Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 132

post #1966 of 3391

How do I tell if a soundcard is not 100%, not like a GPU where it will black screen or simply not work period.


I do not like returning an item for no reason even though some do it daily, I do not abuse the DSA (UK).


You can obviously with any sound set up make sound crap to great by messing with settings.


I can make my 20+year old HIFI sound crap by messing with all settings.

post #1967 of 3391

Well, by ruling things out. Apart from tryng the card with headphones I'd turn off all the features the card has and run the speakers ins stereo-mode. If they allow you to connect them digitally, I'd try that to get a comparison also. 


I think the problem should have something to do with a setting or some messed-up install. From the experience I've had with home theater amps I know that a single setting can mess up your sound enough to make something sound like pure crap (mostly these options are called "enhancers" :D ).

post #1968 of 3391

The card was installed on a clean system with zero sound (new SSD), card arrived later that week and was fitted but now has been back to X-Fi and back to Z  again.


I know how to get rid of old drivers etc.


TBH the card sounded pretty good as soon as it booted up with no Creative drivers just Ms ones  installed but you lack features then.


I stand by what others have found that the new (old repacked) driver is worst than the previous driver but I had to install the newer one after not getting the full set of feature to install with older one (again a common issue).


Might be able to roll back driver now and keep the features that should have install initially.


I mean if Creative were pumping out new drivers like a GPU vendor it would be great and any bad driver could be forgiven as short lived.


I do not have any decent headphones and have never been into them and speakers are all analogue, I said in initial post many I know are deaf from Walkman days and I was one of the very few not to listen to headphones but preferred speakers.


I think some peeps have them grafted on to their ears for eat/sleep ****ting.


I can handle going to the shop without music for 5mins and in the home always had a good HIFI till I gave up using it in 2001 due to the PC set up being so good and handier due to mp3 etc.


I could be temped by a good 2.0/2.1 set up but games would be lacking and again movies are my last concern as I can use my WD Box+TV.


I wonder what you would think if you could walk in to my home and hear this set up now and then hear my "just ok" X-Fi set up, which one would you prefer.


I can be bold enough to say my Live 5.1+Cambridge set up in 2001 would blow you away and you would be ranting to family/friends about it.

Edited by helmutcheese - 2/17/14 at 6:38am
post #1969 of 3391

I've had two of those old Cambridge setups myself, back in the days, and I've always been very happy with them.


What I do know though is that Creative's drivers can be quite a pain. For example there's always some residue in the "non p&p" area of the device manager, drivers that you can only remove manually.

It has also helped me, more than once, to start installing a new Creative card with the supplied DVD, then upgrading this with the newest driver from the site. Somehow, this seems to be the most "complete" installation.

To be sure, at least when using Win8/8.1, I do also use the "remove driver signature" flag, just as a precaution (it takes far less time to boot with the flag active than it takes to remove and re-install the driver).


If the card sounded good without the drivers there's at least some light at the end of the tunnel :)

post #1970 of 3391

Yea, I just wish it was a case of waiting on Creative getting mature drivers (should be by now) and then buying a high end set of 2.1/5.1 speakers.


I have no clue why Asus and Creative have so poor support for Tier 1 outfits in their fields, they got big by being like this, or I guess a lot of OEM sales.


Creative's optical side died a death (too expensive at time) when it should have boomed and GPU side also died, they need to get reorganised.

post #1971 of 3391

I can't speak of Win 8.1 yet but, apart from that, the drivers "seem" to be pretty good, both overall and especially to Creative's standards. What they do have though is a funky installation routine.

Creative is one of the very, very few companies that I've had huge issues with "beta" drivers with, drivers that could easily trash your system's installation.

Now, from a logical point of view, with all the different filters and EQs in place a borked installation could mess up the whole thing easily.


The matter of choice is whether there's something you like about the card or not. Then it may be easier to simply get something else that works right away.

I, for example, ran into detection issues at one place. It got really hard to boot up my pc and use the card "regularly". As I love the SBX system for my headphones, I wanted the card to work.

My temporary fix is the DBpro card. As long as I have it connected to the main card, the two of them will always be detected, no matter if I cold-boot my machine or do a fast reboot. 


Someone here said that the THX setup program, something I'd supposedly use if I was using speakers, messed up his sound. Maybe it's something like that? 


Btw., fresh install, to me, includes the following steps:


- uninstall the package, all Creative software

- boot into safe mode

- uninstall the "raw" card, maybe even with a driver cleaner software

- uninstall the non p-n-p Creative devices

- reboot into safe mode

- delete all the remaining Creative folders

- do a registry scan (I use CCleaner for this)

- reboot into Windows using the "disable driver signature check" flag

- re-install the drivers, starting with the CD

post #1972 of 3391

I never had the issue with speakers getting mixed up due to the "Speaker Set Up" App (looks like the old TXH Console).


I left it out this time but added it back in to adjust the speakers levels to get the sound more equal like I think I said above If not I will add later as I am getting somewhere buts its a lot of work unlike previous cards with decent default settings lol.


P.S Win 8 onwards does not have PnP in the Device Manager.


I know how to clear it out also manually or with a program called GhostBuster.



