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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 34

post #496 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahm12 View Post




In this video at 40 seconds, one can see it lets you select normal gain or high gain headphones, i dont see that option , is there any advance setting i am missing?? i cant find it ??
That's only available for ZxR, AFAIK Z and Zx does it automatically (if not at all).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Povell42 View Post

Yes. I have done this myself. I actually had my xbox hooked to my TV via HDMI and then used the optical out on my TV to connect to the Sound Blaster optical-in.

You have to make sure that the audio going into the the sound card from you TV is in stereo. It will not recognize Dolby Digital. So for me I had to go into my xbox settings and disable the 5.1 sound option so it would send a stereo signal. So whatever audio source you are using just make sure it is sending out stereo.

You can use the the SBX software's surround sound option along with all the other adjustments such as bass boost and the equalizer.

I would suggest getting the Sound Blaster Z instead of the Zx. It is the exact same sound card. The only difference is the Audio Control Module (ACM) and the ACM degrades audio quality. The Zx has a little better microphone built into the ACM....but it is not $50 worth for the price difference.

For more detail on the Zx model - I wrote a review on amazon. Here is a link: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Blaster-Gaming-Control-SB1506/product-reviews/B009XDWUCQ/ref=cm_cr_dp_qt_hist_three?ie=UTF8&filterBy=addThreeStar&showViewpoints=0


My user name is Povell42 on amazon as well.
I haven't heard any noticeable difference in audio quality when using ACM. If people plan to use this with sensitive headphones, be warned: HD 595's for example are pretty much unusable without ACM. But sure, if you can use it without it then by all means don't (no point using it). At least that way you eliminate one possible bottleneck.
Edited by Anarion - 4/21/13 at 10:52am
post #497 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by turokrocks View Post

Thank you for explaining, so I need a card that "Decode (not encode only as per the ZXR) Dolby Digital", to get the optical input to recognize 5.1?
Just to add my own research on this issue... It's not a hardware limitation that keeps a soundcard from accepting a surround signal, it's actually a licensing thing. Turtle Beach's website has a FAQ describing the issue with their (now discontinued) sound cards. As far as I'm aware, NO PC soundcard can decode DDL input, except my Recon3D USB external surround processor could play surround from my Xbox and PC at the same time... But I think that was a (beneficial) glitch.

The Recon3D USB is meant to be used to process surround with either PC or with a console, so to work with consoles it has to decode DDL over Optical. You are meant to use a switch on the side to switch between Xbox (optical input), PS3 (optical input + USB mic), and PC modes (USB), but I forgot to switch modes once but Xbox audio still worked... I actually played Starcraft on my Mac with a friend and used my Xbox to chat with him and another friend at the same time (my voice chat is piped through "speakers"). Caveat: I think it sounded great, also THX surround processing worked great and had a greater sense if 3D imaging realism than Dolby Headphone has so far (I'm testing now), the signal was pretty noise-free for plugging straight into my AD700 or double amping with my Q701, BUT it doesn't have as good Signal:Noise as a dedicated sound card, and I suspect the cards can improve on the audio quality in other ways as well. I would not recommend the regular, internal Recon3D soundcards.

I thought I would upgrade and get a soundcard, but financially I haven't made that purchase yet, and I miss having it. I might ask NamelessPFG if I could buy his spare one.
Edited by Evshrug - 4/21/13 at 12:25pm
post #498 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc64 View Post

Does the zxr use hardware openal or eax at all? How does it work?

Anyone got an answer to this?

post #499 of 2363
It does use OpenAL, but I think the SoundCore3D does it and EAX through "software." Uses ALchemy (get it?) to restore functionality in the new Operating Systems, and games with OpenAL support like Borderlands 2 (though it's a little hidden in that game) and I think Dishonored (because it's an Unreal Engine game).
post #500 of 2363

I didn't know it worked on borderlands 2. I just changed it. Dishonored uses Wwise. Most UE games seem to use that or xaudio2 now a days.

post #501 of 2363

Sorry if this has been covered in this thread (or another); I debated starting another thread on this question:

 

Has anyone had any first-hand experience driving high-Ohm headphones with the SB ZX-R? Creative claims the card's amp capable of driving 600-Ohm cans but I wonder how well it does this and how it actually sounds.

