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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 40

post #586 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I ordered my ZxR card March 8th and tomorrow they FIIIIINNAALLY will be able to ship it to me. O_o Can you say high demand? Finland has been like almost fully out of stock of these cards for that long time, none of the suppliers had them and they weren't even able to tell any dates of when they'd get them...

But this still means more waiting....very_evil_smiley.gif.

Hope you get it soon, and give us your impression.

post #587 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I ordered my ZxR card March 8th and tomorrow they FIIIIINNAALLY will be able to ship it to me. O_o Can you say high demand? Finland has been like almost fully out of stock of these cards for that long time, none of the suppliers had them and they weren't even able to tell any dates of when they'd get them...
I dunno... According to Jimm's PC store site, waiting time is 2-5 days and that supplier has ****loads of 'em. Same waiting time for Verkkokauppa.com too.
post #588 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post


I dunno... According to Jimm's PC store site, waiting time is 2-5 days and that supplier has ****loads of 'em. Same waiting time for Verkkokauppa.com too.

 

Yes that changed now as the suppliers started getting them now.

post #589 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by NamelessPFG View Post

I'm somewhat intrigued...but still VERY skeptical. If I find the Z-series cards displaying any of the flaws and shortcomings I encountered with the Recon3D USB regarding its OpenAL implementation and general surround mixing, then I'm still going to recommend cards with the X-Fi EMU20k1/20k2.

I still don't think change is inherently for the better; Creative changed up their cards like you wouldn't believe back in the ISA days, and people still heavily debate which revisions are worth buying and which totally suck. There are already two very different Sound Blaster Pro models regarding the FM synth implementation (dual OPL2 vs. single OPL3), and even just saying "Sound Blaster 16" or "AWE32" isn't specific enough because of all the various little revisions Creative made with different chips and feature sets and whatnot. In other words, Creative dropping features is hardly a new thing.

Then there's the game industry's move away from OpenAL to software-mixed audio that sounds noticeably inferior from a positioning standpoint to me. All the way from Aureal A3D to that in a decade...yes, I'm still bitter!

Still, as much as I want to review one of these cards, I'm not paying for the review hardware since I have the worst luck reselling things. *points to Recon3D USB that nobody wants*
*points back at you*
The Recon3D USB has downsides, but you shoot yourself in the foot. It may not be able to fully support as many old games as your X-Fi Titanium, and probably neither does this Z-series, but it has as good or better support as the Xonar cards (5.1 surround conversion at least) AND has the strong selling point of working for PC, Mac, and consoles, with minimal reconfiguration. I was able to sell mine even though I wasn't sure I wanted to part with it, I even referred the other interested buyers to you, but you'll never sell yours if you constantly say "Nobody wants it." It's not luck, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That advice off my chest (have I said it before?), I'm very interested in the new Z-series cards, but if I don't get one "I" may offer to buy it off you, just so that I don't have to open my computer case and unscrew/unplug the card from the PCI slot just so I can boot into Mac OSX. I wish Creative would make Mac drivers for these Z cards, but that's really Apple's fault for never offering an affordable PC tower and only begrudgingly allowing game support as long as they don't have to do extra work for it (Aspyr is a saint for making working ports, but unfortunately their business suffers from time and labor costs).


Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I ordered my ZxR card March 8th and tomorrow they FIIIIINNAALLY will be able to ship it to me. O_o Can you say high demand? Finland has been like almost fully out of stock of these cards for that long time, none of the suppliers had them and they weren't even able to tell any dates of when they'd get them...