1. Click Start

2. Click Run

3. Type cmd.exe in the textbox and click OK

4. Type set devmgr_show_nonpresent_devices=1 and hit ENTER

5. Type cd\windows\system32 and hit ENTER

6. Type start devmgmt.msc and hit ENTER

7. When the device manager opens, click the View menu

8. Click Show Hidden Devices

Edited by helmutcheese - 2/18/14 at 12:33pm
post #1973 of 3391

Guess you're right about that. I've had to do this numerous times with my old X-Fi cards but the ZXR has been (apart from the issue mentioned) flawless for me.

Channel swapping and so on are typical Creative problems, so to say.


The way I understood it was that the speaker setup tool would mess up the sound quality, not just the channels.

post #1974 of 3391

That is way I read into it also but I had no option as adjusting Balance Sliders to get sound equal messed up as soon as master volume was moved.


I have not had channels swapping on this Z series or my PCI-E X-Fi but it did start to happen on my last PCI X-Fi (cannot remember models of top of my head), it would also randomly make a horrid screech sound that nearly blew my eardrums.


Sound entries are now are up the top of Device Manager as well as the normal bottom entries.



Edited by helmutcheese - 2/18/14 at 12:53pm
post #1975 of 3391

Which has better DAC and line out, Asus STX or this Z type?

should i discard my Asus ST and buy Creative?

post #1976 of 3391
Originally Posted by verde57 View Post

Which has better DAC and line out, Asus STX or this Z type?

should i discard my Asus ST and buy Creative?


Z and Zx have same hardware part, ant it is worse than ST/STX. ZxR hardware can be compared to ST/STX but some say that out of the box (not modded) Asus sounds better.


I believe if You have ST upgrade won't give You a WOW effect. Of course depends what You up to? For games with headphones ASUS have Dolby Headphones and Creative have SBX surround, different tech. sound different, no one can tell witch is better, some prefer DH some SBX.


I believe if question is only about SQ it is very questionable upgrade.

Originally Posted by helmutcheese View Post

Did not think it matters much if going digital as card does not make the sound so even Mobo optical out would be same.

Hmmm... Line out is not digital/optical. And question is about DAC/line out :)

Edited by NoOneLt - 2/18/14 at 11:04pm
post #1977 of 3391



I plan on buying the Sound Blaster ZxR, a pair of Senns HD598 and the Edifier S550 Encore speakers. I'll use this combo for movies, gaming and music. Is this a good choice? Or can I get better SQ for the same price range?


I'm a little bit concerned about the lack of DDL and DTS decoding in the ZxR, because the speakers only have analog inputs. Is this really an issue in movies?

post #1978 of 3391

The card does DDL if the speakers do not have digital connections that is not down to the card.


DTS connect should be same end result as DTS as it converts any audio into 5.1 so I assume if its 5.1 to start with it be fine but it will upmix stereo to 5.1.


I have never had digital speaker's so not tried. but you will be fine with analogue cables.


Those speaker have been out a long time and cost a lot still today, not everywhere you can buy them.


The bummer is the high end 2.1 set was upgraded to a digital set and they said it was to happen to the 5.1 set but never did.

Edited by helmutcheese - 2/19/14 at 12:45am
post #1979 of 3391
Originally Posted by Manel View Post



I plan on buying the Sound Blaster ZxR, a pair of Senns HD598 and the Edifier S550 Encore speakers. I'll use this combo for movies, gaming and music. Is this a good choice? Or can I get better SQ for the same price range?


I'm a little bit concerned about the lack of DDL and DTS decoding in the ZxR, because the speakers only have analog inputs. Is this really an issue in movies?



ZxR support DDL and DTS connect (http://www.soundblaster.com/products/sound-blaster-zx.aspx#specs) other than this will need software decoding by your movie player. Also check specs for output, it has Front/Back/Center 5.1 output, so no worries, but You won't need it if You plan to use headphones. And DDL, DTSC used to pass via digital out forward (not decode DD/DTS), so again with headphones You won't be using it.


HD598 is nice in SQ but google "sennheiser crack" their design is not flawless and has a weak point. 


For games i like my Beyerdynamic DT990, maybe for music something like AKG Q701 (they could lack of bass for games though, check MadLust thread) would sound better with music i believe, because DT990 sometimes have very sharp heights.


My experience with ZxR is fine, listen to music and do games with SBX surround, like it more than CMSS-3D from creative ,though never tried DolbyHeadphone so can't compare.


UPDATE: DDL meant to convert any 5.1 surround, from games as example and convert it live to AC3 then pass it to external receiver. So again, if no external speakers with decoder or receiver is used no use in it. And then You do not even need expansion card to be connected (it adds I/O and opens some advanced features in SBX soft, i found it useless if only headphones is in use), only the main one.


UPDATE2: Missed the Edifier part, it only has "5.1 channel and 2 stereo input options for versatile connections" digital input is not mentioned anywhere on page. So You will have "plain" 5.1 from ZxR outputs not encoded.

Also Keep in mind that it is better to connect headphones directly to ZxR than to Edifier. And then switch ZxR between headphones/speaker mode.


UPDATE3: As addition about DTSC and DDL to update part, basically you can't call them decoders, they are encoders, DTL support doesn't mean card can decode DolbyDigital so don't be mistaken in any way. To decode DolbyDigital or True HD as example You still need a decoder, hardware one or software, TotalMedia Theater or Power DVD have DD/DDS software decoders. And encoder creates DD stream and can send it via digital outputs further to decoder.

Edited by NoOneLt - 2/19/14 at 4:09am
post #1980 of 3391

creative sound blaster Z  what is best sound setting ?? headphone ?



New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR