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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 142

post #2116 of 2450
I would wait, I paid a little less than $150 from newegg for my zxr not too far back
post #2117 of 2450

Does anyone know if the EQ built into the SBZ suite works through optical? I always felt that there was something that I didn't like about the Q701 and actually somewhat preferred my old AD700 because it just felt a lot less fatiguing and enjoyable. Was reading the Q701 and they were talking about the treble spike at 2k, I EQ'd that down and I feel that I like these headphones a lot better now. I am using the USB trick right now, and was wondering if I should go for the optical switch sooner.

post #2118 of 2450

Yes watsaname - the EQ, plus the surround and all the other effects work via optical (ie 2ch PCM). Works very well out to my Audio_gd.

post #2119 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Kami,
Great experimentation, I think you now know a little more than me! I haven't tried connecting an external DAC through optical yet... And generally, I've not found the headphone port to be a detriment to amping quality, I use a 3.5mm headphone to RCA cable to connect my SET tube amp and I'm hearing great SBX results... so I haven't yet messed with it more than that.

I may need to reinstall my drivers or something, when I switched from playing Borderlands 2 with my Z internal card to my external Omni, everything was good except when I enable the mic input (either the built-in Beamforming mic or my own external plugged into the mic port) I get a tick sound at regular intervals, which also plays through to my friends playing with me.


Marsson,
FWIR the HD650 almost always sounds like an HD650, but my Q701 scaled up a lot with my tube amp. I mean, changing headphones makes a bigger tonal difference, but an amp improvement gave the driver more authority and control over sound output, more body to bass impact and less brittleness to treble. Using an HD650 with an amp with very high output impedance might make bass rise to the point where it blooms a bit, but that shouldn't be a thing with the Valhalla. It's like a finishing touch, though I may say that about my incoming DAC upgrade if it ever gets here.


Please, I'm mearly acting like I know what I'm doing :P

Still, I don't trust myself one bit. I have a habbit of looking to into something and making flaws in something that are not signifigant enough, however my issue with the Omni is easily not such a case here. I've read about the mic issues, but for me it's a non-issue (I never use voice chat, typing for me is a million times more faster and more coherent than me trying to talk while doing something else at the same time. I hate you brain, so so much.).


 

Have you tried, or plan to try, optical with your setup? I've been using digital audio for years now via HDMI, but I really don't remember there being the kind of difference I hear between my RCA-to-3.5mm adaptors (one I've made, two I've bought, one new because I wanted the cable sleeve and plugs to match my Denon 4520CI's Banana plugs on my 11.4-in-progress setup. SEOS speakers are so lovely, but this AKG K712 made me buy it and I don't regret it for my horror games! Sorry, getting sidetracked here...)... Where was I? Oh, yes. I don't remember such a difference between analog and digital audio when I first started futzing about with optical cables. But the difference I hear between my Omni's RCA/headphone outs and optical are sigifigant. I've got a friend who will lend me their Omni to see if it's a bad egg or not. I don't think so, and this is probbably just a driver problem which as I recall has always been a problem with Creative. If that quality difference wasn't such a drastic change, I wouldn't really be so worried about making optical work properly, I still have some issues with the Control Panel when making changes on-the-fly even with my headphone port work around.


 


 

I read either in this thread,  Evshrug's "If I knew then what I know now" thread, or in Mad Lust Envy's Headphone Gaming Guide, that someone (sorry I don't remember who, and can't seem to find it again!) had a bad experience with some HRTF processing via computer/usb. If you read this, could you please try what I describe above (sticking something into the "headphone out" port when not using said port for audio--i.e. using optical out). I would love to know if this might be an improvement for you.

And anyone else, feel free to try it and leave your results in the thread (positive, negative, no change, any and all are appreciated).

I think I will make a quick post in MLE's thread as well, this technique may prove useful to someone and I sure wouldn't think to try it (even though I've had to do such a trick before, as I mentioned yesterday).

post #2120 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post

 

Does anyone know if the EQ built into the SBZ suite works through optical? I always felt that there was something that I didn't like about the Q701 and actually somewhat preferred my old AD700 because it just felt a lot less fatiguing and enjoyable. Was reading the Q701 and they were talking about the treble spike at 2k, I EQ'd that down and I feel that I like these headphones a lot better now. I am using the USB trick right now, and was wondering if I should go for the optical switch sooner.

 

 

If you're lucky, you may beable to understand my previous posts covering the problems I've encountered with the Sound Blaster Omni (basically an external Z card.) If you can't, I don't blame you; I have trouble being coherent.

 

I had no issues with using the EQ features over optical. All of my issues are, as far as I can tell, strictly tied to getting SBX processing to properly work with optical. Dolby Digital Live encoding (5.1 compressed 2ch audio) and stereo (2ch PCM) were not effected.

 

And I've no clue what you refer to as a "USB trick", could you explain or point me somewhere that does? I'd like to see if it could help my issues.

post #2121 of 2450

I can't remember their name correctly, I think it was SniperCzar. He discovered that if you go into your mic recording device there is a device called, "What U Hear"(You don't have to set it to default). If you go to its properties, there is an option that is called, "Listen to this Device". Check that, then point the sound to your usb DAC and you will be getting everything that the SBZ would get and process.

 

This includes SBZ Processing and EAX. Make sure that you have SBZ sound card set to default in sound devices so that you will actually get audio.

 

EDIT: About the optical issue. Do you have decent optical cables? In one of the Audio -GD subs people were saying that the actual cable made a difference. I personally don't believe that a 100 dollar optical cable will be superior to a ~5-10 dollar optical cable, but I can see how maybe a 10 dollar optical cable will be superior to the 30 cents optical cable that brand X put in the box along with their bargain bin blu-ray player.


Edited by watsaname - 5/2/14 at 10:49am
post #2122 of 2450

EDIT: About the optical issue. Do you have decent optical cables? In one of the Audio -GD subs people were saying that the actual cable made a difference. I personally don't believe that a 100 dollar optical cable will be superior to a ~5-10 dollar optical cable, but I can see how maybe a 10 dollar optical cable will be superior to the 30 cents optical cable that brand X put in the box along with their bargain bin blu-ray player.

Get a decent optical cable - $10-15 dollars with good reviews. They do make a difference apparently re: noise (or something). Won't hurt to spend a bit.


Edited by SaLX - 5/2/14 at 3:29pm
post #2123 of 2450

Yeah, if I do decide to get the optical modi or optical HifiDiyMe dac I will most likely invest in one of the "premium" optical cables from monoprice. I have their premium rca and 3.5mm cables and really like them, supple and heavy duty.


Edited by watsaname - 5/2/14 at 3:52pm
post #2124 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post


 

I can't remember their name correctly, I think it was SniperCzar. He discovered that if you go into your mic recording device there is a device called, "What U Hear"(You don't have to set it to default). If you go to its properties, there is an option that is called, "Listen to this Device". Check that, then point the sound to your usb DAC and you will be getting everything that the SBZ would get and process.



 

This includes SBZ Processing and EAX. Make sure that you have SBZ sound card set to default in sound devices so that you will actually get audio.



 

EDIT: About the optical issue. Do you have decent optical cables? In one of the Audio -GD subs people were saying that the actual cable made a difference. I personally don't believe that a 100 dollar optical cable will be superior to a ~5-10 dollar optical cable, but I can see how maybe a 10 dollar optical cable will be superior to the 30 cents optical cable that brand X put in the box along with their bargain bin blu-ray player.


I see. It's basically a "Stereo Mix" device. This appears to have the same purpose of the SPDIF's option to clone what gets output from the analog audio device.


 

I gave it a shot today. My setup was as follows:

Windows set to 5.1

Realtek (motherboard audio) SPDIF device is unlocked (it outputs 5.1 Dolby Digital Live)

"What U Hear" is set to playback through Realtek SPDIF device (listen to device is checked so it works)

Omni analog device is primary device, Omni optical is cloning this signal.


 

For ease of testing, both optical outs have seperate cables that I switch between, connecting to my Astro Mixamp 2013.


 

5.1 set in Control Panel:

Omni = optical 5.1 analog cloning (no DDL), discrete channels are downmixed.

Stereo Mix/What U Hear = only two channels (left and right). no downmixing.


 

Headphone set in Control Panel:

Both, no SBX = basically the same. Straight from the Omni is cleaner vs using the Stereo Mix/What U Hear device (due to less devices in the signal path me thinks).

Omni, SBX on = Same results as yesterday. SBX is not processing audio properly and doing the "fade" slider.  If you have Dark Souls 2, just listen to the start menu music. If you hear it constantly fading left/right you know your SBX is screwed up.

Omni, SBX on with Headphone Port trick =  SBX properly working.

Stereo Mix/What U Hear = Also working. Result matches the test directly above.


 

Now, as I menioned, there is a quality difference between optical from the card vs going through Stereo Mix/What U Hear. I suspect the added device processing effects the sound the most, but it becomes more noticable if you play high quality audio. This was noticed using Foobar2000 to convert  some high fidelity tracks I had audio to 24 bit 48kHz, straight to the same device and never interupting the audio stream. This is why I chose the setup I did for comparing, to get a better A vs B comparison.


 

To my ears, the difference between the two is easily noticable but without a large difference between them. However I find it obvious with high quality audio sources.


 

The difference I describe between my Omni's RCA/Headphone out and optical out is far different, and I would have liked to have a way to test the quality of Stereo Mix/What U Hear to another analog out but I have none other than my motherboard (I already mentioned it is terrible for analog, and overclocking just makes the noise floor worse).


 

Please note that I did NOT test analog out from my motherboard/Realtek, my analog out onboard is noticably fuzzy to anyone.

 

*Edit:

Oops, forgot to mention that my audio cables are not causing any unwanted or unexpected results. This is usually the first thing I try, and has never been an issue even for cables I make myself. But still, I check with multiple cables just to be sure. It is possible all of my cables are bad, but highly unlikely but I cannot rule it out until I try one that makes the others seem worse :)


Edited by KamikazeIce - 5/2/14 at 5:23pm
post #2125 of 2450

I might be missing something, but as I understand it you are using MOBO SPDIF>>OMNI>>HEADPHONES or MOBO SPDIF>>OMNI>>RCAs>>HEADPHONE AMP(?)>>HEADPHONES for scenario without "What U Hear". Then for "What U Hear" scenario you are doing MOBO USB>>What U Hear>>MOBO SPDIF>>MIXAMP>>HEADPHONES? Is that what you are doing or something else?

post #2126 of 2450
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post

 

I might be missing something, but as I understand it you are using MOBO SPDIF>>OMNI>>HEADPHONES or MOBO SPDIF>>OMNI>>RCAs>>HEADPHONE AMP(?)>>HEADPHONES for scenario without "What U Hear". Then for "What U Hear" scenario you are doing MOBO USB>>What U Hear>>MOBO SPDIF>>MIXAMP>>HEADPHONES? Is that what you are doing or something else?

I just now realized I could have set What U Hear to the Omni's own SPDIF out device.:redface:

I feel stupid, lol. I totally overlooked this and assumed that using What U Hear was intended to be used as a passthrough to another device (motherboard, GPU via HDMI) but only for 2ch audio.

 

I've done a quick little test comparing SPDIF clone option (checkbox in control panel) against using What U Hear. Both are quite different from eachother, unlike what I experienced when it was Omni optical vs Mobo+What U Hear. The soundstange and localization are what I notice being different, but slightly. This is 2ch optical btw, everything changes if you enable DDL encoding, which even changes the What U Hear in a signifigant way.

I do think the audio is a bit more sharp/bright when using What U Hear right back to the Omni, but with how long it takes me to change between them this may be placebo. I still think the best of all setups I've tried is Optical + Headphone port plugged.

 

I can't tell which I like more, mostly because I know my ears (and eyes) lie to my brain about information. If only I knew what the correct setup was, by the book. Hard to judge what is good when you don't know what is right. I feel that by using DDL encoding that the sound stage is greatly expanded, getting closer to how large Dolby Headphones is.

 

 


I'll try to be a little more clear this time, but sorry if I still fail :(

 

First chain: Audio Source>Omni (analog)>What U Hear>Motherboard>Mixamp>Headphones

Second chain: Audio Source>Omni (Analog)>Omni SPDIF cloning to Optical>Mixamp>Headphones

There was no analog used, aside from the analog-version of the Omni device in windows playback devices.

I was unable to test analog output, because my motherboard has very high noise from the 3.5mm ports and the difference between optical and RCA/headphone out of my Omni is drastically different. Analog RCA/3.5mm headphone out sounds greatly muffled in comparison and this is why I was asking if anyone could test this "headphone port" trick to see how it changes their Optical.

post #2127 of 2450

Yeah, DDL/DTS does change the sound quite a bit, not sure if for the better or not SQ wise. I remember I had configured DTS a certain way, unfortunately can't remember the exact settings, that really increased pinpoint accuracy in games I felt like it really enhanced the sound of foot steps so much. It felt like you were wall hacking, like that was how good the accuracy was.

 

EDIT: Although it seems that turning on DDL/DTS sets the audio to speaker mode, and switching back to headphone mode turns off the effect of DTS/DDL. At least for the SB Z sound card, it does.


Edited by watsaname - 5/2/14 at 10:02pm
post #2128 of 2450

ZxR (headphone mode, SBX) -> Optical -> D2 DAC, no fading L/R in Dark Souls 2 or anywhere else. 

 

The only problem I ever had was when the driver installation was miserable and the right rear channel was louder. 

post #2129 of 2450
Ugh. My Omni and new-ish optical DAC aren't playing well together. I can't figure out the settings to have the Omni process headphone surround and pipe it out through Optical. Only setting it for stereo works, and I can never hear the SBX control panel play through the DAC. And if I play stereo with Tomb Raider or Starcraft II (so far this is all I've tested), I get a digital fwiIIIIITZZ sound that rises up and subsides every 30 seconds. It's really, REALLY irritating. My Bifrost is able to play the windows 24-bit 96kHz test tone fine.

But just to try it, I played Pandora, and that's working perfectly. Stereo and compressed for the internet, but it's hiccup-less.
post #2130 of 2450
Did you try KamikaziIce's method of plugging something into the headphones jack of the. Omni?

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