Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sound Blaster X-Fi Series : Can you believe your ears?

So what's the deal here?

Creative TechnologyLtd, the people with over 250 millionSound Blaster(R) sound cards sold to date, have just announced, what they claim, is a major step upwards in audio fidelity.

They have introduced the Sound Blaster X-Fi(TM) line of sound cards. Powered by the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity(TM) audioprocessor, the Sound Blaster X-Fi cards introduce Xtreme Fidelity, an entirely new audio standard for music, movies and games.

As I am currently encoding a radio library (old tapes), I was intrigued by the press-release claim " With Sound Blaster X-Fi's 24-bit Crystalizer(TM)and CMSS(R)-3D technologies, all your MP3 music and CD music can sound even better than the original studio recording"

It goes on: "Sound Blaster X-Fi heralds the beginning of a new epoch in audio, whereX-Fi enabled audio products will eventually and completely replace the old hi-fi equipment in the home,

Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro features professional-quality digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with 116dB SNR, plus an I/O module with acomprehensive selection of connectivity for audio creation with easy-to-usecontrol knobs for the X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer, X-Fi CMSS- 3D (Creative Multi-Speaker Surround), 3DMIDI, and EAX.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro also features 64MB of on-board X-RAM-- audio memory dedicated to higher gaming audio quality and performance, in addition to a built-in pre-amp for direct recording, and high-impedance inputs for electric guitars. The "top of the line" Sound Blaster X-Fi solution, the Elite Pro includes all of the standard features, application software, power and performance capabilities of the entire family of Sound Blaster X-Fi cards (described below), in one solution.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS : Yes that is a "1" not an "i". Designed to meet the performance demands of the world's best-known professional gamer, Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel, the Sound Blaster X-FiFatal1ty(TM) FPS sound card provides stunning 109dB SNR audio quality, accelerates gaming performance and includes 64MB of on-board X-RAM for high performance gaming. With support for EAX(R) ADVANCED HD(TM) 5.0, the latestversion of the EAX Environmental Audio standard, the Sound Blaster X-FiFatal1ty FPS card utilizes X-Fi CMSS 3D technology for stunning audio realismover headphones in LAN gaming. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS features a convenient front-facing internal drive bay for easy connectivity, plus the X-Fi IR remote to easily access and control all digital entertainment, and tocontrol the X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer, X-Fi CMSS 3D, 3DMIDI and EAX.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum The ideally versatile sound card to suit all digital entertainment experiences, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum sound card includes an internal drive bay with additional, convenient front-facing input/output connectivityfor headphone listening, PC gaming and audio creation. Delivering 109dB SNR audio quality, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum includes the X-Fi IR remote, for easy access to the Entertainment Center software console, which enables access to music, movies and picture slide shows through a slick, streamlined interface. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum also includes all of the standard features, application software, power and performance capabilities of theSound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music.

Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic. The Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card harnesses the full power ofthe Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor to upgrade any existing library of MP3 or any music files to the Xtreme Fidelity audio standard. With the X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity 24-bit Crystalizer, MP3 music and movies are converted to Xtreme Fidelity, which deliver an experience beyond the original CD or DVD recordings. With the included Creative MediaSource(TM) 3 software suite, users can easily SuperRip(TM) all their digital music permanently toXtreme Fidelity. In addition, MediaSource 3 also allows users to further enhance their music content with single-click access to rich features like X-Fi CMSS-3D, Smart Cross-Fade and Smart Volume Management. The Sound BlasterX-Fi Xtreme Music sound card plays back audio with rich 109dB SNR quality. Optimized Modes for Peak X-Fi Performance

Pricing and Availability: The Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro, priced at US$399.99, the Sound BlasterX-Fi Fatal1ty FPS, priced at US$279.99, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum, priced at US$199.99 and the Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, priced atUS$129.99, will be available this month in the US (August 22nd shipping), probably in September in Europe.

I hope to test the Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic by the end of the month. Watch this space! Wonder if the card gets hot with all those components on it?

Thanks to Gamespot for the indepth preview.