Creative Sound Blaster new series Z, Zx & ZxR
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I did.

Then,
Troubleshot with Stillhart a bit. I had "play audio through SPDIF" unchecked because it's worded like it would use DDL. I still didn't hear anything when I select "speakers (Omni device" in playback devices (windows 8), but I didn't try again to plug something into the headphone jack.

Before this post (and currently), I have my Bifrost plugged into the optical-out built into my motherboard. WOAH! DAC is doing things very nicely, definitely an upgrade but based on the amount of upgrade I'm pretty satisfied saying this is an endgame DAC for me. I gotta listen to some reference songs I know well, demo a K612 too, but I'll give the Omni another shot next time, with "speakers" selected in playback devices (and SBX panel set for "headphones" and "optical-out enabled," and try again the trick of having something plugged into the headphone jack.

Also, I suck so bad at Starcraft now :frowning2:
 
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kman1211

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I did.

Then,
Troubleshot with Stillhart a bit. I had "play audio through SPDIF" unchecked because it's worded like it would use DDL. I still didn't hear anything when I select "speakers (Omni device" in playback devices (windows 8), but I didn't try again to plug something into the headphone jack.

Before this post (and currently), I have my Bifrost plugged into the optical-out built into my motherboard. WOAH! DAC is doing things very nicely, definitely an upgrade but based on the amount of upgrade I'm pretty satisfied saying this is an endgame DAC for me. I gotta listen to some reference songs I know well, demo a K612 too, but I'll give the Omni another shot next time, with "speakers" selected in playback devices (and SBX panel set for "headphones" and "optical-out enabled," and try again the trick of having something plugged into the headphone jack.

Also, I suck so bad at Starcraft now

A high-end DAC is a real nice upgrade. Is it a bigger upgrade than you expected?
 
Hopefully you figure out how to get the Omni working with the Bifrost.
 
I haven't played Starcraft in ages, I probably really suck at it.
 
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TwoEars

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  ZxR (headphone mode, SBX) -> Optical -> D2 DAC, no fading L/R in Dark Souls 2 or anywhere else. 
 
The only problem I ever had was when the driver installation was miserable and the right rear channel was louder. 
 
You have exactly the same setup as me! Only that I still have the D1.
 
It's great, for gaming I get all the gaming effects. And when I go to play music I have foobar2000 set to "event" and to pass directly to the optical port. Works perfect.
 

 
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You have exactly the same setup as me! Only that I still have the D1.
 
It's great, for gaming I get all the gaming effects. And when I go to play music I have foobar2000 set to "event" and to pass directly to the optical port. Works perfect.
 
 

 
yeah, it's impressive. That DAC is the best "playback" device I ever bought. Even after more than 1,5 years I'm always amazed by its incredible soundstage, transparency, very very clean signal quality and dead silence. Drives the TH-900, HD 800 and multi BA IEMs very well.
 
I have Foobar permanently set to USB out, Winamp to the ZxR device (for the case I want to play with my own music)
 
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TwoEars

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yeah, it's impressive. That DAC is the best "playback" device I ever bought. Even after more than 1,5 years I'm always amazed by its incredible soundstage, transparency, very very clean signal quality and dead silence. Drives the TH-900, HD 800 and multi BA IEMs very well.
 
I have Foobar permanently set to USB out, Winamp to the ZxR device (for the case I want to play with my own music)
 
Ok, so you're using the spidf toslink for general media and the USB for Foobar?
 
I guess you have to toggle the input selector on the front of the Anedio to change between USB and toslink then?
 
Since I have the D1 which only does 16-bit over USB I just use the toslink for everything. That gives me 24-bit depth and also I don't have to change the setup on front of the Anedio.
 
Notice any difference in quality between your toslink and your USB?

I tested my 24-bit toslink vs the 16-bit USB and either there was no noticatble difference or the toslink was slightly better, so I just went with the toslink and never looked back.
 
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benbenkr

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Okay, so this may not exactly be related to the SB Z/Zx/ZxR/Omni, but I just replaced my motherboard with the MSI Z87 GD65 (as well as for other MSI Z87 boards) and it does come with Creative's SB software running off the Realtek ALC1150 DAC.
 
