Sound Blaster releases Play! 3 USB Sound Card with Creative DAC

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Jul 4, 2017.

  1. Hilbert Hagedoorn

    Hilbert Hagedoorn Don Vito Corleone Staff Member

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  2. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    For $5 more....the FiiO K1 is a better option....
     
  3. SirDremor

    SirDremor Master Guru

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    Let's try finding even a single soundcard without DAC...

    Creative, be more clever creative rather than silly creative.
    Also don't pretend your clients are that stupid.
     
  4. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Except a lot of their clients do fall for it. I'm not aware of any products Creative creates that an alternative doesn't do. They haven't really been relevant since the early 2000s, but because of legendary products like the Soundblaster 16 or Audigy, people keep buying their products.

    I wouldn't say any of Creative's products are bad, but they're not worth buying IMO.
     

  5. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    I wouldn't exactly say that. What makes this decent is not really the audio quality (this sucks from audiophile point of view) but the software: virtual surround for gamers. Also their smart volume thingy works really well. I use that all the time while watching series and youtube if the voices are really inconsistent or really low.
     
  6. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    Don't most audio driver support decent headphone surround? I've seen the feature advertised often, though I haven't tried them myself (I use actual 5.1 surround speakers).

    Even if Creative does a better job with this than others, they still have a knack for dropping support for newer versions of Windows pretty quickly, and they have little to no Linux support at all. Seeing as audio chipsets* can't really get a whole lot better than they are now (or have been for the past 15 or so years) this is a bit irritating, though, I do understand why they do things this way.

    * I said chipset, I'm aware things like amplifiers and noise reduction continues to improve.
     
  7. bigfutus

    bigfutus Master Guru

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    I had Audigy l33t something (the real deal, not the gimped crap) for years, and after switching to onboard Realtek with the new mobo, i don't hear any noticeable difference on the T6300 speakers. Onboard sound has come a long way.
     
  8. SirDremor

    SirDremor Master Guru

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    Well, maybe it is because your MB has a special dedicated PCB for sound "card"? (if we check you profile details)
    And some mobos sport real SoundBlasters onboard...
    so, comparing any of these above with low-end Realtek AC-something - the latter is still utter crap.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  9. gx-x

    gx-x Maha Guru

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    And how do you propose to get sound into mechanical speakers without using Digital Audio Converter (DAC) ? :3eyes:

    Granted, creative has, for today's standards, crappy DACs, but you can't avoid them at one point in the system...Sure, you can do spdif, toss link but at the end of that, there has to be a DAC.

    edit: I am talking PC(computer) ----> Speakers.

    ofc not, those are toy speakers. No offense, it's a fact. Not only for creative, but for all IT companies creating speakers and calling them "hi-fi super duper mega sega 500$ wonder". They don't know very much about sound. They know that people want bass, treble, power and it ends there.
    Plug in ~100$ Sennheiser headphones to various sound cards and receivers and I claim that you will notice various differences. Some to your liking, some not, but differences nevertheless.

    edit2: I will not argue sound quality any further. I am not audiophile, my system is not perfect, it might not even be to everyone's liking and what I wrote is not about that. I just stated that you should look away from IT companies when buying speakers. Look at Altec Lansing, Micorlab at least. Those people know sound. And they are low end. Still, way above anything Logitech or Creative will ever make.
     
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2017
  10. Fergutor

    Fergutor Member

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    Many replies...

    I did a full response before but I lost the text because of automatic log off...grrrrr anyway sorry for the lenght and bad english

    Yeah, I didn't liked the "with DAC", but then you have to understand:
    1-They have to play the market game. People say that "DACs are better than soundcards" for any excuse and companies do the same including saying that they're better due to no software involved...
    2-Also it's about the type of product this one is, due to the fact that this product works as those other so called DACs and works without drivers, so is not taking clients as stupids...

    As far as "products" go, true of course as far as I know at least (they do cover more ground, are more diversified than any competitors they have though). But in technologies and development of those, they are/were ahead many times, and still are I think.
    They are relevant! How not!? Last christmas I tried to use a price cut in Sound Blaster Z in Amazon and they were all sold fast! And I couldn't get mine. Audigy series X-Fi PCI series, X-Fi PCI-E series, external sound cards, Recon3d, Z Series, the new Ae5...most of them impressive products being some even revolutionary... maybe you are simply not interested and did not pay attention, but they are highly relevant to people that appreciate good sound in their PCs.
    I think (talking about sound cards) they're worth buying given that they're arguably better than the competition cards, and of course much better than the best onboard audio.

