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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 52

post #766 of 2291
I'm pretty sure he meant unchecking everything in the full range speakers portion of the setup. Not the number of speakers step.
post #767 of 2291
I don't know what's the case with the Z-series and I've already given up on it after testing all possible settings and to me it didn't seem to matter on the ZxR but with Realtek onboard when checking Fullrange speaker options the "Left and right" and "Surround speakers" and leaving the speaker options on that previous page all disabled worked best for games at least. But yea it didn't work equally well with the ZxR card though why I didn't end up using it, somehow it doesn't process the 5.1 signals equally good as Realtek drivers do with it. I wish I could invite some1 for testing this specific thing with both cards next to each other. I'm sure people will be noticing the same thing as me, the ZxR doesn't sound as open and clear positional wise with that 5.1 speaker thing as Realtek onboard do. Now I can't comment what's the case with ASUS cards, I did test an ASUS Xonar D2 briefly but it didn't fit my needs (picked wrong model) so didn't end up testing it a whole lot for surround sound etc. I'd be _VERY_ curious if this nicely working 5.1 surround speaker sound is something that only applies to Realtek's way of handling it or if it's just Z-series which doesn't work equally good in this regard or what. Also music sounds nice soundstage-wise with that config, it's really a difference versus using stereo speakers, with ZxR it doesn't do anything. (well one could argue it SHOULDN'T sound different either and I agree as music is processed as stereo but tell that to the Realtek audio developers which somehow have managed to get a nice "virtual 5.1" sound going on with a stereo/headphone setup if using 5.1 speaker config. smily_headphones1.gif A bit like using DTS NeoPC but with zero drop in sound quality, in fact it just boosts it (better soundstaging).

I really do not want to be using onboard audio forever but I'm getting tired of testing all possible soundcards and end up returning them for one reason or another. Point is using ZxR I get constantly reminded that I'm using a closed headphone due to how closed in the soundstage sounds like but if using Realtek with that 5.1 setting it sounds pretty nice n open.
Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 7/14/13 at 11:48pm
post #768 of 2291
It is because of the SBX Surround, it affects the sound man. If you turned of th eSBX surround, u will hear them more clearly and crisp.
post #769 of 2291

Hey guys,

 

Love my ZX paired with my DT 990's 250 ohms but at higher volumes the sound does get a little distorted, and that scratchy "blown speaker sound." My guess is that the ZX isn't powerful enough to drive 250 ohms, so I'm upgrading to the ZXR (rather than buying an external amp, I'll get the better card with a better DAC and amp together). However, after reading this disconcerting thread I am starting to have second thoughts. 

 

http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=699412

 

It's advertised to put out 80mW of power for headphones, but apparently doesn't even put out 50mW. And since even my 250 ohm headphones are rated at 100mW, I don't know how much an improvement the ZXR will make. 

 

I know the ZXR will drive my headphones better than the ZX currently does (it definitely has a better amp). The question is by how much? 

 

 

Also, this is kind of unrelated, but I do have an external amp. It's a CAD HA4, I got it for free when I bought the headphones.

http://www.cadaudio.com/H4A.php

 

But since it's kind of a low end amp (also rated at 50mW), I'm not sure how much it will help with the sound card. I tried it with my ZX, and it definitely makes it louder, but it also creates a lot static/hiss in the background even when the volume is no that high.

 

Thanks for the help!

post #770 of 2291

Short answer: by +8 dB. (+10 dB is perceived as about twice as loud)

 

If you hear distortion it is likely the headphone, since 250 ohms really is not a hard load.

 

The difference between Z/Zx and ZxR is that it will get you 8 dB higher max volume.


Edited by xnor - 7/19/13 at 2:57pm
post #771 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Short answer: by +8 dB. (+10 dB is perceived as about twice as loud)

 

If you hear distortion it is likely the headphone, since 250 ohms really is not a hard load.

 

The difference between Z/Zx and ZxR is that it will get you 8 dB higher max volume.

