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  #31 (permalink)  
Old November 9, 2007, 08:08 PM
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Well Ive given up headphones all together. The reason for this is because a local PC shop close to mine that supplies LANs with top of the line systems is selling the z5500 for 279.99$. So Ive decided to make the purchase of this. now here comes one of the newbiest questions of all time. This is the first quality sound system I buy...it is the first time I buy a sound card at all. So Ive always merely plugged 1 jack into 1 plug. What is the best type of output this card has. Does the Z5500 have the best possibility for the output options on the prelude ?
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old November 9, 2007, 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
You would notice the better sound quality from the card for sure in analog mode. When running digital, the card has little to do with the overall sound. The device your connecting it to does. If your just changing your cards and keeping the same digital speaker system then your sound will be exactly the same.
I saw a few people saying this on the NCIX forum and it's really confusing. I keep seeing people brag about how better Digital is over Analog but then I hear that the soundcard have nothing at all to do with the quality when you are using Digital outputs. If that's true, why the **** would someone buy a 200$ soundcard such as the Prelude, to use it's coaxial/optical outputs?!?

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Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
I am not sure about that. I would advise you to use analog cables to connect the speakers to the Prelude. This will give you far better sound then the digital will. The DAC's on the Prelude are alot higher quality then the ones in the Z-5500. Do a test, you should hear a difference.
Heh, I guess that's why those speakers are "only" 282$, at the cheapest place, which is a pretty good value comparing to the Creative Gigawork S750 that is about 450$ + ~100$ if you buy the Creative's decoder which is only available on their website. Anyway, all this to say that I was so exited about finaly using digital outputs on my computer since now that I have the Z-5500, I can, but it looks like it will be worse so I would rather stick to Analog again lol.

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Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
The Prelude has CMSS3d for headphones so it will give you "Virtual" Surround over normal headphones such as the HD555's. There are quite a few decent 5.1 sets out there. I have actually been looking at a few sets myself....
I can confirm this. I currently have a Soundblaster X-Fi XtremeMusic and the virtual surround is very accurate with the HD555. I bought them for 140$ in rebate a while ago and the sound quality is amazing. Those 5.1 thing like the Zalman are more of a gimmick to me or else only good if you have an old soundcard. Also since it only have 1 wire to plug, you can still use a 7.1 system because the headphone won't take all the jacks behind the soundcard... and I can use them on my mp3 player.

---------------------------------------------------

I think I just have 2 more questions to ask. It would really be nice to get an answer for each of those. Oh and by the way Rob, very good review!

1- So many people seem to be waiting the missing Digital features such as (DDL and DTS:Neo) like if it was the come back of Jesus. As you said, the card is close to useless if you use digital "optical output" so why are those missing features so important? Are they because we'll be able to use them even if we are plugged in Analog??? 0_o

2- I'm a little scared to buy a 200$ "Tax-in" soundcard, even if it will cost me 110$ instead because I'll be selling my X-Fi to a friend for 90$ soon. The reason is because Microsoft will release a whole new sound API for Vista on the SP1 for Q1 2008. I already emailed Auzentech and they said that they were currently speaking about this with Creative but they still don't know if it will be supported by current soundcards or if they will all get obsolete. Even if that new API won't be used by most games and applications before at least 1 year, I'd like to support it.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 01:04 AM
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I hate it when there is no simple answer to a question and that I am force to gulp down so much info . But its Ok I'll try to comprehend...One key thing I noticed you saying though was that the SP1 would render somethings obsolete in the prelude...and with SP1 coming out in what...2-4 months That worries me GREATLY. I am getting theZ5500 for sure now so it all depends on what sound card Im getting. With the reviews and all about this card I thought I was futureproofing (A nice bit of updates coming for the card as well) so....what do i do :help:
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 01:11 AM
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Well, if you aren't in a hurry, wait for the Vista SP1 so you can get the confirmation to weither it will be compatible via driver update or not. But I'll have to take the risk since if I don't sell my soundcard to that friend in 2 weeks, I'll never have any other occasion to sell it and I'll be stuck with it. I also never upgrade if I don't first sell my current thing.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by PanzerIV View Post
1- So many people seem to be waiting the missing Digital features such as (DDL and DTS:Neo) like if it was the come back of Jesus. As you said, the card is close to useless if you use digital "optical output" so why are those missing features so important? Are they because we'll be able to use them even if we are plugged in Analog??? 0_o.
I never said the card is close to useless in digital mode, depends on many factors. I guess people just like to have all available features. Being able to send full 5.1 over a digital connection that is realtime encoded from a game or other source is a big deal. Many people have large HT systems or high end HT systems for their PC they want to use with the Prelude. What I said is if your gonna connect the Prelude to Lower end Digital speakers such as the Z-5500s or even any of the Creative gear your better off in most cases to go analog. Hopefully the companies will bring out some new systems that can properly take advantage of digital cards.

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Originally Posted by PanzerIV View Post
2- I'm a little scared to buy a 200$ "Tax-in" soundcard, even if it will cost me 110$ instead because I'll be selling my X-Fi to a friend for 90$ soon. The reason is because Microsoft will release a whole new sound API for Vista on the SP1 for Q1 2008. I already emailed Auzentech and they said that they were currently speaking about this with Creative but they still don't know if it will be supported by current soundcards or if they will all get obsolete. Even if that new API won't be used by most games and applications before at least 1 year, I'd like to support it.
It's commonplace to drop more $ on a Video card why? Some people regulary upgrade their video cards dropping way more cash then $200. Sound and video are both improtant in gaming. As for technology going out of date, isn't this something we face all the time with PC's? Have you been told this new SP1 will have coding that will disable wny function or features or is this just expecting the worst? -You could always wait until SP1 hits and then decide. Even if it had something you didn't like, who says you have to install it?
-I doubt it will be a whole new API, they just released the APU with Vista.
MS is getting slapped enough for Vista right now. Everybody is yelling about this or that. I doubt they will do anything to add fuel to the fires.

