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Creative Sound Blaster-Z Headphone Audio

  1. #1
    Skulblaka's Avatar

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    Windows 8 Professional 64-bit

    Creative Sound Blaster-Z Headphone Audio


    Greetings everyone,

    I just received my new sound card and I'm excited to try it out. I've hooked it up and connected my headphones into the proper jack. I try out the audio and it's bloody awful, worse than on-board audio (which is not too bad). I don't know what's wrong, this (I hope) shouldn't be happening. I installed the latest drivers and through the Creative control panel and I've setup my audio output as headphones. When I test the audio the left and right outputs don't come out of left or right, it comes out the "middle". As if there is absolutely no directional sound. I've also tried out my music and it's as if there are large chunks of sound missing. Something is really wrong with my setup or the hardware. The headphones are fine as are the drivers.

    My Astro A40 headphones connect to an Astro MixAmp (amp?) which used an optical connection to connect to my motherboard. As seen in the image, I'm using the Realtek Digital Output because it provides phenomenal sound that is infinitely better than the Astro drivers. For some reason, this output even provides me with 5.1 surround sound that I don't even have to configure (it's by default).

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    When I connect my headphones directly to my sound card I can only use the "Speaker" output which is provided by Sound Blaster Z. This is where the issue happens; quality is a nightmare.

    I appreciate any assistance.

    -- Update ---

    Alright, I experimented a little bit and found out something interesting. If I connect my MixAmp with the optical cable to the sound card then the audio is fine. I think this has something to do with optical input/output. Not a problem with it but how it works. Because when I connect with the optical cable I never use the "Speakers" device but the Realtek High Definition Audio (one that I like). If the sound card requires me to use my MixAmp then I see no point in having the sound card at all. The reason I got a sound card in the first place is to replace my MixAmp.
    Last edited by Skulblaka; 30 Mar 2013 at 05:22 PM.
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  2. #2



    Member

    Join Date : Sep 2011
    Danbury
    Posts : 464
    Window 8 Pro
    USA us connecticut


    To get an output in the headphone jack, I need to switch it using the SB control panel.

    Click image for larger version

    That doesn't work for you?
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  3. #3
    Skulblaka's Avatar

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    I did that but the audio is still rubbish... I simply returned it; too much trouble. I'll just save up for an ASUS Xonar. Dolby Headphones make sound sound more natural concerning surround sound anyway. This software is rubbish.

    Thanks for the reply.
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  4. #4



    Member

    Join Date : Jul 2013
    Posts : 16
    Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center


    Hello skulblaka,

    I doubt this is of any interest to you anymore, but I have the exact same issue as you with my Soundblaster Zx soundcard. The Headphone Jack on the back of the Soundcard makes any sound through any headphones sound absolutely terrible.


    Cheers
    Last edited by QWERTYFREAK; 29 Dec 2013 at 12:19 AM.
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  6. #5
    Skulblaka's Avatar

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    I gave up on that sound card centuries ago. Drivers were absolutely terrible in addition to the insult to software programming that the control panel is... I have no idea how anyone can deal with that.

    I thought about getting a different sound card but don't see why I should bother. The quality, I think, goes down when you try to virtualize a 5.1 setup with headphones. Sound quality is everything to me and I will not risk losing it. I might as well invest a bit more into a proper speaker setup. But that will happen much, much later because I love headphones.

    Also, on-board audio isn't so bad, I think. Ha, on-board sounded infinitely better than that sound card anyway.
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  7. #6
    fireberd's Avatar

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    Join Date : Nov 2012
    Inverness, FL
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    Win 8.1.1 Pro, Win 7 Home
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    On board audio chips have come a long way. For audio playback, the RealTek in my home built system works and sounds as good as the SoundBlaster Xfi (high end model) that I was using. I have a recording studio so I'm attuned to audio fidelity. I don't have a 5.1 system, just 2.1, as I don't need the 5.1.

    I do like the HT Omega line of sound cards and find them superior to the SoundBlaster line. I had to remove the SoundBlaster in my recording studio PC as it was interfering with my recording program. I used an HT Omega on an old PC and it had better sound and did not interfere with Recording. With the new PC, I just went with the RealTek for PC audio. I use professional audio interface units (a Roland Octa-Capture and an MAudio Fastrack Ultra 8R) for recording.

    HT Omega HT Omega - The Next Generation in Audio.
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