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Best Way to get Dolby Headphone? DAC/AMP that accepts Dolby Digital Live? Also USB DAC/AMP with...

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 

Hey guys. Okay so I kinda made a big mistake. 

 

I bought a Creative X-Fi Surround HD USB soundcard. It sounds fantastic BUT the THX TruStudio Surround Pro sucks big time, and when I'm taking a break from music listening to game it is a NO GO. I have heard Dolby Headphone before and this cannot compare.

 

I'm using DT770s 80Ohm by the way and the amp in the X-Fi HD drives them beautifully.

 

Anyway as I see it now, I have 2 options

 

1) Run dolby digital live off my on-board sound through optical and into a USB DAC/AMP that can decode the signal. Any ideas on what USB DAC/AMP can do this?

 

2) Get a Xonar card that can send  Dolby Headphone through a DAC/AMP (any one should be able to decode this right?)

 

In the second case, I used to have a Xonar DG that I returned to amazon because I think the drivers were causing some problems with my computer and Battlefield 3 kept crashing. As it turned out after I removed the card, the problem did not stop, and I realised it could be the mistimed DDR3 Ram chips I have in there, so I sorted that and I haven't had a crash since. Thing is I'm not sure if getting the Xonar DG back would cause the problems to come back up again, if it was even the cause of the problems in the first place. Anyway I would get the Dolby Headphone sound either through Line out or Optical out to the FiiO E17 and then connect my DT770s 80Ohm to the FiiO E17.

 

**Am I right to say the E17 will sound much better than the E10? Especially if I bring the dolby headphone signal through the E17 via optical instead of through the normal copper cables, which I would have to use with the E10?

 

**I think all creative products are out because I find from testing that THX Surround sounds much worse than Dolby Headphone, which was amazing for me the last time I got to use it

 

**I might give an internal Xonar Card another shot if there's no other solutions..

 

I'm on quite a tight budget so any suggestions that you guys have will help GREATLY.

 

The FiiO E17 will cost me 99pounds for starters....


Edited by iztis - 10/24/12 at 4:30pm
post #2 of 22

What's the make and model number of the motherboard?

A Xonar DG with a Fiio E17 would be a good combo.

The Xonar DG handles the Dolby Headphone Surround sound and the Fiio E17 provides the DAC and amplifier.

Just connect the Fiio E17 to the Xonar DG using optical.

post #3 of 22

The surround virtualization tech present on the latest batch of Creative cards (THX TruStudio Pro) doesn't perform nearly as well as CMSS-3D, which is one of the best solutions (DH being an alternative). I recommend you to get a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, which is a far more capable soundcard than any of the alternatives already presented, and due to both the high quality DAC and components, it's also an audiophile soundcard.

 

Just keep in mind that gaming audio performance will always be superior on internal soundcards due to USB DACs having partial gaming audio support. Also, remember that X-Fi powered cards, be it Creative or Auzentech, have full gaming audio support, while all Asus cards have partial gaming audio support (akin to USB DACs with their software package installed), and audiophile USB DACs have zero gaming audio support.

post #4 of 22
Thread Starter 
I see.

Well okay first things first, my motherboard is a Gigabyte P55A UD4P.

I've been giving it some thought and roller what you said might be right, cause I'm indeed hard pressed to find any USB DAC/AMP with Dolby Headphone Support.

I've decided that I'm going to give an internal sound card another shot. But this time I'm planning to go all in (to a certain extent, $ is still an issue...) and get a better sound card than the Xonar DG

Roller I've tried Dolby Headphone recently and I really like it, both the sound and the ease of use of the settings. I'm in no way looking for super accurate sound positioning for competitive gaming, just accurate enough 5.1 to have a fun experience when I do game.

I want to stay away from creative cards because I've had really bad experiences in the past with their drivers and hardware even sometimes giving me blue screens to the extent that I went back to onboard sound the past few years which has caused me ZERO problems.

I'm surprised that asus cards only had partial gaming support? Cause the Xonar DG sounded fantastic when I had it and my computer didn't crash.

I'm actually thinking now of the Xonar Essence ST. Seems to be one helluva card. Some questions I have though:

1) would a Xonar DG with optical out to a E17 work with Dolby Headphone, and will this combination sound better than the Xonar Essence ST alone (since it has a supposedly good built in headphone amp)?

2) does a creative X-Fi Titanium HD produce better sound quality than the Xonar Essence ST?

Not sure to push the button on the Xonar Essence ST cause it is obviously a little pricey...

