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A couple questions about CMSS-3D, Dolby Headphone, and similar technologies

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm helping my friend build a computer, and it's time to pick out a sound card.

My first question is this: What is the best, currently-available 3D-positioning technology? It used to be either CMSS-3D or Dolby Headphone -- but what now?

Second question: I have always preferred CMSS-3D, but it seems that Creative has replaced it with THX TruStudio Pro, which, apparently, isn't nearly as good. Which of Creative's cards, if any, still support CMSS-3D?

Finally, I'm open to recommendations for other cards. My friend will be gaming with headphones and wants a sound card that will provide him with good simulated-surround-sound (like CMSS-3D) for less than $150. Is there a go-to card that I should be looking at?
post #2 of 10
The new Creative Sound Blaster Z cards have SBX, which from what I've heard is a huge improvement of THX, and better or at least as good as CMSS-3D. I just ordered a Z today, it should be here on Wednesday and I can tell you what I think compared to my current Xonar DS, not much more than that though.
If you want CMSS-3D go with a Titanium HD, for SBX get the Z or ZxR (don't get the Zx, it's the same as the Z but with an audio control module that I have heard reduces sound quality)

You can find videos on youtube comparing them too, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHKHJmTytQ I can't really tell without playing with it myself though.
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheYonderGod View Post

The new Creative Sound Blaster Z cards have SBX, which from what I've heard is a huge improvement of THX, and better or at least as good as CMSS-3D. I just ordered a Z today, it should be here on Wednesday and I can tell you what I think compared to my current Xonar DS, not much more than that though.
If you want CMSS-3D go with a Titanium HD, for SBX get the Z or ZxR (don't get the Zx, it's the same as the Z but with an audio control module that I have heard reduces sound quality)

You can find videos on youtube comparing them too, for example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3HHKHJmTytQ I can't really tell without playing with it myself though.

Thanks for the reply. And yes, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the new sound card when you get it. You should PM me with your opinion after you've had a chance to use it.

Bad news; it looks like the Titanium HD is being produced with THX TruStudio. Just look it up on newegg or amazon.. Kind of a shame, because I think it used it have CMSS-3D.

That said, I think I am left with two options. I could try and find a Titanium (non HD) which would have CMSS-3D (many sites are out of stock or only have used), or I could get an Audigy SE which I think is still being produced. The only downside to the Audigy SE is that it only has EAX 3.0.

It's a shame that the Titanium was discontinued. I feel that it was their best "bang-for-buck" card, and that it hit the sweet spot with all the right technologies.

Another option is that I could buy the X-Fi Go! Pro (USB), but I think that PCI is better because it would have lower latency (among other reasons I don't fully understand).
Edited by lukeman3000 - 5/20/13 at 3:21am
post #4 of 10
I have a fairly new TiHD and it has full CMSS3D support...
     
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post #5 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeman3000 View Post

Thanks for the reply. And yes, I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the new sound card when you get it. You should PM me with your opinion after you've had a chance to use it.

Bad news; it looks like the Titanium HD is being produced with THX TruStudio. Just look it up on newegg or amazon.. Kind of a shame, because I think it used it have CMSS-3D.

That said, I think I am left with two options. I could try and find a Titanium (non HD) which would have CMSS-3D (many sites are out of stock or only have used), or I could get an Audigy SE which I think is still being produced. The only downside to the Audigy SE is that it only has EAX 3.0.

It's a shame that the Titanium was discontinued. I feel that it was their best "bang-for-buck" card, and that it hit the sweet spot with all the right technologies.

Another option is that I could buy the X-Fi Go! Pro (USB), but I think that PCI is better because it would have lower latency (among other reasons I don't fully understand).

It uses both. THX true studio works in entertainment mode and CMSS3D in gaming mode.
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post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nightingale View Post

It uses both. THX true studio works in entertainment mode and CMSS3D in gaming mode.

What about about the newest of Creative's cards - do they still offer CMSS3D for gaming mode, or has it been completely removed?
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by lukeman3000 View Post

What about about the newest of Creative's cards - do they still offer CMSS3D for gaming mode, or has it been completely removed?

