Not sure where to post this so thought this was the best place.
Years ago I bought the astro a40 and mixamp for my laptop, the soundcard on the laptop sucked and I used it as an external soundcard for gaming when travelling.
Anyway, i don't travel much anymore and my main PC at home has a creative titanium HD soundcard. When gaming I am not sure what is the best way to set up my headset. Should I use the mixamp?
Creative has their own proprietary cmss-3d software for headphone surround sound, I could just plug the a40 headset direct into the card via the 3.5mm Jacks and use that.
Although I've been experimenting with my spare astro mixamp that I have. I plugged it into the titanium HD optical out and turned on Dolby Digital encoding as the mixamp can decode it. It now sends a Dolby digital signal via optical to my mixamp which works.
Question is, am I losing quality by using the optical out with Dolby instead of 3.5mm Jacks using cmss-3d? Or am I going to receive better quality surround sound when gaming turning on Dolby digital and using the optical out?
Your creative titanium should have better digital to audio conversion and probably has better headphone amplification than an older Mixamp. For music, plugging the headset directly into the internal soundcard is technically the best option.
For gaming, if you use chat control or other features of the mixamp you won't loose significant sound quality by using it. Whichever option sounds best to you (dolby through the mixamp or creative surround) will vary somewhat based on how the sound is designed for each particular game.