Thanks for your opinions gets appreciate the help, and would love to get this matter sorted ASAP. Have been fiddling around with different equipment for over a month now, I just want to get a set up that I like that is easy to use ans sounds great.

Thanks again"
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

Well okay first things first, my motherboard is a Gigabyte P55A UD4P.
I've been giving it some thought and roller what you said might be right, cause I'm indeed hard pressed to find any USB DAC/AMP with Dolby Headphone Support.
I've decided that I'm going to give an internal sound card another shot. But this time I'm planning to go all in (to a certain extent, $ is still an issue...) and get a better sound card than the Xonar DG
Roller I've tried Dolby Headphone recently and I really like it, both the sound and the ease of use of the settings. I'm in no way looking for super accurate sound positioning for competitive gaming, just accurate enough 5.1 to have a fun experience when I do game.
I want to stay away from creative cards because I've had really bad experiences in the past with their drivers and hardware even sometimes giving me blue screens to the extent that I went back to on-board sound the past few years which has caused me ZERO problems.
I'm surprised that Asus cards only had partial gaming support? Cause the Xonar DG sounded fantastic when I had it and my computer didn't crash.
I'm actually thinking now of the Xonar Essence ST. Seems to be one helluva card. Some questions I have though:
1) would a Xonar DG with optical out to a E17 work with Dolby Headphone, and will this combination sound better than the Xonar Essence ST alone (since it has a supposedly good built in headphone amp)?
2) does a creative X-Fi Titanium HD produce better sound quality than the Xonar Essence ST?
Not sure to push the button on the Xonar Essence ST cause it is obviously a little pricey...

To Roller, any sound card that does not use a Creative Labs audio processor he looks down on.

Creative Labs designs their own audio processors for their own sound cards

Asus uses audio processors made by the company C-Media.

Most computer gaming in the world is played on computer's that do not have a Creative audio processor. Realtek (or VIA) audio processors is usually a motherboard's built in audio processor.

But lots of serious gamers will upgrade to the Creative stuff.

 

E17 verses Essence ST, the E17 has the advantage (quality wise) for driving lower Ohm headphones, like around 60-Ohms or less.

as the E17's headphone amplifier output is only around .5-Ohms, where as the Essence ST's (& STX) headphone output is 10-Ohms.

Cost wise, try to find a used Asus Xonar Essence STX.

 

Between the X-Fi Titanium HD and Essence ST (& STX), over all sound quality is roughly the same.

post #6 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

I see.
Well okay first things first, my motherboard is a Gigabyte P55A UD4P.
I've been giving it some thought and roller what you said might be right, cause I'm indeed hard pressed to find any USB DAC/AMP with Dolby Headphone Support.
I've decided that I'm going to give an internal sound card another shot. But this time I'm planning to go all in (to a certain extent, $ is still an issue...) and get a better sound card than the Xonar DG
Roller I've tried Dolby Headphone recently and I really like it, both the sound and the ease of use of the settings. I'm in no way looking for super accurate sound positioning for competitive gaming, just accurate enough 5.1 to have a fun experience when I do game.
I want to stay away from creative cards because I've had really bad experiences in the past with their drivers and hardware even sometimes giving me blue screens to the extent that I went back to onboard sound the past few years which has caused me ZERO problems.
I'm surprised that asus cards only had partial gaming support? Cause the Xonar DG sounded fantastic when I had it and my computer didn't crash.
I'm actually thinking now of the Xonar Essence ST. Seems to be one helluva card. Some questions I have though:
1) would a Xonar DG with optical out to a E17 work with Dolby Headphone, and will this combination sound better than the Xonar Essence ST alone (since it has a supposedly good built in headphone amp)?
2) does a creative X-Fi Titanium HD produce better sound quality than the Xonar Essence ST?
Not sure to push the button on the Xonar Essence ST cause it is obviously a little pricey...
Thanks for your opinions gets appreciate the help, and would love to get this matter sorted ASAP. Have been fiddling around with different equipment for over a month now, I just want to get a set up that I like that is easy to use ans sounds great.
Thanks again"

 

It's not that surprising since all gaming audio techs have been made by Creative, which then made the lower versions available to other manufacturers. Just so you have a better understanding of what I'm talking about, a base Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) has much better gaming audio support than an Asus Xonar Essence ST(X), since Asus cards haven't licensed Creative technology, and Asus has actually been sued in the past for doing false advertising of gaming audio support it didn't.

When comparing the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD and the Asus Xonar Essence ST, I'd say they're evenly matched, SQ wise. They differ mainly on features.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

To Roller, any sound card that does not use a Creative Labs audio processor he looks down on.

