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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 57

post #841 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anarion View Post

I have uninstalled speaker setup thingy because it messed up sound stage through line out when using headphones. Without it all is fine. Since I will use SBX only in Skyrim, this works well enough (and I use only line out). I highly prefer how OpenAL games sound through line out vs. headphone out (even in stereo mode with SBX disabled - it adds proper HRTF anyway in OpenAL). Spacious yet still accurate, great positioning behind too vs. all in your head muddy.

 

I too preferred line-out HRTF wise with speaker setup thing not installed, headphone jack just sounds too much in-your-head. It sounded pretty decent like that. :) (still I returned in the end to the audio solution on ALC1150 which just sounds suprisingly good on the ASRock Extreme6 mobo, you'd be suprised, it's more of a analytical/detail sound than "fun", all my headphones plugged in sounds waaaaaaaaay better than last onboard chip, almost like night and day difference). For the suprisingly small difference SQ-wise and even better marginally better "out-of-your-head" soundstage experience with onboard, I just have a hardtime to justify the cost of ZxR in my case.

So how does ASRock Extreme6's ALC1150 with onboard TI NE5532 opamps sound in comparision to ZxR;

ALC1150 has:

- Tiiiny bit less bass

- Mids are very slightly less "thick" / fullbodied / warm, the ALC1150 still has very nice mids though

- Highs are slightly less "raspy/rough". There's a very tiiiiny bit excess of roughness to the highs to my ears on ZxR but it only shows up here and there, most of the time it's just fine. The onboard solution on the ASRock mobo has pretty much equal presence overall, it's just that tiny bit less roughness, never coming out as too rough in the texture.

- If using certain settings, the soundstage can be sliiightly more expansive on the onboard (blame it on the Creative software / drivers)

 

For me and my headphones I prefer the bass, highs and soundstage of onboard but the mids of ZxR. I've also briefly tested an ASUS VI Gene which also features ALC1150 but different caps + opamp but it cannot compare to the ASRock one, seems like they've used too many caps or the opamp doesn't work too well. The caps are actually marketed as "filtering out some high frequency peaks in order to optimize bass". Well guess they went a bit overboard with that as Gene is veeeeeeerryyy bassy, even more so than ZxR and lacks mids and highs detail & presence, the ASRock sounds so much more "pure" in comparison, more unmodified along the way so don't expect all ALC1150 solutions to sound great because the ASUS one didn't come near enough to the ASRock or ZxR, it was the quite typical "muffled" onboard sound, weird! In measurements I've seen so far the ASRock also seem to have the highest dynamic range between ALC1150 equipped mobos but it does have some slight issues with noise that it's not properly excluded/shielded but for me the sound quality makes up for it (turning down the amp volume slightly removes it).

This is probably the last post about onboard vs ZxR but I just find it so fascinating that I sell a 200 EUR flagship Creative card in favor for onboard. I don't mind paying for a decent source but what to do if paying for it doesn't grant you satisfaction? :(


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 8/12/13 at 11:02pm
post #842 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Ya mine reverts as well I just noticed it.  oh well.

 

I do remember reading that on the official creative forums that they said you shouldnt use full range.   And I think it was me who mentioned it here some months ago.

 

For the life of me I cant see why you should use this but w.e 

 

I assume they know best.

 

A proper Audyssey setup has all the speakers defined as small speakers with a crossover at 80Hz or below, so that the complex filtes and algorithms of Audyssey handle the LFE part, which they do very very good. All good measurement systems do this, it's just that receiver manufacturers often do it wrong or don't care in their software. Like older Denons. Mine for instance (from 2010) does full range by default. 

 

SBX does this as well, abiding by that standard, both virtual and physical 5.1 (they replied to me on Facebook). 

 

Remember that SBX is more complex than Dolby Headphone, it can do more (like proper HRTF) than just put virtual speakers around you and let them play. Even the latter it does much better without any reverb and with even front/rear/left/right etc. balance/depth. EQ SBX and see how CMSS_3D sense of air (in comparison) is much more about elevated highs and reduced bass than algorithms.