    I read this critic many times, but never justified. High quality components and construction; high values of SNR, sampling, bit depth that is reflected in tests...Even Onkyo use an X-Fi chip in one of their sound cards that is held in very high regard! (maybe the rest of the card is the good part?) I'm not saying you're wrong, I don't know, just want to know the reason/explanation for that statement.

    I tested personally CMSS3D versus Dolby Headphoes of an Asus card in 2009 when the Creative solution had 5 years already: only ego and denial could make one say that dolby was better. Also the flexibility of the Creative solution was amazing: you could downmix or upmix from any to any kind of speaker setup from headphones and stereo speakers (also using THX improvements you could even set the angle of the speakers apart from other many things) to 7.1 (also 6.1, 5.1 and 4.0/4.1) you couldn't do that with the Asus card en. wikipedia . org/wiki/Sound_Blaster_X-Fi#CMSS-3D (remove spaces). Both brands "improved" their solutions (Asus list newer version of dolby but if it's similar to that one...) and I haven't tested those. What I'm saying is they aren't the same, they don't sound the same, and each onboard and dedicated brand have their different solutions, so is to expect that one could be better than the other.
    In fact, just listen to this (use headphones and no effects) /watch?v=2BxO9cd-sYA The difference is gigantic. Creatives' sound that good, yes, and yes, dolby is THAT bad (and onboard...). So, no, not the same, not "decent" in some cases...
    I have a X-Fi Xtreme Music bought in 2006, never had a problem with drivers in Win XP, Vista and 7 and there are drivers for 8, 8.1 and 10, also I have an Audigy SE and there are also Win 10 drivers, so what you say is a lie.
    Chipsets can improve, see how the change from Audigy to X-Fi was huge, then they abandon that one for the Core3D (I read that the X-Fi was an expensive to manufacture programable processor and the Core3D is a cheaper DSP only...I don't know...). They can improve in capabilities, new technologies support, performance, adapt/take advantage to the new ways SO's use the audio...
     

  11. bigfutus

    bigfutus Master Guru

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    Well that was my point, on these average cheap speakers i don't hear difference, so why the hell should i care? I don't like to wear headphones anyway, and that's a fact too.
     
  12. 0blivious

    0blivious Ancient Guru

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    I was never going to again after my X-Fi issues, but I got my Z for $30 used.

    Creative makes good consumer grade stuff but no doubt there's better options.

    I can absolutely tell the difference between onboard and the SBZ with my z-5500 set.
     
  13. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    I am not aware of any technologies Creative offers that I'm missing out on. Sure, this could be one of those situations where it's like "you don't know how much better things are until you try ____!" because I've totally been there. But the fact of the matter is, despite creating audio processors, their products are still too heavily software based. As a Linux user, that's a turnoff to me, but I haven't been fond of Creative's heavy reliance on software long before I used Linux.
    Also, I often wouldn't want some of the technologies they offer, since that often means distorting the audio in a way that's more gimmicky than useful, such as EAX. I'd rather watch a movie or play a game the way the producers wanted me to experience it.

    Popular!=relevant. As I said before, I'm aware people keep buying their products, but that's not because of relevance, but rather things such as:
    * Jumping to the conclusion that integrated audio is definitively bad, regardless of actually testing it or seeing how good it really could be. Keep in mind - I'm aware most cards by Creative are objectively better than integrated audio, but I'm referring to the average person or wannabe audiophile who has $40 headphones, where they're not going to hear much of a difference in the first place.
    * Out of "tradition". Some people just buy stuff for their PCs whether they need it or not. For example, I knew someone who bought ECC RAM for every device he could, even a laptop that just acted like a thin client.
    * Brand loyalty.
    * Placebo effect: Though many Creative products are technically better than many alternatives, the auditory differences are often (not always) negligible. Nowadays your headphones or sound system have a greater impact on audio quality than a sound card. Meanwhile if your headphones or speakers can be operated via a digital audio source such as HDMI or SPDIF, a discrete card is effectively useless and a complete waste of money, since even the worst digital chipsets are often plenty good enough. Don't forget - many audio receivers have their own built-in processing that handle the features Creative software supports, except it runs independently and supports any device you plug into it.

    That's the thing though - it doesn't make sense to me to pay a high premium that is arguably better than alternatives. To me, that isn't good enough for a $100+ price tag. To be fair, I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile, but if I were I still wouldn't buy a sound card (or USB) sound source.

    Sure, that's nice, but you can do all of that that driver-free using a discrete sound receiver and integrated audio (either on-board or GPU based). Then you get the bonus of an external system away from EMI with clean power delivery. Not to mention, you'll now get less bloat on your PC along with a free PCI(e) slot for something else.


