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What soundcard for 3d gaming through vmoda m100?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello head-fi'ers,

 

I'm in need of some help since I can't figure it out on my own after hours and hours of research on google.

Perhaps you can shed some light on my questionaire?

 

I'm currently in the progress of building a new PC to game with. I will however also be using it to DJ with through Traktor and NI S4MK2 and to watch movies with through my television and surround speakers. My current pc is doing all these jobs as we speak.

 

Below I have made lists to make things clear in a very orderly fashion to explain my hardware and use cases.

I think this might be helpful to answer my question.

 

I'm looking to possibly replace my Xonar DG but I do not know what option if best for my usage.

The first thing that came to mind was a Sound Blaster Z but I'm being told those could still jitter (one of the reasons to not go onboard sound)

I do however really demand a DSP capable of mixing surround sound to stereo for headphone surround effect in games.

Onboard realteks dont do this properly because of a lack of licenses, or at least thats what i'm told.

External audiophile DAC's don't do this because it's not their targeted use case demograph.

External USB DAC's from creative and asus can do it, but not all of them and I ain't got a clue on their quality.

 

Then I found the SB E1 and E3 which arent even for sale yet in Holland but they seem promising. No idea what's inside them though? Has SBX Studio Pro which is what i want as DSP.

Then I figured I could perhaps go for the SBZ and hook it to an external AMP but again, I have no idea how this would work out. Is it good enough for my M-100? Which one would i then even need? Would be nice if it's mobile on top of it so i can use my M-100's better on the go.

 

So here's a list of things I found and some subquestions:

 

- Sound Blaster Z (Internal option)

- Sound Blaster E1 (probably lacks functionality? E3 seems more promising)

- Sound Blaster E3 (no idea what's inside? E1 neither. Is this an external SBZ? hope so)

- Sound Blaster X-Fi HD (external thing, any good?)

- Sound Blaster Play2! (seems too cheap, probably not good but cant find reviews?)

- Fiio E12 (External AMP to connect to SBZ, would this be a good choice for this route?)

- Asus Xonar U7 (is this an external phoebus?)

- Asus RoG Phoebus (how does this compare to the SBZ?)

- onboard of the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 motherboard (new generation onboard sound... I generally stay away from onboard but still gonna mention it)

 

 

The question:

What should I do?

ANd do u have answers to the above subquestions?

 

 

Thanks in advance!!!!

 

 

 

Lets start with the system specs for the question (audio components only):

Just to be sure we're all on the same page as to what components to work with for my question.

 

Old situation:

- Asus Xonar DG (want to upgrade this)

- Sennheiser HD598 (not enough bass for my liking, m-100's will replace these)

- Razer Kraken Forged (over-ear design too small to actually fit over my ears, hurts)

- Logitech Z-5500 surround set

- NI S4MK2

 

New situation:

- V-Moda M-100 headphone (sadly still in transit but shouldnt be long anymore)

- Logitech Z-5500 surround set

- NI S4MK2

- Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5 motherboard (though I have no trust in onboard sound, still wanted to mention which onboard the new pc will have)

- Something to use as a replacement for the Xonar DG (Must be a DPS capable of doing surround emulation such as an SBZ or something)

 

 

 

Use cases

To explain how I want to use the system and which components will be used in which use case.

 

Use case 1 (gaming with headphones):

V-Moda's will be in use and I want to experience surround audio processing to pinpoint enemy players by sound and be emersed into the game.

 

- V-Moda M-100

- Surround emulation DSP option (Currently Xonar DG)

 

Use case 2 (more casual gaming, over speakers)

Gaming more casually without need of pinpoint sound, usually over speakers.

 

- Z-5500

- Sound option (Currently Xonar DG)

 

Use case 3 (Watching movie on television)

Routing the video to the television through HDMI and routing the sound to the Z-5500's through TOSLINK (currently always toslink, more options available if needed)

 

- Z-5500

- Sound option (Currently Xonar DG)

- Television (sound over HDMI disabled)

 

Use case 4 (listening to music)

No real rules here as this is mostly driven by time of day.

Expecting to see more use on the M-100's when they arrive because the HD598's lack bass for my genre's of music.

 

- Music genres: Mostly EDM

 

Use case 5 (DJ'ing)

Traktor software used to dj on pc, NI S4MK2 used as controller and audio interface.

Onboard sound and Soundcard (Xonar DG currently) don't do anything in this use case.

Audio Interface in the S4mk2 connected to PC with USB and S4 directly routed to Z5500's.

 

- NI S4mk2

- Z-5500's

- M-100's now plugged into the S4mk2

 

 

 

 

Edit: Clarified mobo type a little better, it's the Gigabyte Z97X Gaming 5, thus the X version.


Edited by Oscillus - 7/14/14 at 8:30am
post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscillus View Post
 

Gigabyte Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard (new generation on-board sound... I generally stay away from on-board but still gonna mention it)

 

Gigabyte offers three different models of the Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard, models N, MX, & X.

