send that to your external optical DAC/amp and it does the converting to analog and driving of the headphones.  So with this setup you can get by with the cheaper soundcards such as the regular Sound Blaster Z as it does the surround processing exactly the same as the ZxR, but without the added cost from the improved internal DAC and amp (which, like I said, you don't need if you have external ones).

 

USB DACs won't work with surround sound though, as they need to be the first audio device in the chain.  So if you use a USB DAC, you will completely bypass the internal soundcard and thus lose any surround sound processing.  This is fine for music, but obviously it's not great for gaming since you will only be able to play in basic stereo.

post #1700 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post


Don't be mad, but... I haven't gotten around to setting it up yet. Feel kinda bad that (I think) I missed the return window for the SBZ.

One thing though, I do believe the Omni actually does have ALchemy... I remember reading it on the box, I'll confirm tonight.
Well, they are based in Singapore.
Steam downloads really slow for me, for some reason.

 

ccftp.creative.com resolves as 209.147.125.252, which according to Geo-IP is in Washington state. 14 hops from my ISP (Comcast) through level3 to them. I was able to download a 50mb file in under 3 minutes just now.

 

I'd be interested to hear your opinion of the omni. I'd be even more interested to see some pictures of the inside, if you were the type to tear things open. :biggrin: There doesn't seem to be any such photos on google image search.

post #1701 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

As for volume try this fix: http://www.overclock.net/t/1337761/official-creative-sound-blaster-z-zx-zxr-series-club/1480. What are other people's thought on movie playback? Personally I favour DH for movies, but in no way do I think that SBX pro is bad.

 

I think you may have something wrong in the chain. I watched Avatar Blu-Ray the other day and it was superb. (please note: neither myself, nor the other regular posters in this thread are fanboys by any means).

 

Thanks, that did seem to fix the volume (gain) issue.  Though it still sounds awful... very congested. :(

I did many back and forth comparisons with SBX and Channel Mixer + Dolby Headphone (Foobar), and much preferred the CM+DH, it sounds much more natural, with a great sense of the surround.  Nice and spacious too.  Unfortunately, there's no way for me to get that CM+DH to work with XBMC, which is why I picked up the SBZ in the first place.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Ya I've watched 5.1 movies in xbmc before with sbx on and they sound fantastic.

DH was a very close second. It was very well imaged too.

You sure that xbmc is set to direct sound right? Not wasapi exclusive? Because that would bypass the z and its driver.

Have you played any games to test?

Also is windows sound settings, is the z set for 5.1?

 

A matter of taste perhaps, but it sounds very narrow / claustrophobic / congested to me, not to mention the unnecessary presence of reverb.

 

But yes, everything is set up correctly.  I used to be a musician, I've done much work in Cubase / Nuendo / Pro Tools / etc, so have no trouble setting up audio.  

Wasapi works fine, it doesn't bypass the SBZ.  Onboard is disabled, so the choice for Wasapi SBZ is there.  But I did try both Directsound and Wasapi to compare. 

 

I don't intend to play any games, so nope, haven't tested a game.  My sole intention is to watch movies in surround.  

 

And yes, it's set for 5.1 in Windows, in fact, this was done automatically when I installed the SBZ.  

post #1702 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Ya I've watched 5.1 movies in xbmc before with sbx on and they sound fantastic.

DH was a very close second. It was very well imaged too.

You sure that xbmc is set to direct sound right? Not wasapi exclusive? Because that would bypass the z and its driver.

Have you played any games to test?

Also is windows sound settings, is the z set for 5.1?
Actually... WASAPI exclusive does not bypass Creative VP settings. It only seems to force exclusive mode so that it can playback bit perfect mode and select the correct bit depth and sample rate. Also volume control works fine (inc. all SBX settings and Creative CP equaliser). It does not actually bypas the driver (or card). One has to still watch out that CP settings don't mess with sound.
Edited by Anarion - 1/20/14 at 4:18am
post #1703 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post


Actually... WASAPI exclusive does not bypass Creative VP settings. It only seems to force exclusive mode so that it can playback bit perfect mode and select the correct bit depth and sample rate. Also volume control works fine (inc. all SBX settings and Creative CP equaliser). It does not actually bypas the driver (or card). One has to still watch out that CP settings don't mess with sound.

Ya I worded that wrong.  I was tired and ended up confusing myself with ASIO.  I should of said it bypasses the windows mixer and straight to the endpoint device driver.  So ya Creative panel does work for the DSP settings. My bad.

 

Anyway due to the mixer being bypassed, it does not allow system volume control however.  Only if the application has its own volume.  You can try it out yourself.  No program that uses wasapi exclusive can just by its design alone.  System volume is applied during the Global Mixer portion, which is not part of the chain in Wasapi Exclusive, only in shared or regular mode.

post #1704 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Ya I worded that wrong.  I was tired and ended up confusing myself with ASIO.  I should of said it bypasses the windows mixer and straight to the endpoint device driver.  So ya Creative panel does work for the DSP settings. My bad.

