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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 18

post #256 of 2504
Where are some good deals on any of the Z-series cards? I only saw them at MSRP prices.
post #257 of 2504

I got my ZxR today. I'm pretty happy with it so far. Installation was smooth for both hardware and software. Software is a bit clunky, with redundant options. So far the sound quality is very good, way better than on-board sound. It's clean, transparent and soundstage a bit wider. It's an analytical sound.

 

I only tried listening with my headphones and got mixed results. K701 sounded really thin, distant and very cold overall. Bass was anemic. Even if I got more volume, K701 didn't really sound that much better at all. But my HD650 improved dramatically. Highs are crisp with good separation, mids are clearer and bass really sounds deeper, punchier and tighter. I am soon to use the card with Adam studio monitors (A7x or S1x). But I'll try Audioengine 5+ first tomorrow.

post #258 of 2504

sooo, what's the verdict on creative software OpenAL ? 

 

Many users say that  SBX pro studio is far superior to x-fi headphone cmss3d - dolby headphone and THX tru studio, it gives pretty sound positioning  without  messing up the audio clarity (atleast that's what they say :p )

 

But all these guys  probably tested this  "new generation" HRTF on games  with software sound engines  like L4D2  BF3 etc.

 

I remember when i  played lurk 1.1 ( STALKER SoC realism mod ) on an very expensive setup, the audio chain was like  this :

 

x-fi titanium -> toslink optical cable -> dac19mk3 -> artisan ultimate silver dream RCA -> C2C headamp -> AKG K601

 

all i did software wise was switching to game mode, enable  x-fi cmss3d headphone  launch the game and enable EAX. 

 

I could hear spetznatz shouting and firing through bushes in agropom  military camp, i could shoot back at them like i had some kind of x-ray vision, 360 degrees-like sound positioning including vertical cues thanks to macroFX and elevation filter,   it was really intense , better than  a proper 5.1 speaker setup  IMHO.

 

So how do these new cards compare in games with hardware openAL support like  Stalker ?  Did they implement some  kind of elevation filter for software accelerated  audio engines ?  I really hate it when i hear a smoker coughing and can't tell if he's above or below my position :(

post #259 of 2504
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFGR View Post

sooo, what's the verdict on creative software OpenAL ? 

Many users say that  SBX pro studio is far superior to x-fi headphone cmss3d - dolby headphone and THX tru studio, it gives pretty sound positioning  without  messing up the audio clarity (atleast that's what they say tongue.gif )

But all these guys  probably tested this  "new generation" HRTF on games  with software sound engines  like L4D2  BF3 etc.

I remember when i  played lurk 1.1 ( STALKER SoC realism mod ) on an very expensive setup, the audio chain was like  this :

x-fi titanium -> toslink optical cable -> dac19mk3 -> artisan ultimate silver dream RCA -> C2C headamp -> AKG K601

all i did software wise was switching to game mode, enable  x-fi cmss3d headphone  launch the game and enable EAX. 

I could hear spetznatz shouting and firing through bushes in agropom  military camp, i could shoot back at them like i had some kind of x-ray vision, 360 degrees-like sound positioning including vertical cues thanks to macroFX and elevation filter,   it was really intense , better than  a proper 5.1 speaker setup  IMHO.

So how do these new cards compare in games with hardware openAL support like  Stalker ?  Did they implement some  kind of elevation filter for software accelerated  audio engines ?  I really hate it when i hear a smoker coughing and can't tell if he's above or below my position frown.gif

Openal and eax based games seem to be done well even in software. I have been playing stalker and the positional audio is fantastic and it does seem to retain some elevation as opposed to regular 5.1/7.1 games.

My Stx didn't do surround in penumbra and so it wasn't very enjoyable audio wise. However the z supports the openal api and gives you fantastic positioning.

The sbx hrtf is vastly superior to Dolby headphone in terms of sound not being reverbed or lowered in quality. I believe it also is better than cmss3d but that might be personal preference.

Also if the game doesn't have eax or openal it still does a better job with a 5.1/7.1 signal than Dolby headphone.

I feel like I "upgraded" coming from my stx which is sad since its a $200 card.

Still want the zxr once canadacomputers has it in stock.
post #260 of 2504

Does anybody have a real good comparison between CMSS-3D and SBX? Especially on confirming SBX not being a THX TSP renaming?

post #261 of 2504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fegefeuer View Post

Does anybody have a real good comparison between CMSS-3D and SBX? Especially on confirming SBX not being a THX TSP renaming?


Would love to see a comparision between the two. Did anyone upgrade from a X-Fi to a Z card and tell us if there is a diffrent in sound between them?

post #262 of 2504

I'm very keen on SBX Pro Studio for gaming, people who tried it say it has much less sound impact than CMSS3D. For me CMSS3D was useless due to it impacting the SQ way too much, especially the highs became all grainy (think of 96 kbps mp3 + EQ boost to the highs, that's what CMSS3D sounds like IMO). I also prefer DH over CMSS3D for that reason, the DH has slight added reverb (well nothing noteworthy if using DH-2 mode really) + slight EQ tweak (can be corrected with EQing, it adds slight bass bump and slight treble range decrease, after correcting that it sounds nearly same as stock without DH while with CMSS3D no EQing will fix the SQ hit).

 

I also hear good words on the cheaper Z card, seems like a good bang-for-buck option SQ wise among soundcards. Gonna get a "Z" card first to see if it will fit my needs, the ZxR seems to have a rather analytical sound to it (bright) and I tend to prefer rather slightly warm than slightly bright sound (think Titanium HD over ASUS D2/DX but ideally something in-between). 


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 2/20/13 at 7:16am
post #263 of 2504

I vastly prefer THX TruStudio Pro over CMSS-3D, and even over the Dolby Headphone samples I've heard across the web. The only Rapture3D sample I head sounded horribly processed. Now, I haven't had DH or CMSS-3D installed in my setup, but when I started using my Recon3D my reaction was "FINALLY! This sounds like a natural way to hear 3D!" I used Silent Cinema on my receiver, which had much finer adjustment controls than the 3 "rooms" of Dolby Headphone, but whenever I reduced the reverb I always felt like I was losing surround directionality... THX just worked. If SBX sounds exactly the same, I'd still be happy :) I'd just use the RCA outs with my tube amp... amping problems/dull sound solved.

 

I haven't figured out how to tie it to video yet, but I'm tempted to just record an audio sample of some video commonly available on the web, JUST so people can sample the difference (since Creative seemingly won't do it, even though it would be for their own good).

 

Haven't tried the Recon3D with an OpenAL game yet, though I intend to get the GOTY Borderlands 2 for PC when that comes out.


Edited by Evshrug - 2/20/13 at 9:09am
post #264 of 2504

The best video I could find showing THX Tru Studio, Dolby Headphone and CMSS-3D. Unfortunately, no SBX Pro.

 

post #265 of 2504
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

 

I also hear good words on the cheaper Z card, seems like a good bang-for-buck option SQ wise among soundcards. Gonna get a "Z" card first to see if it will fit my needs, the ZxR seems to have a rather analytical sound to it (bright) and I tend to prefer rather slightly warm than slightly bright sound (think Titanium HD over ASUS D2/DX but ideally something in-between). 

What do these terms mean in terms of audio? I'm a newbie when it comes to this stuff, so what do warm and bright mean?

 

Also, will the Z or ZxR give me a good upgrade coming from a Fatal1ty Titanium Professional, on my K702? I read the other guy's post saying that there's not a huge difference on his Q601 going from a Titanium HD to a ZxR.

post #266 of 2504

I saw that one, more of a distortion test than a surround test, because IIRC he didn't have his preferences set up correctly for surround for the different cards.