Not to rub it in, but I walked into my local suburban Best Buy, confused the employees by saying "I'm going to look at the soundcards," and saw a few Sound Blaster Z cards on the shelf. I could probably get the ZxR online, but it was cool to see it in person.
Maybe some day I'll move to California. They have almost everything there, though also a higher cost of living.
post #590 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
*points back at you*
The Recon3D USB has downsides, but you shoot yourself in the foot. It may not be able to fully support as many old games as your X-Fi Titanium, and probably neither does this Z-series, but it has as good or better support as the Xonar cards (5.1 surround conversion at least) AND has the strong selling point of working for PC, Mac, and consoles, with minimal reconfiguration. I was able to sell mine even though I wasn't sure I wanted to part with it, I even referred the other interested buyers to you, but you'll never sell yours if you constantly say "Nobody wants it." It's not luck, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That advice off my chest (have I said it before?), I'm very interested in the new Z-series cards, but if I don't get one "I" may offer to buy it off you, just so that I don't have to open my computer case and unscrew/unplug the card from the PCI slot just so I can boot into Mac OSX. I wish Creative would make Mac drivers for these Z cards, but that's really Apple's fault for never offering an affordable PC tower and only begrudgingly allowing game support as long as they don't have to do extra work for it (Aspyr is a saint for making working ports, but unfortunately their business suffers from time and labor costs).

 

I suppose you have a point...still, even when I sell things I know other people want and I wouldn't want to part with if not for other concerns, it's impossible for me to do so without cutting my own throat on the price because nobody shows interest. It's not just the Recon3D USB - it's a long, long history of this sort of thing regardless of what I sell.

 

All of that aside, I'm one of the toughest customers to please in any market. I will absolutely scrutinize a product for the slightest imperfections, and if I notice, it just never, ever stops bugging me until I find a way to fix or replace it. And while the X-Fi cards do have their issues, everything else I've tried is even more glaringly imperfect for what I do...

 

I also almost forgot about that Mac OS X support. Seeing as I'm a Windows guy who occasionally dabbles in Linux and neither feel like Hackintoshing nor paying up for a Mac Pro, it generally doesn't cross my mind all that often.

post #591 of 2604
And gaming consoles.

I'm not saying the Recon3D USB isn't without faults... The amping isn't very powerful, which affects the soundstage (much improved with double-amping), and THX surround mode really isn't intended for speakers (just sounds like stereo), only one output port, doesn't use the X-Fi ALchemy and EAX hardware that some games used to look for, BUT it is what it is and has a few unique benefits.
post #592 of 2604
Quote:
Originally Posted by Evshrug View Post
And gaming consoles.

I'm not saying the Recon3D USB isn't without faults... The amping isn't very powerful, which affects the soundstage (much improved with double-amping), and THX surround mode really isn't intended for speakers (just sounds like stereo), only one output port, doesn't use the X-Fi ALchemy and EAX hardware that some games used to look for, BUT it is what it is and has a few unique benefits.

 

Ah, yes, consoles too...for which I have the SU-DH1, which has the bonus of also decoding DTS and Dolby Pro Logic II.

 

I suppose that's my problem; it's an all-in-one device for whose purposes I have more specialized and suitable devices to use, but not everybody has the extra hardware I'm using.

post #593 of 2604
Given that the SU-HD1 is discontinued and hard to find, it's not an option for most people.

I'm actually annoyed with my friends... Borderlands 2 is only $13.59 USD on Steam right now, but my friends all say "Ehhh, I want it for Xbox, and I'm going to wait for the GOTY version." Ok, I understand that you get a great bundle price with patience, BUT, the GOTY will likely be around $30 or more upon release, and hold for a fair while. The other part is, we have so many games these days, who's to say you won't want to move on to something else by the time you get through the main game?

I'm ready for PC graphics & upgradability, and I'm ready to stop paying for LIVE, but my closest buddies aren't ready to give up on the college/highschool arrangement of laptop and console. It's not a bad arrangement, one I've stuck to for many years (before they even bought/were gifted computers for personal use), but in today's landscape it's extra expensive for a less rich experience. A very portable smartphone/tablet is much more mobile, and I'd like a powerful PC setup.