Anyway due to the mixer being bypassed, it does not allow system volume control however.  Only if the application has its own volume.  You can try it out yourself.  No program that uses wasapi exclusive can just by its design alone.  System volume is applied during the Global Mixer portion, which is not part of the chain in Wasapi Exclusive, only in shared or regular mode.
Well, ASIO works exactly the same as WASAPI exclusive with Creative cards. xD It bypasses Windows mixer but card/driver does what it wants with the audio (WASAPI exclusive takes exclusive control and mutes other sources that would use windows mixer though). Well, in my case every application that has WASAPI exclusive obeys Windows volume control percentage (even though windows mixer shows that no audio is being played and no, I'm not using the software volume control in the player, Foobar in this case).

After all, the sound comes from the card. It can do whatever it wants in hardware to it. FYI, I can use ASIO bypasses Windows mixer completely but it does not take exclusive control of card. For example I can use Cubase or Foobar with ASIO out but I could still play sound with WMP. You could force quit audiodg.exe but the ASIO would keep on playing (and Creative equalizer, SBX and volume control would work). The driver just reads the windows volume setting and uses it in ASIO (and WASAPI exclusive mode) too. Kinda makes sense (less angry people posting how their ears got busted). AFAIK Xonars work differently though.

Creative ASIO driver is multi-client. I can for example play stuff though Foobar and FL studio at the same time using ASIO (and Windows mixer would not notice any activity). My X-Fi Forte worked exactly like this too. Handy while gaming because the music volume stays constant (unlike if you use DS and game has loud explosions for example). Stereo direct is only option that doesn't obey volume control (but you can't playback normal CD quality stuff though it without upsampling).

Earlier W8.1 upgrade broke ASIO multi client support on my system but now since fresh install it works again. EDIT: It looks like it's just dodgy in W8.1, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Same goes to earlier paragraph.
Edited by Anarion - 1/20/14 at 10:41am
post #1705 of 3298

Anarion .. saw your post over on the Creative forums http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=700607 asking about the line outs > amp > HP's but adding a 'headphone' mode when configured that way. I dearly hope they hope they notice.

post #1706 of 3298
Yeah. I hope so too. It should be really simple thing to do.
post #1707 of 3298

Whhyyyyy!?!  :angry_face:

 

EDIT: Reinstalled SB Z drivers and it's gone.  For now...:ph34r:

 

 


Edited by chicolom - 1/21/14 at 10:59pm
post #1708 of 3298

When the driver installs, does the entry Signal enhancements 'enable audio enhancements' default to off? I leave it off myself, although I'm not sure exactly what it does. The only thing I could find was it had something to do with the CPU and balancing, but nothing on signal processing ie Windows messing with the actual sound.

 

My DAC, on the installation of it's driver, had it set to 'on' and I just left it there. Anybody know what it means?


Edited by SaLX - 1/22/14 at 12:03am
post #1709 of 3298
Ya I can't figure out what that does.

In generic or box audio drivers, the windows mixer audio enhancements have their own tab and you can disable it there. These use extra CPU resources by way of the audiodg process in yiurbtaak list. Albeit probably nothing noticeable with a modern cpu. But the z has its own audio enhancements independent of windows and that are run on the soundcore3d in hardware. And none of these seem to be affected when unchecking the option.

Strange really. I just leave it on since that's the default when the driver installs.

I'm going to do some testing.


EDIT:


So I tested music playing in Foobar2000 in regular WASAPI shared(aka Directsound) and WASAPI exclusive modes with this feature on and off. I had a hypothesis this might influence certain DSP effects in exclusive mode. I did not stop the music during any of the changes to see if the playback would stop for even a fraction of a second as that would indicate the stream was stopped to accommodate a new option and resample etc etc. When hitting the "apply" button with the feature on and off, there was no pause or even windows windows saying that the stream might be stopped. There was no sound difference whatsoever. This was with ALL SBX options enabled in order to get the
"weirdest" sound vs stock as to be able to notice it easier.

So I am still at a loss for what this would do as it seems the educated answer is Nothing...
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 1/22/14 at 12:42am
post #1710 of 3298
Quote:
Originally Posted by SaLX View Post
 

When the driver installs, does the entry Signal enhancements 'enable audio enhancements' default to off? I leave it off myself, although I'm not sure exactly what it does. The only thing I could find was it had something to do with the CPU and balancing, but nothing on signal processing ie Windows messing with the actual sound.

 

My DAC, on the installation of it's driver, had it set to 'on' and I just left it there. Anybody know what it means?

 

It is checked ON by default for me.  Normally I uncheck it with DACs, as I don't want weird processing going on behind my back.  I left it on for the SB Z though, as that's one device that does have extra processing going on.

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