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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 121

post #1801 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by NCSUZoSo View Post
 

Change the opamps on the ZXR and you open up an entire new sound stage.

 

Lol, I have a spare MUSES01 because I rolled so many opamps to find the right sound.


Found my own sound without rolling opamps though it did take a little work. Direct coupling  & power supply cap bypasses with large value metalized films did the trick. Sound is perfect, Huge soundstage, articulate midrange that still is warm & musical & more harmonically complete, imaging that goes well beyond the edges of the speakers on a regular basis. Smoother & yet more detailed treble. sibilants that don't feel like you ears are getting laser drilled & yet contain more detail that make the sibilants sound natural. Bass though still strong does not take center stage anymore in terms of dominating the sound, the clean & very articulate midrange does which is how it is supposed to be. Sounds nothing like the stock ZXR card at all, yet all the main active hardware is stock, only capacitor modifications. Speakers disappear into the sound field which is what stereo is supposed to do when done properly


Edited by germanium - 2/4/14 at 4:09am
post #1802 of 2359
SBz or headphone amp fiio e9k

Please let me know

Thanks
post #1803 of 2359
Omni first impressions:

Using a Q701 out of familiarity (and cuz I know on some sound systems the treble can seem to have an edge).

The control panel is a little different than the SB Z and Recon3D USB, by default it was set for 5.1 surround instead of headphones, and interestingly the surround default setting was 40%. I turned the surround up to 65% (and left on crystalizer, turned down to like 15%, turned on Smart Dialogue to about 33%).

Oddly, my external volume control does nothing. It feels nice, with some soft detents and a feeling of momentum when you turn it, and you can click it, but it wasn't changing volume for me. No biggie, my keyboard has volume controls. Also, the red glow along the center ridge and around the volume is cool!

When I put on Borderlands 2, I was impressed, even with the Q701s plugged straight in. First, I was concerned because I heard an odd, regular clicking noise, but that went away about a minute after I got past the borderlands 2 menus. In-Game, the 1st thing I noticed was what a surreally believable (ironic, I know) soundstage of surround positioning the Omni (and SBX ProStudio) created. Even without stopping in front of a fire or something making constant sound and spinning around, I loaded with Ellie in front of me and talking, and it was instantly apparent that she was positioned in-front of me. Second, it felt like the volume clearly had a lot of headroom at listenable levels, I felt no need to reach for my E12 amp to double-up. I also didn't detect the raised treble harshness that the Q701 exhibits with some amps and DAPs... It was very clear and detailed, perhaps bright, but very controlled and I didn't get fatigued (didn't notice I had played for 5 hours straight, either).

I expect that my volume dial issue is due to driver wonkiness, but ladies and gentlemen... the Omni is at least equal sounding to the SB Z, without any compromises I could detect. Win!
Edited by Evshrug - 2/4/14 at 2:57am
post #1804 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Omni first impressions:

Using a Q701 out of familiarity (and cuz I know on some sound systems the treble can seem to have an edge).

The control panel is a little different than the SB Z and Recon3D USB, by default it was set for 5.1 surround instead of headphones, and interestingly the surround default setting was 40%. I turned the surround up to 65% (and left on crystalizer, turned down to like 15%, turned on Smart Dialogue to about 33%).

Oddly, my external volume control does nothing. It feels nice, with some soft detents and a feeling of momentum when you turn it, and you can click it, but it wasn't changing volume for me. No biggie, my keyboard has volume controls. Also, the red glow along the center ridge and around the volume is cool!

When I put on Borderlands 2, I was impressed, even with the Q701s plugged straight in. First, I was concerned because I heard an odd, regular clicking noise, but that went away about a minute after I got past the borderlands 2 menus. In-Game, the 1st thing I noticed was what a surreally believable (ironic, I know) soundstage of surround positioning the Omni (and SBX ProStudio) created. Even without stopping in front of a fire or something making constant sound and spinning around, I loaded with Ellie in front of me and talking, and it was instantly apparent that she was positioned in-front of me. Second, it felt like the volume clearly had a lot of headroom at listenable levels, I felt no need to reach for my E12 amp to double-up. I also didn't detect the raised treble harshness that the Q701 exhibits with some amps and DAPs... It was very clear and detailed, perhaps bright, but very controlled and I didn't get fatigued (didn't notice I had played for 5 hours straight, either).

