or Connect
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Creative X-Fi HD (USB DAC)... worth it?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Creative X-Fi HD (USB DAC)... worth it?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

It seems that creative has released two pro-geared products this holiday season right under my nose, the X-Fi Titanium HD (PCI-E sound card) and the X-Fi HD (USB DAC). As indicated by the reviews, both appear to use higher quality components, with the Titanium HD going as far as to offer swappable op-amps.

 

I seem drawn to the X-Fi HD, though, because I feel like I'm really doing my ATH-M50's a disservice by sending them through my motherboard's audio. At $99, the X-Fi looks to be a proverbial drop-in-the-bucket compared to most DACs out there, and offers an integrated headphone amplifier, phono pre-amp and more connections than you can shake a stick at. But then again... this is Creative we're talking about here. While not as infamous as Bose amongst audiophile circles, it isn't exactly the most celebrated company either. What do you think? Here's a link to the Amazon product page: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-System-SB1240/dp/B004275EO4/


Edited by Dragnerok X - 1/8/11 at 12:04pm
post #2 of 18

I bought the Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD. The only problem, so far, is an instruction sheet with incomplete instructions, and a dead online help address. In other words, I've been on my own. The card works without its provided and down-loadable bonus  software. Its software, which aids conversion of vinyl to digital files is not as intuitive as Roxio's. At any rate, using this device to get  digital  from and to my Sony TA-E9000ES preamp seems to yield  sound as good as I've known originating from my home theatre or computer. 

post #3 of 18

My boss has it and has nothing but good things to say about it.

post #4 of 18

I have this card and it's big step up from my onboard sound, but I still use a FiiO e5 in between to amp my Ultrasone's. I'm currently looking for an amp upgrade to solve this problem and I'm wondering if a amp/dac combo could completely replace this.

post #5 of 18

I'm having issues using the optical digital output.  Using the rca outputs sound great from my receiver.  So far, so good.

post #6 of 18

 What sort of issues?  Did you set your output to match  the input capability of the preamp?

post #7 of 18

It is doing justice to my Sennheiser HD580 Precision headphone, definitely beats the on-board Realtek audio solution on my laptops, worth the money. 

post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by sterling1 View Post

 What sort of issues?  Did you set your output to match  the input capability of the preamp?



I did.  After doing some tweaking, it appears to be my receiver that is the issue.  I'm now using an older (no digital inputs) receiver for now.  Sounds good.

post #9 of 18

No, Creative's pro line of product is sold under the E-MU brand, and it turns out that E-MU has released a new product in the las few days, IMHO, it's better built than the X-Fi HD

 

It's the E-MU 0204 USB. Check out Amazon.com, it's at $129.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Creative--MU-8740A-Audio-Interface/dp/B004GJXTQS/ref=sr_1_4?s=musical-instruments&ie=UTF8&qid=1295246556&sr=1-4
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dragnerok X View Post

It seems that creative has released two pro-geared products this holiday season right under my nose, the X-Fi Titanium HD (PCI-E sound card) and the X-Fi HD (USB DAC). As indicated by the reviews, both appear to use higher quality components, with the Titanium HD going as far as to offer swappable op-amps.

 

I seem drawn to the X-Fi HD, though, because I feel like I'm really doing my ATH-M50's a disservice by sending them through my motherboard's audio. At $99, the X-Fi looks to be a proverbial drop-in-the-bucket compared to most DACs out there, and offers an integrated headphone amplifier, phono pre-amp and more connections than you can shake a stick at. But then again... this is Creative we're talking about here. While not as infamous as Bose amongst audiophile circles, it isn't exactly the most celebrated company either. What do you think? Here's a link to the Amazon product page: http://www.amazon.com/Creative-Sound-Blaster-System-SB1240/dp/B004275EO4/

post #10 of 18

I bought the X-Fi HD and uDAC-2 to see which one was better. I ended up returning the X-Fi HD since it clearly was the inferior DAC. I mainly use it with my BX5a Deluxe so the headphone amp isn't that big of a concern for me. As a DAC, the uDAC-2 is far more spacious and transparent than the X-Fi HD. I only headphone I use is the Creative EP630 that came with my Dell laptop. The headphone out on the uDAC-2 is pretty much silent until I turn the volume past 1 o'clock. There is a slight hiss from the X-Fi HD but nothing like the hiss I got compared to the onboard sound from my laptop. You can get the uDAC-2 w/o the RCA and digital out for $100 if you don't intend on using it with speakers. 