 

I use full range with my 2.0 speaker setup. If people use 5.1 they should let their LFE handle everything below 80Hz (assuming the rest can go as low as 80Hz), though I don't believe you can have quality 5.1 on a desk.

post #843 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

I too preferred line-out HRTF wise with speaker setup thing not installed, headphone jack just sounds too much in-your-head. It sounded pretty decent like that. smily_headphones1.gif (still I returned in the end to the audio solution on ALC1150 which just sounds suprisingly good on the ASRock Extreme6 mobo, you'd be suprised, it's more of a analytical/detail sound than "fun", all my headphones plugged in sounds waaaaaaaaay better than last onboard chip, almost like night and day difference). For the suprisingly small difference SQ-wise and even better marginally better "out-of-your-head" soundstage experience with onboard, I just have a hardtime to justify the cost of ZxR in my case.


So how does ASRock Extreme6's ALC1150 with onboard TI NE5532 opamps sound in comparision to ZxR;


ALC1150 has:
- Tiiiny bit less bass
- Mids are very slightly less "thick" / fullbodied / warm, the ALC1150 still has very nice mids though
- Highs are slightly less "raspy/rough". There's a very tiiiiny bit excess of roughness to the highs to my ears on ZxR but it only shows up here and there, most of the time it's just fine. The onboard solution on the ASRock mobo has pretty much equal presence overall, it's just that tiny bit less roughness, never coming out as too rough in the texture.
- If using certain settings, the soundstage can be sliiightly more expansive on the onboard (blame it on the Creative software / drivers)

For me and my headphones I prefer the bass, highs and soundstage of onboard but the mids of ZxR. I've also briefly tested an ASUS VI Gene which also features ALC1150 but different caps + opamp but it cannot compare to the ASRock one, seems like they've used too many caps or the opamp doesn't work too well. The caps are actually marketed as "filtering out some high frequency peaks in order to optimize bass". Well guess they went a bit overboard with that as Gene is veeeeeeerryyy bassy, even more so than ZxR and lacks mids and highs detail & presence, the ASRock sounds so much more "pure" in comparison, more unmodified along the way so don't expect all ALC1150 solutions to sound great because the ASUS one didn't come near enough to the ASRock or ZxR, it was the quite typical "muffled" onboard sound, weird! In measurements I've seen so far the ASRock also seem to have the highest dynamic range between ALC1150 equipped mobos but it does have some slight issues with noise that it's not properly excluded/shielded but for me the sound quality makes up for it (turning down the amp volume slightly removes it).


This is probably the last post about onboard vs ZxR but I just find it so fascinating that I sell a 200 EUR flagship Creative card in favor for onboard. I don't mind paying for a decent source but what to do if paying for it doesn't grant you satisfaction? frown.gif
My mobo has ALC892 which, well, sucks and the specs prove it. ALC1150 is way better, assuming that the motherboard can protect the audio part from interference it should be quite nice.
post #844 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fegefeuer View Post

 

A proper Audyssey setup has all the speakers defined as small speakers with a crossover at 80Hz or below, so that the complex filtes and algorithms of Audyssey handle the LFE part, which they do very very good. All good measurement systems do this, it's just that receiver manufacturers often do it wrong or don't care in their software. Like older Denons. Mine for instance (from 2010) does full range by default. 

 

SBX does this as well, abiding by that standard, both virtual and physical 5.1 (they replied to me on Facebook). 

 

Remember that SBX is more complex than Dolby Headphone, it can do more (like proper HRTF) than just put virtual speakers around you and let them play. Even the latter it does much better without any reverb and with even front/rear/left/right etc. balance/depth. EQ SBX and see how CMSS_3D sense of air (in comparison) is much more about elevated highs and reduced bass than algorithms.

 

I use full range with my 2.0 speaker setup. If people use 5.1 they should let their LFE handle everything below 80Hz (assuming the rest can go as low as 80Hz), though I don't believe you can have quality 5.1 on a desk.

 

 

This is why I leave my HDMI out to my receiver from my GTX 680 as full range, I let my DENON's audyssey do the LFE crossover because its been tuned to properly handle it.  It doesnt make sense to filter crossover once on the PC and then AGAIN on my DENON.  

 

But it does make sense that SBX handles the LFE itself, I can understand its vital to the proper reproduction of HRTF.

 

 

 

Speaking on the ALC1150, the biggest flaw I still see is the lack of an AMP to power more audiophile class headphones.  That and I think losing out on what SBX surround can offer is a huge point too.  However for the masses who are using RAZER and STEELSERIES headsets, the ALC 1150 should be fine.  But I thought it is worth mentioning since this is Head fi after all.