The Creative SB software created for this motherboard has SBX surround (surprised to see it actually) and it basically works the exact same way as the Z/Zx/ZxR/Omni. There's almost no difference in the SBX quality, if not for the very laid back and recessed mids nature of the ALC1150. I'll hook it up to my Aune X1 Pro later on to see if optical out works for SBX or not, but if it does then I see picking up any of the MSI mobo for a small M-ATX build would be  nice.
 
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SaLX

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  Okay, so this may not exactly be related to the SB Z/Zx/ZxR/Omni, but I just replaced my motherboard with the MSI Z87 GD65 (as well as for other MSI Z87 boards) and it does come with Creative's SB software running off the Realtek ALC1150 DAC.
 
The Creative SB software created for this motherboard has SBX surround (surprised to see it actually) and it basically works the exact same way as the Z/Zx/ZxR/Omni. There's almost no difference in the SBX quality, if not for the very laid back and recessed mids nature of the ALC1150. I'll hook it up to my Aune X1 Pro later on to see if optical out works for SBX or not, but if it does then I see picking up any of the MSI mobo for a small M-ATX build would be  nice.
Bloody hell benbenkr - I had no idea MSI had nabbed the SB software. So basically, as you're using optical out then you can effectively dump your SBZ. If somebody builds a new rig - if they got an MSI board they could forget about buying an SBZ. And as you point out it sounds practically the same. Weird business move on Creative's part.
 
Look forward to hearing more about how you get on with it

 
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watsaname

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Dang, if the software works through optical on that motherboard, that would be really cool for those who want itx builds. I recently ordered a D03k to check out how optical works out with my SB Z sound card before I get my feet wet with more expensive optical dacs, got it for 16 bucks too.
 
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TwoEars

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Yes, if the optical out really works for the SBX effect you wouldn't need a card. Pretty cool I must admit.
 
What I'd really want is to figure out is a way to get the SBX effects applied when using a USB DAC.... since it seems most high-end dacs are going to USB route these days. But that seems almost impossibe.
 
Toslink is so far the only interface I know with which you can send SBX effects sent to an external DAC with.
 
Maybe there is 1-2 SBX cards that have RCA Spdif, I'm not sure. But it's not better than toslink. It's the USB interface that would be interesting for use with high-end DACs.
 
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watsaname

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Don't know what soundcard you have whether it is the Z, ZxR, or omni, but on the Z there is an option in Windows Recording devices that allows you to actually push audio that is processed by the sound card to a usb dac. It is called "What U Hear" and all you have to do is "check" the "Listen to this device" box and choose it to output to your usb sound card. I do notice quite a bit of popping when using it, but for sort of a temporary solution or just gaming it isn't too bad.
 
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  Don't know what soundcard you have whether it is the Z, ZxR, or omni, but on the Z there is an option in Windows Recording devices that allows you to actually push audio that is processed by the sound card to a usb dac. It is called "What U Hear" and all you have to do is "check" the "Listen to this device" box and choose it to output to your usb sound card. I do notice quite a bit of popping when using it, but for sort of a temporary solution or just gaming it isn't too bad.
 
I'll be damned! it works!
 

 
I didn't get any crack or pops, but I did find that the noisefloor was slightly higher when using this compared to toslink. If I turn up the volume ALL the way up on my dac and plug in a pair of headphones directly I can hear a very faint hiss. Probably windows fault.
 
On normal volume I didn't hear anything though and I did get all the SBX effects over the USB, I checked.
 
I'll have to play around a bit with it.
Very cool! I'm impressed you knew this!
 
 
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watsaname

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Yeah, it is what I have been doing for a while now, outputting to my e07k, comparatively I find the soundblaster z much brighter then the e07k. It wasn't my discovery. It was a guy in MLE's thread, goes by the name of SniperCzar I believe.
 
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@TwoEars yes.. optical out works absolutely flawlessly - it's a superb solution. An external amp is recognised as the best way to power your cans.. and this solution is pretty much perfect for a PC. A year back, a consensus was formed here on this subforum via discussions/cross posts from the solid posters here; namely DJInferno, genclaymore, Purple, Evs and others etc. Roll call.
 
