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[Official] Creative Sound Blaster Z, Zx & ZxR Series Club - Page 217

post #2161 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by minaelromany View Post

What is the best headphones for SBZ for $100 or less ?

They must :

1-Have very good audio quality for movies, music and games with SBX Pro

2-Be very comfortable for long sessions

3-Have a wide soundstage to get a true surround immersion

Senn HD650 (biased)
post #2162 of 5496
tongue.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by ShamisOMally View Post

Frequency: 31 62 125 250 500 1K 2K 4K 8K 16K

Boost: -4-1 -3 -1 -1 0 5 8 -4 0

Also to those who are wondering, I am looking at headphone frequency decibel charts and finding out what their frequency responses are upon the 10hz-20Khz scale and then countering where they either depressed or excessively respond to tones, so if headphones at at 500hz respond three decibels too strongly to that tone, I compensate that with the equalizer by adding -3 decibels to that tone in order to bring it down into a more equal tone response. I'm aiming for neutral sound.

Naturally this won't make say awful headphones awesome, but it will make them sound better.

perfect, thanks
post #2163 of 5496
For those who are interested, I conducted an experiment to see if the Sound Blaster Z causes elevated CPU usage and reduced GPU usage whilst gaming.
Here is my study: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
After receiving news about the potential issues with the Creative Sound Blaster Z series sound cards causing elevated CPU usage and reduced multi GPU scaling abilities, I decided to carry a series of tests to determine if these issues are present on my own configuration of hardware. Here are the results.
For system specifications, see sig rig below.

All 3D applications were ran at 1080p @ 144hz.
Hyper-threaded technology was disabled to give a better indication of raw CPU time.
Sound Blaster Z (Latest official Creative drivers for Win 8.1 x64) :
RealTek onboard HD (Latest official RealTek drivers for Win 8.1 x64) :

Testing:

Metro Last Light, All settings max except SSAA (OFF), Physx (OFF).

Location: Artyoms Room (chapter 1), looking into the room from the doorway.

(Please note, Metro LL does not scale well in many areas of this game by nature)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 182 FPS
No CFX = 120 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 181 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 on each core (CFX)



Tomb Raider, Ultimate Preset, FXAA, ALL additional Settings enabled/max out.

(TEST 1) Location: helipad, overlooked shanty town (Highly CPU dependant area. Looking to see if the Sound Blaster Z could cause increased CPU time which may further bottleneck GPU's)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 72 FPS
No CFX = 58 FPS
CPU Usage = 95 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 71 FPS
No CFX = 58 FPS
CPU Usage = 95 on each core (CFX)



(TEST 2) Location: Built in benchmark (This is GPU dependant. This will test if crossfire scaling is disrupted by the Sound Blaster Z).

(Please note, the max value can be ignored since it can fluctuate between 170fps to around 220 fps during repeated run throughs. We should look at the min and avg since these are consistently the same every run through).

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = Min 112, Max 176, Avg 148 FPS
No CFX = Min 60, Max 100, Avg 78 FPS
CPU Usage = 40 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = Min 112, Max 186, Avg 148 FPS
No CFX = Min 60, Max 98, Avg 78 FPS
CPU Usage = 40 on each core (CFX)



Battlefield 4 (DirectX 11.1 API), Ultra Preset, Post AA OFF, MSAA x4, Resolution Scaling 100%, Motion Blur 50%, FOV 90.

(Please note, "gametime.maxvariablefps 0" to remove the 200fps limit. Mantle was not used because we need to put the CPU under the wrong kind of strain to see if the Sound Blaster Z can elevate CPU usage beyond an already CPU dependant area).

Location: Test Range

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 213 FPS
No CFX = 108
CPU Usage = 100 (Cores 1 to 4), 98 (Cores 5 and 6) (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 213 FPS
No CFX = 108
CPU Usage = 100 (Cores 1 to 4), 98 (Cores 5 and 6) (CFX)



Far Cry 3 (DirectX 9.0 API), Ultra Preset, FOV 90, Water (LOW), GPU frame buffer (1).

