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[Official] Creative Sound Blaster Z, Zx & ZxR Series Club - Page 441

post #4401 of 5688
Ok so taking a step back here, when I tried gaming with the SB Z outputting to to the SMSL M3, courtesy of setting the stereo output mode under advanced to get the surround processing to work, the surround field was massively compressed and, further, sounded somewhat digitised over the M3, compared to plugging headphones into the SB Z direct.

What I don't know then is if the M3 was causing that compression, or if it was the act of downmixing surround to stereo out to pipe it over the optical that was doing it.

Has anyone done an A/B DAC / Sound card direct comparison and not noticed a degradation in surround field?

If that's the case then I'll likely send the SB ZxR back and re-invest in alternative gear and another Z.

(Incidentally it's not something I can test myself at the moment (sending the M3 back tomorrow, it's boxed and waiting to go) as the ZxR I got had the ribbon missing from the box to connect the daughterboard optical up.)
Edited by WryZed - 6/5/16 at 2:55am
post #4402 of 5688
Since the SB-Z sends "stereomix over optical-out" at the same time as it does for headphone-out, i can A/B with my switchbox(after matching the volume ofc), and it sounds 100% the same ingame with SBX-Surround enabled.

switchbox like this, but then connected to SB-Z headphone-out vs. Sanskrit / O2:
VFh0i96m.jpg
(something like this i would recommend anyone, to combat "placebo" anyways rolleyes.gif )

Another thing you should take into consideration is, that the O/I of the ZxR is responsible for the "better sound" on your headphones(minus the bass response).
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post #4403 of 5688
Appreciate you taking the time to do that; didn't want to ask you directly. Perhaps that is the case then, the M3 itself isn't transparent enough, which is where the likes of the O2 I believe will come into its own.

Right, need to work this out then. Unfortunately being that I'm in the UK, that O2 is a little harder (read: more expensive) to come by. Will do a little digging.
post #4404 of 5688
Quote:
Originally Posted by WryZed View Post

Appreciate you taking the time to do that; didn't want to ask you directly. Perhaps that is the case then, the M3 itself isn't transparent enough, which is where the likes of the O2 I believe will come into its own.

Right, need to work this out then. Unfortunately being that I'm in the UK, that O2 is a little harder (read: more expensive) to come by. Will do a little digging.

Oh well, i wish i could have tried the M3 myself
Another option might be, to sent the ZxR back, get an SB-Z(OEM) instead and try another SPDIF DAC/Amp with it:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Decoder-DIR9001-PCM1793-Headphone-Amplifier/dp/B013HL9NW4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1465133051&sr=8-1&keywords=smsl+sd793

I like this thing alot, and it is wall powered unlike the M3, and has alot more power and sounds "sweet"(I/O was measured by someone, to be only ~0.7 Ohm too).

ZxR makes it complicated...
You pay for the superior output-stage, and have to buy an external Amp nontheless to get the best out of your headphones.
And then the card is way too expensive, to use optical-out to an external DAC/Amp (which might cost the same again as the card itself).
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post #4405 of 5688
I've already completed the return form for the ZxR, hah. Actually no, the M3 DOES have the option to power from wall; in fact you need to when using optical. It just seems the thing doesn't have the best DAC in the world, and although it can get very loud, it can't quite push the bass. To be fair I looked at the SD793-ii first; thought the M3 would be an improvement over it.

Going back to the drawing board anyway; may look at going for an outright O2/ODAC Rev2 combo, if not the Sanskrit like you have.
post #4406 of 5688
Quote:
Originally Posted by WryZed View Post

I've already completed the return form for the ZxR, hah. Actually no, the M3 DOES have the option to power from wall; in fact you need to when using optical. It just seems the thing doesn't have the best DAC in the world, and although it can get very loud, it can't quite push the bass. To be fair I looked at the SD793-ii first; thought the M3 would be an improvement over it.

