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 Post subject: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 8:25 pm 
Coppermine
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I've been pretty happy with Sound Blaster products in the past, but it seems that there's a lot of backlash/issues with their drivers for Win7. Anyone have experience with this? I'm considering the X-FI Pro: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Labs-SB0 ... 685&sr=8-4

The main reason I want it is for surround sound for playing DVD/Blu-Ray (when paired with Logitech Z-5500 speaker set) and for EAX 5.0 games. I won't use it for _serious_ recording, but I used to mess around with Soundfonts. Don't know if the Sound Blaster series still utilize those.

I read somewhere that the cheaper versions of the X-Fi are software based rather than hardware.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:28 pm 
Boy in Black
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Have you noticed anything odd with Creative and Win7? I have, and it ain't purdy. If I let the page file let Windows Manage it, it fragged out the drive. I lock it down, then I see something pop up and grow where it didn't before. I see it clearly when I take out the page file entirely and AudioDG.exe just grows until it ruins it all. The only cure is to restart Window Audio Service to let it grow back every 15-20 minutes. If left un-attended, it'll take 5G of 6 or 11 of 12G. Their drivers just suck, the audio processor has nothing on the others, and all they have is a very questionable EAX 4.0 and everything up.

I'm a Xonar fan, but only because Auzentech drivers have drifted a bit. I still get EAX, just not hardware 5.0 in the few games I don't play and don't care to. So as I sit here listening to music to relax via Xonar and Klipsch; it's epic. Creative just couldn't re-create some of these notes I hear now. If you're all about games, just let the software do EAX and not lean on hardware so much.

Your speakers are middle of the road IMO. Don't take it as insult at all. That's more than likely the top of the line for most ears. We feed our ears, and Creative really does most of us along with Logitech speakers. I try and point out points and queues in songs to the GF, and she can't hear them either. If I tried this stuff with my buddies, they'd punch me in the head probably. So just use what your head allows you to use. If you feel you're missing something, it's worth a shot to go to an Audio card vise a gaming card. I'll tell ya now though, that's a booming speaker set. I'm just trying to hear the 3rd chair


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:20 am 
Coppermine
Coppermine

Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:16 pm
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Chumly wrote:
Have you noticed anything odd with Creative and Win7?

Not yet! I'm hoping to avoid that. ;)

Chumly wrote:
If you're all about games, just let the software do EAX and not lean on hardware so much.

For surround sound stuff, yes. For serious listening, I'll use my KRK V8's and my Echo AudioFire12. Not bragging, just saying that critical listening is important to me as well. ;)

Chumly wrote:
Your speakers are middle of the road IMO. Don't take it as insult at all.

Not at all, bro. I got those just so I could actually hear something sneaking up behind me in Doom3.

Chumly wrote:
I'll tell ya now though, that's a booming speaker set. I'm just trying to hear the 3rd chair

Funny you should mention that. Got a new car last year and I've heard notes coming out of my iPod that I'd never heard before; always listened with the included headphones or the cheapie laptop speakers at work.

So any particular card you'd recommend? I'll check out Xonar and Auzentech.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 6:33 am 
Coppermine
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Looks like the D2X might fit the bill, actually.


edit: Not good reviews on newegg for this card: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6829132005


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 7:56 am 
Coppermine
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I'm thinking Auzentech Forte:

http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_forte.php


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 4:42 pm 
8086
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Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:36 pm
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Location: Miami
I've tried Asus Xonar DX, and it was surprisingly good.
ASUS HDAV 1.3 might be a good choice too.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:11 pm 
Coppermine
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Well hell, there doesn't seem to be a clear choice out there.

I've been fortunate in the years I've been building, configuring, and installing software on computers. I've never had an honest-to-goodness problem with a piece of hardware or software where it wouldn't work, flat out. Well, maybe a utility program or game that wouldn't go from Win98 to WinXP, but no show stoppers.

In the end, this is important enough to me where I'll pay the flipping restocking fee if I'm unhappy with the card. But I need to order it after the rig is built so I can pop it in and test it out fully. In the end, it'll be worth the extra cash to find the right card that will give me surround sound on my games and play decent (but not spectacular) audio.

