Sound card, Speakers and Headphones

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by jeked, Apr 20, 2012.

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  1. killer_939

    killer_939 Ancient Guru

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    I don't get it? Windows update doesn't use CPU power when its just letting me know there are more updates i can install.
     
  2. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Ya right, ill buy that... maybe, take a look below:

    http://www.overclock3d.net/reviews/audio/asus_xonar_essence_stx_-_pci-e_audiophile_soundcard/5

    Funny... it semms that the settings on the first cpu usage test is exactly the same as yours, 16bit 44.1k thats pretty good cd player uve got there!

    EDIT: on a 3.0ghz core2duo, im going to test it on 24&192 and will report back, try the same on a 320kb bitrate track, remember you have double the cpu cores that i do.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  3. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    24bits 192hz playing a 320kb bitrate music, with dwm.exe enabled (windows aero process) 0-1% (checked that 1% is most of the times caused by the aero process) song played with windows media player.

    How about your result?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  4. killer_939

    killer_939 Ancient Guru

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    I have it set to 24/96 up-sample in windows. I wasn't using ASIO. Also those CPU utilization tests are a completely different thing then playing music on your computer.

    Almost anything can sit at 0% CPU usage on music btw.
    http://img210.imageshack.us/img210/4825/46871248.jpg
    spikes before it are opening windows.

    edit: Enough OT posts now.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012

  5. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    Sorry, but and sound card doesn't do any offloading when playing music in Windows 7 and Vista (no direct sound hardware acceleration in Vista and 7). Only OpenAL acceleration is supported and in this case it means nothing. If you seriously think that playing music makes you CPU usage sky-rocket, then I don't know... Are we still in 90's?
     
  6. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    No we are not in the 90's we are in the era where everyone thinks that wasting cpu processing power in small ammounts is Ok, and then... we end up with games like Crysis 2 or GTA4 or other crappy ports cause we aint in the 90's :p

    Most of users who owned both knows that asus xonar beying better doesnt hold much water, especially for gaming, in that area its just a pointless soundcard in comparison, that includes many threads and posts already made in this forum aswell with users having both and reporting favour torwards titanium hd, both in gaming(quite obviously) and music playing, alot lesser cpu usage and proper hardware acceleration by openal.
    Asus Xonar was the only decent choice at the time when Creative soundcards were annihilated by microsoft vista and 7, + the fact that 64 bits support was unexistant as the windows xp 64bits was quite crappy, now its a different story.
     
  7. nikavelli

    nikavelli Master Guru

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    Legendary_Agent, you are the worst poster that's every graced this section of the forums. I don't even know where to begin with you, debating if it's really worth the effort. First off, you have no idea what you're talking about. Second off, I don't know where you get your information but it's false. Third, you don't need to make three posts back to back. Learn how to copy+paste/edit.

    Your argument about "emulated software" (nice terminology), you simply do not understand how the EMU chip works on the Titanium HD. It does not magically process all sound. Programs have to be specifically coded in order to take advantage of the chip's hardware routines. And like I said, fewer and fewer of those programs exist. You can call it a bold statement but it's universally accepted. As of now, EAX and hardware accelerated sound is all but dead. I heard things might change in Windows 8, we will see.

    Your claims about STX's high CPU usage, you are askewing the facts. Of course EAX enabled software will use less CPU usage on a Titanium HD. But the important fact you're overlooking is, where is the software? Again, hardly any games use EAX anymore, if at all. Same goes for any iteration of hardware accelerated sound. It's something software programmers abandoned long ago.

    The "hardware filter" on the ST is a precision clock tuning unit, which reduces jitter. Sound quality is improved over the STX but does not "blow it out of the water". That's just an exageration on your part.

    The Essence series are "real sound cards". Xonar's are some of the best card's on the market and have won hundreds of awards. They may not have a hardware DSP but that isn't a big loss these days. They make up for it with exceptional components, an actual headphone amplifier (unlikes the Titanium HD), and Dolby technologies.
     
  8. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Very nice reading, so since you have nothing special to say against my posts, you just keep with the insults and talk to me about EAX beying dead and hardware acceleration no longer used for current games, race driver grid, DiRT games, unreal tournament, battlefield, bioshock, DDO and quite possibly many others which i dont know of use Hardware Acceleration.