 

Edit: Oh, that's actually a new one. Besides the fact that I generally don't feel BF3 has max positional audio potential, he MAY have set that video up correctly compared to a similar video made earlier.

 

Edit 2: Watched the vid in full. CMSS-3D does sound best there, though I think the author of the video was too shy of the surround feature on the THX test (turned to 20%!). You turn the surround down... you get less surround... gosh, didn't expect that! Anyway, that niggle aside, one of the better audio comparisons I've seen (wish he'd started with a short stereo segment first, just to reference the viewer, but...).


Edited by Evshrug - 2/20/13 at 11:15am
post #267 of 2504
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

I saw that one, more of a distortion test than a surround test, because IIRC he didn't have his preferences set up correctly for surround for the different cards.

 

Edit: Oh, that's actually a new one. Besides the fact that I generally don't feel BF3 has max positional audio potential, he MAY have set that video up correctly compared to a similar video made earlier.


Yea, I've seen his old video. This one should be the fixed audio version.


Edited by Kenion - 2/20/13 at 9:34am
post #268 of 2504

Those of you with Z-series cards, do me a favor and fire up Battlefield 2 or 2142 (specifically one of those two), then set the sound settings to X-Fi, Ultra High, basically everything maxed out.

 

Then tell me if the menu doesn't have reverb and other unintended effects applied to the sound as a result of Creative's software OpenAL renderer, and if the game itself has decent audio positioning with SBX Pro Surround.

 

While I'm still willing to review a Z-series card at some point just to find out if SBX Pro Surround is any different from the lousy THX TruStudio Surround, I'm still skeptical that it has anything on CMSS-3D Headphone in terms of positioning. The only binaural surround mixing technologies that even come close to CMSS-3D Headphone, in my experience, are Rapture3D's headphone HRTF mixing modes (which are only useful with OpenAL titles), Aureal A3D (defunct for over a decade), and Sensaura Virtual Ear (defunct for almost a decade). The latter two probably form the backbone for CMSS-3D Headphone anyway due to Creative buying out both Aureal and Sensaura years ago.

post #269 of 2504
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

Those of you with Z-series cards, do me a favor and fire up Battlefield 2 or 2142 (specifically one of those two), then set the sound settings to X-Fi, Ultra High, basically everything maxed out.

 

Then tell me if the menu doesn't have reverb and other unintended effects applied to the sound as a result of Creative's software OpenAL renderer, and if the game itself has decent audio positioning with SBX Pro Surround.

 

While I'm still willing to review a Z-series card at some point just to find out if SBX Pro Surround is any different from the lousy THX TruStudio Surround, I'm still skeptical that it has anything on CMSS-3D Headphone in terms of positioning. The only binaural surround mixing technologies that even come close to CMSS-3D Headphone, in my experience, are Rapture3D's headphone HRTF mixing modes (which are only useful with OpenAL titles), Aureal A3D (defunct for over a decade), and Sensaura Virtual Ear (defunct for almost a decade). The latter two probably form the backbone for CMSS-3D Headphone anyway due to Creative buying out both Aureal and Sensaura years ago.

The only Rapture3D sample I've heard was this one, and it sounds horribly distorted and veiled, though the 3D directional cues are good.

 

Edit: I found a "STALKER: Call of Pripyat" vid by the same guy, sounded better (game reminds me of Metro 2033, especially the music during the Bloodsucker sequence), but comments pointed out an "underwater" like sound effect, and I can hear what they mean.


Edited by Evshrug - 2/20/13 at 1:08pm
post #270 of 2504
I personally never liked how CMSS-3D sounded in headphone mode so I always used stereo mode with X-Fi. In stereo mode the sound is much more open and not in your head.

I recorded a sample few days before I got my Zx so that I have something to compare in the future.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2GH5DsUJpY8
^^Mirror's Edge, had to use the What U Hear to record it (luckily you can record different source with FRAPS).
Edited by Anarion - 2/20/13 at 1:10pm
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