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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 5

post #61 of 2557

Mainly Nvidia but also affected AMD.

 

Xbox 360 and Xbox compatibility is terrible, only original PS3 versions supported PS2 games due to actually having the Emotion Engine hardware, although that's not much of an excuse since they have perfect software emulation that was never released to public.

post #62 of 2557

The first Xbox was a mass experiment and they also allowed certain developers full access to the hardware, hence why some games aren't BC and other have problems (e.g. HALO 1 and 2). This time around, all GPU communications have to be routed via DirectX API (no custom APIs allowed), which means they'll be able to run all 360 games and DLCs on future platforms either natively or via emulation.

 

Sony on the other hand  gave developers full access to the hardware since day 1 so they could write directly to the metal with little overhead (which means better visuals and performance), but that kills any possibility of cost effective emulation.

post #63 of 2557

While I have no love for Xbox hardware and software ecossystem, I have always found their CPU implementations interesting. But then again, so was PS3's implementation.

 

The bouncing between radically different architectures sure makes for a nigh impossible accurate emulation process, that's a given.

 

I still think consoles should have a hardware upgrade system, with the base console running most games at 30fps (excluding flagship games that run at 60fps), and an upgraded GPU pushing games to 60fps.

post #64 of 2557

I am confused by this though. Why a 600 ohm output? Don't you want the smallest impedance output possible?

post #65 of 2557

It's not output impedance, it's support for headphones up to 600 Ohm.

post #66 of 2557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

It's not output impedance, it's support for headphones up to 600 Ohm.

That makes more sense. I read a thing about it twice that said 600 ohm output. I was like ??????

post #67 of 2557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heretic817 View Post

That makes more sense. I read a thing about it twice that said 600 ohm output. I was like ??????

 

Yeah, I can imagine :) Headphones certainly wouldn't sound good with that high output impedance.

post #68 of 2557
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Heretic817 View Post

I am confused by this though. Why a 600 ohm output? Don't you want the smallest impedance output possible?

 

I corrected the post. they deliver 80 mW with a 600 ohms headphone ! Sorry for the confusion.

post #69 of 2557
No opamp experts opinion on the pictures we've seen?


OK, I spent some searching a bit. Comparing the pictures with information I gathered, the ZxR card has the exact same hardware as the Titanium HD for the most part it seems:
- Same Opamp (JRC2114D, LME49710NA: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634548/x-fi-titanium-hd-opamp-rolling)
- Same DAC ( Burr-Brown PCM1794: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/pcm1794.pdf). Though they now claim 124dB vs 122dB for the Titanium HD.

Difference is the TPA6120A2 amp which is really specified at 80mW into 600 Ohm and SNR at 120dB (http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tpa6120a2.pdf).

I'm not a techie, but it sounds like an update of the Recon3D with the "audiophile" hardware of the Titanium HD + a new powerful headphone amp. Is this going to be better than a STX?

Roller, I think you said the Z-serie only has partial gaming support. Why?
Edited by Kel Ghu - 12/13/12 at 2:26pm
post #70 of 2557

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post #71 of 2557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kel Ghu View Post

No opamp experts opinion on the pictures we've seen?
OK, I spent some searching a bit. Comparing the pictures with information I gathered, the ZxR card has the exact same hardware as the Titanium HD for the most part it seems:
- Same Opamp (JRC2114D, LME49710NA: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634548/x-fi-titanium-hd-opamp-rolling)
- Same DAC ( Burr-Brown PCM1794: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/pcm1794.pdf). Though they now claim 124dB vs 122dB for the Titanium HD.
Difference is the TPA6120A2 amp which is really specified at 80mW into 600 Ohm and SNR at 120dB (http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tpa6120a2.pdf).
I'm not a techie, but it sounds like an update of the Recon3D with the "audiophile" hardware of the Titanium HD + a new powerful headphone amp. Is this going to be better than a STX?
Roller, I think you said the Z-serie only has partial gaming support. Why?

I believe the situation is the ZxR uses the Sound Core 3D audio processor, which I guess one could say is a stripped down version of the audio processor that is in the Titanium HD.

post #72 of 2557
Stripped down? I think it's a totally different processor. Titanium used to process everything on its audio processor, EAX, Crystalizer, CMS3D, etc etc... But now, everything has been moved to the CPU, only remains 4 specialized DSPs (CrystalVoice, THX TruStudio Pro, Smart Volume and Pro Bass).
But apparently, the version of the SoundCore 3D on ZxR doesn't make use of the embedded DAC. That task has been off-loaded to a real DAC, the PCM1794 which is amongst the best DAC according to Guru3D. That's why people say Titanium's DAC is better than STX's. So ZxR's SoundCore 3D is actually a stripped down version on Recon 3D's.
I don't mind that. It's doesn't make the sound worse as CPUs have more than enough power to process all that so one won't see any impact on speed. And the design actually makes the sound better as the DAC is way better than what we had on Recon3D's and Titanium HD's analog hardware is back.