Thanks, so likely only half of that is distortion free. (Since sound starts to get distorted when I turn the ACM volume up to 50%)

 

So you think the DT 990s should be no problem for a ZXR?

post #772 of 2291

Have you connected the ACM to the back of the card?

 

Anyway, you might want to connect your headphones directly to the back of your card for best sound quality.


Edited by xnor - 7/19/13 at 3:27pm
post #773 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post

Have you connected the ACM to the back of the card?

 

Anyway, you might want to connect your headphones directly to the back of your card for best sound quality.

 Yes, it's plugged into the back. I've tried plugging my headphones into the ACM and then into back of the card, and I hear no difference. Maybe a minuscule amount with the bass, if anything. HD audio disabled in BIOS as well. Updated to latest ZX drivers.


Edited by apav - 7/19/13 at 3:47pm
post #774 of 2291
The difference is not the volume only. My DT 770 250 ohm on my z sounded totally different and anemic compared to when I bought my zxr. The zxr can definitely power 250 ohm cans sufficiently.

And the zxr does 50 mW into 600 ohm not 250 ohm. At 250 ohm it will deliver enough power for your DT 990. I wouldn't worry. The headphone amp in the z/zx can't put out the same power however I never had the distortion problem, that typically is a driver issue. The maxim headphone amp in the z only puts out 125 mW at 32 ohms so at 250 ohm it would definitely be below what's needed.

Best bet is to try your headphones on a different amp and see .
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 7/19/13 at 4:12pm
post #775 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

The difference is not the volume only. My DT 770 250 ohm on my z sounded totally different and anemic compared to when I bought my zxr. The zxr can definitely power 250 ohm cans sufficiently.

That's most likely because the output impedance of the ZxR is about 2.3 times higher than that of the Z/Zx resulting in a lower damping factor.

 

Quote:
And the zxr does 50 mW into 600 ohm not 250 ohm. At 250 ohm it will deliver enough power for your DT 990. I wouldn't worry. The headphone amp in the z/zx can't put out the same power however I never had the distortion problem, that typically is a driver issue. The maxim headphone amp in the z only puts out 125 mW at 32 ohms so at 250 ohm it would definitely be below what's needed.

Best bet is to try your headphones on a different amp and see .

Most headphones reach ear-splitting levels with just 1 mW, the DT series is no exception.

 

Even if the ZxR manages to theoretically output 5 times the power into 250 ohms at max volume,

a) that's just +7 dB more volume

b) doesn't mean it will produce less clean sound at lower volumes (which measurements with load confirm, but ignoring the damping factor)

 

 

Besides connecting directly to the back of the card I'd also suggest to disable all processing in the control panel, your music player etc. temporarily to see if that causes the distortion problem.


Edited by xnor - 7/19/13 at 4:53pm
post #776 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by apav View Post

Thanks, so likely only half of that is distortion free. (Since sound starts to get distorted when I turn the ACM volume up to 50%)

 

So you think the DT 990s should be no problem for a ZXR?

Dear Apav, 

 

I have the DR 990 PROs and the ZxR. First of, at least from what i can hear the ZxR has no problem driving the DT990s even in normal gain setting (32-300 ohm) and there are also reviews which tested the DT 990s 600 ohm and they stated the ZxR had no problem driving them well in high gain (600 ohm) setting. In your other post you quoted that the DT990 Pros are rated 100mW, just as posted in the Creative thread's pdf. I maybe wrong here, but I do believe there is a misunderstanding here. If you look into the DT990s  PDF in the Creative thread, all DT990s (32-600 ohm) have a max capacity of 100mV, which to me means its their max before they get damaged not how much the need to drive.

