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Sound Blaster X-fi: just hype or what? - Page 2

post #16 of 91
I'm tempted by the X-Fi extreme music myself. Especially with VOIP and Skype the Mic jack is a bit stupid alright.
post #17 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradH
Honestly, I think the X-Fi extreme music is the perfect card for someone who wants the best sound in both music and games, assuming the person is willing to invest in an external DAC and AMP.

It's pretty much uncontested as the best gaming card available. And it also supports bit-perfect digital output...
That's a lot of money for a card that does bit-perfect digital. The AV-710 has big-perfect optical passthrough for $25. For gaming it is first class. But how much better for gaming is it than say an Audigy2?
post #18 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Razoramus
That's a lot of money for a card that does bit-perfect digital. The AV-710 has big-perfect optical passthrough for $25. For gaming it is first class. But how much better for gaming is it than say an Audigy2?
The Audigy2 is a decent gaming card, but it doesn't do bit-perfect. So you're back to needing two sound cards again, an AV-710 to do the bit-perfect and an Audigy2 Value to game.

Granted you've now saved $50 over an X-Fi, but in exchange you have a second tier gaming card (no contest against the X-Fi) and the inconvenience of dealing with two sound cards. Depending on the inputs available on your DAC and AMP, you may even need to physically move cables around to get the optimal sound in each respective mode.

Maybe it's just my way of rationalizing, but if I've invested several hundred+ into a nice external DAC, several hundred+ into a nice AMP, and several hundred+ into a nice set of cans, then I won't hesitate to spend an extra $50 on an X-Fi to make use of all the cool equipment for both gaming and music.
post #19 of 91
I wanted it for gaming but reading that it has bit perfect output (or at least claims to be) might make it not a bad source. It will beinteresting to find out.
post #20 of 91
Try to audition before you buy

*IF* you like the crystalizer funtion, don't worry about what others say... your ears are most important
post #21 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeeMeS
Try to audition before you buy

*IF* you like the crystalizer funtion, don't worry about what others say... your ears are most important
The crystaliser or whatever gimicky name I am not interested in. I am interested in the pseudo surround to use with my headphones.
post #22 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradH
The Audigy2 is a decent gaming card, but it doesn't do bit-perfect. So you're back to needing two sound cards again, an AV-710 to do the bit-perfect and an Audigy2 Value to game.

Granted you've now saved $50 over an X-Fi, but in exchange you have a second tier gaming card (no contest against the X-Fi) and the inconvenience of dealing with two sound cards. Depending on the inputs available on your DAC and AMP, you may even need to physically move cables around to get the optimal sound in each respective mode.

Maybe it's just my way of rationalizing, but if I've invested several hundred+ into a nice external DAC, several hundred+ into a nice AMP, and several hundred+ into a nice set of cans, then I won't hesitate to spend an extra $50 on an X-Fi to make use of all the cool equipment for both gaming and music.
I used to think having two soundcards is an annoyance and a drawback, but later realized it actually is more functional than having just one. Unless you have REALLY NICE speakers to go with, I doubt you will notice that much difference on typical multimedia speakers. To take full advantage of X-Fi (or any EAX, for that matter), I would assume most people would rather opt for an inexpensive multichannel speaker setup, which compromises the musical performance.

Maybe its just me, but I tend to do high quality listening (I refuse to use word "critical", I am always relaxing when listening to music ) on headphones only hooked up to the dedicated sound card (1212M), and for watching anime and games I just use speakers on my 'regular stuff' sound card (aurilium). Works out pretty well for me, I dont miss having all-in-one solution of any sort.
post #23 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikoLayer
I used to think having two soundcards is an annoyance and a drawback, but later realized it actually is more functional than having just one. Unless you have REALLY NICE speakers to go with, I doubt you will notice that much difference on typical multimedia speakers. To take full advantage of X-Fi (or any EAX, for that matter), I would assume most people would rather opt for an inexpensive multichannel speaker setup, which compromises the musical performance.
For casual gamers, you're probably right - some of those guys are probably using multichannel speaker setups. But the true "competitive gamers" - the guys/teams you see in the top 10 at CPL, WCG, Quakecon, etc. - they're all using headphones. Headphones provide such a huge advantage over speakers that you can't afford to compete without them.

