For those reluctant in buying a new soundcard...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by sapo_joe, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    Hi there folks!

    I have had a Sound Blaster Live! for about 12 years and was using it on my PC until last week I realized I wanted a new soundcard, but, as many here, I was affraid the benefits of a new soundcard wouldn't be worth the U$160 the new X-Fi Titanium PCIe would cost.

    The main issue I was having was the fact I have a 5.1 sound system (Edifier M3551, awesome BTW!) and was obligated to use it as a 4.1 system.

    The second issue that clicked me on buyin a new card, was the games... I missed soooo much the shining hardware EAX and wanted to have it back. (Some would say 3d sound hardware is dead, but, first read the rest of this...)

    So, I got the courage and ordered a X-Fi Titanium PCI-E, which would fit the requisites I was looking for... being PCI-e, it would fit my mobo and be more future-proof, and the card had a DSP, a very good one, not some C-Media crap...

    Then, this Wednesday, it arrived... Well I'm a hardware and music enthusiast, and installing a shining new soundcard with such great capabilities was really a thrill!

    Installation was without much trouble, in spite of a BSOD I experienced when updating the drivers from the creative website (re-did it on Safety mode and it went fine).

    Then, it was time to test the thing! I was expecting something a little better than my old sb Live! with KX drivers I loved so much... I always loved how the system sounded, and it was already much better then these shitty audio DSPs integrated on motherboars... but....

    I ended up being plainly AMAZED. It looked like I had bought a new speaker set! And I was still testing it in 2.1, with music. Without using any of the sound effects, is was already sounding sooo much cleaner, and detailed than the old sb live... Even with 192kb/s MP3s the sound was much better, detailed, I ended up catching instruments and effects I haven't noticed before on my music!

    The card has the so called 3 modes of operation (Games, entertainment, and audio creation).

    In games mode, the card creates a species of shortcut for games, re-enabling hardware acceleration access (with the aid of ALchemy, which is a cool effort from Creative, being constantly updated) and any game that is OpenAL ready shined with reverbs and effects. I remembered first time using the SB Live, on windows 98 with a creative ForPoint Surround. But this time around, it was so much better, the effects are natural, for instance, Colin McRae Dirt 2 sounded like another game! Not to mention Crysis 2, and Homefront (first using Directsound3D and the second, OpenAL with EAX5, brand new games that support hardware acceleration).

    In entertainment mode, the card disables some of the 3d hardware acceleration, but the DSP starts focusing on audio quality... And it does so in a very competent fashion.
    I personaly don't like effects like Crystalizer and equalizers messing with audio, but, since I have a 5.1 sound system, I was curious about CMSS 3D. I have an audigy SE and didn't like the effect much on it, since it used to eat some of the highs and lows, making the sound muffled.
    But, this time around, the effect was perfected by Creative, and the sound was so well distributed that the stereo sources sounded like they where originally multichannel! Singer's voices come from center, instruments from the main speakers and ambient sounds only come from the surround speakers! AMAZING!

    Then, it comes the audio mode that will interest most of you:

    Audio creation mode is something like having the KX DSP again! You can re-route sound channels like in KX DSP, making a sound card like this have 3 stereo outputs, with independent controls for each, and not only for volume, but by adding effects like reverb, etc, independently for each!
    And, of course, the card is capable of amazing 24-bit 96khz recording, which I will probably use to record my dad's Vinyl collection, using Flac or Apple Losless... I now realized that in years I won't be able to use all the card's resources!

    The card is worth for the sound quality alone, which blew the SB Live away, but, the additional resources made it shine, and after some days playing with it, I just can say: If you're thinking of an upgrade, and have the money to do so, DO IT!

    Just avoid the Extreme Audio version which lacks the DSP, and runs the efects in software (much like my Audigy SE). But for people that will use it only for music and movies, it can be a great option, because of the much better OP-Amps, if compared to older cards and onboard audio...

    Of course, if someday Eugene starts developing KX drivers for the X-Fi processor, I will be downloading it first hand!!! I could only imagine such a powerful DSP and quality sound with the flexibility of KX drivers...

    Cya folks, feel free to comment!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2011
    WxMan1 likes this.
  2. johnsmith1

    johnsmith1 New Member

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    Last edited: Feb 16, 2013
  3. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    Yes, sure, and even on windows 7, there's a soundfont loader and a midi device changer, to avoid the windows built-in midi mapper...

    It comes with 3 midi sets, 2mb, 8mb and 24mb! (last sounds really nice!)

    And more, it can mix midi with your recordings and even position it using EAX. So, a piano, for example, can be placed inside the song as if it were there before, repeating reverb and positioning amongst other musical instruments. COOL!!!
     
  4. nakamichi

    nakamichi New Member

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    Sure, the X-Fi Titanium blows away the old SB Live! in the sound quality department, but if you had a better card with kX drivers (Audigy2 or Audigy4 with the P16V HQ output) + Windows 7, I don't think you would've noticed any difference.

