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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 59

post #871 of 2549

I think by upgrading to the higher tier model  you get better components, more doodads, and the ability to power 600ohm headphones well. Apparently the Z/Zx can't power a 600ohm headphone really well.

post #872 of 2549

I'm curious as to if anyone can answer this before I pull the trigger on the ZXR.

 

Right now I have the Creative Z (just regular) and a pair of Sennheiser 590s. They are currently connected to the headphone jack on the Z which supposedly has a decent headphone amp built in. I was looking at a few setups and noticed people were still using DACs despite the headphone amp.

 

My question is...

 

1. Should I go with a DAC and connect it with my current Z or is the headphone amp built into the sound card good enough?

 

or

 

2. Buy the ZXR. Does the ZXR offer a better DAC? Would a DAC not be needed with the ZXR? Does the little external module function as a headphone amp or do you still use the input on the back of the sound card?

 

Thanks

post #873 of 2549
For headphone use, the zxr was a huge upgrade in clarity. It was discussed on here already how the z/zx's head out isn't as good as the line out due to the headamp being a bottleneck in snr. I didnt want to use the line out since I needed the amp and the sbx surround is probably tailored for speakers. That and my z seemed to create a warmer sound with my dt 770 which I've heard is a byproduct of the maxim headamp.

The ZXR's DAC and Headamp are definitely higher quality compared to the z. You wouldn't need an external DAC with it for sure and at this price point I don't think you will get a better DAC to be honest.

The little external module(ACM) is just a volume control module with the beam forming mic built in. The headphone amp is built into the card and you just plug the headphones/acm in the back. Some people including myself notice a slight sound degredation with the ACM so we don't use it.
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 8/21/13 at 12:39pm
post #874 of 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

For headphone use, the zxr was a huge upgrade in clarity. It was discussed on here already how the z/zx's head out isn't as good as the line out due to the headamp being a bottleneck in snr. I didnt want to use the line out since I needed the amp and the sbx surround is probably tailored for speakers. That and my z seemed to create a warmer sound with my dt 770 which I've heard is a byproduct of the maxim headamp.

The ZXR's DAC and Headamp are definitely higher quality compared to the z. You wouldn't need an external DAC with it for sure and at this price point I don't think you will get a better DAC to be honest.

The little external module(ACM) is just a volume control module with the beam forming mic built in. The headphone amp is built into the card and you just plug the headphones/acm in the back. Some people including myself notice a slight sound degredation with the ACM so we don't use it.


Thanks for the reply. I guess my next question would be with the control module, it has a headphone jack on it. If I used that jack, is it not using the headphone amp? Do you have to use the headphone input on the card itself?

post #875 of 2549
No its still using the amp. Its just like an extender, the signal is just being sent over another line before getting to your headphones.
post #876 of 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by watsaname View Post

I think by upgrading to the higher tier model  you get better components, more doodads, and the ability to power 600ohm headphones well. Apparently the Z/Zx can't power a 600ohm headphone really well.

I have a 62 Ohm AKG Q701 that I am happy to stick with for a long while. Components and foo-dads are too esoteric to assign a benefit to me, just by naming them. Don't want to overspend if I don't have to, may wait for more products to be released.

 

DJinferno,

thanks for the extra info.

 

dcx4610,

the ACM is just something that can turn down the max volume output from the sound card. Convenience, not an amp.


Edited by Evshrug - 8/21/13 at 4:20pm
post #877 of 2549
Is the SoundBlaster Z worth the upgrade over a Asus Zonar DG?
post #878 of 2549

Just alone in the software suite and the SBX studio is a huge upgrade over ANY asus product.  Broken drivers which need community unified support is ridiculous.  The increased sound quality is also a huge difference.

 

I sold my STX and got a Z just due to the stability of the driver and SBX features.

 

But its up to you if you have the money.

post #879 of 2549
Here's the link again to the Z/Zx headphone amp specs: http://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/MAX97220A-MAX97220E.pdf
post #880 of 2549
There are reports over at overclock.net that when the windows is set to 5.1 and sbx is off you can't get proper binaural or even stereo to sound normal with the headphone out. But then when setting to 2.0 in windows its fine.

Here is the quote from one of the members;

" Yeah, binarual dosent work at all when using 5.1 on the headphone port, or line-out. The barber shop where he goes left and right at around 2:15, it just sounds like its in the middle behind you, where as with stereo selected, its left and right.

I do not have SBX enabled, since i think it sounds horrible, and in any case that just makes it worse.

In any case, this leads me to belive that the drivers are up-sampling the 2.0 source to 5.1 even if it means itll mess it up so bad that it breaks the entire point of it being binaural, i dont even want to know what id miss out on in games because of this.

Is no one else noticing this?, Binaural does not work at all with 5.1 on either line out or headphone out, i have no idea how youre not hearing the massive difference -.-

Maybe its drivers?, im on the newest beta's SBZ_CD_L13_1_00_22 Windows 7 x64"



So how many of you are getting this issue. Can you check the virtual barbershop video on YouTube and let me know please? I'm curious if it's a driver issue or by design. My zxr doesn't do this.


This demo is even better for binaural effect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u163wC6mP2A&feature=youtube_gdata_player
Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 8/22/13 at 3:39am
post #881 of 2549

Could be related to the soundstaging issues I've been experiencing possibly, that's the only reason I don't like the ZxR, if soundstaging would be better I'd love it though. :P At least I feel Creative has done _something_ in the Z-series drivers related to speaker config and I don't like this "something", the card otherwise sounds very nice. It's a shame Creative just can't properly optimize sound quality the hardware is capable of, the software is always slightly limiting the potential of the product.