Creative Labs designs their own audio processors for their own sound cards

Asus uses audio processors made by the company C-Media.

Most computer gaming in the world is played on computer's that do not have a Creative audio processor. Realtek (or VIA) audio processors is usually a motherboard's built in audio processor.

But lots of serious gamers will upgrade to the Creative stuff.

 

E17 verses Essence ST, the E17 has the advantage (quality wise) for driving lower Ohm headphones, like around 60-Ohms or less.

as the E17's headphone amplifier output is only around .5-Ohms, where as the Essence ST's (& STX) headphone output is 10-Ohms.

Cost wise, try to find a used Asus Xonar Essence STX.

 

Between the X-Fi Titanium HD and Essence ST (& STX), over all sound quality is roughly the same.

 

If you want to bash my opinions for some reason, at least post accurate information as to avoid misleading others. When you said "Most computer gaming in the world is played on computers that do not have a Creative audio processor", you should've said that most PC gaming is done on onboard audio chips, excluding all dedicated audio devices, be it Creative, Asus, etc.

post #7 of 22
Thread Starter 

I understand. Thanks both of you, I value both your opinions equally.

 

I'll probably pick the asus over the creative as I much prefer Dolby Headphone, that is a personal preference. I used to swear by creative myself, but over the years the driver quality has declined and the asus offering has interest me much. 

 

I guess now my main question is:

 

1) Xonar Essence ST alone OR

2) Xonar DG with E17

 

Any thoughts on that?

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

To Roller, any sound card that does not use a Creative Labs audio processor he looks down on.

Creative Labs designs their own audio processors for their own sound cards

Asus uses audio processors made by the company C-Media.

Most computer gaming in the world is played on computer's that do not have a Creative audio processor. Realtek (or VIA) audio processors is usually a motherboard's built in audio processor.

But lots of serious gamers will upgrade to the Creative stuff.

 

E17 verses Essence ST, the E17 has the advantage (quality wise) for driving lower Ohm headphones, like around 60-Ohms or less.

as the E17's headphone amplifier output is only around .5-Ohms, where as the Essence ST's (& STX) headphone output is 10-Ohms.

Cost wise, try to find a used Asus Xonar Essence STX.

 

Between the X-Fi Titanium HD and Essence ST (& STX), over all sound quality is roughly the same.

 

Angel I'm using DT770s at 80Ohm. I understand that there's a difference between the resistance of the headphone output as you mentioned but does that really matter since suppposedly the Xonar Essence can drive 600Ohm headphones?

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

I understand. Thanks both of you, I value both your opinions equally.

 

I'll probably pick the asus over the creative as I much prefer Dolby Headphone, that is a personal preference. I used to swear by creative myself, but over the years the driver quality has declined and the asus offering has interest me much. 

 

I guess now my main question is:

 

1) Xonar Essence ST alone OR

2) Xonar DG with E17

 

Any thoughts on that?

 

Angel I'm using DT770s at 80Ohm. I understand that there's a difference between the resistance of the headphone output as you mentioned but does that really matter since suppposedly the Xonar Essence can drive 600Ohm headphones?

 

Between the options you listed, I'd take the Xonar Essence ST over the Xonar DG plus the E17. For you to get superior sonic performance out of an external DAC, you have to spend more than what a Fiio E17 costs, while the Xonar Essence ST is a quite capable card.

Also, just because a card supposedly can drive 600Ohm headphones, it doesn't mean it can drive that high impedance properly. However, for the DT770 80Ohm, the Xonar Essence ST will do just fine.

post #9 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

It's not that surprising since all gaming audio techs have been made by Creative, which then made the lower versions available to other manufacturers. Just so you have a better understanding of what I'm talking about, a base Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) has much better gaming audio support than an Asus Xonar Essence ST(X), since Asus cards haven't licensed Creative technology, and Asus has actually been sued in the past for doing false advertising of gaming audio support it didn't.
When comparing the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD and the Asus Xonar Essence ST, I'd say they're evenly matched, SQ wise. They differ mainly on features.

If you want to bash my opinions for some reason, at least post accurate information as to avoid misleading others. When you said "Most computer gaming in the world is played on computers that do not have a Creative audio processor", you should've said that most PC gaming is done on onboard audio chips, excluding all dedicated audio devices, be it Creative, Asus, etc.

Wii, xBox and PS3s are computers, they just use a controller and not a keyboard and mouse

Wii, XBox and PS3s do not use Creative audio processors, and Yes, most PC gaming is done on on-board audio ships (98% of on-board audio processors are not Creative audio processors)

So most computer gaming in the world is played on computers that do not have a Creative Labs audio processor.

