Creative Sound Blaster Z Series

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by IanM, Aug 15, 2012.

  1. Corvus.Corax

    Corvus.Corax Member

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    I think I have only tested the dedicated HP out through my front panel connection, so that might be the reason I found it sounding different than the front out. Now that I been crawling on the floor and plugged the head phone plug to the rear of the card it seems to sound better. It's actually a relief to hear that they use the better DAC for the HP out too. I had my doubts, since CL gives it only a 105 db snr on their specs.

    As for the reason why I would like to use the front out with my head phones: I really like to have a physical volume knob to adjust the volume levels. Since the cards seem to have pretty powerful amps (I really found Forte living up to its name, lol), I find it hard to find the exact comfortable volume. I think Anarion pointed out this in some post regarding the Forte volume control, as it goes silent at 4%. I have been using a CMOY amp for my volume adjustment needs. I own also a hybrid tube amp, but for some reason I like the CMOY sound more.

    To Meocene: thanks for the tip, I'll try that out next time I'm going to play a game with openal.
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  2. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Heh, i guess they took the Asus way and completely dumped their eax?
    No point for me buying a cheap amp disguised as a soundcard then, thats the number 1 reason i avoided asus xonars, my titanium hd will have to do untill they no longer release drivers for it.
    My opinion is a soundcard that cant process the sound by its own its not a soundcard at all, its like having a freaking graphics card that processes it on the CPU and all the graphics card do is change its contrast or brightness lol
     
    Last edited: Dec 1, 2012
  3. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    Wot? :3eyes:
     
  4. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    lol, agreed, the whole post needs highlighting.
    I cant follow any of the points he tried to make.
     

  5. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    The Z series still have EAX. It just it done in software instead of hardware. Like how the Auzentech Bravura did EAX 1-4 The Z series and recon does EAX thru software and is not emulation.

    Asus's EAX 5 is emulation while their EAX1/2 is just the standard support. Every sound device well most of them support EAX1/2. As EAX 1/2 is not restricted, Wheres EAX3-5 is. Asus never had EAX 3 or 4 and don't really have eax 5. As EAX5 emulation just guesses and doesn't do it right.

    Games been using Xaudio/Wwise or FmodEX+EFX ,OpenAL+EFX or even rapture3D or some other custom sound api. There haven't been a new EAX using game in a very very long time . As Creative replaced EAX with EFX years ago. EFX is more open then EAX and it can do whatever EAX can do and more.

    EAX support on creative cards now really only matters for older openAL games that has EAX and those that you use with alchemy. It should not be the main reason to get a creative card now a days.

    OpenAL works in software just like it does in hardware only with the cpu doing it. Plus cpus today are fast enough to handle it. So the whole hardware acceleration must have isnt needed any more. This isn't the old days, where cpus was slow and H/W Acceleration helped with that.


    It silly to call a card not a sound card just because it process the sound in software instead of hardware. It is still a sound card which has a DSP which passes the processing to the cpu, Besides supplying it features to the output.

    Also the reason why sound cards today have headphone amp ICs is so people with headphones that need power can get by on the ICs without having to buy a external amp to use their headphones. Unless there headphones isnt getting enough power by the supplied hp amp ic thats on the sound card.

    Now theres nothing wrong with a titanium HD, its a great card so is the Xonar STX. But its silly bash STX just because the sound card is software. it just as much a good sound card as the Titanium HD. AS well as the Xonar ST and the EOL Xonar HDAV 1.3 Analog.
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2012
  6. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Thank you for your post, its nice that you know all this information, i didnt even know about EFX.

    My point wasnt that the STX outputs bad sound quality, my point is that a sound card apparently in these modern days are mostly just amps, for me an amp doesnt count for an actual soundcard, despite the ability to apply some random gimmick effects to the output it doesnt process the sound itself.

    The hardware accelerated soundcards semm to be slowly dying and Creative apparently killed them too with these new releases, frankly i dont feel hurt or anything, i just find it stupid where the "sound card" thing is heading to, every game having their own bloatware sound engine to do whatever the heck they feel doing with it and stockpiling it on a cpu, which also leads me to think that an unified effort would have produced much better results than each game company designing their own sound engines,

    At this point, i might just stop bothering with computer soundcards, there are much more professional ways to listen to music than any of these so called soundcards will ever provide, that includes both asus and creative.

    Long story short my question is, since a computer soundcard is a joke compared even to a mainstream AMP, heck even a mainstream DAP like nwz f806 and now the sound is also processed on the cpu, whats the point?
    EDIT: This is a honest question btw.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  7. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    A soundcard has a DAC with a pre-amp attached.
    The pre-amp is powerful enough on some cards to drive headphones, but it is not a loudspeaker amplifier.
    It is a low level amplifier (op-amp) and it is necessary for analogue output no matter what you think.
    Without it, you wouldnt have an output volume control.
    On some cards you can change the op-amps to change the tone and/or quality of the sound.
    You demonstrate a distinct lack of knowledge with your rants.

    The DAC is one of the most important parts of the soundcard that you have completely neglected.
    The pre-amp circuit is also very important as it affects the tonal balance and other sound quality characteristics.


    Hardware accelerated effects are not dying out, you are posting in the very thread about the new soundcards that have a new onboard DSP for processing effects.
    How did you miss this?

    Also, older EAX games can still use accelerated effects through OpenAL.
    Some newer games that use OpenAL can also make use of the EAX extensions.
    Even then, it doesnt matter if audio is processed on the CPU, its rare that there wont be enough CPU left to do all the processing.
    You finished?
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  8. flimbo

    flimbo Master Guru

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    So according to Legendary I should ditch my Xonar ST DAC and just listen to my FLAC music through onboard sound into my amp and floorstanding speakers then as it doesn't make any difference...??
     
  9. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    One thing gaming Dsps like Dolby headphone or CMSS 3D headphone which people tend to use alot when there gaming, Then any other seettings that they need for other uses. Also sound cards have better analog sound quality then onboard audio. As long you have the gear to match.


    I have tried using onboard audio in the past with the AD700s which was my very first entry into the audiophile headphones game. It was the worst thing I heard in my life. Because at the time I was waiting on a sound card I bought to arrive, and I didn't have a backup sound card. Onboard main issues relate to it audio quality. because of cheap parts they tend to use on them, or how they are designed. Which why they don't work well with headphones designed for audio quality, but with cheap gaming marketed headsets or some dirt cheap headphones that some people use.


    People also go for sound cards because it just works and has all the options they want or need. A external dac alot of times does not. plus the cost of a good dac tend to be the reasons why some people don't go that route. Other then having to make room for it on their desk. Simply because that sound card has the features that they care about without doing any thing extra. Plus a sound card is cheaper and for alot of people that's all they care about,Getting features at a affordable price i and 5.1/7.1 analog usage is why people go for sound cards and not external dacs. I have friends which alot of them don't want external dac amps because they lack analog muiti channel outputs.

    I still have uses for sound cards my self, even tho I have a external dac amp setup. I use a Recon3D Pci-e that i got cheap used off amazon. For it DSP options and so I wouldn't have to deal with the major issues that my onboard audio chipset is having with drivers. That makes it unusable with my external dac amp. I do not use my Audio-GD NFB 12 usb input because it cause issues while I gaming.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  10. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Lets imagine i connect it through fibre optics to my amp instead of analog, does the same still apply?

    I enjoy the 3D sound on headphones or 2.x speaker option on my soundcard, but for me it only really works with hardware accelerated sound, with software accelerated sound i just notice a different tone in the sound but no actual improvement in 3D position detection.

    Yes i wouldnt say onboard chip sound just as good as a soundcard at all, i never liked onboard sound and probably never will, the annoying electric noise is 1 of the things i dislike most.

    What do you mean with an external dac doesnt? do you mean software wise or hardware wise?

    Yes, with this i see the point, cheaper and alot more compact fitting your computer case rather than adding a new case on top of your pc case.

    I dont know if no high end amp has analogue multichannel support, but i think some high end sony have, could be wrong.


    So what you are saying is that you use the soundcard to convert the signal to analogue and pass it to your amp because the onboard sound chip has software and maybe hardware issues that prevent you to do so?
    Thats the idea that im having in mind of doing aswell if and when im financially allowed to do so.


    All in all, my main logic reason to buy a soundcard for pc was its hardware abilities and ofc sound quality aswell, since its hardware processing is removed in future cards then it only leaves it with sound quality as a benefit over an onboarchip (and some software features), since thats the only reason someone would buy a soundcard from now on, they will need much harder focus on sound quality than ever before, replaceable opamps even though as a nice feature as it might be, its not a feature that is going to save the world alone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012

  11. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    Might wanna re-read the post. I was ninja editing while you was typing up your post and kept doing alot of changes.
     
  12. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    Well, you do understand that if you do not use Alchemy or play OpenAL games, all the effects including CMSS (as far as I know) are done with software even with X-Fi DSP cards (unless you play old DirectSound game with Alchemy or OpenAL game). Hardware acceleration is totally irrelevant these days. Current processors pack much more processing power anyway. Knowing Creative's driver enabling hardware acceleration for their older cards might actually slow down you games. I personally have not noticed any difference what so ever when it comes to performance.

    High quality DACs and ADCs are well worth it compared to onboard and some cards have really good headphone AMPs too. For some reason you make it sound like any crappy external DAC or headphone AMP is better than high quality sound card and that most certainly is not the case. They also are not practical for many people since it's one more device outside the case.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2012
  13. bobmitch

    bobmitch Master Guru

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    Well, I received mine today from Newegg. Installed into Windows 8 with very little effort. Sounds great (still tweaking the EQ to my liking)...have a few settings already. Card is really good with discrete sound...I have it setup for 5.1 and I can't hear bleed over as I did with my Titanium. So far, pretty impressed. Only CON...if you consider it...who's idea was putting the red light inside the card. My system color scheme was all blue until now...oh well...sounds good, though. Will come back with more after I play a bit...
     
  14. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    When you say vs your titanium, do you mean the old titanium or the titanium hd, what is bleed over?
     
  15. rincewind

    rincewind Member

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  16. MrBonk

    MrBonk Ancient Guru

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  17. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    I do not know what card they used but if they just did a simple line out, line in thing then I wouldn't call that a test al all. The results would say absolutely nothing about DAC quality, it doesn't have as good ADC.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2012
  18. ESlik

    ESlik Ancient Guru

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    Different sample rates change the color from red to blue.
     
  19. scrapser

    scrapser Master Guru

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    It's now December 7th. Any updated news on when the rest of the cards will be released for sale? I don't see them available anywhere...even for preorder.
     
  20. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    Zx is available for pre-order at least here in Finland but availability is 3-5 weeks... No info about ZxR. Oh I wish they would release it ASAP. I can't stand this sound.

    Also I have to say two years ago I would have never believed that I would find use for media player's filter box. Just too much scrolling now. xD
     

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