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Old Jul 11, 2020, 02:42 PM   #1
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Kain
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Default Upgraded from Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD to Sound Blaster AE-9

My Titanium HD is now EOL and won't receive driver updates to support the latest versions of Windows 10. There are many reports that the Titanium HD does not work well or at all in Windows 10 version 2004. Because of this, I decided to just get a new sound card (I have yet to upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 as my PC is apparently "not yet ready" for the update as per Windows Update).

I received the AE-9 today and installed it. I tested out some audio material I am very familiar with. I noticed a significant increase in clarity and detail. I use a pair of JBL LSR305 monitors and a single JBL LSR310S subwoofer for a 2.1 setup. Bass quality has also significantly increased as I can hear more "definition" and/or detail in the bass. I also noticed an improvement in imaging as well.

One quick/easy example of the improvement I noticed is in the following trailer. With my Titanium HD, the deep-voiced narrator was quite hard to understand and make out what he was saying. With the AE-9, it is MUCH easier to make out what is being said.



Overall, I think this was an awesome upgrade.
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Old Jul 11, 2020, 04:01 PM   #2
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Interesting. Couple years back I got the soundcard in my signature for free(X-Fi XtremeMusic). While it's been a fun card, especially for old games, I'm about to retire it as well. Win10 has never played perfectly with the card in my experience, stable but glitches every once in awhile. So not surprising to hear that the next version is worse.

Hows the software experience been for it's interface/control panels etc? The X-Fi interface has always been kinda slow on Win10.
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Old Jul 11, 2020, 04:16 PM   #3
Kain
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Haven't noticed any issues with the software so far. But then I haven't really played around with it too much other than just activating Direct Mode (to keep the sound as true to the original source as possible and leaving off any sort of processing).
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Old Jul 11, 2020, 05:54 PM   #4
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Are you using that Sound Blaster to power your LSR 305s + 310s? Does the AE-9 have XLR connections? Assuming the speakers are calibrated right, and you're not suffering from room effects, the Titanium HD must have had some awful output.

With speakers like that, I would have gone pro equipment, or even pro-sumer level equipment. Still suspicious the AE-9 is not up to snuff. With speakers like that, your room should be the only limiting factor.

The video does have an unusually high amount of dynamic range though.


EDIT: for comparison's sake, my similar speakers sound more or less the same as my [reference] headphones, as do both sound the same as a studio's 500K worth of calibrated equipment. You don't need to muck about with equalisers or anything. Just make sure you've got a solid signal in + your speakers are at the same volume at the back as your subwoofer/you've got the right crossover point + your room isn't doing weird things with the sound.


Of course, most rooms mess up sound quality so badly that it often isn't worth it buying nice hardware. It's the dirty little secret behind speakers.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 06:18 AM   #5
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Yes, the AE-9 is connected to the speakers and subwoofer. The AE-9 has stereo RCA outputs which I am using with an RCA to XLR cable to connect the AE-9 to the speakers. To be fair, I always had the Titanium HD in Game Mode which could have affected the sound in some ways. I do know the Titanium HD has a good DAC though.

As for pro equipment, I didn't want to go completely all out with my PC's audio setup and wanted to keep things relatively "simple" because I am planning a 9.4.6 Atmos/DTS:X home theater consisting of mostly pro equipment (Trinnov Altitude16 processor, QSC Q-SYS Core 110f to manage the subwoofers, JBL 708i speakers all around, maybe four JBL SSW-2 subwoofers, and Crown Audio pro amps).
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 06:28 AM   #6
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I'm still using Titanium HD in 10 2004 working great, no problem, no lockups. All EAX functionality still working.

Regarding the video trailer, I can hear what the deep voiced narrator say clearly. Though I already modify it with right opamps and bypass some caps on audio traces to follow PCM1794 datasheet. Creative, like always, put some boosting capacitor in between I/V and buffer opamps to boost bass but putting crappy caps makes it muddy.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 12:31 PM   #7
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Of course, most rooms mess up sound quality so badly that it often isn't worth it buying nice hardware. It's the dirty little secret behind speakers.
As for my room messing up the sound, I am only about 2-2.5 ft away from my LSR305 speakers and maybe 3-3.5 ft away from my LSR310S. At these distances, I doubt the room is playing much of a role in the sound quality. I probably hear more direct sound vs. reflected.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 12:49 PM   #8
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That's good. Just ensure the ports are at least 2-3ft away from the walls, and you should be all set.


Room effects become a bigger factor at higher volumes.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 12:56 PM   #9
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Also, play around with the phase switch on the subwoofer. One of them will sound better than the other. In my case, it was a matter of less boominess. It was a very slight difference though.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 02:16 PM   #10
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Thanks, will try out the phase switch on the subwoofer.

By the way, what speakers and subwoofer do you have? Do you also have a separate home theater? Just curious.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 03:05 PM   #11
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I have the LSR 308s, and the same 310s. Though I am powering it with a small external USB interface: a Focusrite 2i2. That powers my headphones as well.


The speakers act as my home theatre too.
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 03:17 PM   #12
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Is it a 2.1 setup?
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Old Jul 12, 2020, 07:00 PM   #13
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Yeah. I don't do movies seriously enough to warrant it. Mostly music for me. Just wanted to ensure I did as little to the sound as possible, and over the full dynamic range.
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Old Jul 17, 2020, 03:19 PM   #14
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There is 1 inch of space between my graphics card and sound card (with the sound card being under the graphics card). Is that enough "breathing" space for the graphics card's fans for effective cooling?
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Old Jul 17, 2020, 03:52 PM   #15
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There is 1 inch of space between my graphics card and sound card (with the sound card being under the graphics card). Is that enough "breathing" space for the graphics card's fans for effective cooling?
Monitor the graphics card's temps under load with and without the sound card installed. If there's no difference I wouldn't worry.

Alternatively you should be able to just plug your sound card into a different PCI-E slot. It should work fine in a standard x16 slot.
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Old Jul 17, 2020, 04:35 PM   #16
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Monitor the graphics card's temps under load with and without the sound card installed. If there's no difference I wouldn't worry.

Alternatively you should be able to just plug your sound card into a different PCI-E slot. It should work fine in a standard x16 slot.
Thanks. Made the following thread regarding placing the sound card in a x16 slot: http://www.rage3d.com/board/showthread.php?t=34051224
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