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I can't afford Xonar, what are my other options? - Page 3

post #31 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaful View Post

Laughable Gaming Audio?, The Asus cards are better for Gaming i work at www.overclockers.co.uk We test all our cards on the forum before we sell them and we as well as all the other reviewers say the Asus Xonar Phoebus is the best gaming card, They did have problems with Drivers and the Price on launch but the card is far better then the Titanium HD, Also the OP is looking for Cards with a Built in Amp for the headphones and the STX and Pheobus are the only Audiophile level Sound cards for us who are so picky. Although unless you're using topend Headphones you won't tell the difference anyway because Both have such low Distortion.

 

I'm not asking you to Agree with me that's just my Opinion and everyone Else's at OCUK and alot of the reviewers.

 

Let's see then. Lack of EAX support from version 3 onwards (yes, I'm aware of current usage), lack of hardware OpenAL, lack of positional cue improvement algorithms, those are enough to differentiate Asus cards from Creative cards.

 

Where exactly is the OP looking for a card with an integrated headphone amp? Also, the Creative Sound Blaster ZxR has audiophile-grade components and comes with a headphone amp for headphones up to 600 Ohm, so do look into that card as well.

 

The main point is full gaming support, something X-Fi based Creative cards have, Creative Z series have partial gaming audio support and Asus cards have even less gaming audio support. Those are just facts.

post #32 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kookoo View Post

interesting read, could someone explain what they mean when they say gaming support? is it stuff like EAX which the Asus doesn't have? The only reason i'm asking is because i'm in the middle of completely upgrading my PC. I'm running Xonar DX and I really don't feel like im missing out on anything (games related)

Also the reason i stopped buying creative products was because of their poor driver support (Audigy and Audigy 2 products) have they improved on that front?

 

Hardware EAX (up to version 5), hardware OpenAL and positional cue improvement algorithms are features Asus cards lack. Unless you do heavy gaming and require the best gaming audio experience, you can go with Asus cards.

 

Creative drivers did use to be an issue in the past, but that situation has been fixed and both Windows 7 and Windows 8 drivers have been performing in a very stable manner.

post #33 of 45

Thanks Roller, the Asus is all i need then, I already have my own amp

The whole EAX i'm so over it, I've been gaming since the days of the Original EAX algorithms once it hit EAX 3 i lost complete interest

 

Sorry to the OP for hijacking your post.

post #34 of 45

Just so you know Creative have problems, You can Boost Foot steps on the Asus cards, Good for CS and BF3, I can pin point people all over the maps with just headphones.

 

We've been selling Creative products at sale prices as we feel they're phasing out now, I own alot of the Creative Range and sometimes getting those drivers to work is a pain.

 

Which ever you buy you'll be happy with, Eax is just a Echo effect you can setup that on any Asus card and reverb for foot steps, Sure it's not hardware driven but at this point in the Hardware game it really makes no difference, Also not all games support Open AL, I can only think of two games i own that support it which is BF3 and UT black edition.

post #35 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by kookoo View Post

Thanks Roller, the Asus is all i need then, I already have my own amp

The whole EAX i'm so over it, I've been gaming since the days of the Original EAX algorithms once it hit EAX 3 i lost complete interest

 

Sorry to the OP for hijacking your post.

 

Given that you already have a Xonar DX, you will have adequate gaming audio on modern games that have 2D software audio renderers. There is some loss of positional cue accuracy due to your card not having algorithms that improve its accuracy regardless of audio renderer used, but unless you're doing competitive gaming, you won't need to worry about it.

 

Also, it's important not to mistake output quality with gaming oriented features, which are mutually exclusive. This, to say that Asus cards like the Essence STX do have excellent output quality, just like the Titanium HD (both cards are on the same level), but do lack additional processing features that prevents them to access advanced game audio.

I haven't brought up the whole surround virtualization tech subject (such as CMSS-3D and DH) because there isn't a universally superior solution given that both techs have averaged HRTF in order to be useful for a wider range of people who have their own individual HRTF.

post #36 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaful View Post

Just so you know Creative have problems, You can Boost Foot steps on the Asus cards, Good for CS and BF3, I can pin point people all over the maps with just headphones.

 

We've been selling Creative products at sale prices as we feel they're phasing out now, I own alot of the Creative Range and sometimes getting those drivers to work is a pain.

 

Which ever you buy you'll be happy with, Eax is just a Echo effect you can setup that on any Asus card and reverb for foot steps, Sure it's not hardware driven but at this point in the Hardware game it really makes no difference, Also not all games support Open AL, I can only think of two games i own that support it which is BF3 and UT black edition.

 

Of course Creative has problems, just like Asus. Do you use any surround virtualization tech, like DH on Asus cards?

 

About having issues with Creative drivers, that's no longer on the drivers themselves (which have been significantly polished and are now no longer a reason of concern), but by not installing drivers according to Creative's driver installation guidelines, which exclude installing a card, grabbing the latest drivers and installing them on a fresh OS installation.

 

EAX is just an echo effect? I strongly recommend you to read into what EAX actually is. You're talking about reverb presets that are general purpose EAX effects, used outside games, and not what actual in-game EAX is.

 

Dirt series all support OpenAL, Race Driver Grid, Operation Flashpoint as well, Battlefield series (just to name a few), not to mention how not only native OpenAL games benefit from hardware based cards but also just about all DirectSound3D games that have their API calls converted to OpenAL, and respect whichever card is available, making more audio options available for hardware based cards, and less options for software based cards. Do note that Asus cards still allow for some advanced audio options to be selected, just that the option availability is marginally better than stock software options.


