That's pretty cool! I have the Omni and I love it for the most part <3
- 105 Posts. Joined 10/2013
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Hello, I am new to the forums, registered to ask for advice on these Z series cards.
Next week I am upgrading my on-board ALC892 to one of these options:
1: Sound Blaster Zxr.
2: Sound Blaster Z + Schiit Vali.
I will pair it with a Sennheiser HD600 that I already have. The use will be 50/50 on games/music. Price wise they are about the same and i have some doubts.
What makes more of a difference? The better DAC on the Zxr or the better amp with the Vali?
I'v read in this thread that when connected trough the line-out these cards dont have as good 3D sound for gaming as when connected on the HP out because of some HRTF issues. Is it true? Is there any way around it?
I saw that the Z line-out is a 3.5mm jack. Will I be losing anything by connecting the Vali with a 3.5mm->RCA cable instead of a RCA->RCA connection?
Thank you for your help.
I have Soundblaster Z connected via headphone out (through a 3.5mm->RCA cable) to a Schiit Magni to my Sennheiser HD650 and all works well. When I was trying to connect the Magni and headphones to a line out from the Z, but the surround was unusable (the soundcard defaults to speakers and it is impossible to have it think you have headphones connected, that works only through the headphone out). I was not able to figure out a different way than using the headphone out.
I'm getting a better amp to see if I can get a better sound out of the HD650, but that is a different topic.
so I just got my zxr and plugged in my akg q701's.
Now I'm not sure I should be doing this but I set the headphone ohms to 600?
Currently going through mozart's concerto No. 5, piano guys albums and then heading off to do some dark souls 2.
I'm also messing around with the EQ, usually from my old days I'm just used to setting to ye good ol U shape.
What say you fellows?
I've been lurking around for a bit now, but I've got a question.
I picked up an Omni to replace my motherboard for sound duties. ASRock Z68 Extreme3 Gen3, Realtek ALC892 (that I've "unlocked" for Dolby Digital Live output).
First, all my hardware being: AKG k712, Astro Mixamp 2013, Schiit Vali (console friendly, just now expanding into PC audio). I'll add a TL
Now, I was going from onboard to my mixamp via DDL optical for Dolby Headphone, and while this is fantastic I need to try the other formats myself since it is different for everyone.
Now, I figured I wouldn't need to use the mixamp, and just go from Omni to amp then mah ears.
Only I don't quite understand the "correct" way to setup the Omni, so I just tried every thing. I'll touch on my experience with optical vs analog in a second, but it applies here too.
Windows @ 5.1, Omni @ 5.1
Windows @ 5.1, Omni @ headphones
Windows @ 5.1, Omni @ 5.1 (extra speakers unchecked, so only front L/R)
Windows @ 5.1 (extra speakers unchecked), Omni @ headphones
Windows @ 5.1 (extra speakers unchecked), Omni @ 5.1 (extra speakers unchecked)
I had SBX enabled (surround checked) on all of these, no other settings enabled, and set to 100 for a quick test.
To me, Windows set to 5.1 and Omni set to headphones produced the best results.
I tried using stereo instead of headphones, but changing in either the Omni or Windows setting for stereo vs headphones will appropriately change the other as well, so I clearly can't use this option as it won't let games output surround for SBX to process properly.
Now, the above was all done with using the two RCA jacks on the Omni going straight to my amp, I was not using the headphone or line-out ports. Everything soundded great, positionally, except the quality was.... muffled, for lack of a better word, and bass was completely absent like I was hearing nothing but high mids. No ammound of playing with EQ settings would get it to sound right.
Now I connected the optical cable to my mixamp (not using DH button).
First thing I did was go to the cinematic tab in the Omni control panel and check the box that routes all analog audio through spdif.
Now we're talking, sound is back to sounding like it should, except I don't think SBX is working now.
I didn't enable Dolby Digital Live, as I WANT 2.0 audio from the Omni; I want that SBX processed stereo track and not a compressed 5.1 to use with the mixamp's Dolby Headphone button (Which does work this way but I don't want to use DH at the moment).
Using The same setting I thought sounded the best for analog (Windows @ 5.1 and Omni set to headphones) and having the Omni send that signal through optical, does not have the same results. No matter which configuration of the above setups, and both with and without Dolby Digital Live output enabled, I cannot get any SBX processing.
Sometimes I think I hear it, it is nothing like it was with analog.
So could someone please walk this dummy by the hand, please? I remember reading somewhere that using the headphone out or line-out only gave you SBX processed 2 channel audio instead of SBX virtual surround (please bear with my wording, I'm terrible. Only trying to describe a difference between SBX virtual surround and SBX 2ch, which as much as I've read here and elsewhere is different).
And I appreciate all the information here. It was fun experimenting with headphones before settling, thanks for all the comments for new people like myself.
And for giggles I enabled 5.1 DDL and ran both SBX and DH. Makes voices sound like they're in my room but everything else is just silly.
Forgot to finish my last line there.
Also, when using SBX with optical (Windows @ 5.1, Omni @headphones, SPDIF cloning, no DDL), sounds from anything except "front left/right" sound like someone is playing with a balance fader, they are CONSTANTLY moving back and forth. This is making me sick, it's exactly what one would hear if they were spinning around really really fast.