Going back to the drawing board anyway; may look at going for an outright O2/ODAC Rev2 combo, if not the Sanskrit like you have.
I have the Zx and I use it with my Logitech z906 5.1 powered speaker system. The bass from the sound card to my sub woofer is overwhelming and I have to keep the bass at less than 25% to reduce the thump. Otherwise I hear complaints from the other side of the house that it is to loud no matter the volume......lol.
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post #4407 of 5688
A resistor in series to the headphones will increase the headphone's impedance, a resistor parallel to the headphones will decrease their impedance.
The ACM runs in series to the headphones, of which will increase the impedance of the headphones as the volume is reduced, if you haven't used it yet you should do so and see how the audio sounds at different volumes between the ACM and windows.
   
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post #4408 of 5688
So thanks for the help and advice all, especially to you Thunda!

It brings me great pleasure to say I've finally found "my" personal endgame, courtesy of the Sound BlasterX G5 paired with my Beyerdynamic DT770 250's. And that's it. Just that right there does everything I want / need it to do.

In high gain mode it does an exemplary job driving my cans, far, far better, balanced and much more controlled with much more range than either the SB Z, ZxR, SMSL M3 or my onboard Saber 9023P DAC. Aside from the SBX G5 including directmode, providing phenominal raw sonic performance from a music perspective (non-audiophile here, but it honestly is outright the best I've ever heard), it also has the fully featured SB Surround suite etc.

To summarise:
-The SB Z just sounded harsh and digital.
-The SB ZxR was harsh in the top end, flabby in the bottom end, boomy in the middle and an all-round unpleasent experience that needed a hell of a lot of EQ'ing (with the DT 770 250's)
-The SMSL M3 was pretty good; bright and clear, but somewhat bass light. You could "hear" the bass across the entire range, but you couldn't feel it.
-The SBX G5 is just powerful, balanced, even, and just works.

For reference, it's USB powered yet somehow drives the DT 770 250's without breaking a sweat. It has USB passthrough (not that I'd ever use that, but some might like it). It has Optical in and out and the fantastic options of "Direct Mode", "SPDIF-Out Direct Mode", AND "Headphone Surround for Line/Optical Out". If it sounds like I'm gushing? I am. (It should be noted it can't decode Dolby via Optical-in, but that doesn't bother me as I'm using this exclusively on the PC) Also, from what I've read, it's rated as 2.2 Ohm impedance output!

Quite why this hasn't had any more publicity focus or isn't more popular I honestly have no idea. This thing is a wildcard; I can't rate it high enough. And this is within hours of receiving it.

So, once again, thanks all for helping me find my endgame!

-WryZed
Edited by WryZed - 6/7/16 at 8:20am
post #4409 of 5688
@WryZed

cheers.gif

You don't wanna read this now, but:

I tried the G5 too, and it has indeed a very nice SQ(opened my eyes that i needed a lower O/I for my HD590's), but i didn't like the surround, for what i bought it in the first place( 7.1 and stuff...) frown.gif
You have to use it at ~60% at least, or you get "soundholes" in the rear-channels, which means that you get more hall and reverb at that level, as opposed to the SB-Z, whose surround works already at 33% with coherent surround.

Made a bunch of comparision videos aswell:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLp4CxVqDLJqbTP-Pz8hP8FOwYTUYlOgIV
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post #4410 of 5688
Huh. I hadn't noticed that. Will have to test a few games myself and confer for my own peace of mind. Wonder what prompts that then? I know the Z is toted as having a SoundCore3d chip, and the BlasterX has a SB-Axx1, but these are supposedly the same chip, just renamed.

With the presumably superior hardware you'd have thought there wouldn't be that difference. And if there is (and it's not just some quirk / driver issue) then I don't get it. You have the run of the mill SB Z that's average sound at best, the ZxR that's so ridiculously overpowered it murders sound quality, and then the seemingly perfect device that should do it all, but can't manage surround properly?

Although... just had a thought; I noticed "some" games didn't seem to like 7.1 virtual properly, but they played fine in 5.1. I see you had yours set to 7.1; did you try dropping it to 5.1 as per the same config the SB Z has?
Edited by WryZed - 6/8/16 at 7:45am
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