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Need a good gaming audio setup

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[email protected]

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Sep 27, 2003
For some of you this may be from too long ago, but anyone remember A3D? NOTHING... literally NOTHING has even come HALFWAY as good as it.
I've gone through Soundblaster Live!, Audigy, Audigy 2(ZS), XFi Gamer, Z, etc. I can't find either a good card or a good config.

I currently use the Z with audiophile headphones (Audio Technica ADH700). I can't hear much passed say 20-30ft in a game as far as directional audio.

My best setup since the A3D (back in the Win98/2000 days) has been the X-Fi Elite combo with my current headphones. I'd set in-game to 5.1, and the audio CP to headphones. I'd then use the 6.35mm (1/4") audio out from the Elite console to my cans. That worked quite well, relatively speaking. It was PCI, and once in a while I had issues where I had to reseat the card or re-install hacked drivers on Windows 7. Ever since Windows 10, I had to dump it. It's now collecting dust as driver selection at the time of W10 launch was not good.

Are we just screwed these days with options, or is there something I don't know? Should I try to go back to X-Fi or something?
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Have you retried the old setup with the hacked drivers on Win10 since the latest big update? Some of the fixes in it were supposed to be for legacy support.

As for sound cards, what interface are you looking for? Optical, 3.5mm, or something else?
Maybe this would be a good one for you? https://www.asus.com/us/Sound-Cards/STRIX-RAID-DLX/
 
OP
g0dM@n

[email protected]

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Sep 27, 2003
Have you retried the old setup with the hacked drivers on Win10 since the latest big update? Some of the fixes in it were supposed to be for legacy support.

As for sound cards, what interface are you looking for? Optical, 3.5mm, or something else?
Maybe this would be a good one for you? https://www.asus.com/us/Sound-Cards/STRIX-RAID-DLX/
What X-Fi drivers do you speak of? I mostly used either PAX or Daniel K's.

3.5mm or 6.35mm. My current headphones has it adapted, but when I used a 6.35mm out on the XFi Elite console, it was much better audio. I'm not looking for SUPERB quality. I'm more interested in pinpointing enemies in games, as best as possible. What I have right now feels sub-par, even though I know I have a good setup... I'm almost thinking I just haven't tweaked it right.

Man, if only everyone had experienced A3D. It's ruined me for life. EVERYTHING out there is FAR superior, by a large margin. You guys have no idea how insane A3D was. Anyway, I don't want to take away from the fact that I'm mostly interested in one of the best, current options now.

Thanks for the post btw.
 

Mjolnir

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2009
Location
Sydney, Australia
Have you considered maybe external dac/amps?

TBH whilst I enjoyed my old Asus Xonar ST, which had 5.1 enhancement etc, I find that stereo imaging from quality cans is more than enough to make up for any virtual 5.1/7.1 attempt. The sound stage through a solid DAC/Amp + some nice headphones is enough that I can hear directional items in stereo very much well enough without any software interference.

Or are you specifically after a card/some setup that can utilise/virtualise 5.1/7.1 or otherwise?
 

LutaWicasa

, Immutable, Administrator
Joined
Dec 22, 2000
Location
Huntsville, AL
Hey man. See if this helps.

Release date : 21 Jan 16
This download contains the driver and application(s) for use with your Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ series of audio devices.
 

Mpegger

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
I never really used A3D, as I've always been a speaker head instead of headphones (and I just can't hear positions from a simple 2 speaker setup, no matter how hard I try). From what I've read, it was the best headphone positional audio api, but unfortunately it got buried and left behind by it competitors and low adoption rate over other api's (like DirectAudio). The next best positional audio for headphones was Soundblaster and its CMSS-3D for headphones, which was only available on it's EMU10K and EMU20K chips (various X-Fi and Audigy models). Best thing about it was that it did not require the game the be written for it, though the game did need to support multi-channel positional audio (4 channel, 5.1, 7.1), and of course, you had to have a SB card. The later software based CMSS-3D (non-EMUx0K chipsets) were not as good as the hardware based.