 

Saying you look down on non Creative Labs audio processors is more being truthful, then bashing.

 

I have no problem saying I'm biased for Xonar sound cards

When I say "but lots of serious gamers will upgrade to Creative stuff", I think is shows I can be fair and balance in my opinions.

post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

Wii, xBox and PS3s are computers, they just use a controller and not a keyboard and mouse

Wii, XBox and PS3s do not use Creative audio processors, and Yes, most PC gaming is done on on-board audio ships (98% of on-board audio processors are not Creative audio processors)

So most computer gaming in the world is played on computers that do not have a Creative Labs audio processor.

 

Saying you look down on non Creative Labs audio processors is more being truthful, then bashing.

 

I have no problem saying I'm biased for Xonar sound cards

When I say "but lots of serious gamers will upgrade to Creative stuff", I think is shows I can be fair and balance in my opinions.

 

What was the point of the first paragraph? Just because you personally have issues with Creative hardware, don't dismiss that Asus is just the same, non onboard audio.

 

Creative hardware is recommended when it suits the user's needs, plain and simply. I have no need nor am I biased towards Creative. I find that specific hardware is recommended according to usage scenarios.

 

Now, are you going to continue arguing or are you goin back on topic?

post #11 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by iztis View Post

I understand. Thanks both of you, I value both your opinions equally.

I'll probably pick the Asus over the creative as I much prefer Dolby Headphone, that is a personal preference. I used to swear by creative myself, but over the years the driver quality has declined and the Asus offering has interest me much. 

I guess now my main question is:

1) Xonar Essence ST alone OR

2) Xonar DG with E17

Any thoughts on that?

Angel I'm using DT770s at 80Ohm. I understand that there's a difference between the resistance of the headphone output as you mentioned but does that really matter since suppposedly the Xonar Essence can drive 600Ohm headphones?

80-Ohm headphones or higher, is fine for the Essence ST (& STX), you want the Ohm rating of the headphones to be at least 8 times (or more) of the headphone output jack.

As the Essence ST is 10-Ohms, 80-Ohm headphones works fine.

My Essence STX drives my DT880 600-Ohm headphones just fine.

 

If you have no need for a portable headphone amplifier (E17), then just get the sound card.

post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

What was the point of the first paragraph? Just because you personally have issues with Creative hardware, don't dismiss that Asus is just the same, non on-board audio.

In the first paragraph, I did not say anything negative about Creative hardware or software.

The only thing I said about Creative was "But lots of serious gamers will upgrade to Creative stuff".

I do not see how that statement says I have "personal issues" about Creative hardware (or software).

post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

In the first paragraph, I did not say anything negative about Creative hardware or software.

The only thing I said about Creative was "But lots of serious gamers will upgrade to Creative stuff".

I do not see how that statement says I have "personal issues" about Creative hardware (or software).

 

Saying I look down on non Creative hardware is slander, and I'm appreciate if you be more respectful in the future. And if you feel I've done any recommendation out of place, be my guest and point that out. Otherwise, refrain from posting such nonsense.

post #14 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post

80-Ohm headphones or higher, is fine for the Essence ST (& STX), you want the Ohm rating of the headphones to be at least 8 times (or more) of the headphone output jack.

As the Essence ST is 10-Ohms, 80-Ohm headphones works fine.

My Essence STX drives my DT880 600-Ohm headphones just fine.

 

If you have no need for a portable headphone amplifier (E17), then just get the sound card.



Hey Angel can you explain this statement you made for me "80-Ohm headphones or higher, is fine for the Essence ST (& STX), you want the Ohm rating of the headphones to be at least 8 times (or more) of the headphone output jack."

 

Thanks for your input roller!

post #15 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

 

Saying I look down on non Creative hardware is slander, and I'm appreciate if you be more respectful in the future. And if you feel I've done any recommendation out of place, be my guest and point that out. Otherwise, refrain from posting such nonsense.

You do look down on non Creative sound hardware.

you said in a previous statement that "Asus sound cards are akin to USB DACs with software package installed", which means I guess that you think using the C-Media audio processor is waste.

So do you think that if Asus (or any other sound card brand) left out the C-Media chip their cards would function the same, if that were possible, would not Asus leave out the C-media chip and save on manufacturing costs.

 

When there are lots of different brands and types of sound cards on the the Market.

You selective criticize the Asus cards when your trying to prop up Creative sound cards.

You target Asus cards, like a white racist targets selected minorities about societies problem, instead of criticizing all the different brands of sound cards that use the C-media audio processors, you always focus on the Asus brand only.

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