 

Thanks in advance.

post #502 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post

I haven't heard any noticeable difference in audio quality when using ACM. If people plan to use this with sensitive headphones, be warned: HD 595's for example are pretty much unusable without ACM. But sure, if you can use it without it then by all means don't (no point using it). At least that way you eliminate one possible bottleneck.

 

One thing to point out.....the ACM seems to degrade(or mess with) the Surround sound effect mostly.  So if you have tested this out while listening to it in stereo, than you may not hear as much difference.

post #503 of 2363
Povell42,
Getting optimal virtual surround sure is finicky. With my Recon3D, I spent hours adjusting Creative's control panel to get the best surround effect with the least "piercing sound" (after listening to anything for 45 minutes or so, my ears get really sensitive to anything harsh), adjusting things like Crystalizer down and down till eventually I realized I liked it best off. Any compression or extra processing throws off the delicate balance of good headphone surround. And yet, the THX surround has (so far) done a better job of creating a sense of place and placement than the Silent Cinema and Dolby Headphone devices I own and have been testing (I need to give DH another chance by using it with my tube amp), and it "works" better for me than the YouTube videos I've seen with CMSS-3D baked-in (though I bet those would sound better live, uncompressed, with a sound card plus external amp that emphasizes soundstage, like my tube amp).

I think even the differences between people's ears makes a significant difference, NamelessPFG and Mad Lust Envy have each shown me "the best case" examples of their favourite surround processing, yet I still prefer THX, Nameless prefers CMSS-3D, and Mad's best one is Dolby Headphone.
post #504 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmc64 View Post

I didn't know it worked on borderlands 2. I just changed it. Dishonored uses Wwise. Most UE games seem to use that or xaudio2 now a days.

 

 

Ya borderlands has a clear sound advantage with openal running instead of through its own engine.  Much better surround positioning.  And to answer your other question, even though it does the openal and EAX through software, most games still sound terrific.  The penumbra series and the STALKER series use EAX really well still and the openal API.  

 

Its a huge improvement over the Essence STX I was using previously.  And I only have the Z.  I cant wait to get the ZXR and really hear the difference.

post #505 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Povell42,
Getting optimal virtual surround sure is finicky. With my Recon3D, I spent hours adjusting Creative's control panel to get the best surround effect with the least "piercing sound" (after listening to anything for 45 minutes or so, my ears get really sensitive to anything harsh), adjusting things like Crystalizer down and down till eventually I realized I liked it best off. Any compression or extra processing throws off the delicate balance of good headphone surround. And yet, the THX surround has (so far) done a better job of creating a sense of place and placement than the Silent Cinema and Dolby Headphone devices I own and have been testing (I need to give DH another chance by using it with my tube amp), and it "works" better for me than the YouTube videos I've seen with CMSS-3D baked-in (though I bet those would sound better live, uncompressed, with a sound card plus external amp that emphasizes soundstage, like my tube amp).

I think even the differences between people's ears makes a significant difference, NamelessPFG and Mad Lust Envy have each shown me "the best case" examples of their favourite surround processing, yet I still prefer THX, Nameless prefers CMSS-3D, and Mad's best one is Dolby Headphone.


I agree with what you are saying,  but just to point out - I was talking about the difference in the surround sound with and with-out the ACM on the Sound Blaster Zx model.  For some reason it messes with it and makes the balance off and makes it more tinny sounding.  It also made playing Black Ops 2 sound significantly worse. 

 

I actually really like the surround sound processing on this sound card (minus the ACM). I personally think that Dolby headphone is too echoy.  I liked silent cinema more that DH from my testing.  