 

EDIT, but it does appear that they all use the Realtek ALC1150 audio processor and also come with built in headphone amplifiers.

The ALC1150 appear to currently the best audio hardware, for on-board audio.

I'm going to guess with the ALC1150, you will have no need to use the Xonar DG.

If you got the Sound Blaster Z, you could hook up the SB-Z to the Logitech Z5500 using analog and take advantage of the Z's CS4398 DAC chip and you would be able to use the SB-Z separate headphone output jack.


Edited by PurpleAngel - 7/14/14 at 8:35am
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Gigabyte offers three different models of the Z97 Gaming 5 motherboard, models N, MX, & X.

 

EDIT, but it does appear that they all use the Realtek ALC1150 audio processor and also come with built in headphone amplifiers.

The ALC1150 appear to currently the best audio hardware, for on-board audio.

Edited topicstartpost to clarify which version. It's the X.

Thanks for bringing that up.

 

 

Yeah I heard that too but it's still onboard so how much does that count for.

And it lacks a proper 3d to stereo DSP to my knowledge.

 

Edit after quoted message edit:

 

Onboard improved that much then? Exceeding the DG? interesting development.

 

So your advice would be to get an SBZ?

 

Whats your opinion on the E's?


Edited by Oscillus - 7/14/14 at 9:59am
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 

Further investigation on specs of the E1 and E3 revealed to me the E3 has to be vastly different than the E1.

It's generating superior quality all over the board compared to the E1.

I still have no idea whats inside these E1 and E3 but the E3 being triple the price seems to reflect in the spec sheet.

 

If only I knew what was inside that E3...

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscillus View Post
 

Edited topicstartpost to clarify which version. It's the X.

Thanks for bringing that up.

Yeah I heard that too but it's still on-board so how much does that count for.

And it lacks a proper 3D to stereo DSP to my knowledge.

Edit after quoted message edit:

On-board improved that much then? Exceeding the DG? interesting development.

So your advice would be to get an SBZ?

Whats your opinion on the E's?

 

Where did you read that the Realtek lacks proper 3D?

Not sure that's true or not (it just might not be as good as Creative SBX?)

 

The CMI8768 audio processor in the Xonar DG is around a 10 year old design.

So you figure Realtek has had enough time to design something that might be better.

For trying to improve over the ALC1150, I guess at a minimum you would try the SB-Z.

Or try to find a good deal on a used Essence STX (better DAC & amp then the SB-Z).

Up until your post about the Sound blaster E series, I never even knew it existed 

post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Where did you read that the Realtek lacks proper 3D?

Not sure that's true or not (it just might not be as good as Creative SBX?)

 

The CMI8768 audio processor in the Xonar DG is around a 10 year old design.

So you figure Realtek has had enough time to design something that might be better.

For trying to improve over the ALC1150, I guess at a minimum you would try the SB-Z.

Or try to find a good deal on a used Essence STX (better DAC & amp then the SB-Z).

Up until your post about the Sound blaster E series, I never even knew it existed 

Ye I didn't know about them myself till 2 days ago.

The E1 is only recently released and the E3, which should be miles ahead of the E1 looking at the specs on their website, is scheduled for release this month.

 

The Xonar STX has no toslink out for the speakerset while watching movies or playing games without my headphones on.

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscillus View Post
 

Ye I didn't know about them myself till 2 days ago.

The E1 is only recently released and the E3, which should be miles ahead of the E1 looking at the specs on their website, is scheduled for release this month.

 

The Xonar STX has no toslink out for the speakerset while watching movies or playing games without my headphones on.

 

The Essence STX comes with S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) output.

The optical (mini-toslink) and coaxial (RCA) share the same output port.

So the STX's optical output can be connected to the Z5500 optical input.

post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

The Essence STX comes with S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) output.

The optical (mini-toslink) and coaxial (RCA) share the same output port.

So the STX's optical output can be connected to the Z5500 optical input.

Ah I missed that, very true.

It's not aimed at gaming though which would be the primary reason for purchase in this questionaire.

How does DH faire against SBX?

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscillus View Post
 

Ah I missed that, very true.

It's not aimed at gaming though which would be the primary reason for purchase in this questionnaire.

How does DH faire against SBX?

 

Dolby Headphone Vs Creative Labs SBX (very loaded question).

For FPS gaming, I believe the SBX seems to be more preferred, but a few do like DH better.

There are two thread dedicated to headphone gaming, good place to ask DH vs SBX.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-7-9-2014-ultrasone-hfi-15g-added

http://www.head-fi.org/t/593050/the-nameless-guide-to-pc-gaming-audio-with-binaural-headphone-surround-sound

 

You might want to ask on this website forum about the Asus Phoebus (Dolby) in comparison to the Creative Labs Z series (SBX)

http://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?136-Xonar-Phoebus-Sound-Cards

 

A would assume for best gaming and audio quality for both headphones and speakers is to get the Sound Blaster ZxR.