 

Further the author in the Creative thread stats that the ZxR can only output 50mV while the Xonar can do the full 80mV. I looked into the reviews he referred to at the russian siteand the max output for the ZxR was nearly identical to the Xonar ST, with the ST actual weaker by a hair. At 600ohm The ZxR has 5.4v (rms) the Xonar ST 4.8v (rms) (Sorry cannot post pictures yet it seems). Given that the amps are very similar it makes a lot more sense. I have seen multiple statements here that the Xonar can drive the DT990 even with 600ohm. 

http://personalaudio.ru/detail/creative_soundblaster_zxr/

http://personalaudio.ru/detail/asus_xonar_essence_st_/

 

 

To me I think that the facts in that Creative thread are not clear at all. To me I actually drive the 250 ohm in the normal gain settings on the ZxR and they do not sound under-powered compared the Fiio E17. 


Edited by Magictm - 7/19/13 at 5:29pm
post #777 of 2291
Quote:

Originally Posted by Magictm View Post
 

At 600ohm The ZxR has 5.4v (rms) the Xonar ST 4.8v (rms) (Sorry cannot post pictures yet it seems).

 

That does not look right. I do not have the ST, but on the STX - which is mostly the same card, but with a PCIe interface instead of PCI - I measured a maximum output voltage of about 7 Vrms that is consistent with the measurements available at Stereophile,  and also with what one would expect for a TPA6120 based amplifier with a +/- 12 V power supply. Also, at the maximum output level (0 dBFS sine at high gain and 100% volume), the card still does not clip, but it is close to clipping (0.003% THD at full volume, but it drops significantly if the volume is reduced by just 0.5 dB). Note that for other amplifiers the maximum output is usually specified at 1% THD, which is already clipping.


Edited by stv014 - 7/20/13 at 12:33am
post #778 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magictm View Post

Dear Apav, 

 

I have the DR 990 PROs and the ZxR. First of, at least from what i can hear the ZxR has no problem driving the DT990s even in normal gain setting (32-300 ohm) and there are also reviews which tested the DT 990s 600 ohm and they stated the ZxR had no problem driving them well in high gain (600 ohm) setting. In your other post you quoted that the DT990 Pros are rated 100mW, just as posted in the Creative thread's pdf. I maybe wrong here, but I do believe there is a misunderstanding here. If you look into the DT990s  PDF in the Creative thread, all DT990s (32-600 ohm) have a max capacity of 100mV, which to me means its their max before they get damaged not how much the need to drive.

 

Further the author in the Creative thread stats that the ZxR can only output 50mV while the Xonar can do the full 80mV. I looked into the reviews he referred to at the russian siteand the max output for the ZxR was nearly identical to the Xonar ST, with the ST actual weaker by a hair. At 600ohm The ZxR has 5.4v (rms) the Xonar ST 4.8v (rms) (Sorry cannot post pictures yet it seems). Given that the amps are very similar it makes a lot more sense. I have seen multiple statements here that the Xonar can drive the DT990 even with 600ohm. 

http://personalaudio.ru/detail/creative_soundblaster_zxr/

http://personalaudio.ru/detail/asus_xonar_essence_st_/

 

 

To me I think that the facts in that Creative thread are not clear at all. To me I actually drive the 250 ohm in the normal gain settings on the ZxR and they do not sound under-powered compared the Fiio E17. 

Thank you so much, that definitely cleared my suspicions. I felt like something wasn't right in that thread. I'm happy to have found another person with the same headphones and soundcard (I will be getting) as me. If you say that it can drive them sufficiently, that's all I need. But I have to ask, do you feel that it's worth the upgrade from the ZX? :)

post #779 of 2291
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magictm View Post

the Xonar ST 4.8v (rms)

 

Having a look at the articles, it looks like they tested the ST with a -3 dBFS signal, so it is not the actual maximum output. Once it is adjusted by +3 dB, the unloaded output voltage increases to the correct value of about 7 Vrms.

post #780 of 2291
Well the stx has a seperate molex connector that feeds the headamp. The zxr does not. Would that not make a difference in power delivery amount or is that just there to encourage cleaner seperate/cleaner 12v source.
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