    Anyway, to each their own - I understand for some people they need good recording capabilities, or maybe they don't have room for an external sound receiver. Some people always live with the latest and greatest with disposable cash, where any cost or time-sensitive disadvantages are irrelevant. But to me, a discrete sound card is not and never will be the best option, in either a quality or economic standpoint.
     
  14. gx-x

    gx-x Maha Guru

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    it doesn't sound the same because audio processing unit is still used before sound export. Integrated cards tend to have a lot of jitter. If there is a way to bypass audio processor (not the DAC), I am not aware of one.
    One way to lower the jitter would be an external sound card attached via, say, USB and then send data to receiver digitally, but still, the AP unit from that USB card will be used to pack the data...
    There is a "noticeable" difference in sound between my onboard sound sent via spdif and the same thing done via asus xonar (and x-fi extreme music before I had xonar)...
     
  15. Venix

    Venix Master Guru

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    Their legendary card for me was sb live! Was also my first speakers with woofer 4.1 so back then when i load medal of honor alied assault the nornandy stage maxed out woofer .. i can not really describe my experience i finished in my teen pants twice after the first time! Nowdays i have a soundblaster z ... does it sound beter than my onboard ?i... Think so might be placebo effect...do i recomend the card .,..not really
     

  16. gx-x

    gx-x Maha Guru

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    yeaa, I still have soundblaster 16 somewhere in my cupboard :) The difference in sound from PC speaker and loudspeakers while playing first Doom was just out of this world :)
     
  17. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    I have only ever encountered jitter maybe 3 different integrated audio sources, and two of them were due to high CPU usage. When using a digital audio source, the differences you hear are probably due to local processing (on the PC itself) before it is sent over to the receiver. If you turn off all enhancements but have the same bit rate and sample rate, they shouldn't sound any different. Besides, what's the point of using the enhancements when you're using an external receiver (assuming it supports the same things in the first place)?

    Keep in mind, some integrated audios tend to lie about their specs. I've seen some real cheap ones that allowed you to use 192KHz and 24-bit despite the chipset not actually going that high. So, it is important to know the actual chipset capabilities. All that being said, I am fully aware some modern integrated audios are legitimately bad and that making a blanket statement that "using SPDIF is good enough" isn't universal.
     
  18. gx-x

    gx-x Maha Guru

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    Jitter is not a big deal, I just mentioned that it is there in higher amounts when using integrated s. cards. I don't even mind it, never "heard" a difference in sound anyway.
    As for the differences, I use bit streaming wherever I can. I don't use enhancers except occasionally normalizer during the night since it works better than Yamaha's 'Night mode'.
    Other than that - not using anything. My whole sound setup is made up of JBL monitor series speakers.

    Every speaker is connected to the receiver. Xonar is used only for spdif to receiver.

    I have zero use for those data rates except for DTS (since it's bit streamed, it's "auto-setup" so to speak, and since my receiver doesn't support anything above 96KHz means I really have no use for 192 :) ). For stereo i keep things 16bit 44.1. :)

    what usually defines integrated sound is loose bass which makes it blurry in a way. As soon as you plug in, say even x-fi xtrememusic, you notice the difference if you have proper speakers (or decent headphones). You won't notice this on Z-5500 because that sub enclosure is made for SPL and driver is kinda...ok, let's just say meh. :p (edit: it's meh for my taste, it might be perfectly good for others, and that's fine)
     
  19. Fergutor

    Fergutor Member

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    Maybe you're not missing out anything, I don't know, but that depends on your usage and equipment. If you have a 5.1 (or 7.1?) with an external receiver via SPDIF then first maybe you're only missing audio quality as "gx-x" said, maybe (that's surprising to me); second, by the nature of your setup you're missing proper stereo for stereo sources, but that's the nature of that speakers setup... (there are system with 2 subs though)
    Now if you had analog stereo speakers and stereo headphones like me, then you will be missing everything, as onboard audio can't give you audio quality, drive quality, "proper" surround emulation, audio enhancement (eq, bass treble boost and such) quality...Also, you can go to their site and take a look to their technologies to see if you're missing anything...


    This is absolutely true at least with analog audio, you can't believe how bad it is what you're using until you use something better (or the other way around), it can sound so different that you can't go back.