post #11 of 18

My Sony TA-E9000ES control amp accepts, through its DVD labeled optical S/PDIF input, as high as a 24/96 signal, so, I have my Creative Sound Blaster X-FI HD  set to send signals at that rate. Thing is, all output from my computer is now sent at 24/96. I guess somewhere, but I don't know where exactly, there's some up-sampling going on. Other than this mystery, the X-FI HD is working as advertised and beyond. Before purchasing this device, I used a Roxio EZ LP to MP3 Creator to get my records digitized. And, with my laptops analog mini headphone out jack, I sent analog signals to my home theatre with good results, as long as I was operating the laptop with battery power, otherwise there seemed to always be some output of low level hum from the laptop. Now, using the X-FI HD, there's no hum even with the wall wart plugged into the laptop, and the X-FI allows me to digitize my LP's at up to 24/96, while the Roxio only processed LP's at up to 16/44.1.

 

What I like most about the X-FI HD is that it is not just a DAC, it's an interface, which receives both analog and digital signals from my preamp, as well as sends USB from the computer to Home Theatre as S/PDIF or RCA analog . What more could you want? I think this sort of device, in the future, with a few more inputs/outputs, will replace the typical analog preamp out there. As far as sound quality, I have no complaint. I can't distinguish music from this device and SACD.

 

I'd like to see this device reviewed by TAS or Stereophile. I think that it's a well engineered product, which appears to do what it does at a lower cost than anything else out there. Of course, I have not heard most of these devices, and that's why some input from professional reviewers might be interesting.

post #12 of 18

hello . does your x-fi support microphone's voltag?

 

post #13 of 18

All I am telling is about the sound what I think is most important factor for any audiophile. I found it to be harsh but as well as detailed. One have to take an interval at least once after 30 minutes because of the headache. There is no question that it is detailed but that does not necessarily means it is a product for audiophiles. But Creative made a good try but its nearly (not totally) a failure. If u want to use it for long sessions then stay far away from this one. 

post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by srisaikat View Post

All I am telling is about the sound what I think is most important factor for any audiophile. I found it to be harsh but as well as detailed. One have to take an interval at least once after 30 minutes because of the headache. There is no question that it is detailed but that does not necessarily means it is a product for audiophiles. But Creative made a good try but its nearly (not totally) a failure. If u want to use it for long sessions then stay far away from this one. 



Interesting, specially since one of the accepted ideas of audiophiles is detail (to an extreme), which from your description fits the bill quite well.

 

Also, why are you spamming comments on other threads?:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/521575/amplifier-in-the-creative-sound-blaster-x-fi-hd-24-bit-96khz-usb-interface-sound-card/45#post_7729045

http://www.head-fi.org/t/535801/creative-x-fi-hd-usb-revealed/30#post_7729044

post #15 of 18

I just ordered one of these specifically as a somewhat more elegant solution to ripping vinyl. I have several setups but the one I use to rip vinyl now (to a main desktop) requires I keep a TT there and it is input straight (from a high end phono stage) to the internal sound card of the DELL XPS. They come out pretty awesome but I was looking for a more elegant solution that lets me keep it hooked into my Main system using my preamp REC OUT so that 1) It is always ready 2) Either one of my two tables in the main system can feed it.

 

I am also curious about the DAC out for playback just to compare. I have an AUNE T1 Tube DAC in the system that I love but one never knows...I'll report back my impressions Friday and provide some needle drops for you guys to hear...

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Computer Audio
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Computer Audio › Creative X-Fi HD (USB DAC)... worth it?