If you ran 6-channel (5.1) from the ZxR to the Z5500, using 3 analog audio cables, you would be getting about the best audio quality you could, from the Z5500.

The ZxR comes with 3 DAC chips, which I'm sure are better (a fair bit better) then whatever DAC chip(s) are built in the Z5500.

Running analog from the ZxR to your DJ equipment would (should) sound very nice.

The ZxR also comes with about the best headphone amplifier (TI 6120A2), that you could get built into a sound card.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Dolby Headphone Vs Creative Labs SBX (very loaded question).

For FPS gaming, I believe the SBX seems to be more preferred, but a few do like DH better.

There are two thread dedicated to headphone gaming, good place to ask DH vs SBX.

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-7-9-2014-ultrasone-hfi-15g-added

http://www.head-fi.org/t/593050/the-nameless-guide-to-pc-gaming-audio-with-binaural-headphone-surround-sound

 

You might want to ask on this website forum about the Asus Phoebus (Dolby) in comparison to the Creative Labs Z series (SBX)

http://rog.asus.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?136-Xonar-Phoebus-Sound-Cards

 

A would assume for best gaming and audio quality for both headphones and speakers is to get the Sound Blaster ZxR.

If you ran 6-channel (5.1) from the ZxR to the Z5500, using 3 analog audio cables, you would be getting about the best audio quality you could, from the Z5500.

The ZxR comes with 3 DAC chips, which I'm sure are better (a fair bit better) then whatever DAC chip(s) are built in the Z5500.

Running analog from the ZxR to your DJ equipment would (should) sound very nice.

The ZxR also comes with about the best headphone amplifier (TI 6120A2), that you could get built into a sound card.

After some googling I found out whats inside that Z5500 control unit (http://www.laaudiofile.com/z5500.html).

- Cirrus CS494003 32-bit DSP to handle both Dolby® Digital and DTS® bitstreams including DTS® 96/24 data

- Cirrus CS42526 data conversion chip is used to move signals between the analog and digital domains. (six 24-bit DACs and two 24-bit ADCs) , also handles optical input

- Cirrus CS5351 stereo DACs are also used to convert the remaining analog inputs to the digital domain.

 

I fear I'm too unknowledgable about DACs yet (learning!) but this might be helpful for confirming your above statement?

 

 

 

My DJ equipment (the Native Instruments S4 MK2) has a built-in audio interface of its own.

I don't think the ZxR would beat that one considering the S4mk2 is professional grade flagship dj material.

Even if it did, it's not of importance while DJ'ing because it would mean I lose important functionality there.

The DJ equipment is connected to the PC through USB, will stay that way.

 

The Z series can send it's processed sounds over Toslink and/or Coax too right?

Thought i read that somewhere.

Because my DJ equipment is alrdy hogging the 6ch inputs on the z5500 which means the PC has to hook up digitally.

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oscillus View Post
 

After some googling I found out whats inside that Z5500 control unit (http://www.laaudiofile.com/z5500.html).

- Cirrus CS494003 32-bit DSP to handle both Dolby® Digital and DTS® bitstreams including DTS® 96/24 data

- Cirrus CS42526 data conversion chip is used to move signals between the analog and digital domains. (six 24-bit DACs and two 24-bit ADCs) , also handles optical input

- Cirrus CS5351 stereo DACs are also used to convert the remaining analog inputs to the digital domain.

 

I fear I'm too unknowledgable about DACs yet (learning!) but this might be helpful for confirming your above statement?

 

My DJ equipment (the Native Instruments S4 MK2) has a built-in audio interface of its own.

I don't think the ZxR would beat that one considering the S4mk2 is professional grade flagship dj material.

Even if it did, it's not of importance while DJ'ing because it would mean I lose important functionality there.

The DJ equipment is connected to the PC through USB, will stay that way.

 

The Z series can send it's processed sounds over Toslink and/or Coax too right?

Thought i read that somewhere.

Because my DJ equipment is alrdy hogging the 6ch inputs on the z5500 which means the PC has to hook up digitally.

 

Wow, the DAC chips used in the Logitech Z-5500 are much better then I expected.

The Sound Blaster Z series can send processed audio out the S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) output.

post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PurpleAngel View Post
 

 

Wow, the DAC chips used in the Logitech Z-5500 are much better then I expected.

The Sound Blaster Z series can send processed audio out the S/PDIF (optical & coaxial) output.

Would explain why I had a hard time finding better pc speakers :)

 

Back to SBZ now?  or would you still recommend the SBZxR?

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 

I was under the impression that the SB E3 would be out by now ... But it isn't?

post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 

Still no sight of the E3 here in Holland, anybody else got more luck?

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