Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD
I had better results with "Music Mode" with the DTS setting than movie and the slider set 2nd furthermost to the right side (narrow). With it set to wide you loose positional accuracy/surround cues to my ears. This is tested while being windowed mode in UT3 and listened critically while testing different settings back n forth.
But I was also unsure whether just having DTS enabled but leaving DTS Neo disabled if that was better or not. For sure it messes less with the audio if DTS NeoPC is disabled and volume levels seem more "appropriate" and doesn't vary as much and will work fine with music (everything) too.
Windows cpanel I thought 5.1 worked best (I usually have best results if then selecting only the "Full-range speakers" -> "Left and right" and "surround speakers" and the rest like center, rear etc speakers unticked). But if using SBX surround then stereo speakers worked a lot better and the surround value 91% was clearly ideal for me. Can't really say which setting worked best but my top-3 contenders:
- Windows cpanel 5.1 -> DTS NeoPC Music mode with slider set 2nd furthest to the right (narrow), yes exactly that setting, I tested it very carefully
- Windows cpanel 5.1 -> DTS enabled but NeoPC disabled
- Windows cpanel stereo speakers -> SBX Surround enabled and set to 91%
In the end I wasn't still 100% satisfied with the soundstaging no matter how I set it up, I swapped back to Realtek ALC889A and was more satisfied with the soundstaging (only need to use 5.1 speakers and you're set for wonderful positional sound and NATURAL soundstage). I think the Creative software side speaker config must be messing with the signal somehow as it seems to be an additional layer added to the signal processing before it goes to the headphones, it's something I've disliked for a long time with Creative how it sounded very different depending what speaker mode was selected in Creative's driver panel since Audigy days. I wish it was possible to bypass that crap altogether so it simply 100% follows Microsoft standards when it comes to speaker config and doesn't do anything additionally.
It's a shame about the soundstaging as I really like how the mids sounds on it, I'd say that's the best range on the cards, has a lot of meat and presence and a bit of a fullbodied analog warm sound to them. The highs are pretty natural sounding, no artificial boosting, maybe tiny bit "roughness" but only the faintest kind. Bass seems for my personal taste even sliiiiiiightly bloated down very low, it's as if it got extra current feed to bring up the <50Hz one notch and well it works good with less bassy or especially open headphones which rolls off a bit but for my bassy closed headphones it gets sliiiiiightly too much. At least it's the bassiest source I've tried when comparing its stock state without any adjustments on EQ or anything. Overall a pretty "analog" sound signature, quite similar to that of Titanium HD I also tried but I really think the mids sound one step better on this card from my memory.