Xtreme Music..time to upgrade?

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I currently have Creative Xtreme Music souncard and lately have what seems like driver issues in regards to having to reinstall drivers to get 'Game Mode' working with sound again. (I have W7 64bit) I have this with a pair of Sheniesier PC160's.

I have recently got the Xonar DG and a pair of Plantronics 380's for a friends pc. From what I remember I think the sound doesn't sound as bassy, as in the water, footsteps and environment sounds, seem to be noticed more but big explosions don't sound as deep and aggressive.

Now I just want to know, because I have had my souncard and headset so long, is there anything out there that would be a noticeable improvement over what I have got. (I think I spent £60 for both headset and souncard so total £120 in the day) OR
is my sound setup still regarded as decent?

Drivers have no updates since around 2010 so sounds like all latest updates are discontinued for this card and also a lot of the newer gaming cards have headphone amps built in, this has none.
I am only using for headset currently and mainly playing BF3 so good directional sound is prob best to soak up the environment and atmosphere.

Thanks in advance for any input on if it's worth sticking? Recommendations? Or what you have and how it works :)
 
Soldato
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The X-Fi you have, is still a great card. I've still got mine. It's certainly a better card than the Xonar DG, but then that is a budget card. One cannot expect it to sound as good as a card costing £50-£60.

Have you tried PAX drivers?

Quite a few people use them who have had problems with Creative's drivers. Would be worth giving them a shot first, see if it helps any issues you are having.
 
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The X-Fi you have, is still a great card. I've still got mine. It's certainly a better card than the Xonar DG, but then that is a budget card. One cannot expect it to sound as good as a card costing £50-£60.

Have you tried PAX drivers?

Quite a few people use them who have had problems with Creative's drivers. Would be worth giving them a shot first, see if it helps any issues you are having.

Ahh not heard of those drivers, will google em n give em a try. Can you still have them with the mode changing software so can switch between gaming etc?
Glad to know they are still good sound cards.
I did look at other headsets like 350's n 360's but users comments of waste of money if sound card doesn't have an amp put me off as Xtreme music doesn't as far as I know.
Just wondered if the headphones that covered ya whole ear would give better positional sound over my 160's that rest on my ear. But then don't want to spend money for sake of it.
 
Soldato
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Appearance wise, there is no difference. PAX drivers are just tweaked to improve performance and to iron out flaws in Creative's own drivers.

They don't fix issues for everyone, but it's a worth a go trying them out. You will need to clear out the old drivers first. Driver Sweeper, is a good program to use. Uninstalling is not enough, as it will leave files behind in Windows.

The PC 360's will work fine with the X-Fi. You are right that it doesn't have a headphone amp, but that doesn't matter. The PC350's, are more in need of an amp than the 360's are. Although that varies depending on who you speak to, as some think the 350's are just fine without one.

I've never used any of Sennheiser's PC160 style headsets, but I have found that headsets or headphones that sit round the ear (circumarual), have better positional sound than ones that sit on ear (supra-aural). That will vary though, as some on ear headsets/headphones will be better than others for positional sound. Larger ones will perform better than small ones, for eg.
 
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Appearance wise, there is no difference. PAX drivers are just tweaked to improve performance and to iron out flaws in Creative's own drivers.

They don't fix issues for everyone, but it's a worth a go trying them out. You will need to clear out the old drivers first. Driver Sweeper, is a good program to use. Uninstalling is not enough, as it will leave files behind in Windows.

The PC 360's will work fine with the X-Fi. You are right that it doesn't have a headphone amp, but that doesn't matter. The PC350's, are more in need of an amp than the 360's are. Although that varies depending on who you speak to, as some think the 350's are just fine without one.

I've never used any of Sennheiser's PC160 style headsets, but I have found that headsets or headphones that sit round the ear (circumarual), have better positional sound than ones that sit on ear (supra-aural). That will vary though, as some on ear headsets/headphones will be better than others for positional sound. Larger ones will perform better than small ones, for eg.

Thanks very much for your very informative answer, much appreciated. To me the Sennheiser ones I have sound better than any other headset I have tried.
But saying that, when I help friends to get theirs who normally have low budgets set aside for headphones they normally opt for cheaper ones. Also when I check they are brand new so haven't gone through the so called 'burn-in test'.
Also never had direct side by side either so maybe just accustomed to my own setup.

Sit around the ear as in your ear sits inside like ear defenders? I do sorta like the fact that if someone speaks to me I can still hear them, but then if it's more emmersive the ones that cover the ears may be a better option.

It's a shame there is nowhere where you can hear these headsets side by side on show. That way the headsets on display would all have been burnt in also.
It's not a case of buying a headset listening and even being able to send back because of the many hours needed to be burnt in.
Also a shame they don't pre-burn the headphones so you get the best out of them as soon as they are unboxed.
 
Associate
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I've also been wondering about whether or not to upgrade from the xtreme music.
I have both pc160s and 360s and can say that the 360s definitely have better positioning in games so if thats all you're after then get them. But listening to music I honestly think the 160s are better with this sound card, most likely down to the lack of a headphone amp. The bass from the 160s is more noticeable than the 360s. This doesn't bother me so much as all I really care about is the positioning so it depends what you're after. They would be better off with a headphone amp but the cmss-3d from the xtreme music i think is really good so wouldnt bother changing.

About them being more immersive, i find the 360s to be more so than the 160s but as the 360s are open-back if you are not listening to anything too loud you can still hear if someone tries speaking to you.
 
Soldato
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You can always add an external amp. If you are looking at a sound card with a built in amp, then you'd be looking at a Xonar Essence. The DG would be a step down.
 
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