    Maybe you're right, but in that case I can't blame Creative because you want to use Linux. On the other hand if there aren't Linux drivers, maybe they should start making them. Maybe is not possible...(I know S##T haha)

    To me, that's absolutely the right way of thinking, but it's not what we're talking about when we talk about audio quality, EQ, quality of electronic components, quality of processor/dsp, snr bit depth sampling values, etc. It is when we're talking about surround emulation or downmix/upmix, crystalizer and similar, thx bass bost, etc

    Again, the right way of thinking. But the thing is that one usually doesn't have/doesn't know what's the right equipment to listen it. Games are the best examples as most don't have (at least in-game) speaker setup, this means if a game is for 5.1 or stereo or automatic or stereo to 5.1 expanded in the case of that setup is configured, how could you know? If it's 5.1, for example, then how are you supposed to listen in headphones, stereo speakers or 7.1 speakers? If a game has a "stereo" setting, is it for speaker or headphones? To emulate 3d sound is not the same. So cmss3d, sbx, dolby, and others you're sure that you'll have the best to that particular setup you have from whatever the source is (as long it's working right). Also sound in games, some games is terrible and can be improved, for example headphones 3d clues for some games are bad, and get much better with surround emulation, I know it, I test that from 2006 :D . In the WinXP era there were games that were meant (have the option to turn on/ff if you had the hardware) to be used with certain Creative features like EAX 4 or 5, plus other features and it was amazing (Doom3, Battlefield 2, aaaahhhh best sound ever). By the way EAX is not meant for movies, CMSS3D, SBX are, and what I can say is that yes, it does distort the sound, it's not the way it's supposed to be heard (the movie's audio) but is DAMN GOOD anyway when you don't have 5.1 or 7.1 speakers. In fact I prefer it in some ways like surround speakers have to be in the exact precise place that no movie especify, the speakers are all full range, something that (almost) no one have so you have to use bass redirection and you just messed that up again... I do have a 5.1 that I don't use anymore and while I mostly prefer it for 5.1 content, I don't have the space and I consider it useless for stereo sources compared to my stereo speakers and headphones, and the times I use 5.1 or 7.1 are few. Also in games there's the "elevation filter" and works very good.

    It is popular! If it wasn't Asus would not had so many sound card options, given Creative is out there eating all the small market. I remember the times when integrated video solutions where as good as to people not considering buying video cards and calling them obsoletes just as you talk about sound cards, simply because are not their/your thing. Surely the market is not big, mostly people think onboard solutions are good enough (and they're absolutely not). And you said it before:
    There is big audio difference, the great SNR value that is so used by onboard audio advertising is useless: you'll have terrible quality with less noise...The enhancements and tools you have in sound cards you'll not find or are not good in onboard solutions, the sound gets blurry/muddy which is unnaceptable, etc, etc. No placebo at all here.
    So no, I don't agree with the reasons you listed for people to buy sound cards. After hearing how lacking is onboard audio, there's no excuse for being against better solutions.


    I though "arguably" meant something that have a good argument backing it...my mistake! Anyway I was talking about Creative sound cards like the Z being better than the Asus cards for example. If you were an audiophile you could not be happy with onboard audio and you would pay for a good expensive sound card that give you the sound you need.

    Maybe, some say no, but if you don't have/can't have/can't buy or don't want a sound receiver and you want good sound then...
    One can say your setup is an alternative to sound cards.
    And you said before that you wouldn't pay us$100+ for a sound card but receivers even more expensive. Seeing all what's offered by bth systems I prefer sound cards (or both at the same time :D ).
    So:

    Yes, to each their own. But, apart from quality that I already talked about, to me a receiver where I live is not just a bit more expensive than a good sound card as is in other places, but many, many times more expensive, prohibitively more expensive (from around 7 to 1 the price :( ) .
    Bye!
     
  20. gx-x

    gx-x Maha Guru

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    To be honest, all audiophiles I know would always take Asus over Creative. Though, that's just for listening to FLACs from PC, and they wouldn't use digital connection at all. So it's not that relevant to them since they rather pop in a CD and avoid using PC for "serious sound". Though, I personaly often find speakers they use add more properties (they call it "color") to the sound than an crappy soundcard would but you can't argue with people that spent tens of thousands on speakers. :D
    I trust that some guy that was payed 10 times the price of their speakers knows better then them, and he was using monitor speakers because they don't color anything and reproduce the sound that the sound engineer envisioned and intended. :) And monitor speakers aren't nearly as expensive as some of the "audiophile" setups, depending on the power of the monitors you are looking for.
    Though, if you can get one, SVS subs are probably the choice of both breeds atm. :)

    Also, every loudspeaker is analog. It's just the way things are. Ok, Piezzo type highs are "digital" because of final crystal formation but those sound like crap anyways. :)
    Maybe you meant Digital Amplifier?

    edit: Problem with creative cards is - support! If I am not mistaken, there are no official win 8.1 / win 10 drivers for X-Fi cards anymore and you have to get some 3rd party ones? Same problem was with Audigy series, no windows 7 support and so on.
    Creative does this on purpose because they don't care. Asus doesn't suffer from this, for now afaik. I personaly refuse to back a company like that.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2017

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