So what’s the deal here?
Creative Technology Ltd, the people with over 250 million Sound Blaster 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 line of sound cards. Powered by the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity 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 and CMSS-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, where X-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 a comprehensive selection of connectivity for audio creation with easy-to-use control 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 product launch-ese), 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-Fi Fatal1ty 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 ADVANCED HD 5.0, the latest version 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 to control 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 the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music.
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic. The Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic sound card harnesses the full power of the 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 3 software suite, users can easily SuperRip 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 Blaster X-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?
Jonathon Marks is a highly-experienced radio reporter, expert on the next stages of the media, an all-round good egg and friend of Digital-Lifestyles. One of his publications is What Caught My Eye – Broadcast & Podcast Gadgets