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[Expertreviews] Sound Blaster ZxR review - Page 9

post #81 of 150
I'm looking to finally get a sound card and a new set of headphones. I'll be using a Toslink/optical to hook into my receiver and plugging my headphones directly into the sound card. I am looking for something that sounds good but I am more concerned about it being reliable and functioning correctly, I know there seems to be a lot of driver issues with sound cards. I'm not really all that concerned about positional audio, it will be nice to have the option but I mostly play MMORPGs.

Is the new Soundblaster card what I am looking for? I was planning on spending around $100 but I am willing to go up to $150 if it's worth it.
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post #82 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoleras View Post

Misconfiguration on his end apparently. Works fine for me - there are surround settings specifically for headphones in SBX pro studio. Shrug. Obviously you have to configure your soundcard as 5.1 in the windows control panel or it won't work properly on headphones. By default windows treats headphones like they're headphones, and surround is turned off. This was also the case on every other soundcard i've used. Not sure if that is his issue or what, but something isn't set up properly.

I really hope this is true although I am afraid it is probably not. Could you please show me these configuration options for the surround sound on headphones? When I select 5.1 it changes the system over to speakers and the only setting available on headphones is 2.0. With Dolby Headphone or CMSS-3D theer were options to configure the virtual surround and listen to tests of it while there is absolutely nothing even resembling these options and configurations in the software for the SOund Blaster Z when in headphone mode. Also I read there is no CMSS-3D on this card. The biggest thing is the gaming audio - I used Dolby Headphone and it was great then I used CMSS-3D on my X-Fi and it was good too and the first thing I noticed when switching to the SBZ was that there was no virtual surround on my headphones in games and the hard left to right panning issued of non-virtual surround are very evident.

If there was software surround for the headphones why wouldn't there be a surround test like in speaker mode and like in every other piece of software I have used that has virtual surround?

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post #83 of 150
Does it have connectors for the front panel?
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post #84 of 150
So much non sense in this threads... It hurts...

First of all, the ZxR will have a similar sound quality and sound signature as STX or Titanium HD:
- They all uses the same OpAmps (JRC2114D and LME49710).
- TiHD and ZxR have an arguably better DAC which is the PCM1794 against PCM1792 for STX. But it's virtually the same DAC, but one is software controlled and the other one hardware-controlled.
- ZxR and STX uses a better headphone amp than TiHD, which is TPA6120A2.

To simplify things for you guys, ZxR is the best bet. It's a STX with a better DAC or a TiHD with a better headphone amplifier but minus the hardware acceleration for games, but who cares, no games support OpenAL nowaday.

Need to make a choice?
- Best overall, probably ZxR. Best hardware and better gaming feature than STX.
- For high-end headphones, ZxR or STX.
- For music through speakers, any of them. They are the best amongst soundcards. But I'd go this way ZxR > STX > TiHD.
- For games, Titanium HD if you play OpenAL games. Otherwise, ZxR. STX has the worst gaming features of the three.
- If you have a Titanium HD, upgrade only if you need the headphone amp.
- if you have a Titanium HD and game a lot, keep your Titanium HD. It's not worth upgrading to ZxR imho.
- Price/quality: For games, TiHD > STX > ZxR. For music, STX > TiHD > ZxR.

I heard someone saying the Z is better than Titanium HD. That's just impossible. The Z has a sub-par DAC and low-quality opamp and caps.
I see no reasons to buy Zx except for the controller and microphone.

Also heard someone laughing about audiophiles with headphones. I should be bashing him. Headphones is the easy and cheaper way to become an audiophile. It's still expensive though.

And finally, you need advice about sound. This is not the right forum. Head over to Head-fi.org.
Edited by Kel Ghu - 1/6/13 at 11:57pm
post #85 of 150

My Z had nicheon fine gold caps, not exactly low quality.  Though I thought the card sounded much worse compared to my older elite pro.. Same Cirrus logic DAC...

 

Possible I got a faulty model, but its said and done with. Card was returned awhile ago. TIHD replaced elite pro. They for the most part trade blows.

 

Really disagree with subpar DAC. More to do with EE design and surrounding hardware.


Edited by Skylit - 1/7/13 at 12:32am
post #86 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kel Ghu View Post