By newest Creative cards, I am going understand that you are talking about the Z series of cards since they came out a little while ago. They do not offer CMSS-3D, what they do offer is SBX Surround which actually offers some nice surround. I don't recommend one of their USB solutions because it is just software CMSS-3D, it doesn't have the actual processor that something like the TiHD or their other X-Fi cards would have which makes CMSS-3D the "best" surround gaming option.

Here are two examples of SBX surround in action:
Mirrors Edge
Tomb Raider
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post #8 of 10
Having tested and used all 4 main VSS technologies extensively, here's my summarized view on them:

*note*
Not all VSS technologies work well for all types of headphone, for example Dolby Headphones does not generally work too well with most closed headsets/headphones. This is due to the reverb DH has and having a closed headphones bounces the "echo" effect, leading to what many refer to as "like being in a tunnel".

CMSS-3D
They still have the best positional cues over amongst the 3 VSS technologies, they are still the ones to go for if your primary needs is absolute positional accuracy.
The downside of CMSS-3D is that it makes the audio sound overly thin, it's worst especially if you use it with bass-shy headphones and even more so if they're open ones. Though there are people who do feel that the "tin can" effect does help even more with positional accuracy as it accentuates the mid-high frequencies, leading to picking up audio cues around the player.

I for one personally think that if you want CMSS-3D to behave like an all rounder, you'll want to use a closed headphone/headset and do at least have tight bass.

Dolby Headphones
They're honestly the worst VSS tech in terms of positional accuracy IF you're using it on a closed headphone with relatively narrow soundstage. Many people do not understand that for DH to shine, open headphones with decent soundstage and some possess at least some tight bass is a must. I use DH with a HE-400 and K702, they're just SWEEET. Positional accuracy is indeed still not as good as CMSS-3D, but the immersion I get... I'm willing to look that off.

Because of this, Dolby Headphones generally work nice with movies too. Much better than CMSS-3D at least.

THX Surround
I don't know what went wrong with THX Surround honestly because what I feel is that it is very inconsistent. In most games, THX surround just doesn't project proper positional accuracy but instead over emphasize on immersion. I honestly only found THX Surround usable with Battlefield 3, I don't know why... but any other FPS or games, THX surround just sounds dull... lifeless.

Some users do however feel that THX Surround provides the best immersion and is good for movies, I personally don't feel that way as I think Dolby Headphones fits that bill better... for me, at least.

SBX Surround
It's been quite on the upward spiral lately, what THX Surround did wrong... Creative took it and modified whatever they needed to and the result is something I would call: the marriage between Dolby Headphones and CMSS-3D.
SBX does not have better positional accuracy than CMSS-3D, but it IS better than Dolby Headphones (even with a good open headphone combo). It doesn't present that "tin can" effect or have too much reverb.

Best of all, I feel that SBX Surround just works with any type of headphones. Be it open, semi-open or closed. SBX fits well within the range and although it doesn't get to be as accurate or as immersive with CMSS-3D and DH, I think SBX is the best all rounder for someone who just wants to game and watch movies.


I hope that helps. Remember, virtual surround sound DOES work. People who say it doesn't, well... too bad, it doesn't for them.
IMO, they work and they're fun to use.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by benbenkr View Post


SBX Surround
It's been quite on the upward spiral lately, what THX Surround did wrong... Creative took it and modified whatever they needed to and the result is something I would call: the marriage between Dolby Headphones and CMSS-3D.
SBX does not have better positional accuracy than CMSS-3D, but it IS better than Dolby Headphones (even with a good open headphone combo). It doesn't present that "tin can" effect or have too much reverb.

Best of all, I feel that SBX Surround just works with any type of headphones. Be it open, semi-open or closed. SBX fits well within the range and although it doesn't get to be as accurate or as immersive with CMSS-3D and DH, I think SBX is the best all rounder for someone who just wants to game and watch movies.


I hope that helps. Remember, virtual surround sound DOES work. People who say it doesn't, well... too bad, it doesn't for them.
IMO, they work and they're fun to use.

detailed settings for the SBX surround pleeeeeaaaaasseeee ? smile.gif
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post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoFGR View Post

detailed settings for the SBX surround pleeeeeaaaaasseeee ? smile.gif

Might try asking here.
http://forums.creative.com/forumdisplay.php?f=6
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