So the X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro is a couple bucks cheaper than normal on Amazon (right now, $120 with free shipping) so I'll order that and keep an eye on the drivers as mentioned by the illustrious Chumly. I doubt I'll see anything different than he, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Heck, might as well order a Forte and the D2X at the same time to A/B/C the cards. :D


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2010 10:41 pm 
Boy in Black
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I hear the same thing from the Xonar DX that I do with an Xfi Platinum. I have the ability to put them back to back, and I've heard no gains from EAX5 being rendered by the hardware on the Xfi that the Xonar couldn't render with any current CPU (current being an OLD E6600). EAX4/5 being in software is just fine...because the Xfi sucks (IMO) in music. If X-Fi made an EAX8 that added 12 more voices, I still wouldn't care because I still listen and make music on my PC.

I'll go as far as say "the gaming card that is the X-Fi, isn't needed by gamers by any of the big three.". You've got a quad by now, whether you like it or not. If you're still in a Pentium or AMD dual, you could use a percent or two. But EAX5 can be done in software, rendered by the 2Ghz CPU, and output just fine. And if the processor on the audio card is accurate, you get that too boot Not just games). Xonar may not do EAX5, but it's done without it. With a 939 AMD dual, it's about 9% usage to do the same thing in software. Don't notice it with any other processor.

The Xonar DX2 PCIex1 is a 200 chip. Out of stock? There's a reason for that.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 2:59 am 
8086
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Location: Miami
Chumly wrote:

The Xonar DX2 PCIex1 is a 200 chip. Out of stock? There's a reason for that.


I assume you mean D2X, I don't think there is a DX2 on the market yet.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 7:01 am 
Coppermine
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Chumly,

You using that with Win7? 64 bit? Any driver issues? Feedback on Newegg is quite poor for driver quality, but of course the complaints are "louder" than the good feedback.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2010 3:13 pm 
8086
8086

Joined: Wed Dec 07, 2005 9:36 pm
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Location: Miami
Just wondering has anyone given X-Fi MB a try?


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:35 am 
Team Member Top 50
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I have owned the ASUS D2X for over a year now and I'm very pleased with the sound quality, performance, and drivers. My goal was to find a high-quality sound card for music/movies/gaming (in that order of priority) and I didn't care about EAX.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 8:53 am 
Coppermine
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Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2007 12:16 pm
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I appreciate the feedback. However, I *do* care about EAX. Have you had a chance to test it out?


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2010 9:26 am 
Team Member Top 50
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MattGreer wrote:
I appreciate the feedback. However, I *do* care about EAX. Have you had a chance to test it out?


I have played games with it processing my audio and had no sound placement/quality issues, but I haven't paid attention to EAX effects. I've used PCM output via coax cable to a Pioneer receiver that outputs to a set of Klipsch Monitors and an old JVC subwoofer.


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 Post subject: Re: Sound Blaster X-Fi vs. anything else
PostPosted: Sat Sep 18, 2010 2:46 pm 
Boy in Black
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MattGreer wrote:
Chumly,

You using that with Win7? 64 bit? Any driver issues? Feedback on Newegg is quite poor for driver quality, but of course the complaints are "louder" than the good feedback.
Yes! I have many Asus Xonar all in 64-bit Win7. The only issue I have is with Skype and it's a known issue. It has you disconnect and reconnect if you host or join a chat...pretty minor IMO. On the flip-side: I use the Creative Xfi Platinum on my 2nd rig and it has the above stated issues. I'd rather the Skype not support, dc/rc, than to do the dance I do to play on this machine with a simple voice chat application. 1) disable X-fi enhancements and get them back after a reboot (that's basically everything an X-fi is about...besides mono sound) 2)Restart Windows Audio every time it gets above 200M 3) Don't Skype on that machine.

The Xonar machines I deal with are all fine in Win7-64. Even with onboard audio, I believe it passes off EAX 4+ off to the CPU just fine. There's spacial sound, great many number of voice channels, and everything one would want an X-fi for...and more. The only caveat is that Xonars need a separate power source...the floppy power cable. May be just PCIe cards as I have not owned a PCI Xonar device.

I was sold on the D2X (I should have said DX2 just to ruffle feathers of the nerd patrol) on day one of using it (through great speakers and source media), and have used them sense in different forms. IF the GF know the difference, I don't care much...I'm on that machine here and there and then I care. However, if we're just talking about run of the mill $150 speaker sets and/or an aged dual core, it may not be promising. I've got modified Klipsch Ultra 5.1's for the secondary machine, and the primary has to be accurate...and we can't go into that ordeal here. There's other cards I've loved (Auzentech), but this one is the Chevy 350 if you will. I'm not swapping out chips to get it perfect. And it's a $100 PCIe card none the less!

Yes, it does 64-bit. I've got a lot to say about the undertones of the question, but I'll let 'em pass. This is my opinion of the piece of hardware here.


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