So much non sense in this threads... It hurts...
First of all, the ZxR will have a similar sound quality and sound signature as STX or Titanium HD:
- They all uses the same OpAmps (JRC2114D and LME49710).
- TiHD and ZxR have an arguably better DAC which is the PCM1794 against PCM1792 for STX. But it's virtually the same DAC, but one is software controlled and the other one hardware-controlled.
- ZxR and STX uses a better headphone amp than TiHD, which is TPA6120A2.
To simplify things for you guys, ZxR is the best bet. It's a STX with a better DAC or a TiHD with a better headphone amplifier but minus the hardware acceleration for games, but who cares, no games support OpenAL nowaday.
Need to make a choice?
- Best overall, probably ZxR. Best hardware and better gaming feature than STX.
- For high-end headphones, ZxR or STX.
- For music through speakers, any of them. They are the best amongst soundcards. But I'd go this way ZxR > STX > TiHD.
- For games, Titanium HD if you play OpenAL games. Otherwise, ZxR. STX has the worst gaming features of the three.
- If you have a Titanium HD, upgrade only if you need the headphone amp.
- if you have a Titanium HD and game a lot, keep your Titanium HD. It's not worth upgrading to ZxR imho.
- Price/quality: For games, TiHD > STX > ZxR. For music, STX > TiHD > ZxR.
I heard someone saying the Z is better than Titanium HD. That's just impossible. The Z has a sub-par DAC and low-quality opamp and caps.
I see no reasons to buy Zx except for the controller and microphone.
Also heard someone laughing about audiophiles with headphones. I should be bashing him. Headphones is the easy and cheaper way to become an audiophile. It's still expensive though.
And finally, you need advice about sound. This is not the right forum. Head over to Head-fi.org.

I'm in the market for a new sound card for gaming, has Creative fixed the issues with the Titanium HD's dying an early death?
post #87 of 150
Soundcards are not something you need to upgrade every year. Please don't buy into the marketing. I wouldn't trust creative as far as you could throw them. There are few innovations left in the PC audio realm. Audio does not improve ad infinitum like GPU's. An STX is what, $150 these days? Buy one of those and call it done if you are an audiophile. There is no other card you want. If you need 5.1 get the ST and the daughterboard. Change the op amps as well, to what suits your cans, music tastes, and so on.

"Gaming" cards are a crock these days. There is no 3D sound that is hardware accelerated any more. Thanks to Creative and Microsoft. So until we have TRUE 3D sound (that is distance, direction and height.), you shouldn't be buying $100+ gaming sound cards...
post #88 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by linkin93 View Post

Soundcards are not something you need to upgrade every year. Please don't buy into the marketing. I wouldn't trust creative as far as you could throw them. There are few innovations left in the PC audio realm. Audio does not improve ad infinitum like GPU's. An STX is what, $150 these days? Buy one of those and call it done if you are an audiophile. There is no other card you want. If you need 5.1 get the ST and the daughterboard. Change the op amps as well, to what suits your cans, music tastes, and so on.
"Gaming" cards are a crock these days. There is no 3D sound that is hardware accelerated any more. Thanks to Creative and Microsoft. So until we have TRUE 3D sound (that is distance, direction and height.), you shouldn't be buying $100+ gaming sound cards...

Since when has there been no EAX 3D sound that is hardware accelerated? I'll admit it's been a good two years since I really played any games. Still have my Audigy 2 ZS!
post #89 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Systemlord View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by linkin93 View Post

Soundcards are not something you need to upgrade every year. Please don't buy into the marketing. I wouldn't trust creative as far as you could throw them. There are few innovations left in the PC audio realm. Audio does not improve ad infinitum like GPU's. An STX is what, $150 these days? Buy one of those and call it done if you are an audiophile. There is no other card you want. If you need 5.1 get the ST and the daughterboard. Change the op amps as well, to what suits your cans, music tastes, and so on.
"Gaming" cards are a crock these days. There is no 3D sound that is hardware accelerated any more. Thanks to Creative and Microsoft. So until we have TRUE 3D sound (that is distance, direction and height.), you shouldn't be buying $100+ gaming sound cards...

Since when has there been no EAX 3D sound that is hardware accelerated? I'll admit it's been a good two years since I really played any games. Still have my Audigy 2 ZS!

Since Windows Vista when they rewrote the audio stack to software only, which is the same audio stack as in Windows 7. OpenAL, EAX, CMSS-3D are all bandaid fixes.

Windows 8 can have direct hardware access to audio devices now, as they again rewrote the audio stack. They've done this every major revision of windows since the NT kernel. Sadly windows 8 does not appeal to me enough. I like my start menu TYVM microsoft.

CMSS-3D is the only thing that can get close, and even then it requires that you use ALchemy and games have to support the accelerated audio (IE Windows XP era games) - A list which isn't getting larger. As time goes in, compatibility will fall with newer operating systems.

Again, no sound card, game, or windows operating system currently fully supports hardware accelerated audio and TRUE 3D audio (again, distance, direction, and elevation. We currently have 2D sound - distance and direction, not height)

CMSS-3D is the closest we have. It's about 2.5D sound. Think isometric games. like Red Alert 2. It also carries a decent CPU overhead and is not entirely bug-free.

Gaming on Linux presents some interesting opportunities though...
Edited by linkin93 - 1/7/13 at 4:25am
post #90 of 150
If the analogue circuitry and the dac chips are the same I can't see much of the a difference, the stx and the zxr both use the Ti 6120 so can't really make out a difference unless there is a difference in the circuitry (filter, power delivery, etc) also the buffer stage opamps make a difference, so the sound sig will totally depend on the overall circuit design, from what I can make out they should perform similar sonically maybe with different type of sound signatures that may satisfy different groups who like different types of sounds. This debate is like beyerdynamic T1 vs Sennheiser HD800, both are in the same class, but yet to each his own.
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