    The performance difference is there, both ingame and when playing music, Asus Xonar while you believe that they are one of the best cards on the market who won hundreds of awards because it has dolby technology (lol) and a headphone amp (which is quite poor compared to a proper headphone amplifier) as reported numerous times around the forums the Titanium HD Has:
    Optical Cable input, output, Dolby Digital Live, DTS, better tuned opamps, proper sound processing rather than cpu emulation which again helps you with better sound quality ingames and better performance aswell, proper 3D effects which you can easelly tell if the sound is happening on your back or at your forward with 2.0/1 speakers or stereo headphones.

    Having said all these:
    Your last and only valid comment that the stx has an audiophile headphone amp sends me back to my original message:
    You either buy a proper sound card, or you buy an amp disguised as a soundcard which fails to be any match for any proper dedicated amp.


    Finally:
    As ive said before, people on these forums which own/ed both soundcards reported favor in sound quality torwards titanium hd (stock vs stock).
    Asus Xonar Essence ST/X were a great and only choice in high sound quality few years ago, but things have changed and we are slowly getting back to the original purpose of soundcards.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2012
  9. robert1990

    robert1990 Master Guru

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    I'd recommend Asus Xonar Essence STX, been using it for 2 yrs, pretty much it can cope with everything I threw at it (musics various genres, gaming session, and movie watching). I could say I'm a Sennheiser fan (coz it's the first brand that I ran into when starting my new hobby :D). HD650 is a bargain: Very wide soundstage, natural sound output, and you can get it for around $AU500.

    I can confirm that headphone amp on STX is capable to drive HD650. For a reference, I set the headphone amp output to the max setting (Extra High Gain (+18dB for 300Ohm - 600Ohm)), and I set the master volume to 7, and it's loud enough for me. More than that I'll be deaf for sure :D

    Regarding closed or open-back headphones, suit your purpose. Open-back headphone leaks some of the sound (which can annoys someone next to you), but the sound output will be more natural, while closed-back is suitable if you don't want to annoy people next to you, a slightly better bass (more impact than open-back), but it makes you ears sweat faster in general.

    Those beyerdynamic headphones mentioned before are pretty good too, many people recommend them, but I haven't heard them personally, so can't comment on that.

    Try to have a listen on those headphones first before you buy, so you can decide which sound signature suits your taste :)
     
  10. DirkHardpeck

    DirkHardpeck Master Guru

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    OP: I currently roll with an X-Fi Titanium HD, Sennheiser HD558 (+Zalman mic), and Klipsch ProMedia THX 2.1 as my main gaming setup. There's other soundcards, speakers, and cans lying around here for sure, but these are what I end up using. The T-HD does very good surround emulation through headphone, and I use the stereo Klipsch speakers for music listening. If I wanted to use the headphones for music more, I would probably have gone for HD600 but as it is, I couldn't justify the cost. For about ~500USD, this setup sounds pretty great.

    Initially you were interested in surround gaming, but were turned away from that idea by the audiophiles here. Don't forget, if you're going 99% gaming, having a surround speaker if you have the room is still pretty incredible. If you listen to alot of FLAC music and such, then you'd be better served with some great stereo speakers or even the Klipsch ProMedia's (make sure it's the THX!) IMO. And like I said, the headphone surround emulation is pretty good on Creative's cards (can't speak for Asus's dolby tech but it's also well regarded around here). But there's no shame in picking up this and something like this. Just playing devil's advocate here. I do prefer surround where it belongs, in my living room with floorstanders and huge ****in satellites that make the wife puke. The problem for me with PC surround speakers is finding some decent ones that will go straight to your soundcard. Most of them are garbage, and going with a reciever negates the soundcard completely, besides it processing DTS-Connect or Dolby Digital Live, as most motherboards won't send surround game audio over optical...but anyway, if you can score some decent 5.1 PC speakers, you can always give it a shot.

    I have a Recon3d somewhere around here, it sounds ok, but that's not what you pay $150 for ;)

    Finally, your headphone choices look very good, but a note on open back headphones. Try not to shy away from those as a whole, you are really limiting yourself. Firstly, I've heard closed backs that leak more than some open! Secondly, and this is pretty general, but the open back design tends to allow a more "open" or spacious sound, widening the soundstage....this is desirable for gaming when running a surround emulation from your soundcard (CMSS-3D, TruStudio, Dolby Headphone). Secondly, I feel like they *tend* to not warm my ears up as bad during long sessions. Lastly, they lend to better hearing preservation. Not saying you need to get open, but if you're using them in your house, the sound leakage is maybe not as bad as you are thinking with all models. Your best option is to listen to as many mid-high end headphones as you can manage, and get what sounds best to you.

