What do you guys think of this? Also, is DTS/Dolby encoding on the Sound Blaster Z broken?

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by Cronik, Sep 9, 2022.

  1. Cronik

    Cronik Ancient Guru

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    Thought it'd be better to explain my setup this way. Also, should I get a pre-amp? The amp I bought doesn't have Treble and Bass control but the pre-amp from the same company does. It also has 3.5 analog input and output so it's for active speakers or whatever.

    [​IMG]

    Okay, now for the Sound Blaster Z DDL and DTS encoding.

    The sound blaster Z DTS/Dolby encoding must be broken. I tried two different DAC's and each have its own problems when using DTS or Dolby Digital on the sound blaster z. My TV has DTS and Dolby passthrough and works fine with the two DAC's I bought so no problems with anything else that uses DDL and DTS.

    This one, the first one with DTS enabled I get distortion or snapping sounds when there's a lot of bass. Then when windows updated I started getting crackling and sound cutting out intermittently with DTS enabled. Dolby Digital was too quiet and had its own problems I can't explain.

    The second one
    which is very nice and also made by a U.S.-based company. DTS is quiet this time but not as quiet. There's also a loss of bass while using DTS. As for Dolby it actually sounds pretty good but when there's no sound I hear this snapping/crackling sound like dish soap bubbles are popping if you put your ear close enough to the bubbles

    Again, the DAC's work fine with the TV's DDL and DTS but not the Sound Blaster Z in my PC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2022
  2. Chastity

    Chastity Ancient Guru

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    so, let me get this straight, you are outputting 6ch compressed audio over toslink to some hardware DAC that is mixing 6ch with LFE to 2 ch, and no idea if it's using HRTF embedded 2.0

    Why not use Dolby Access with Atmos Headphone instead? (also DTS Sound Abound for DTS:HeadphoneX) These will give you up to 7.4.1 channel to HRTF 2.0, and is fully customizable. (Actually up to 15 channels) You can then run this 2.0 signal either to your external DAC or analog to your amp.
     
  3. Cronik

    Cronik Ancient Guru

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    Atmos headphone, SBX virtual surround, and DTS X: headphone makes everything sound like crap. I found this method far better in terms of sound quality. They made the waterfalls, rivers, streams, etc. in Guild Wars 2 sound like I'm in the inside of an echo chamber especially.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2022
  4. teots

    teots Active Member

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    Are you using sbz pro studio software or soundblaster command ? Try the other one if it make
    any difference.
     

  5. Cronik

    Cronik Ancient Guru

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    I did research on the encoding issue even before I made this thread and did more research after I made it. I just wanted to know what guru of 3d had to say on it with hopes someone here has THE solution instead of like 30 different solutions that happened to work for a few from like 30 different people.

    I'm going to try DDU, do a fresh install of the drivers, and disable the onboard audio in the bios later today.
     
  6. Cronik

    Cronik Ancient Guru

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    Do you mean use an older driver? Not sure if changing the GUI is going to help.
     
  7. teots

    teots Active Member

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    Yes, try the old software and driver for sbz if you're on win10, i don't think the optical of your sbz broke so easily. Must be due to configuration or compatibility issue.
     
  8. Trunks0

    Trunks0 Master Guru

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    Skip the DTS/Dolby Encode and Decoding. The first thing the decoder is going to do is just flat the multi-channel to stereo. So your just introducing sound quality loss by encoding/decoding using the lossy formats of DTS or DolbyDigital. Your not getting any extra information by outputing multi-channel and flattening to stereo, versus the game engine doing it. You might actually loose things like HRTF because the engine thinks it shouldn't apply it or it will get messed with when flattened by the decoder.

    If you don't like methods like SBX, DolbyHeadphone etc etc... then you limited to what the game has built in (Good examples would be Fortnite, Forza 5 Horizons & Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice) , actual multi-driver surround headphones, ALsoft if the game has OpenAL or multi-channel speakers.

    Personally, when using SBX. I have Surround set to 50-60% or lower, Crystalizer off, Bass 5 to 20(I basically want this barely doing anything), Smart Vol off and Dialog+ off. This has very little distortion from the surround effect, but enough to give me sound cues in games where I can benefit if they don't have good 3D audio. In games that do have good 3D audio, I just turn SBX off and let the games own audio engine do it's thing (Hellblade's headphone mode is awesome sauce. If you have not experienced that, go do that asap)
     
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2022
  9. teots

    teots Active Member

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    For me i use sbx studio for my sbz. I prefer faithful reproduce of the source therefore i don't
    apply anything artificial to my sound/audio, my setting are 100% volume, no equalizer, no surround, 0 db bass and treble. Everything sound great.
     
  10. Astyanax

    Astyanax Ancient Guru

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    faithful reproduction doesn't exist on any output.
     
    Trunks0 likes this.

  11. umeng2002

    umeng2002 Maha Guru

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    What are you trying to accomplish? Just turn on the option to output the line out over the optical port, and bypass the Dolby Digital or DTS encoding altogether since you're using headphones. Set "Speakers" as the default audio device in Windows. All 5.1 channels will be downmixed to stereo for your headphones. If you want to use the headphone surround, then just turn it on in the SBX menu. Make sure the Control Panel is in headphone mode though.

    Control the treble and bass in the Control Panel. The only reason to use the Dolby Digital and DTS encoding is to use the SPDIF optical output for surround sound speakers. It's redundant/ useless for headphone.

    Honestly, there is no point in using a Sound Blaster audio device if all you are doing is listening to basic stereo with no DSPs active. You might as well just use the motherboard's optical output to a good quality DAC and headphone amplifier, or use a USB based DAC.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2022

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