I expect that my volume dial issue is due to driver wonkiness, but ladies and gentlemen... the Omni is at least equal sounding to the SB Z, without any compromises I could detect. Win!


Quick question, can you select "speakers" as speakertype in the Creative interface when using headphones with the Omni? I've always been under the impression (At least Audigy - Titanium HD) that "speakers" as opposed to "headphones" selected in Creative driverpanel while 5.1 speakers is set in windows control panel produces better stereo imaging/better soundstaging and since I'm forced to use "headphones" if I want to use amped headphone port on ZxR I'm not happy. From my experience headphone makes it more closed-in sounding with less clear imaging compared to speakers.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 2/4/14 at 3:41am
post #1805 of 2359
Yes you can. Though doing that through line out makes difference too (since OpenAL games seem to only care about headphone or speaker mode). In Borderlands 2 one should enable OpenAL (and use correct device name) in which case SBX setting doesn't matter at all.
post #1806 of 2359

Compare to SBX, how to use the Dolby Surround on the Xonar phoebus ?

Do I need to select Hi-Fi and surround in-game for example BF4 ? or do I need to select something else.

 

For example Need for speed Rivals, how will I know I'm getting 7.1 from there and many other games, cause with Creative you saw you have 5.1 speakers from the windows speakers settings.

 

With xonar if I'm not using Xear 7.1 then it shows only 2 channels.

 

I don't know how to get 5.1 or 7.1 with the dolby headphones surround, So are in movies, Do I need to select in PotPlayer Same as input for DTS-MA 5.1/7.1 movies ?  and so on in PowerDVD13 and Arcsoft Theater. they have their own Dolby processing, I don't know if I need the DHTv4 and the settings in the player.

post #1807 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post
 


Fully agreed, wasn't particularly impressed with ZxR's stock sound, like you said, the bass is too bloated and it's a bit overly warm and the soundstage is very claustrophobic (but that can easily be down to Creative driver's fault on how they handle "speaker config" processing as they've had their own way of doing that since Audigy days which could easily ruin spatial cues if attempt to modify cues with extra software/hardware processing). Nothing to complain about mids though, vocals and piano in particular with a hint of analogueness to it, fullbodied, well-weighted. The ZxR do mids beautifully but that's the only thing I was truly impressed about.


Midrange is much improved with my mods. One does not realize what they are missing until it is heard with a top notch system. I found the midrange when stock though pleasant lacked in articulation to a very large degree. Especially noticeable on background instruments which were clouded over as if one stuffed their ears with cotton, not very clear at all. Instruments sound much more harmonically complete when modified in the fashion that I did. Back ground instruments & voices are very much clearer than before while having a much improved sense of depth & location in the sound field. Sound does retain a certain warmth all the while sounding much more revealing. One could call this warmth in the sound as sounding musical yet it is not in any way over done. The sound to me at least once my modifications were done is perfect to my ears with this card. Though much more articulate the sound is far from cold & sterile.


Edited by germanium - 2/4/14 at 4:37am
post #1808 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post
 


Fully agreed, wasn't particularly impressed with ZxR's stock sound, like you said, the bass is too bloated and it's a bit overly warm and the soundstage is very claustrophobic

 

I get none of that on the SB Z

post #1809 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post

Yes you can. Though doing that through line out makes difference too (since OpenAL games seem to only care about headphone or speaker mode). In Borderlands 2 one should enable OpenAL (and use correct device name) in which case SBX setting doesn't matter at all.

 

This still doesn't work for me, no matter what I do. Works with Gears of War, Bioshock, Mirror's Edge etc...very fine, just not here. SBX doesn't tick off. 

post #1810 of 2359
I couldn't get BioShock working after tinkering for 4 hours with openal settings. EAX was lit up so I assumed it was using openal but it just didn't sound good enough. I dunno.

Borderlands 2 needed the sound blaster z name as the device specifically.
post #1811 of 2359
RPG,
On the Omni, there are three output settings (and, I assume, different processing options tied to each):
Headphones
Speakers
5.1 Surround

Speakers mode uses a different HTRF than headphone mode; unlike with the X-Fi models, you cannot choose to send headphone surround out through the line-outputs. It seems too easy that your distaste for the ZxR might've come from trying to use it like you used your old soundcard, that you didn't realize that using the line outs also uses a more diffuse HRTF, and I think from what you just posted says that you tried using headphone mode and headphone jack, but since your card hasn't sold in half a year... anything might be worth reconsidering? Maybe talk with Anarion about how he got his working better, cuz your impressions are far away from what I've heard on two lower-end (mid-Fi?) products.