    Best of luck to you!

    p.s. How about this trollololol.... sounds like he knows just enough to hurt himself :micro:
     

  11. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    The thing is, 99% of new games are pure software so hardware acceleration is pretty much irrelevant nowadays. However, I do not know how much difference it makes in music production (ASIO output). Anything that makes CPU usage lower in Cubase is plus for me. I'd personally focus on features and sound quality, speed differences are irrelevant. Even in games that support hardware acceleration via OpenAL or Alchemy.
     
  12. ROBSCIX

    ROBSCIX Ancient Guru

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    ASIO was originally designed for low latency recording so generally it is designed to route around whatever is there to give the user the quickest path from the external to the software doing the recording. I doubt you would notice any difference in comparing their use on either a hardware or software based card for recording.
     
  13. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    As you can see OP, all replies you get from audiophile is unexperienced "performance doesnt matter" replies, simply because they tend to choose whatever they think sounds best and ignore everything about a personal computer and gaming and even then its poorly chosen as they cant or wont admit that several people who owned both knows that the titanium hd has the upper hand in both sound quality(stock vs stock), features and cpu performance...
     
  14. DirkHardpeck

    DirkHardpeck Master Guru

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    Yup. I tend to purchase and use the audio equipment that I feel sounds best. Weird.

    You talk of performance. If your concern is that you're losing FPS because your CPU can't handle processing sound (and forgive me if I'm misreading you), you really, really, really need to upgrade that first. It's 2012, you should want a soundcard for a better DAC than motherboard, surround headphone emulation, a (mediocre) headphone amp, and/or DDL and DTS-C. For music and legacy games, some hardware acceleration. Not better game performance. That is a f*cking joke.
     
  15. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Yup. Weird, and whats even weirder is that you talk about DTS which is unexistant in Asus Xonar Essence STX and existant in Creative Titanium HD, its also very weird to talk as a feature for "hardware acceleration for legacy games" when theres no hardware acceleration done from Xonar, while it is present once more in Titanium HD, on top of that as i have refered before, many pp who have bought both admit titanium hd sounds better stock vs stock.
    So again this soundcard at least is on par in sound quality with what the asus xonar essence stx has to offer and it has alot more features which the essence lacks, including EAX 5.0, DTS, proper hardware acceleration, cpu offloading and optical in, there are more features out there too.
    All xonar has to offer that titanium HD doesnt is that petty headphone amp which again is no match for any proper dedicated amp.
    So your post have alot of contradiction but its ok, im used to this kind of boring debate, ive presented a setup which the OP originally intended and theres nothing the petty xonar essence has to offer in that aspect, not even higher sound quality, wether you like it or not.
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2012

  16. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    I Owned both STX and X-FI HD PCi-E and they sound just as each other. Just go for one that has the features you want. Both have op-amp sockets for Swaping op-amps.

    Because I liked owning both cards as they both sound great.I always swap the op-amps from the Default Jrcs any way. As I don't like the sound signature of the Generic op-amps in the I/V of both cards.

    Edit: I know it gonna come up, I don't have my X-FI HD PCi-e Now only because I sold it to get enough for my HD 7950 this was before those price drops happened.
     
  17. DirkHardpeck

    DirkHardpeck Master Guru

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    Sure, but it has DDL whereas the Titanium HD has both. When I use real-time encoding on the HD, I use DDL anyway. Then again, who the hell buys a high-end stereo soundcard to go optical and bypass everything they paid for?

    That's Asus vs. Creative for you. Asus cards emulate it, as does Creative's own Recon3d. There's a niche group that still cares about EAX, it certainly doesn't make every Asus card garbage. Creative happened to patent the sh*t. BY all means, if the OP plays UT regularly or something, lean towards the Creative cards!

    Pure conjecture. You are arguing to a group of people, who think the Essence cards sound great, that the proof that it isn't great is that some other people think it isn't great. I could go to these people you speak of, and tell them that they're wrong, because I saw people on here say the Essence cards were good. I would look like a total f*cking idiot, though. Alot of respected gurus in this forum swear by those cards, and yes, it might be because they sound good.