    And for soundfonts, you can always use BASSMIDIDrv:

    Index of /crap/audio

    BASSMIDIdrv is a freeware software synth driver that's light-years ahead of anything hardware-based:

    Unlimited soundfont memory, unlimited polyphony, multiple soundfonts support (combining / instrument replacement / stacking), HQ effects, GM2,GS and XG support (including sysex), very low CPU/memory usage.
    The best part: It works with *ALL* soundcards.
    Supported Operating Systems: Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7 (32-bit or 64-bit).
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2011
  5. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    So, if it works with any soundcard, it will work with the x-fi also, and with the x-fi having better op-amps and better resampling engine, it would still be better.

    Also, the X-Fi is capable to position the midi sounds in space, much like a studio gear would do, and I really doubt that a 288kb software can replace a very powerful hardware for MIDI.

    I could buy an audigy 4 if I could find one, but in Brazil, that's a no go. A newer X-fi, with manufacturer support seemed a better option to me.


    Of course it would be nice to see KX Drivers working with the 20k2 processor... just a dream... :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2011
  6. Max M.

    Max M. h/h member-shmember

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    Îòâåò: Re: For those reluctant in buying a new soundcard...

    Just a remark:

    Hmm, you may wonder but even SoundBlaster AWE32 of 1994 :)D) can do that (I assume by "position in space" you mean adjusting pan and reverb (or other effect) for each synth channel). I don't know why you missed that pretty much trivial thing before (well, maybe X-Fi software has some honky-tonky sliders/windows that put this feature "in your face")... but that's not really a new stuff).
     
  7. vikflash

    vikflash New Member

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    Well I bought this soundcard 2 or 3 years ago : X-Fi Elite Pro.
    Yes it sounds good but as I said before drivers are not as flexible as KX ones and I got problems with it :

    I can't manage to have both analog and digital outputs to work together.
    That's what I wanted to do to get sound in a second room.
    With the latest Win7 drivers, the controls (knobs) of the extension box still don't work.
    Auto software update says I got no Creative product installed :(
    It's a shame for the money spent.
     
  8. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    Re: Îòâåò: Re: For those reluctant in buying a new soundcard...

    No... Not just pan and reverb, but I can position the instrument across the 5 surround channels... AWE32 was cool (monster of a ISA card), but it was a 2.0 card.
     
  9. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    I have encountered no such problems, probably you're having compatability problems, or had the bad luck of getting a deffective card... :|

    Thought about using warranty? Maybe get an X-Fi from another manufacturer (Auzen, for instance).
     
  10. Max M.

    Max M. h/h member-shmember

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    Îòâåò: Re: Îòâåò: Re: For those reluctant in buying a new soundcard...

    I see. Well, it's still panning (Technically live/audigy can do that too - but... well never mind... that's so minor feature that it is not worth even mentioning let alone discussing... Either way I'm glad that you find it useful - I just wondered to see it in "major killer features" list ;).
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2011
  11. Caithleann

    Caithleann New Member

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    Mudlord's web site has been gutted, Nakamichi. Any other location where one can find that Soundfont loader?
     
  12. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member

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  13. Caithleann

    Caithleann New Member

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    Thanks Russ, I don't know much about it either but ostensibly it is supposed to be able to load SoundFonts of unlimited size, that is, limited only by your on-board RAM.
     
  14. mrvomit

    mrvomit Active Member

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    Uhm,i did take a look at those X-fi platinum...NO SPdif at all ,and no Midi connections On the drive?
    PASS all the way ,to make music with that.
     
  15. vikflash

    vikflash New Member

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    The card is not deffective. (It works on WinXP dual boot...)
    but creative drivers for Win7 are... :D
     
  16. peate

    peate Active Member

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    Is this the card you were looking at? It seems to have both on the front drive according to the picture.

    Buy the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum at TigerDirect.ca
     
  17. Jorgo

    Jorgo New Member

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    Unrequested hardware recommendation = Paid Spam. I'd go for a Xonar as gamer/music card and for something entirely different as a musician's tool.
     
  18. sjappie

    sjappie New Member

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    Hey, it's true sb live is at it's end, for some years now.
    I listened at a friend to hifi i.c.w. xf-fi bulk.
    It's clean but not as raw. Almost to clean ... If it's a messy mp3 I should hear it!
    I need tip for stereo setup.
    What card is most cut out for stereo music & gaming?!

    cheers
     
  19. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    It's not spam, I didn't send this message to your email, idiot... Spammers only create fake accounts in forums and send usually one message. See how many people I helped around here, and stop being a jerk.

    I paid for the card, didn't get it free, and I'm only recomending it, BECAUSE I TESTED IT AND LIKED IT!

    Be mindful of what you say about others without knowing them...
     
  20. sapo_joe

    sapo_joe New Member

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    Strange, even now I'm on windows 2008 server R2 (with W7 drivers), and loving it... The card is working flawlessly... :)
     

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