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Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR - Page 67

post #991 of 3401

If any of you guys are playing Battlefield 4, what are you current setting for SBX surround? I am using Home Cinema Mode and Surround. Is that the "correct" settings to use? I remember that in Battlefield 3 you would use Home Cinema and turn off the advanced stereo mode or w/e it was.

post #992 of 3401

Hey guys,

I can't decide between Titanium HD and Sound Blaster Z (CMSS 3D vs SBX).

Currently I'm using Xonar DGX with Dolby Headphone and I don't want it anymore after I've listened to SBX and CMSS 3D.

I don't care about old games support, so what's better supported by new games and Win 8 x64?

Does the Sound Blaster Z stlll provide me with SBX, when I hook up an Objective O2 amp?

The Titanium HD will provide via line out, though. However the Sound Blaster doesn't have any line out, just front speakers out?

What's the difference between THX Pro and SBX?

There are different opinions about this topic, whether it's just a rebrand or not.

Can I use all the Creative surround also for movies like Dolby Headphone?

I don't care about hooking up some speakers or something, I need the card just as a DAC and surround sound provider.


I will be using the soundcard for 50% gaming (BF 3/4, some RTS games), 40% music (Foobar with ASIO) and 10% movies.


Thanks for reading ^^

post #993 of 3401
I can't speak for the tiHD I'm windows 8 or newer games. But the z works flawlessly. At least it did for me.

The L/R speaker out is a line out as far as I know. Just because they are included in the same jack the naming is different(correct me if I'm wrong). This will send SBX surround to your amp fine. The sbx surround might sound different using headphones out of this port as they are meant for speakers. Users report different surround staging/imaging through this one. The headphone out would be your best bet but its inferior to the sq in the line outs. Myself and many users can confirm this(I have my suspicions of the headamp bottlenecking the sq after the DAC). The tiHD would beat it there. But it is more pricey generally unless you find a good deal or used.

SBX surround is not a rebrand of thx, there is a difference and sbx is superior and most people will agree with this.
However I cannot speak for the other features.

You can use sbx surround or cmss3d for movies without issues.

Listen to demos for both and see which one you prefer better though. Its subjective.

Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/7/13 at 5:36am
post #994 of 3401

Titanium HD has the usual line out (all features of the headphone section work over line out, like CMSS-3D) which can be used for any active speaker, amp or whatever, in your case the O2 amp. It will work in Windows 8 as well. I had no problems. 


SBX is NOT THX rebranded. Apart proven from a lot users you can't just rebrand licensed stuff and get away with it. There's also a reason why Creative calls it OEM on their webseite and THX is still listing it. 


What you lose with SBX is perfect legacy, what you gain is much better signal quality, in general through all virtualized channels, especially noticable with voices and music. You can for instance enjoy the soundtrack of a game much better. 


Try to see SBX like a hybrid of CMSS-3D (imaging, depth, soundstage) with THX (tonality, sq), excep that CMSS-3D can be more accurate due to it's different EQ (which you can replicate with your SBX though) and superior in older games, though not by much anymore.


Today's games however won't ever go the old route again and it's pointless to have any hope in that regard. Let's see what "True Audio" by AMD brings to the table as it's supported by actual games.

post #995 of 3401

I actually feel that SBX Surround is more akin to the marriage between CMSS-3D and Dolby Headphones.


At 60% SBX, there's the directionality of CMSS-3D but also some of DH's reverb on DH-1 mode, along with the wider soundstage.


Also, I must stress that different virtual surround tech sounds different on different headphones. What may work nice on a closed pair of headphones may actually sound weird/bad  on an open headphone alternative, same goes the other way around.

Edited by benbenkr - 10/7/13 at 7:40pm
post #996 of 3401

I've been running my Z with 91% SBX for Dead Space 3 and BF4.


Creative did a very good job with this series. The control panel is easy to use and, AND it updated without any problems or driver shenanigans. Sound cards may have been using user profiles for a while, but this is a new feature for me. The ability to save tweaks for swapping between gaming and music has saved me so much time.


While playing co-op DS3, the horror!, I had to guard my friend while he fumbled around with a puzzle. There were four points where necromorphs could spawn from and I could easily tell which of the four they were coming from by sound. 


BF4... I've been using HiFI with the surround option (SBX counts as a surround setup, right?) and you feel very immersed. Oddly, I don't feel that audio cues help me as much as using the minimap/brain. However, you can easily pick out the direction where everyone is shooting from.

post #997 of 3401
Try using home cinema instead of HiFi. HiFi lacks the same amount of dynamic range and low frequency effects as home cinema. From my understanding its meant for computer speakers setup not full 5.1 using a receiver.

Also I don't remember ( haven't played bf in a while) but isn't HiFi also meant for 2.1 setups?
post #998 of 3401

That would make more sense given the windows sound settings being 5.1. I remember when settings were described accurately in manuals. Haha, I feel old.

post #999 of 3401
Ya I remember those days... I don't understand what devs can't just describe settings properly.