I also don't think EAX has any dependence on multichannel.
post #24 of 91
I dunno man, I can dodge projectals in Doom 3 by sound alone with my speakers. Can't do that with headphones, though admittedly I haven't tried with the X-Fi and it's superior HRTF yet. Though that might be because my speakers are above the average multi-media setup.

As for EAX, it is not dependant on multi-channel sound. The X-Fi will attempt to locate things in space with any setup. EAX is just a way of the program telling it where that thing should be (and other properties such as the room you are in). It just does a better job with more speakers.

Part of the problem with using headphones is that even if the HRTF is perfect, they don't track head movement, so the soundstage rotates with you. That's not natural and you notice it. In fact one of the ways we localise sound better is to slightly move our head.

Basically I think it's hard to go wrong with an X-Fi, espically if you are thinking of an external DAC. If you are willing to drop $300-1000 on a DAC and then $100-1000 on an amp, I can't see sweating the $100 for an X-Fi. IMO it pays ot have a really good DSP for consumer apps.
post #25 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradH
For casual gamers, you're probably right - some of those guys are probably using multichannel speaker setups. But the true "competitive gamers" - the guys/teams you see in the top 10 at CPL, WCG, Quakecon, etc. - they're all using headphones. Headphones provide such a huge advantage over speakers that you can't afford to compete without them.

I also don't think EAX has any dependence on multichannel.
Not quite correct...
The reason they're using headphones is that you cannot exactly put a huge 7.1/5.1 speaker system in the middle of a lan party... Plus your opponent would be able to figure out where you were!

It's the other way around. Speakers provide a much bigger advantage when it comes to gaming(as long as it's not at a LAN or RL Tourny)
post #26 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
The crystaliser or whatever gimicky name I am not interested in.
I wouldn't use that for regular music listening purposes, either - but it can be quite useful for beefing up old movie soundtracks, for example. And it could also work for parties, I'd assume...

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoRedwings19
I am interested in the pseudo surround to use with my headphones.
Yup, that CMSS 3D Headphone sounds quite nice for movies and gaming to me. For music I prefer plain stereo - which is what I'd exspect to go for most regular headphone listeners.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
post #27 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeeMeS
Not quite correct...
The reason they're using headphones is that you cannot exactly put a huge 7.1/5.1 speaker system in the middle of a lan party... Plus your opponent would be able to figure out where you were!

It's the other way around. Speakers provide a much bigger advantage when it comes to gaming(as long as it's not at a LAN or RL Tourny)
I have never met a pro-caliber player from any competitive game platform (Quake, UT, CS, etc.) that has used anything but headphones. This isn't to say that there aren't some good players running around on pub servers using nice 5.1 speaker setups. I'm just saying that the top gamers - the guys that are competing at the professional level and travelling to national/international tournaments - all use headphones exclusively (for home use as well as lans.)

I know first hand that this is the case, so I won't bother to argue. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one
post #28 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradH
I have never met a pro-caliber player from any competitive game platform (Quake, UT, CS, etc.) that has used anything but headphones. This isn't to say that there aren't some good players running around on pub servers using nice 5.1 speaker setups. I'm just saying that the top gamers - the guys that are competing at the professional level and travelling to national/international tournaments - all use headphones exclusively (for home use as well as lans.)

I know first hand that this is the case, so I won't bother to argue. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one
maybe its because they know they will have to use them in competitive situations anyways, so they probably train and play with them all the time?
just a thought..
post #29 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by bpm2000
maybe its because they know they will have to use them in competitive situations anyways, so they probably train and play with them all the time?
just a thought..
Definitely a good thought and a valid point, but I don't think that's the only reason.
post #30 of 91
I don't game but I just have the x-fi extreme music and use it with the headroom micro amp but no dac. It works just fine for me but it's not my main rig so I really don't sweat whether it is a great card or not.

The reason I posted though is I hate the crystallizer. No offense to those who like it but I just can't stand it, it makes everything sound super high pitched, just plain grating on the ears. I just leave it off and like I said it's a fine card...no other complaints.
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