Originally Posted by Tiihokatti
It won't matter if you pick full range or not with 2.1.
Windows always thinks that the front channel is full-range when you have the settings at 2.1 (because the subwoofer is always in the front channel).
I'm not quite sure what you mean by the sub is always in the front channel.
Let me shed some light on the Z/ZXR's interaction with the windows audio stack to help some of you out.
First off setting full range or not in the windows audio panel for the Z will do nothing. Creative doesn't make use of WASAPI's sysFX APO which is responsible for bass management or other effects. This is evident from the lack of audio enhancement tab in the control panel and also logic would dictate as this is a full sound card with its own features. Usually sysFX are used in HD audio codecs and generic audio drivers. Creative have their own effects in their driver so they don't need the windows based ones.
When you enable limited range speakers instead of full range, you are able to set a crossover under audio enhancements. When you enable full range(on all speakers), crossover control disappears altogether. Also if you disable all audio enhancements, then leaving limited range may have windows set its own crossover, albeit a very conservative one by using sysFX. It also may just not enable any crossover at all either. This I am still looking into. Regardless it doesn't affect the Z cards.
So in simple terms, the audio stream is mixed un-processed(except for resampling) with other streams and then sent to the Z's driver at which point, you can alter the stream there with the Z control panel effects.
So the only bass management that matters is that in the Z's control panel which is the endpoint in the audio stream. If I remember correctly, you cant adjust crossover in there unless you select that you are using a sub. This probably means it is setting its own crossover. I would estimate this at roughly 200 hz because majority of people still use cheap PC speakers that cant handle anything under that without extreme distortion. You can always select full range and send everything unfiltered and let your amp(a real discrete amp, not the built in amps in cheap speakers) or sub do the filtering.
IMHO its always best to let hardware do the filtering rather than software.
Hopefully this clears some things up for you guys.Edited by djinferno806 - 10/16/13 at 5:40am