There is a alternative for games that support ALAudio. OpenAL has within it a option for 3D headphone positional audio, and from what I read, it's somewhere between CMSS-3D and A3D in quality of position. If the game you are playing supports ALAudio (I think all Unreal engine based games do), it'll work with OpenAL. https://www.openal.org/
 
OP
g0dM@n

[email protected]

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Sep 27, 2003
Hey man. See if this helps.

Release date : 21 Jan 16
This download contains the driver and application(s) for use with your Sound Blaster® X-Fi™ series of audio devices.
I think that's the one I'd tried at some point and then gave up. My PCI slot is wonky... maybe it's my case, maybe my mobo, maybe in combination with the drivers. I got so fed up with always having to play with it (just too much time wasted), but I'm at the point where I may need to do that again. I just can't take how bad I can't hear footsteps when I think I should be hearing them! Thanks.

I never really used A3D, as I've always been a speaker head instead of headphones (and I just can't hear positions from a simple 2 speaker setup, no matter how hard I try). From what I've read, it was the best headphone positional audio api, but unfortunately it got buried and left behind by it competitors and low adoption rate over other api's (like DirectAudio). The next best positional audio for headphones was Soundblaster and its CMSS-3D for headphones, which was only available on it's EMU10K and EMU20K chips (various X-Fi and Audigy models). Best thing about it was that it did not require the game the be written for it, though the game did need to support multi-channel positional audio (4 channel, 5.1, 7.1), and of course, you had to have a SB card. The later software based CMSS-3D (non-EMUx0K chipsets) were not as good as the hardware based.

There is a alternative for games that support ALAudio. OpenAL has within it a option for 3D headphone positional audio, and from what I read, it's somewhere between CMSS-3D and A3D in quality of position. If the game you are playing supports ALAudio (I think all Unreal engine based games do), it'll work with OpenAL. https://www.openal.org/

So I just install that as long as I have a Creative card on their list? If you've used it, how do you get it working? It's worth a shot! I don't see the Z listed, but the XFi is.
 

Mpegger

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
So I just install that as long as I have a Creative card on their list? If you've used it, how do you get it working? It's worth a shot! I don't see the Z listed, but the XFi is.

To get CMSS-3D for headphones working, you need to set the speakers up in the Windows sound control panel to the number of speakers you want (either 5.1 or 7.1), even if you are just using headphones. Once that is setup correctly, then go into the Sound Blaster control panel and enable the CMSS-3D for headphones option. It pretty much does the rest itself.

Btw, I suggest using the Daniel K driver set.
 
OP
g0dM@n

[email protected]

Inactive Moderator
Joined
Sep 27, 2003
To get CMSS-3D for headphones working, you need to set the speakers up in the Windows sound control panel to the number of speakers you want (either 5.1 or 7.1), even if you are just using headphones. Once that is setup correctly, then go into the Sound Blaster control panel and enable the CMSS-3D for headphones option. It pretty much does the rest itself.

Btw, I suggest using the Daniel K driver set.
I loved Daniel K's pack. I don't think there was anything working well on Windows 10 when I'd tried in the beginning of the year. I tried the one on Creative's site and didn't have much luck, so I dumped it and went with the Sound Blaster Z.

So once I install OpenAL, I'll see more options in the Creative CP? That's what I was curious about b/c maybe I'll try it with my Z card first.
 

Mpegger

Member
Joined
Nov 28, 2001
I loved Daniel K's pack. I don't think there was anything working well on Windows 10 when I'd tried in the beginning of the year. I tried the one on Creative's site and didn't have much luck, so I dumped it and went with the Sound Blaster Z.

So once I install OpenAL, I'll see more options in the Creative CP? That's what I was curious about b/c maybe I'll try it with my Z card first.

No, OpenAL is a api just like A3D was, except more games support OpenAL.

Creative's CMSS-3D can work independent of api's, and just requires you to setup correctly in order to use it. Sound Blaster Z's implementation of CMSS-3D is not the same as the hardware based EMUx0k, or as good.