 

Also what is the output impedence of the ALC 1150's headphone port as that would play a huge part in how your headphones will sound.

post #845 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

 

Speaking on the ALC1150, the biggest flaw I still see is the lack of an AMP to power more audiophile class headphones.  That and I think losing out on what SBX surround can offer is a huge point too.  However for the masses who are using RAZER and STEELSERIES headsets, the ALC 1150 should be fine.  But I thought it is worth mentioning since this is Head fi after all.

 

Also what is the output impedence of the ALC 1150's headphone port as that would play a huge part in how your headphones will sound.

 

It's rated to handle up to 600 ohm headphones with onboard opamps, while maybe not with ideal quality, the loudness is certainly there =) Stop speaking bad about a product you haven't even tested. I've used bunch of Audigy cards in the past, then tested ASUS Xonar D2, Titanium HD and ZxR. Seriously the onboard chips are also getting better. I couldn't stand Realtek chips like 6 years ago for more than a min or two, today I'm really satisfied with what's available on ASRock Z87 Extreme6 (if using 5.1 speaker config to open up the soundstaging, since that's what Realtek do well, Stereo is so-so on the other hand). :) Getting tired of this constant dissing of products people aren't up-to-date with.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 8/13/13 at 10:20am
post #846 of 2283
I think you need to relax and not jump down my throat.

Where did I diss your beloved product? I'm pretty sure my post still remained objective and I listed 1 possible downside and 1 personall downside to me when compared to the zxr.... I even asked a legitimate question about the output impedance...

You really pissed me off now because I've done nothing but provide usuefull info and help those out in this thread.

If your mad about those dissing your product then go talk to them... Your post was unnecessary.
post #847 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

 

However for the masses who are using RAZER and STEELSERIES headsets, the ALC 1150 should be fine.  But I thought it is worth mentioning since this is Head fi after all.

 

I found this very offensive, that's passively indicating my ears are **** and doesn't hear what HQ is about that it's only good for low quality products....

post #848 of 2283
The general gaming public uses headsets that are designated gaming because they are marketed that way and they are easier to drive and don't need amping. This was my whole point, THEY DONT NEED AMPING and are generally designed around that.

Those brands were just an example, but I could list off others.
post #849 of 2283

Yea the whole "gaming" marketing works on the general public, heck it even worked on me before I got into this hobby, as I used to have all types of gaming marketed headsets, Forcefeedback headphones and 3 5.1 headset's which the last one I had being a Razer Barracuda HP1 witht he AC1 sound card, that was many years ago. Even tho there are dozen of headphones that you can attach a mic to using the mod mic or some clip on mic. That doesn't need to be used with a amp. Because lets get real, not ever high quailty headphones need to be used with a amp to sound good. Look at the A900X(A900)A700x(A700),DT770 32ohm ,Superlux 668b/681b and many more. All the easy to driven HQ headphones needs is a decent source and that's it.  I could run my A900X from my onboard audio if I wanted to,but I wont as I have better audio source.


Edited by genclaymore - 8/13/13 at 11:32am
post #850 of 2283
Seems the asrock extreme 4 actually has a TI headamp attached to the alc 1150 and emi shielding for the analog parts. Does sound promising. I could see it being on par with the z minus the sbx studio features.

My fault for not doing more research on it.
post #851 of 2283
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

Seems the asrock extreme 4 actually has a TI headamp attached to the alc 1150 and emi shielding for the analog parts. Does sound promising. I could see it being on par with the z minus the sbx studio features.

My fault for not doing more research on it.
That can be fixed... http://www.creative.com/oem/products/software/x-fimb3.asp Some manufacturers include that software.
post #852 of 2283
Did some more testing with sbx surround slider. Also took into account what users are reporting.

This is for headphone out.

The conclusion seems to always be that 67% default is the best all around setting. When you go higher it seems to increase positional accuracy but prematurely muffle sounds based on distance. If you go lower you start to lose surround presence and has less impact or "punch".

Of course your preference might differ and whatever sounds best to you is the right choice but at least now you have something to help make a decision.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 8/18/13 at 11:31am
post #853 of 2283
When using SBX, 20% is my favourite at the moment at least (when using line out).
post #854 of 2283
Ya sorry forgot to say that was for headphone out not line out. tongue.gif
post #855 of 2283

I'll record some games with 67% vs. 100% SBX Headphone this week.

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