It took them this long to take a Titanium HD, replace the audio processor with SoundCore3D and update the headphone amp... Anyway, it does really look to me that we have a winner here with the ZxR. My time waiting is soon arriving to an end... I really needed a audiophile gaming card.
Edited by Kel Ghu - 12/13/12 at 8:42pm
post #73 of 2557
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kel Ghu View Post

No opamp experts opinion on the pictures we've seen?
OK, I spent some searching a bit. Comparing the pictures with information I gathered, the ZxR card has the exact same hardware as the Titanium HD for the most part it seems:
- Same Opamp (JRC2114D, LME49710NA: http://www.head-fi.org/t/634548/x-fi-titanium-hd-opamp-rolling)
- Same DAC ( Burr-Brown PCM1794: http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/pcm1794.pdf). Though they now claim 124dB vs 122dB for the Titanium HD.
Difference is the TPA6120A2 amp which is really specified at 80mW into 600 Ohm and SNR at 120dB (http://www.ti.com/lit/ds/symlink/tpa6120a2.pdf).
I'm not a techie, but it sounds like an update of the Recon3D with the "audiophile" hardware of the Titanium HD + a new powerful headphone amp. Is this going to be better than a STX?
Roller, I think you said the Z-serie only has partial gaming support. Why?

 

You're right, a PCM1794 is used for the main channels, just like the Titanium HD, but curiously it seems that a second chip is used, the PCM1798 for the remaining channels, and that takes over when multichannel output is configured as the main output.

 

A quick look indicates that the Titanium HD, the ZxR and the Essence STX all stand at the top of the consumer internal soundcard market, in terms of sound quality.

 

The Z series have partial gaming audio support because they no longer have a dedicated processor for handling audio tasks, which by itself isn't a problem from a performance perspective, but that means no hardware accelerated audio is available, and games that do support hardware audio will either limit or disable advanced audio features altogether. Also, it doesn't have positional cue improvement algorithms that are found on the X-Fi chip (those algorithms aren't found on software based X-Fi cards like the XtremeAudio), and along with the lack of hardware OpenAL, makes for partial gaming audio support, that's still above Asus cards' gaming audio support, but clearly below X-Fi cards, notably the Titanium HD.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kel Ghu View Post

Stripped down? I think it's a totally different processor. Titanium used to process everything on its audio processor, EAX, Crystalizer, CMS3D, etc etc... But now, everything has been moved to the CPU, only remains 4 specialized DSPs (CrystalVoice, THX TruStudio Pro, Smart Volume and Pro Bass).
But apparently, the version of the SoundCore 3D on ZxR doesn't make use of the embedded DAC. That task has been off-loaded to a real DAC, the PCM1794 which is amongst the best DAC according to Guru3D. That's why people say Titanium's DAC is better than STX's. So ZxR's SoundCore 3D is actually a stripped down version on Recon 3D's.
I don't mind that. It's doesn't make the sound worse as CPUs have more than enough power to process all that so one won't see any impact on speed. And the design actually makes the sound better as the DAC is way better than what we had on Recon3D's and Titanium HD's analog hardware is back.
It took them this long to take a Titanium HD, replace the audio processor with SoundCore3D and update the headphone amp... Anyway, it does really look to me that we have a winner here with the ZxR. My time waiting is soon arriving to an end... I really needed a audiophile gaming card.

 

Spec wise, the Titanium HD's DAC chip (PCM1794) is superior to the Essence STX's DAC chip (PCM1792), but implementation plays a big part on this as well.

 

First of all, I basically dismiss the entire Recon3D card series, as they're quite inferior to both the X-Fi series and the Z series, yet unfortunately they have high enough price tags that might mislead people into thinking they're actually worth getting.

 

What Creative should've done was to update the Titanium HD's design, upgrading components, possibly adding a headphone amp that could be bypassed on command.

 

Overall, if someone is looking for a high-end consumer internal soundcard and does light to medium gaming, the ZxR will fit the bill. For those who do little gaming but still some gaming, the Essence STX fits the bill. And for those who do medium to heavy gaming, the Titanium HD is the card to get.

post #74 of 2557
Well the problem with Titanium was that hardware acceleration was a hassle to handle. Creative had to put too much effort in developing drivers and noone ever had a completely stable and reliable card. I can still read new threads about BSOD on Creative forum, which is not acceptable after all this time.

Just found out the headphone amp is the same one found on the ST/STX. So ZxR vs STX match-up (Line out/Headphone):
- DAC: ZxR wins (PCM1794 > PCM1792)
- Headphone Amp: Tie (Both TPA6120A2)
- OpAmp1: Tie ( Both JRC2114D)
- OpAmp2 : Electronically similar (LME49710NA vs LM4562, both are part of the LME49710 family, same size same specs).

It's funny how they are copying each other. Assuming implementation is the same, the ZxR can't be worse than the STX and the opamp difference is a matter of taste. I can't decide which card I want. ZxR doesn't have all the gaming things ans it is expensive. Titanium doesn't have the headphone amp and I don't want to risk having hardware problem, which I already have. And I'm on a budget, I can't buy an external amp.
Edited by Kel Ghu - 12/16/12 at 7:20am
post #75 of 2557

Well, current drivers are very stable, unlike the first generation drivers available for the X-Fi family, with drivers now working flawlessly on Windows 7 and Windows 8.

 

Getting a Titanium HD plus an entry-level amp like a PA2V2 isn't an expensive setup.

 

What headphones are you using that require more than the headphone out (up to 330 Ohm) of the Titanium HD?

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