I use home cinema with sbx surround, its the best combo in my opinion.
post #1000 of 3401

Do you use BF4's surround option as well?


I had forgotten there was a headphone option, but given that the Z funnels everything from a 5.1 to headphones there probably isn't a point to it for us.

post #1001 of 3401

Anecdotal comparisons between the STX and ZxR are very few and far between on the internet, especially from posters who have owned (or own) both. I would like to hear a broader, more detailed and definitive analysis (from a lot more people) that they are indeed both in the same league. Yet I never read about people praising the god-like music qualities of the ZxR compared to reviews of the ST(X) (and they are legion for the Xonar). There isn't even a review of the ZxR on Head-FI Head Gear reviews section; nor any Op-Amp switching guide: Why is this?


They both have the same components almost, but the design and engineering of how they all interplay surely must play a big role. I would like to hear more: somebody to say for sure that although the ZxR is of course better for gaming (definitely FPS's) - does it hold a candle to the STX for music?


I ask this because SBZ Surround is increasingly looking like the goto for gaming, with Dolby Headphone trailing a fair bit.


*Edit: if anybody can post up some good links please it'd be appreciated too*

Edited by SaLX - 10/8/13 at 9:08pm
post #1002 of 3401

I think one of the reasons is the ST/STX has been around a lot longer, and it was never advertised as a gaming oriented card.  It was always promoted as a music lovers card.  But given they have almost the exact type of components I dont see why there would be a huge difference.  Where the slight differences may come from is perhaps the signature of the sound itself, do the ZXR and STX use different OP AMPS in their sockets?  That would make more sense.  I cant see there being too many ways to interconnect the circuits on a PCI-E card to the point that it would differ in sound quality.  I know the ZXR is a native PCI-E card whereas the STX has to use a PLX chip to bridge its circuits and sound processor as they were initially made for PCI.  But surely this would be only on the digital side of the card and have no bearing on the analogue components half?  That's my understanding anyway.


I also think the amount of people that own the ST/STX are probably greater than those that own the ZXR.  The ZXR is a little more expensive and depending on whether you need the ACM or not, its a terrible value.  The ACM alone shows that creative is trying appeal to the masses by including it instead of letting users use the headphone out directly which everyone knows an extension will always have some degree of sq loss(whether it be small or not).  The ST/STX also included the audio tests document to show that everything was being don't to give you the best sound.


But going from the STX to the ZXR, I can say I didn't notice any difference in sound quality.  However I was never able to compare them side by side by swapping in and out.  Perhaps someone else can speak on that.


Originally Posted by Skipshrike View Post

Do you use BF4's surround option as well?


I had forgotten there was a headphone option, but given that the Z funnels everything from a 5.1 to headphones there probably isn't a point to it for us.


I haven't played BF4 yet, don't think I will until its released, not usually into BETAs.  Whats this surround option for?

Edited by DJINFERNO806 - 10/8/13 at 7:53pm
post #1003 of 3401
But going from the STX to the ZXR, I can say I didn't notice any difference in sound quality


That's exactly what I want to hear.. a definitive and anecdotal comparison. Any others out there want to add to that?


DJ (you're a damned good poster thanks) - however you didn't completely answer my question: the ZxR is better at gaming, we know that - but for music reproduction, played in stereo with zero dsp/enhancements, is it as good as the STX?


The world is watching :) !!  Many thanks for your reply DJ. I think a lot of people want to know this so please forgive.


Edited by SaLX - 10/8/13 at 9:12pm
post #1004 of 3401

With the all the SBX enhacements and EQ off and using WASAPI exclusive mode in FUBAR2000, I didn't notice any degrade in sound quality for music or change in sound stage.   I even changed the windows sound settings  from 2.0 to 5.1 and back to make sure there was no upmixing to 5.1 via stereo surround or anything like that(a bug the STX had with the default drivers).


Sorry I should have been more specific, that's how I usually do my sq testing/comparisons. 

post #1005 of 3401

Many thanks DJI. **Edit** hate to say it mate, but you being so good at writing stuff  - maybe you should stick up a review about the ZxR on the Head Gear frontpage reviews :L3000:


Having read all your comments, sure it would be a summation of everything you and others have written. One thing though - In all the mainstream freebie laden reviews, not one of them has criticised/mentioned the ACM's performance and the fact that plugging in your phones messes with the SQ. Only reading the forums do we know what it's like. For some it's golden and with no issues; for others, it's a "stick back in the box item".


Also mainstream reviewers are reticent about comparing Asus v Creative? When did this happen? AMD v Nvidia benchmarks are all over the place. Is this a follow the money thing? (Sorry I'm Scottish - money has to do right).

Edited by SaLX - 10/9/13 at 8:23pm
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