Last edited by Robscix; November 10, 2007 at 10:40 AM.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Mconline View Post
Well Ive given up headphones all together. The reason for this is because a local PC shop close to mine that supplies LANs with top of the line systems is selling the z5500 for 279.99$. So Ive decided to make the purchase of this. now here comes one of the newbiest questions of all time. This is the first quality sound system I buy...it is the first time I buy a sound card at all. So Ive always merely plugged 1 jack into 1 plug. What is the best type of output this card has. Does the Z5500 have the best possibility for the output options on the prelude ?
NO. With that set of speakers and a Prelude you would get the best sound using analog connections. Umm, Three cables to the card.
1 for front Left and Right
1 for Rear Left and Right
1 for Center and Sub

The Prelude would have better DAC's (Digital to Analog Converters) then the speaker system so it is better letting the card do the conversion and send analog to the speaker system.
Hope this helps. -If not feel free to ask questions.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
What I said is if your gonna connect the Prelude to Lower end Digital speakers such as the Z-5500s or even any of the Creative gear your better off in most cases to go analog. Hopefully the companies will bring out some new systems that can properly take advantage of digital cards.
Hmm, then using digital on the Z-5500 would only be better for people with a cheap pci soundcard or using onboard. So the only decoders that could sound better than the DAC from the Prelude would be one from a very expensive home theather? If the Z-5500 and the decoder from Creative "still expensive to me" is only considered as low-end... heh damn . Thanks again for the tip, because else I would have went straight to digital and would have got a worse sound. Though there is still a few things that I don't understand. If the soundcard only transfer the sound to the decoder as people say, then using optical on a 30$ card would be the same as one of 200$? Unless you need the expensive one to have the features like DDL/DTS. You said it had little to do when you connect in digital because it's the decoder that does almost all the job, so what would be the "little" that the card would be doing? I guess it's that, which I don't understand.

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Originally Posted by Robscix View Post
Have you been told this new SP1 will have coding that will disable wny function or features or is this just expecting the worst? -You could always wait until SP1 hits and then decide. -I doubt it will be a whole new API, they just released the APU with Vista.
I went back on google to find a little more information about it and I found this interesting link HERE. It will replace the 7 years old (DirectSound3D) API for XAudio2, an updated api from the Xbox but OpenAL will still be there so I'm pretty sure there should be no problem at all for us. If I'm right, a low-level driver is the most basic one so it must be compatible with everything.

Last edited by PanzerIV; November 10, 2007 at 12:50 PM.
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 01:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PanzerIV View Post
Hmm, then using digital on the Z-5500 would only be better for people with a cheap pci soundcard or using onboard. So the only decoders that could sound better than the DAC from the Prelude would be one from a very expensive home theather? If the Z-5500 and the decoder from Creative "still expensive to me" is only considered as low-end... heh damn . Thanks again for the tip, because else I would have went straight to digital and would have got a worse sound. Though there is still a few things that I don't understand. If the soundcard only transfer the sound to the decoder as people say, then using optical on a 30$ card would be the same as one of 200$? Unless you need the expensive one to have the features like DDL/DTS. You said it had little to do when you connect in digital because it's the decoder that does almost all the job, so what would be the "little" that the card would be doing? I guess it's that, which I don't understand.
Many newer "modern" soundcards have been compared to HT receviers in a few forum. To everybodies surprise the systems would sound better using analog connections over digital. Meaning the counds cards had superior DAC's then the receviers. Why would you buy a Prelude over just a cheap onabord using digital? Prelude has EAX 1,2,3,4 and OpenAL supported in hardware as well as other features.

Basically, In digital mode the sound device just transfers the digital info to the receviers DAC's uless the audio defvice performs some type of processing before hand. Also, most onboards will just give you stereo in digital mode unless your in Passthrough and watching a DVD. Now this Prelude DAC are better then Receviers DAC's of course is based on the recevier. If you have a Prelude and digital speakers or recevier try out both and decide which sounds better to you. The Prelude is the first "gamer" card to give full 5.1 sound over a digital connection. If you have a onboard or low end soundcard then usually the DAC's in the receiver or speaker system will be of better quality. Only newer cards seem to surpass the quality of digital speaker systems and receviers when comparind DAC's.

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Originally Posted by PanzerIV View Post
I went back on google to find a little more information about it and I found this interesting link HERE. It will replace the 7 years old (DirectSound3D) API for XAudio2, an updated api from the Xbox but OpenAL will still be there so I'm pretty sure there should be no problem at all for us. If I'm right, a low-level driver is the most basic one so it must be compatible with everything.
That is good news. XAudio2 is supposed to be a rather good API according to the info and specs I have read. I didn't think MS would further dissapoint it's customers by changing the Audio API once again. Hope this helps.
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 02:12 PM
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And....bought lol will probly receive sound card around tuesday with express shipping actually maybe wednesday.
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old November 10, 2007, 03:03 PM
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Very good decision. The Auzen Prelude 7.1 is one of the best sounding cards in existance and the BEST sounding "gaming" card there is to date. Let us know how it goes for you and your impressions.

Last edited by Robscix; November 10, 2007 at 03:20 PM.
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