Setup is as follows:
Asus Xonar D2X (line out) > HD 598's
(Also have a Fiio E06 which doesn't helper or hinder as far as I can tell).
Drivers used are the latest Unified Xonar drivers with cmedia panel on Windows 8.
Settings in the drivers are as follows:
System input = 8 Channels
Analog output = Headphones
Dolby Headphone is on
Xear 3D = on (also tested off)
DH room = Studio
No environment settings, flat EQ curve
Frequency 44.1 Hz
7.1 channel shifter with custom from the standalone pack (http://ge.tt/api/1/files/1XeARWd/3/blob?download) is ON
Game example: Battlefield 4
Profile settings for sound are:
The problem I am having is that the surround effect isn't very good. I can tell left and right fine but the closer the sound gets to centre the harder it is to determine the direction. I can't tell the difference between straight front and rear at all and I can realistically only determine 7 points around me and I never get any height clues at all. I can't hear footsteps at all, people can walk up right behind me and stab me without issues if I am static. While the game seems to sound fine I don't find the surround sound effect is good, not to the point of being competitive.
Game example 2: Arma 3
Arma 3 also seems to have problems I definitely have surround effects but I can't place much better than 5 points in the front 180 degrees and the front sounds identical to rear. Its actually the direction of tracers flying overhead that tell me if it was front or rear not the sound.
Its not like there isn't any surround sound but its not really convincing me and the accuracy I am getting from it is pretty poor. When I first got the Xonar I found it was slightly better than CMSS on the X-fi music on Arma 2 I had before but not by much. I have been pretty unhappy with everything I have tried in the last few years so I want to make sure I don't move to another bad solution.
My question is pretty simple, is there a better solution out there now? Can I improve my current card, customise the HRTF perhaps or a better card with better surround positioning? I think I am setting things up correctly on my D2X for these games but something about my ears/brain is presumably not average enough. I do need better cues than I am getting.
Would a Sound Blaster Z or ZXR provide a significantly better experience with SBX surround than the D2X with DH in these DirectSound games? Is there some way to perhaps get a custom /chosen HRTF and load that into my card or a software solution that might give me significantly positioning?
Does anyone know of a piece of software/video I can use that will use the right API so I can mess with settings and test the surround sound effect it gives me? I would like to try moving the speakers about in the 7.1 shifter (since the custom profile seems to be better) so presumably there might be a better setup there that I can find. But Rightmark 3D sound didn't seem to work at all.
Edited by BrightCandle - 11/22/13 at 4:52pm