Edited by Roller - 12/13/12 at 4:18am
post #37 of 45
GX 3.0 Game Audio Engine

The GX 3.0 game audio engine boosts your performance with better legacy EAX® compatibility and immersive surround sound enhancement.

And it really does as well, I'm done with this thread, I'm speaking from personal use of all the cards, All the cards offer an alternative for gaming, You can even Manually setup each speaker in 7.1 mode, Oh and it is True 7.1, These are facts, I have both the Phoebus and creative x-fi titanium installed in my system and the Pheobus is my Go to for gaming, The STX is my Goto for music. Titanium is no longer used.

post #38 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaful View Post

GX 3.0 Game Audio Engine

The GX 3.0 game audio engine boosts your performance with better legacy EAX® compatibility and immersive surround sound enhancement.

And it really does as well, I'm done with this thread, I'm speaking from personal use of all the cards, All the cards offer an alternative for gaming, You can even Manually setup each speaker in 7.1 mode, Oh and it is True 7.1, These are facts, I have both the Phoebus and creative x-fi titanium installed in my system and the Pheobus is my Go to for gaming, The STX is my Goto for music. Titanium is no longer used.

 

Good for you. Unfortunately, you don't have access to hardware-audio only features present on a few of the games I've listed. The game audio on Asus cards is still good, that's not in question, but game audio options are limited for games check for the presence of hardware based cards, which all Asus cards aren't.

 

And yes, Asus cards are not only a good alternative to X-Fi based cards (such as Creative or Auzentech), but are actually the only alternative since other manufacturers have little to no gaming audio support whatsoever. Just that users need to be aware that while being a valid alternative, it's not as good as truly gaming oriented cards, namely Creative cards which hold all the gaming audio tech, both EAX, OpenAL and algorithms are their property, and only EAX up to version 2 has been made available to other manufacturers. Now, if Asus would license the X-Fi chip from Creative (like Auzentech did), then they would be a serious contender, and actually having the possibility to be the go to brand when it comes to gaming. Alas, they didn't, and because of that, they're the second consideration.

post #39 of 45

I know what EAX does, You get Dolby home theater 4 with most of the Asus cards, Which allows you to turn game mode on which does the same as EAX not only that you can Custom set it to what you want, And Open AL really makes no difference with the level of Audio processors these days, I suggest you actually go out and try some of the new Asus products, You'll get a shock of what they can do as well as the Software.

post #40 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by natashaful View Post

I know what EAX does, You get Dolby home theater 4 with most of the Asus cards, Which allows you to turn game mode on which does the same as EAX not only that you can Custom set it to what you want, And Open AL really makes no difference with the level of Audio processors these days, I suggest you actually go out and try some of the new Asus products, You'll get a shock of what they can do as well as the Software.

 

I have tried both flagships, the current "gaming" Phoebus, as well as their entry-level cards, and GX continues to be a buggy implementation of a wrapper (although less buggy than first versions). That, along with games not recognizing any Asus cards as having hardware audio and preventing advanced audio options to be selected, makes for a valid, but absolutely second choice in terms of gaming. For software audio renderers, Asus cards are quite closer, but the X-Fi chip Game Mode still provides algorithms that improve height, depth and width cues on all software audio renderers.

 

So, when Creative discontinues the X-Fi series, Asus will finally be a first consideration for gaming, right alongside Creative's Z series.

post #41 of 45

All the problems with the card have now been fixed, Go have another look and play.

post #42 of 45

The Phoebus didn't impress (do note I have a Titanium HD as reference) on software audio renderers, but unfortunately I couldn't test it on a proper audio renderer, which is exactly where GX is meant to be used. If it manages to do 30 minutes of CS:S without a single issue or distortion (as what happened on GX 2.5 and earlier), then it certainly improved. Bioshock would also be a useful test as it has a rather complex audio renderer that has always been quite broken on Asus cards.

 

In any case, the bugfixes are welcome for Asus users, but the feature limitations persist, which makes the Phoebus (Essence STX and older as well) a valid option for software audio renderer games, almost as good as a base Creative X-Fi Titanium (non-HD) in terms of processing. Obviously the Essence STX and the Phoebus are better in terms of output quality, and that's where the Titanium HD slots in, providing full gaming audio support and audiophile output quality.

 

Again, it's important to discern output quality from gaming audio support, which is why the Essence STX is unquestionably a very good option for music. It differs from the Titanium HD mainly in terms of signature, with the Essence STX being neutral leaning towards brightness while the Titanium HD is neutral leaning slightly towards warmth. For music playback alone, it's simply a matter of preference.

post #43 of 45
Thread Starter 

I'm VERY happy with Azuntech forte.

 

it has digital in, analogue in with ASIO support which means I can use it like a headphone amp with my CD-player as a source.

 

i hate its creative bloatware software bundle but i can live with that.

 

for $60 great value for money.

post #44 of 45

Roller and Natashaful, keep the discussion going, It keeps me entertained.

post #45 of 45

Bioshock 2's audio on 7.1 settings is quite broken on my STX... I've had a good deal of certain sounds being dropped out completely. I've also had issues on multiple games where massive amounts of reverb were suddenly added for no reason.

 

I'll be swapping it out for a Titanium HD either today or tomorrow. I'll see if that does fix BS2's audio issues...

 

But one big disadvantage of the HD is that it has a pretty high output impedence(~35Ohm). Which means it's really only a good match for dynamic headphones over 280 Ohm's if you want them to run the way they are meant to.

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