Uh...
Uhh...
And I'd like a sound card like the one in this thread for games & music biggrin.gif
post #594 of 2604

Tell them to plug a xbox 360 controller into there PC's and play the game. ;) since the xbox 360 controller is comparability with a windows PC.

post #595 of 2604
IKR??!?
That's how I was playing Star Wars: Force Unleashed (in Mac OS X), and Dishonored (Win8 Pro).
post #596 of 2604

Got the card finally after having waited since March 8th when I ordered it. xD Fired straight up some music and my 1st reaction was, wtf why do the highs sounds so bad and worse than my Realtek onboard? Then I checked the software and seems by default like every audio processing like THX and Crystallizer was turned on so then after I turned off all the processing I was like :DDDD

 

However upon further listen I may have one problem coming from my old Realtek ALC889A, the soundstage might be tiny bit smaller/closed in is my initial impressions. Funnily, this was one of those things I noticed with the Titanium HD card as well. With Realtek I permanently used 5.1 speakers in windows control panel and the soundstage really opens up bigtime and it's less stereo and more free "360 soundstage" that is my preferred way of listen, not a big fan of pure stereo sound. With 5.1 speakers with the ZxR it doesn't seem to make a big of a difference, I believe it's creative doing some slight processing of the "Headphone" config in the software, I also preferred using "Speakers/Stereo" with Titanium HD over Headphones as the soundstage seemed less cavernous and less forced "stereo". Too bad you can't seem to use "speakers" in Z-series software when using headphones. I like the sound of it otherwise, it's a nicely balanced source with a very slight emphasis on the lows, the mids & highs feels perfectly balanced but this is surely among the bassiest sources I've tested, it really gives a lot fullness to the bass, had to turn down digiZoid ZO amp like 2 steps to get it on similar level as with Realtek onboard chip.

I tested also for example Unreal Tournament 3 which is among those few games left with very good audio processing and well with OpenAL disabled when it's a good comparision of how well the "5.1 virtual" processing that is taking place if using 5.1 speaker config with this game (huge huge difference from using "stereo" speaker config in windows) I also felt the soundstage was smaller than I was used to, the positioning was there like I was used to but the soundstage seemed smaller.

Besides the letdown soundstage wise I like it but I feel I have to make more comparisions soundstage wise against the Realtek onboard to better determine whether there's the difference I think I'm hearing or not as there's a chance Creative's software implemented speaker config may just not work well for me.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 5/20/13 at 11:45am
post #597 of 2604

The soundstage seems better with the onboard Realtek ALC889A unfortunately, otherwise sounds a bit better for sure but it's difficult to accept the smaller soundstage, really liking the open natural soundstage of this ALC889A chip if using 5.1 speaker config. I also tried out of curiosity using stereo->RCA converter to plug the headphones on the ZxR card into the speaker ports and it was easy to tell it wasn't amped like the headphone port as the sound was much more muffled and the output volume lower and the soundstage still didn't sound quite ideal no matter how I put the speaker config from stereo or 5.1 and with all kinds of the speaker options enabled/disabled. Possibly tiny bit more open than compared to the headphone port (probably down to the Creative software side speaker processing again and headphone and speakers may not be exactly the same) but the difference surely wasn't worth it to bypass the amping.

 

So I'm a bit on the fence here, not sure what to to think.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 5/21/13 at 8:52am
post #598 of 2604

Interesting, Realtek do have a rather mature solution by now - the ALC892 in one of my boxes sounds quite ok, if not esoteric. Best integrated I've had was the SoundMax 2000. But choosing the ZxR seems like a massive overkill if you're mostly/only into virtual surround. You should have opted for the much cheaper Z instead, if you were just curious over Creatives implementation of surround. It has the exact same surround features. All the extra efforts on the ZxR have been spent on improving pure stereo-sound, which seems to be of no particular use in your case.

 

Best surround I've had was with the very cheap Xonar DG and Dolby Digital, when I had it optimally configured it was spooky - the headphones totally disappeared. Sadly, there was extreme regression in later drivers for the card and I don't remember which driver set it was that worked the best ...

 

For myself, I consider music reproduction being the most important factor, I would probably have appreciated the ZxR more than you :-)
 

post #599 of 2604

I'm interested in trying out the Z series. 

 

Since I have an excellent DAC already: Does the Z series have the ability to output everything over SPDIF like the X-Fi cards? 

post #600 of 2604

It should have the output Stereo mix thru SPDIF in it's control panel, like the Recon3D does. That option will do just that.

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