Please note, FC3 suffers from crossfire scaling issues since the HD 7000 series. These issues are more apparent in DX11 mode. DX9 gives the best scaling performance. Performance can be increased by forcing Bioshoch.exe profile, or by reducing the POST FX setting to medium or low. During these tests, I decided to leave the default crossfire profile in place to reduce the chance of instability which could affect the validity of the results. Water is set to low to negate a common CPU overhead issue which causes strange fps results in certain areas of the game, even well into the mainland terrain. Frame buffer is left at 1, since this is default.

(TEST 1) Location: Doctor Earnhardt's house (looking towards the sealed front door from the inside of the home. This is CPU intensive area. Not CPU bound. If Sound Blaster Z did cause elevated CPU time, it would show in this area).

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 138 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 (Cores 1 to 3), 100 (Cores 4 and 5), 90 (Core 6) (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 139 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 (Cores 1 to 3), 100 (Cores 4 and 5), 90 (Core 6) (CFX)



(TEST 2) Location 2: Doctor Earnhardt's house (Overlooking the sea during sunset. This is GPU bound)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 55 FPS
No CFX = 32 FPS
CPU Usage = 35 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 55 FPS
No CFX = 32 FPS
CPU Usage = 35 on each core (CFX)



The next test is to see if a modified EQ and SBX effects caused elevated CPU usage:

Sound Blaster Z
Tomb Raider - EQ - SBX Enabled:


Final image just confirms the CPU usage in FC3 (First Test Location).




To conclude, there seems to be Zero effects on the systems performance during gaming whilst using the SBZ sound card. From looking at previous cases, users seemed to be on Windows 7 and using last generation GPU's. I suspect the drivers might have been fixed, or the card seems to be error-less in Windows 8.1.

Thank you for reading.
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post #2164 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheUnk View Post

Hi all. I just installed the Sound Blaster Z with my Logitech Z906 5.1 speakers. I do not use headphones at all.
I am only using this system for gaming. I have several config questions:

1. Should I disable the SBX Pro Studio entirely or just the Surround and/or Crystalizer options?

2. Would there be any benefit in using optical out with DDLive/DTSConnect instead of analog?

3. Should I set my front and rear surrounds to be full range?

4. Should I use the bass management/redirection?


For the SBX Pro Studio I am especially confused. Their manual states:
However from what I have been reading in this thread is that it is primarily designed for 2.1/headphones? In my brief testing in 1 game I did in fact notice a significant difference in audio when enabling/disabling this option, but in both cases the surround appears to be functioning - I could clearly hear sounds going around me and using all 5.1 correctly as I rotated.

1 - try them yourself, the surround is generally for upmixing stereo stuff like music and youtube, (actually can sound pretty immersive on headphones too), crystallizer will try to "crystallize" the sound and makes things a little clearer and lively.
2 - shouldn't be much difference, digital is less likely to get noise or interference but at the same time is limited to the quality of the decoder in the amp.
3 - possibly? I know on mine if I don't it has normalization enabled and sounds awful as the sound dips right out on bassy areas, set them all to full range and normalization is completely disabled.
4 - yes, set it to an optimal frequency, probably 125Hz, set the gain high if you want your sub louder then it already is, but you can also adjust the response in the EQ too for finder adjustment.

I set surround and crystallizer on mine to 50% for both, gets a nice tame result that still makes my music sound better compared to them off entirely, I'm not sure what effect the crystallizer has on games though, never really tested that...

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post

For those who are interested, I conducted an experiment to see if the Sound Blaster Z causes elevated CPU usage and reduced GPU usage whilst gaming.
Here is my study: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
After receiving news about the potential issues with the Creative Sound Blaster Z series sound cards causing elevated CPU usage and reduced multi GPU scaling abilities, I decided to carry a series of tests to determine if these issues are present on my own configuration of hardware. Here are the results.
For system specifications, see sig rig below.

All 3D applications were ran at 1080p @ 144hz.
Hyper-threaded technology was disabled to give a better indication of raw CPU time.
Sound Blaster Z (Latest official Creative drivers for Win 8.1 x64) :
RealTek onboard HD (Latest official RealTek drivers for Win 8.1 x64) :

Testing:

Metro Last Light, All settings max except SSAA (OFF), Physx (OFF).

Location: Artyoms Room (chapter 1), looking into the room from the doorway.

(Please note, Metro LL does not scale well in many areas of this game by nature)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 182 FPS
No CFX = 120 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 181 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 on each core (CFX)



Tomb Raider, Ultimate Preset, FXAA, ALL additional Settings enabled/max out.

(TEST 1) Location: helipad, overlooked shanty town (Highly CPU dependant area. Looking to see if the Sound Blaster Z could cause increased CPU time which may further bottleneck GPU's)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 72 FPS
No CFX = 58 FPS
CPU Usage = 95 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 71 FPS
No CFX = 58 FPS
CPU Usage = 95 on each core (CFX)



(TEST 2) Location: Built in benchmark (This is GPU dependant. This will test if crossfire scaling is disrupted by the Sound Blaster Z).

(Please note, the max value can be ignored since it can fluctuate between 170fps to around 220 fps during repeated run throughs. We should look at the min and avg since these are consistently the same every run through).

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = Min 112, Max 176, Avg 148 FPS
No CFX = Min 60, Max 100, Avg 78 FPS
CPU Usage = 40 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = Min 112, Max 186, Avg 148 FPS
No CFX = Min 60, Max 98, Avg 78 FPS
CPU Usage = 40 on each core (CFX)



Battlefield 4 (DirectX 11.1 API), Ultra Preset, Post AA OFF, MSAA x4, Resolution Scaling 100%, Motion Blur 50%, FOV 90.

(Please note, "gametime.maxvariablefps 0" to remove the 200fps limit. Mantle was not used because we need to put the CPU under the wrong kind of strain to see if the Sound Blaster Z can elevate CPU usage beyond an already CPU dependant area).

Location: Test Range

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 213 FPS
No CFX = 108
CPU Usage = 100 (Cores 1 to 4), 98 (Cores 5 and 6) (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 213 FPS
No CFX = 108
CPU Usage = 100 (Cores 1 to 4), 98 (Cores 5 and 6) (CFX)



Far Cry 3 (DirectX 9.0 API), Ultra Preset, FOV 90, Water (LOW), GPU frame buffer (1).

Please note, FC3 suffers from crossfire scaling issues since the HD 7000 series. These issues are more apparent in DX11 mode. DX9 gives the best scaling performance. Performance can be increased by forcing Bioshoch.exe profile, or by reducing the POST FX setting to medium or low. During these tests, I decided to leave the default crossfire profile in place to reduce the chance of instability which could affect the validity of the results. Water is set to low to negate a common CPU overhead issue which causes strange fps results in certain areas of the game, even well into the mainland terrain. Frame buffer is left at 1, since this is default.

(TEST 1) Location: Doctor Earnhardt's house (looking towards the sealed front door from the inside of the home. This is CPU intensive area. Not CPU bound. If Sound Blaster Z did cause elevated CPU time, it would show in this area).

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 138 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 (Cores 1 to 3), 100 (Cores 4 and 5), 90 (Core 6) (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 139 FPS
No CFX = 117 FPS
CPU Usage = 70 (Cores 1 to 3), 100 (Cores 4 and 5), 90 (Core 6) (CFX)



(TEST 2) Location 2: Doctor Earnhardt's house (Overlooking the sea during sunset. This is GPU bound)

Sound Blaster Z
CFX = 55 FPS
No CFX = 32 FPS
CPU Usage = 35 on each core (CFX)

RealTek onboard HD
CFX = 55 FPS
No CFX = 32 FPS
CPU Usage = 35 on each core (CFX)



The next test is to see if a modified EQ and SBX effects caused elevated CPU usage:

Sound Blaster Z
Tomb Raider - EQ - SBX Enabled:


Final image just confirms the CPU usage in FC3 (First Test Location).




To conclude, there seems to be Zero effects on the systems performance during gaming whilst using the SBZ sound card. From looking at previous cases, users seemed to be on Windows 7 and using last generation GPU's. I suspect the drivers might have been fixed, or the card seems to be error-less in Windows 8.1.

Thank you for reading.

clean drivers and no EQ or processing? being software-based on standard settings the realtech doesn't do much, but if you were to try 24@96, EQ and maby some environment effects the CPU use on audiodg.exe should increase by a fair amount. (on winXP the driver uses its own service for this, same results)
edit; oh and 5.1 can be particularly heavy.
Edited by Paul17041993 - 3/20/14 at 2:07pm
   
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post #2165 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrUnderpants View Post

Senn HD650 (biased)

They are $500 not $100 or less biggrin.gif
post #2166 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul17041993 View Post

1 - try them yourself, the surround is generally for upmixing stereo stuff like music and youtube, (actually can sound pretty immersive on headphones too), crystallizer will try to "crystallize" the sound and makes things a little clearer and lively.
2 - shouldn't be much difference, digital is less likely to get noise or interference but at the same time is limited to the quality of the decoder in the amp.
3 - possibly? I know on mine if I don't it has normalization enabled and sounds awful as the sound dips right out on bassy areas, set them all to full range and normalization is completely disabled.
4 - yes, set it to an optimal frequency, probably 125Hz, set the gain high if you want your sub louder then it already is, but you can also adjust the response in the EQ too for finder adjustment.

I set surround and crystallizer on mine to 50% for both, gets a nice tame result that still makes my music sound better compared to them off entirely, I'm not sure what effect the crystallizer has on games though, never really tested that...
clean drivers and no EQ or processing? being software-based on standard settings the realtech doesn't do much, but if you were to try 24@96, EQ and maby some environment effects the CPU use on audiodg.exe should increase by a fair amount. (on winXP the driver uses its own service for this, same results)
edit; oh and 5.1 can be particularly heavy.

If you look towards the bottom of the report, I tested the difference between using EQ with effects vs no EQ no effects. The usage did not go up. However, Windows 7 may have CPU time issues with SBZ.

Edit: I decided to do a quick test again with EQ and all effects enabled. My CPU usage actually seems a tad lower and my fps increased slightly in my testing area. I'm just not seeing this elevated CPU usage issue at all from the SBZ. My usage is lower compared to using onboard since adding all the effects. Any idea's?
Edited by BradleyW - 3/20/14 at 3:40pm
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post #2167 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by minaelromany View Post

What is the best headphones for SBZ for $100 or less ?

They must :

1-Have very good audio quality for movies, music and games with SBX Pro

2-Be very comfortable for long sessions

3-Have a wide soundstage to get a true surround immersion

ath ad700

http://www.head-fi.org/t/534479/mad-lust-envys-headphone-gaming-guide-update-3-12-2014-monster-dna-on-ear-added

http://www.overclock.net/t/1014902/ocns-most-recommended-audio-products/0_50
    
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post #2168 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradleyW View Post



Edit: I decided to do a quick test again with EQ and all effects enabled. My CPU usage actually seems a tad lower and my fps increased slightly in my testing area. I'm just not seeing this elevated CPU usage issue at all from the SBZ. My usage is lower compared to using onboard since adding all the effects. Any idea's?

The audio chip used in both the Sound Blaster Z and Recon3D cards performs effects processing in hardware, not software. Therefore you should not see relatively large CPU spikes or a prolonged pattern of CPU spikes I am not speaking of hardware accelerated audio built in to games as it once was. I am speaking of the DSP effects that a user can toggle in the Creative Control Panel.

ASUS uses C-Media chips in all of its sound cards and the effects processing in the cards' software is performed in software only and does incur more CPU usage, although a small amount when used with modern processors.
post #2169 of 5496

I've read that they are lacking in bass.

I already have a cheap Koss KTXPRO1 Titanium and ROCCAT Kave 5.1 Surround Sound Gaming Headset and both of them are not so good. I regret getting the Roccat Cave because virtual surround from the SBZ is way better than the true 5.1 from the Cave which is ironic lol

I've found 3 headphones here in Egypt but don't know if they are worth the price:

1-AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-ANC27 Noise-Canceling Headphones $100

2-Sennheiser HD 429s $120

3-Pioneer SE-MJ721 $50
Edited by minaelromany - 3/20/14 at 4:17pm
post #2170 of 5496
Quote:
Originally Posted by chalkbluffgrown View Post

The audio chip used in both the Sound Blaster Z and Recon3D cards performs effects processing in hardware, not software. Therefore you should not see relatively large CPU spikes or a prolonged pattern of CPU spikes I am not speaking of hardware accelerated audio built in to games as it once was. I am speaking of the DSP effects that a user can toggle in the Creative Control Panel.

ASUS uses C-Media chips in all of its sound cards and the effects processing in the cards' software is performed in software only and does incur more CPU usage, although a small amount when used with modern processors.

Thanks for the information.

Can anyone help me on getting my bass to sound more crisp and full via EQ settings please?
Thank you.
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