I just ordered a Valhalla from Schiit to plug into my ZXR, and then use my HD 650 and the AKG Q701 that's on its way with it. Do you guys think the Valhalla is unnecessary, or will it improve the sound significantly? Also, since the surround sound effects doesn't work well with headphones through RCA, is it possible to plug the amp into the headphone jack, or will the double amping ruin the sound?
I don't think it would improve the sound much. My mixamp could play my K712 without much trouble but it had that little hiss once it was turned up past 60% or so.
I double amp for my consoles (Consoles > Astro Mixamp 2013 > Schiit Vali > AKG K712). While the mixamp alone can play the K712 plenty loud, anything past ~60% or so creates an audible hiss. You can't hear it unless it's silent or playing at 100%. As long as you have no noise floor issues, I suspect multiple amps are not much of an issue unless you're recording (I doubt our ears could hear any difference this may or may not cause). I have no problems with it, and have no audible differences that I notice between my motherboard > amp vs motherboard > mixamp > amp when played at the same dBs.
Also, while I don't have experience with alot of amps, I don't think the sound between them would sound noticably different; only changing some very fine details, adding flavor if you will to the sound signature.
But this is all from someone who has trouble setting up a Sound Blaster Omni . If you need a more weightful reply you will have to wait until someone else chimes in, sorry. (read: someone who has a post history you can read and get an idea of their grasp of such topics)
I have come to the conclusion that SPDIF out does not work properly with SBX. It's fine sending an unprocessed DDL-compressed signal, just not with higher quality 2 channel PCM.
As I mentioned yesterday, 2ch optical was giving me some very bad results--with the exception of the left/right channels, I was hearing something I can only describe as someone playing with the L/R fader (each channel's SBX effects shifting back and forth between ears in an unintended manner).
Motherboard audio enabled or disabled makes no difference on the results (and I manually specify output devices for testing).
Full-range speakers, tried both yes and no, and combinations thereof while testing. Also, I find it made no audible difference (it did allow better control over bass via crossover or bass boost--neither of which will ever be used).
To reiterate, here's my settings again:
Windows settings for Omni Analog Device (in Playback Devices) is set to 5.1, full range,, and both analog and digital are set to output 24bit 48kHz.
Omni Control Panel > Analog (RCA R/L speaker out) is set to "Headphones"
Omni Control Panel > Cinematic (Settings for SPDIF output) has SPDIF cloning of Omni Analog Device enabled (Dolby Digital Live output mixing is DISABLED)
Analog still sounds muffled (not because of missing channels, discrete channels from speaker tests with no HRTF processing play all channels on both consoles and on both onboard and Omni, only the quality is different).
Optical still sounds bad (quality is good, but sound stage and imaging is bad enough to make me queasy from the fading left and right SBX effects)
If you leave Windows alone, changing the speaker setting in the Omni Control Panel will only change how SBX processes the sound but there's a catch... The Windows setting will forcefully change if you select whichever one is different from Windows but only between stereo and 5.1. You can change between 5.1 and headphones without Windows forcefully changing, but if you go to Stereo and then Headphones your windows settings will be forced to stereo-only mode (no surround sound from games to process this way).
I think changing between <matching windows setting> and "Headphone" changes the SBX processing. I'm not quite completely convinced yet, as changing between the two seems to only affect the analog output and not SPDIF via cloning. I hear no difference between them when using optical. Nor do I hear the sound card "switch" to the new setting (no short audio cut signifying the transfer is noticeable as it is when changing this setting for analog).
The results from the headphone port is as I expected; works but sounds like I've got cotton in my ears.
BUT there is something interesting I discovered while doing this test.
I expected these results, except I found something interesting in the process.
When listening via optical, as I stated above, I hear no difference between Headphone and 5.1 settings.
Now, if I continue to listen via optical and insert something into the headphone jack (I used an extension/adapter plug, connected to my air guitar) the Control Panel will change the settings to "Headphone". When using "Headphone" setting this way, there is a clear difference is audio. A very good difference. I'm not quite sure yet, but I think this just fixed my problem; need more testing but man is this a huge, and positive, difference!
This isn't the first time I've had to stick something into a headphone port to get audio working properly with optical (my old VIZIO needed it to mute the tv without muting optical output).
Is this a known problem? Can someone else try this and give their thoughts on this?
If SBX is finally doing proper HRTF, both 2ch and 5.1 DDL encoding sound very nice now and I can't decide which one is the better or more accurate option. To me, 2ch sounds very slightly muffled in comparison but has better audio panning, while 5.1 DDL encoding sounds a little more dynamic with slightly harder panning between the virtual channels.
SBX processing is borked coming out of SPDIF (analog cloning, 2 channels only, Dolby Digital Live encoding DISABLED. Discrete and unprocessed audio is still fine).
Changing between "Headphone" and "5.1 Surround" in the Omni Control Panel do not properly change processing modes. (Leave windows at 5.1)
Sticking something in the "headphone" port to fix optical output processing (nothing needs to be connected, a simple plug adapter is enough) the Control Panel forces a working "headphone" mode.
Yay it's working properly now!
Not sure if anyone has seen this or called this out yet, but the ZX is currently on Amazon for $89.99. Figured I would throw it out there. Looks like the ZxR is $199 as well.