Edited by Povell42 - 4/21/13 at 9:25pm
post #506 of 2363
The point I was making is almost anything can throw off the balance required for surround wink.gif I only add this so you know I am listening and following you smily_headphones1.gif

Good to hear you like the processing though, that gives me hope as I haven't really been able to audition SBX yet. I haven't tried SC and DH side-by-side yet, but I find them both kinda echo-y. I might find SC to be better, but it's been a while since I tested it. I was disappointed how flat DH sounded last night, but I'm going to try it again connected to a proper headphone amp. I think I will just eventually need a computer soundcard, I was just testing out DH through a turtle beach DSS to hold me over until I get an apartment and set up my Yamaha receiver permanently. Sad 'ceiver sits in a basement box currently frown.gif

Surround in MW3 was disappointing compared to CoD4: MW, I've heard the same story continues with BO2. Audio design has taken a step back. One concrete example: At least on consoles, MW3's center-channel is dialogue-only, which puts a hole in 5.1-to-headphone surround processing.
Edited by Evshrug - 4/21/13 at 9:56pm
post #507 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

The point I was making is almost anything can throw off the balance required for surround wink.gif I only add this so you know I am listening and following you smily_headphones1.gif

Good to hear you like the processing though, that gives me hope as I haven't really been able to audition SBX yet. I haven't tried SC and DH side-by-side yet, but I find them both kinda echo-y. I might find SC to be better, but it's been a while since I tested it. I was disappointed how flat DH sounded last night, but I'm going to try it again connected to a proper headphone amp. I think I will just eventually need a computer soundcard, I was just testing out DH through a turtle beach DSS to hold me over until I get an apartment and set up my Yamaha receiver permanently. Sad 'ceiver sits in a basement box currently frown.gif

Surround in MW3 was disappointing compared to CoD4: MW, I've heard the same story continues with BO2. Audio design has taken a step back. One concrete example: At least on consoles, MW3's center-channel is dialogue-only, which puts a hole in 5.1-to-headphone surround processing.

 

I actually tested out an Astro Mixamp (2012 model), Turtle Beach DSS & DSS2 side by side.  I found that the DSS2 sounded the best to me.  It was the least echoy and I really liked it as an external option for virtual surround.  Surprisingly, I liked the Astro Mixamp LEAST

 

I personally have found the SBX surround to be the best by far.  No echo at all really (unless you listen to it through the ACM).  It is very clear and precise.  Before I got the SBZx sound-card and my headphone, I was using the Tritton AX PRO. That had horrible sound compared to SBX paired with almost any decent headphone. 

post #508 of 2363
Well, of those three console gaming processors you mentioned, the DSS2 is actually the only one NOT based on Dolby Headphone processing! IIRC it uses something developed by Cirrus Logic... There was a guy who knew more but I haven't seen him online in a while (I95NORTH).

I thought the DSS lacked frontal depth and imaging definition, but I hooked it up to my tube amplifier tonight and things got better. Rear cues seem particularly good, and the software environmental effects in Halo: Reach helped to better define distance and what kind of room the sounds were coming from, but I'm still not blown away compared to the same setup I had with the Creative device. I use Q701 headphones.

I look forward to trying SBX someday, maybe CMSS-3D too just to round out the experience.
post #509 of 2363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post

Well, of those three console gaming processors you mentioned, the DSS2 is actually the only one NOT based on Dolby Headphone processing! IIRC it uses something developed by Cirrus Logic.
 

 

That would explain why I liked the DSS2 the most. biggrin.gif  I guess it is official....I do not like Dolby Headphone. basshead.gif

post #510 of 2363

As far Dolby Headphone goes, only DH2 mode should be used, this one is the least echoy and doesn't add any significant amount reverb at all (I use it with my foobar2000 listening even), obviously you can't pick which mode to be used with those devices but in case of soundcards, one should stick to DH-2 mode.

 

In terms of amount reverb & unnaturalness it goes like:

 

DH-3 > DH-1 > DH-2


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 4/22/13 at 4:25am
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