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Unhappy with Game Surround Sounds on D2X and Sennheiser HD598s

  1. BrightCandle
    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:
    GstAudio.AudioQuality 4
    GstAudio.SoundSystemSize 71
    GstAudio.StereoMode 0
    GstAudio.YourSoundSystem 4
    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.
  2. BrightCandle
    Just a quick followup I tried the demo for SBX surround at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XlsIPwSj6Q0&list=PLjs0Dp6OVhbk6aQJI0ElCFCXNU21TPwHm with 2 channels and headphone setting and DH off and such and I get almost no surround sound effect at all. Changing to a pair of HD 280's didn't change the fact but when I tried it on another computer with just a basic onboard sound I could hear the effect as its meant to be.
    There is clearly something wrong if my card isn't passing standard 2 channel youtube audio correctly to my headphones with basically no processing, or more to the point processing that is ruining the surround sound effect that is baked into that sound.
  3. e6600
    try using the older xonar control panel (not the cmedia) with your unified drivers, and do a clean install of your xonar unified.  use 2ch and hifi and replay that video again
  4. PurpleAngel Contributor

    Did you disable the motherboard's on-board audio? in the BIOS.
    And delete audio drivers, from the on-board audio or from the old X-Fi XtremeMusic card.
    Doing a clean install of the "Unified Xonar Drivers" might help.
    Replacing the D2X with a Creative Labs Sound Blaster Z (SB1500, retail box) sound card, $100, might be an option.
  5. BrightCandle
    There is no other sound card in my system. It was actually my sound switcher causing the problem that splits between the headphones and the 2.1 speakers. On removing it the sound stage improved dramatically and I finally got a surround sound effect again. Very weird but I solved it in the end (thanks soundblaster SBX demo!).

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