Anarion and Fegefeuer,
I confess, I haven't set up borderlands for OpenAL yet. A bit intimidated with editing the code, and I don't want to spend time undoing something if I mess it up. Will get around to it one day though.

x7007,
I use DH mode 2 on my Turtle Beach DSS... unfortunately I cannot help with Asus sound card settings as I've never owned one. There are other threads though... and there's probably a Xonar U3 thread, it's a pretty popular product.


Germanium,
I'd love to modify my Recon3D USB like you did... but my only experience with soldering was in creating metal sculptures, not electronics, and I don't have a soldering iron. The recon3D USB is pretty much a "spare unit" right now though, do you have any suggestions?
Edited by Evshrug - 2/4/14 at 9:47am
post #1812 of 2359
Originally Posted by yoyo711 View Post

SBz or headphone amp fiio e9k

SBZ for Games/Movies with surround sound (plus you get a nice control panel with a lot of nice options). Get an external amp if you're just into music.

 

Originally Posted by x7007 View Post
 

Compare to SBX, how to use the Dolby Surround on the Xonar phoebus ?

Best to ask here x7 :smile:: http://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?136-Xonar-Phoebus-Series-Sound-Cards

 

@Evshrug .. great writeup.

 

@Geranium - fantastic what you managed to achieve with your modded ZxR.


Edited by SaLX - 2/4/14 at 10:06am
post #1813 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

I couldn't get BioShock working after tinkering for 4 hours with openal settings. EAX was lit up so I assumed it was using openal but it just didn't sound good enough. I dunno.

Borderlands 2 needed the sound blaster z name as the device specifically.

 

Bioshock unfortunately isn't very impressive without a real X-Fi. I play Medieval TW 2a lot because it has the best mods out of all total war games and sometimes I really wish I had a X-Fi again just for this game (it really sounds awesome despite aged samples). Unfortunately CMSS-3D just gets uglier the better your headphone is. With the HD 800 it was unbearable at times. 

post #1814 of 2359

@Feg.. long time lover of the Total War games and yup Medieval was brilliant (have bought Rome II but I'm scared to play it in case it's as crap..... will try the DEI mod first though).

 

I've never heard anybody expressing their experience with CMSS-3D as scaling poorly with top of the line headphones (which you have - lucky b*stard).

post #1815 of 2359
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

RPG,
On the Omni, there are three output settings (and, I assume, different processing options tied to each):
Headphones
Speakers
5.1 Surround

Speakers mode uses a different HTRF than headphone mode; unlike with the X-Fi models, you cannot choose to send headphone surround out through the line-outputs. It seems too easy that your distaste for the ZxR might've come from trying to use it like you used your old soundcard, that you didn't realize that using the line outs also uses a more diffuse HRTF, and I think from what you just posted says that you tried using headphone mode and headphone jack, but since your card hasn't sold in half a year... anything might be worth reconsidering? Maybe talk with Anarion about how he got his working better, cuz your impressions are far away from what I've heard on two lower-end (mid-Fi?) products.


What do you mean with the bolded part? What I'm wondering is if you can with the Omni select either each of those 3 options, speakers, headphones or 5.1 surround when headphone is plugged to the headphone jack. Also are the windows control panel speaker settings and the Creative control panel software (driver) side speaker mode settings linked or unlinked (separate) options? For me I'd actually hope it was just sharing Windows control panel config to avoid the Creative side speaker config, to my ears it just doesn't seem to work well, I'd rather have the standard way of doing it like for example Realtek onboard does where there's no such extra processing and simply uses the Windows control panel speaker config.

Believe me I've tried every possible config with the ZxR and hoped it would be something I've missed, I've 3-4 times took it out of the box and did some tests only to come to the same conclusions as last time, no matter how I config it I can't get satisfied with the soundstaging, it's too closed in and too diffuze imaging. I'm willing to give maybe Omni a try in hope for that it has a better configured "HRTF"/speaker mode processing for me.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 2/4/14 at 12:29pm
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