 

I just wish it was possible to completely BYPASS anything related to Creative software side speaker config tweaks so it just follows standard Windows specs. The reason is that Creative driver panel side seems to control the setting, I wish it simply was possible to get a Windows speaker config + Creative driver panel side 1:1 linked config so Creative does nothing on its own so if you select 5.1 in windows control panel it would also be 5.1 automaticly in Creative panel. It's like getting a "colored soundstage", I just want the pure signal, what's the point of bypassing all effects if the signal isn't unprocessed to begin with.


Edited by RPGWiZaRD - 8/22/13 at 8:31am
post #882 of 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

There are reports over at overclock.net that when the windows is set to 5.1 and sbx is off you can't get proper binaural or even stereo to sound normal with the headphone out. But then when setting to 2.0 in windows its fine.

Here is the quote from one of the members;

" Yeah, binarual dosent work at all when using 5.1 on the headphone port, or line-out. The barber shop where he goes left and right at around 2:15, it just sounds like its in the middle behind you, where as with stereo selected, its left and right.

I do not have SBX enabled, since i think it sounds horrible, and in any case that just makes it worse.

In any case, this leads me to belive that the drivers are up-sampling the 2.0 source to 5.1 even if it means itll mess it up so bad that it breaks the entire point of it being binaural, i dont even want to know what id miss out on in games because of this.

Is no one else noticing this?, Binaural does not work at all with 5.1 on either line out or headphone out, i have no idea how youre not hearing the massive difference -.-

Maybe its drivers?, im on the newest beta's SBZ_CD_L13_1_00_22 Windows 7 x64"



So how many of you are getting this issue. Can you check the virtual barbershop video on YouTube and let me know please? I'm curious if it's a driver issue or by design. My zxr doesn't do this.


This demo is even better for binaural effect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u163wC6mP2A&feature=youtube_gdata_player

 

Just tested both clips. I don't have this issue on my ZxR. 

post #883 of 2549

Im the one who made that post, it just downright baffles me that they just have to mess with the signal like that, for speakers, yeah sure, some people want sound in all their speakers even if the source is 2.0, but its a freaking headphone port, if it gets a stereo signal, why would it ever up sample it to 5.1 and then downsample it to 2.0 again for the headphones, best part?.

 

I cant even post onthe creative forums about this, because they wont activate my account. - not like they would listen anyway, feels kinda bad to go from a Xonar DX to a regluar Z (with gold caps, so its not a recon3d being rebranded thats for sure)

 

Reason i went away from the xonar was that i wanted a stable card, and the Z is better when its on stereo for me, no sbx or anything enabled, but damn, whats the point when you have to use line-out, those massive clicks when it initializes dont really make me go "yeah, thats totally good for my headphones" :\

 

its weird fegfuer dosent have the issue, which driver are you on, and OS?

post #884 of 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJINFERNO806 View Post

There are reports over at overclock.net that when the windows is set to 5.1 and sbx is off you can't get proper binaural or even stereo to sound normal with the headphone out. But then when setting to 2.0 in windows its fine.

Here is the quote from one of the members;

" Yeah, binarual dosent work at all when using 5.1 on the headphone port, or line-out. The barber shop where he goes left and right at around 2:15, it just sounds like its in the middle behind you, where as with stereo selected, its left and right.

I do not have SBX enabled, since i think it sounds horrible, and in any case that just makes it worse.

In any case, this leads me to belive that the drivers are up-sampling the 2.0 source to 5.1 even if it means itll mess it up so bad that it breaks the entire point of it being binaural, i dont even want to know what id miss out on in games because of this.

Is no one else noticing this?, Binaural does not work at all with 5.1 on either line out or headphone out, i have no idea how youre not hearing the massive difference -.-

Maybe its drivers?, im on the newest beta's SBZ_CD_L13_1_00_22 Windows 7 x64"



So how many of you are getting this issue. Can you check the virtual barbershop video on YouTube and let me know please? I'm curious if it's a driver issue or by design. My zxr doesn't do this.


This demo is even better for binaural effect.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u163wC6mP2A&feature=youtube_gdata_player
From my experience, if you use headphone out and select 5.1 is will make it so that the left rear plays as left front etc. but obviously you do not get HRTF processing when SBX is off. In OpenAL games you get proper HRTF everything set to stereo. 5.1 from windows and SBX are only needed for games that do no support vendor openal (i.e. only use generic software) or do not use openAL at all (majority of new games). It's also not needed if you use alchemy for older games. With SBX on, stereo imaging takes rather large hit once you turn it above 20% in my opinion.

Also, if you listen to 2.0 source, you should ALWAYS disable SBX. It only messes up things.
Edited by Anarion - 8/22/13 at 12:11pm
post #885 of 2549
Quote:
Originally Posted by RPGWiZaRD View Post

Could be related to the soundstaging issues I've been experiencing possibly, that's the only reason I don't like the ZxR, if soundstaging would be better I'd love it though. :P At least I feel Creative has done _something_ in the Z-series drivers related to speaker config and I don't like this "something", the card otherwise sounds very nice. It's a shame Creative just can't properly optimize sound quality the hardware is capable of, the software is always slightly limiting the potential of the product.

 

I just wish it was possible to completely BYPASS anything related to Creative software side speaker config tweaks so it just follows standard Windows specs. The reason is that Creative driver panel side seems to control the setting, I wish it simply was possible to get a Windows speaker config + Creative driver panel side 1:1 linked config so Creative does nothing on its own so if you select 5.1 in windows control panel it would also be 5.1 automaticly in Creative panel. It's like getting a "colored soundstage", I just want the pure signal, what's the point of bypassing all effects if the signal isn't unprocessed to begin with.

You probably mentioned it before but what soundstaging issues are you having exactly?

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