    I use the Titanium HD for alot of reasons, some of them you mentioned, but some of them don't make alot of sense. And there's really no reason for your vitriol. I understand you being defensive at this point, but you were spreading some incorrect information in a very arrogant and insistent tone, someone was bound to call you out in a less than perfectly civil way. Let's just take it down a notch and say that you recommend a Titanium HD, and so do I.
     
  18. nikavelli

    nikavelli Master Guru

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    Current games? Battlefield 2 is current? Unreal Tournament? Please man, you're clueless.

    Wrong. I'd love to see some data, links to back up this statement. Compare CPU usage from a STX vs HD when playing music, let's see it.

    It's not just me who believes. It's public information, look it up. Just this year alone, ASUS won 6 awards for "Innovations Design and Engineering" at CES 2012.

    Why lol? Dolby has been on the forefront of surround sound technology and innovation. Some may prefer Creative's method's but I along with many other find Dolby Headphone very convincing.

    That's not the point. You were trying to compare Titanium HD's ability to drive high impedance headphones to ASUS's STX.

    STX can do digital output and Dolby Digital Live. Better tuned opamps? Are you stupid? They're just generic opamps, meant to be replaced. Proper sound processing? What does that even mean? And again, emulation is only done on the STX with EAX/hardware accelerated sound. Modern games do not use hardware accelerated sound anymore, so who cares? Better sound quality and "proper" 3D effects? If the game uses EAX (most games do not), then yes the Titanium HD will deliver a more genuine experience. But we've been over this before again and again why that doesn't matter these days..

    My last and only valid comment? Almost none of your own comments are valid.... The STX is not "an amp disguised as a sound card". That's something a Creative fanboy would say.


    I've seen people go both ways. There is no clear cut winner. Some prefer the STX, some prefer the HD. They both are great cards with their own features.

    Legendary_Agent, please just stop posting man. You make yourself look like a fool everytime.
     
  19. Legendary_Agent

    Legendary_Agent Master Guru

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    Yes, UT3 is the newest UT game from the series.

    So, you say Wrong and at the same time you want to see data that backup this statement up, your flawed logic amuzes me, btw look it up yourself ive done the same.

    Oh wow, asus won all that for innovative design AND engineering? darn... i dont understand why wont they drop, motherboards, laptops and every other single solution and stick to C-media soundcards instead if they won all that... oh wait... it didnt have anything to do with it.

    Why lol? its simple, thats the only feature your card has, which is quite embarassing for such a Great and Awsome soundcard (made by ASUS man!) for miss something as obvious as DTS, so you can keep your Dolby and your outdated CPU emulated eax, ill keep my dolbi, my DTS and my up to date EAX, and while im at it, i will connect my ps3 to it and play games on pc with greater performance and sound quality and sound effect quality than yours, u can keep ur cheap headphone amp, its pretty useless when you want a greater quality amp.

    I was? show me where i said Titanium HD was better than ASUS STX in the ability to drive higher ohms than ASUS.

    Im pretty sorry to tell you that modern games do still use hardware acceleratin sound, you deliberately chosen to omit DiRT3 and DDO from my list, and those were only on the list i played, you were wrong, get over it as i admitted when i was wrong for thinking STX opamps were soldered in.
    UT3 uses OpenAl and yet, the sound positioning on Titanium HD works brilliantly from every angle even with a stereo headphone or 2.0/1 speaker system, on a final note about this of your little statement, i dont care what you think it doesnt matter for you, it matters for gamers who look for a gaming soundcard.

    Oh well, someone wants a gaming card and u suggest an amp disguised as a sound card running on the main cpu resources, with petty 3D positional effects, outdated AND emulated EAX, no optical in, but all this is useless in gaming cause all gamers want is an average quality headphone amp, and you call me the fanboy coming with all this crap about ASUS won this ASUS won that and trying to imply as that has everything to do with your soundcard, haha.



    So you split my own sentences trying to make them look meaningless, np i can cope with that, i feel sorry for you for beying that desperate though.
    OH and... seriously man? both cards have their own features? all you have over titanium hd is an average amp, and if i trully wanted a good am i wouldve bought a dedicated one making your feature bite the dust, i have a proper list of valid features that your lacks and mine has, so features vs features mine again wins.
    Untill your next silly post.
     
  20. flimbo

    flimbo Master Guru

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    Man, why are you so angry about the Xonar ST/STX?
    It's marketed by Asus as a music enthusiast card and does the job admirably.
     
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