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I am lost

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

Basically, I'm a super newbie and I have no idea what I'm doing. All I can say is that I listen to a lot of music and do a lot of gaming. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD 380's, and a Creative X-Fi Titanium.  I got that sound card at random because my motherboard's onboard sound was terrible and I thought it would help, which it did. However, I have absolutely NO idea what settings I should have for gaming or music listening. The Creative Console settings when set to "headphone" make things sound muffled and quiet. What should the Windows speaker settings be set to? Would I get better sound if I plugged my headphones into the back of the case instead of the front? (As far as I can tell the soundcard amplifies the case jack too). What should my in-game speaker settings be for audio? What is the difference between CMSS-3D and CMSS-3D headphone?

post #2 of 18
Yes you will probably get better sound going directly into the card, and not the FP jacks. You want CMSS 3D Headphone with headphones (it's HRTF like Dolby Headphone, versus CMSS which is more like Dolby Pro Logic II), and in games that allow you to set "Headphones" - set "Headphones." The "Headphones" mode on the card may be engaging EQ/DSP pre-sets (check through the menus to see what's happening) - but those pre-sets aside, it shouldn't be any different sonically assuming you're in Entertainment mode at least. Gaming mode will have a lot of DSP crap applied.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

Sorry I'm really bad with acronyms. What do HRF and DSP mean? And I also found that when I uncheck use CMSS in gaming or entertainment mode, the weird characteristic goes away when using the headphone setting.

post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwelveTrains View Post

Sorry I'm really bad with acronyms. What do HRF and DSP mean? And I also found that when I uncheck use CMSS in gaming or entertainment mode, the weird characteristic goes away when using the headphone setting.

Have you read the Headphone Gaming Guide? It explains most of this.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah, I read it. But didn't that mostly pertain to console gaming with the Mixamp? I've also read the Nameless Guide to PC gaming, but some things were still a little unclear to me. It looks like my EQ settings don't change between 7.1, 2.1/2.0, or headphone settings.

post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 

Whoops I meant "HRTF".

post #7 of 18
The Nameless guide is what I meant...redface.gif

Anyways, HRTF:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HRTF

CMSS Headphone is Creative's whack at it - it works fairly well at least for games and movies.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 

I've narrowed down the "muffling" effect. It happens it entertainment mode when CMSS-3D is on and applying to "headphones". But when CMSS-3D is turned off in entertainment mode, both headphones and 2.1 sound fine in the speaker configuration (or 5.1, 7.1 for that matter). In gaming mode, "headphones" with CMSS-3D enabled creates the muffling effect. 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 with CMSS-3D enabled sound just fine however.

post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwelveTrains View Post

I've narrowed down the "muffling" effect. It happens it entertainment mode when CMSS-3D is on and applying to "headphones". But when CMSS-3D is turned off in entertainment mode, both headphones and 2.1 sound fine in the speaker configuration (or 5.1, 7.1 for that matter). In gaming mode, "headphones" with CMSS-3D enabled creates the muffling effect. 2.1, 5.1, or 7.1 with CMSS-3D enabled sound just fine however.

What do you have configured in the game, Windows, etc?
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 

I may have had a breakthrough. I changed Killing Floor''s audio to H/W 3D + EAX and now have better results for gaming mode + CMSS.
When listening to music in entertainment mode, I have been keeping the CMSS off. Headphone settings in the Creative Console. I wonder if its necessary to change Windows config back to 2.1/2.0 instead of 7.1 for music listening.

post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by TwelveTrains View Post

I may have had a breakthrough. I changed Killing Floor''s audio to H/W 3D + EAX and now have better results for gaming mode + CMSS.

Now you're getting it! biggrin.gif
Quote:
When listening to music in entertainment mode, I have been keeping the CMSS off. Headphone settings in the Creative Console. I wonder if its necessary to change Windows config back to 2.1/2.0 instead of 7.1 for music listening.

That would be advisable.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

That would be advisable.

That seems like a lot of work to have to change the Windows configuration back and forth from 7.1 to stereo every time I switch between music and games. Is there an easier solution? I thought I heard a long time ago that having a setting on 5.1 or 7.1 through a stereo setup isn't bad because the signal gets downmixed to stereo anyway.

post #13 of 18
Generally speaking with stereo only output, and stereo only input, 5.1/7.1 doesn't matter. But some headphone surround guides (and some external hardware) needs it setup that way just for the game. Personally I just leave everything in 2.0 or Headphone, and enable what effects when I want to game. With the X-Fi that's going to mean switching into GAME mode. CMSS is more what I'd advise leaving off when listening to music (it should pass stereo to stereo even if it's configured for 7.1, assuming CMSS is off - haven't had my X-Fi hooked up in a while; sounds right though).
post #14 of 18
Thread Starter 

Yeah, so when I am listening to music or playing stereo audio sources my setup is like this:

Windows settings : Stereo

X-Fi settings : Headphone

Entertainment Mode (CMSS: Disabled)

 

And for gaming:

 

Windows settings : 7.1/5.1

X-Fi settings: Headphone

Gaming Mode

 

But when I am in entertainment mode doing entertainment mode things, I honestly cannot tell any difference when I change the windows settings from stereo to 7.1/5.1.

I actually use entertainment mode for all of my non first person shooter games, because I have found that CMSS disabled makes most sound effects or in game music sonically superior when positional sound is not required.

post #15 of 18
The X-Fi setting over-rides Windows/changes Windows' setting iirc. Just leave Windows in "Stereo" and enable "Headphone" when gaming. IIRC the few games that need it "different" can get the same effect by being set to 5.1 internally and leaving X-Fi to "Headphone" - but check the guide (because again, it's been some years at this point).
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