To reiterate (if you use headphones): the SBZ range only does surround sound correctly using the headphone option in SW. That's crappy, but there is a solution: As Evshrug has consistently pointed out - you absolutely can double amp via the headphone out as long as the external amp is good quality (O2, Schiit). Evs uses a tube amp, which ought not to do well (as it's more 'noisy'), but it does.
 
I've got to say that the SBZ on it's own is pretty damned good, but adding an external DAC + Amp does add that extra something (or zing/dynamics). Depends on how much juice your headphones require though. I doubt that the MSI benK mentioned could fully drive a lot of the quality headphones out there (like AKG's), but I bet that it could do it for all gaming headsets.
 
Maybe Creative is making the move from add-on cards into motherboard SW licensing. Makes sense. Any thoughts on this??
 
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TwoEars

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Yes, I've been using the optical out from the soundblaster card now for several years.
 
And then foobar2000 event to the optical interface for music. I get gaming effects for gaming and straight through for music, it's a great solution. Works seamlessly and I don't have to change any settings at all.
 
I just didn't know I could actually feed the SBX effects back into windows over the PCI-E bus and then out through USB again !!
 
That was pretty cool to discover as above.
 
I will probably revert back to toslink since it's good for computers and gives 100% ground isolation.
 
But it's good to have options!
 
I'm definitely happy to see soundblaster get added to the motherboard, for me it makes a lot of sense as long as you're either able to output it over usb or optical.
 
I think creative's business idea is to tie their sbx software effects to hardware, and sell the hardware. Because if they were a software company only people would probably just pirate the soundblaster software and that'd be the end of that.
 
But to have it on the motherboard makes a lot of sense. Especially since it seems maybe soon mATX form factor will take over, people don't need or want a big ATX case anymore. Just get a small mATX case, SBX on the motherboard, add a graphics card if you want to game, route the sound through external DAC/AMP if you're an audiophile. Makes a lot of sense to me. The Fulltower computer is already pretty much dead, I think in maybe 5 years it will be mATX all around.
 
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@TwoEars
 yes.. optical out works absolutely flawlessly - it's a superb solution. An external amp is recognised as the best way to power your cans.. and this solution is pretty much perfect for a PC. A year back, a consensus was formed here on this subforum via discussions/cross posts from the solid posters here; namely DJInferno, genclaymore, Purple, Evs and others etc. Roll call.
Indeed, connecting a clean Solid State amp (like a FiiO E12) or a well-grounded and constructed tube amp to an RCA or headphone-out jack DOES do quite a fine job, and double-amping with a nice amp can actually improve audio compared to plugging headphones straight into a soundcard. Double-amping is just like using a pre-amp and a power amp in a high-end discrete sound system for speakers.

However... I haven't found the right settings yet to get optical output working with SBX processing, yet. I just got my first discrete DAC last Friday (shipped with popcorn packing material?), do I still get to keep my status as a solid poster? Lol. I haven't yet found the settings that make Omni + Bifrost (plus amp) work, but prior to this Omni + amp was working pretty well.

A firmware update from the end of January cleared some popping problems I was having with the mic, and I reinstalled the stable drivers so those are up to date... but I still don't get any sound when I check the "enable optical output" on the SBX control panel, only stereo sound when I select the Omni's optical output as default from Window's playback devices.

Yes, I've been using the optical out from the soundblaster card now for several years.

I'm definitely happy to see soundblaster get added to the motherboard, for me it makes a lot of sense as long as you're either able to output it over usb or optical.

I think creative's business idea is to tie their sbx software effects to hardware, and sell the hardware. Because if they were a software company only people would probably just pirate the soundblaster software and that'd be the end of that.

Can you suggest the settings to get headphone surround output over optical? I have the Omni (returned my internal SB Z card), but the control panel is very similar.

Also, I agree about licensing SBX processing to motherboard hardware manufacturers. It's a good move in the long-term for Creative, goes with that old saying "If you can't beat them, join 'em!" As motherboard audio has improved over the years, Creative has struggled to make hardware that an average consumer perceives as a "need" like they used to when soundcards were the only way to get audio at all. Mad Lust Envy's laptop (which I think was a Dell Alienware) had SBX processing built-in as well, though some of the other hardware malfunctioned for him (video output).
 
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