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USB sound card for mac, does the Soundblaster X-fi HD USB work?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 






I'm new to this forum after having recently upgraded from Bose QC15s to a pair of Beyerdynamic DT880s (32ohm version).


I'm reasonably impressed with them so far, although not completely blown away.  I suspect this is mostly because of poor amplification, I've been using them mainly with my iPhone 4 which obviously has terrible output but I have also plugged them into my B&W MM-1 speakers and they sounded nice but not amazing.  I'm hoping that it's due to either amplification or that they need more time to "burn in".


I've ordered a Fiio E5 headphone amp and a Fiio dock-to-3.5mm cable which I'm hoping will improve the sound when listening on my iphone.  I know there are probably better headphone amps but I don't really want to have to carry a little tin around with me, the ipod-shuffle-sized E5 will be annoying enough as I'll need to be careful not to keep it in the same pocket as the iphone so it doesn't scratch etc..


One of my main use cases for headphones is coding at work, and I use them pretty much all day long so I'd definitely like to get as much out of them as I can.

I was looking at this Soundblaster X-fi HD USB:




And although it says that it only supports windows, I did find a youtube comment from someone who claims that it works fine on the latest version of OSX:




"I have one hooked on my Mac mini 2010 with OSX 10.6.6 and it works!!! flawless"


It's quite a bit of money to shell out if it's not compatible, so I was wondering if anyone has one of these and has tried using it with a Mac.  I'm not bothered about the software that comes with it, all I really need is the audio output to work so I can listen to music at work in glorious high definition through the beyers.


If that's a non-starter, what other options are there that would let me get some nice sound out of the beyers from my macbook?  It seems like there isn't much in the mid-range area of USB sound cards for macs, there are cheap options like the turtle beach micro or the x-fi go, but i seriously doubt either of them are going to be much of an improvement.  Especially the turtle beach micro, that doesn't have any specifications posted anywhere on the internet which is a bit telling :)

Any tips and advice much appreciated.  Something like the M-Audio Audiophile 2496 but a USB version would be awesome.


post #2 of 12

I do know you can use it without drivers in windows. I use mine as a plug and play device.

post #3 of 12

It will work, but will show up as a generic USB audio device.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

Interesting, does that matter?  Will it still kick out audio in the same high quality as it would on windows?  I'm not bothered about all the features and settings as long as the output sounds good and it's got enough power to drive my beyers.

post #5 of 12

It will, and because windows audio isn't in the way, it should sound fantastic.


post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 

oooo i think i might have to buy one...

post #7 of 12

I have been enjoying my X-Fi HD USB thoroughly, and I prefer it over my uDAC-2. It doesn't get much attention on these forums though.

post #8 of 12

I use X-FI HD with Windows 7. It's awesome once you get around hooking things up from a very poorly written instruction sheet which comes with the unit. It's a fantastic interface: I use mine for ADC and DAC, as well as USB to S/PDIF and S/PDIF to USB. It sounds great. iTunes 256 and 16/44.1 .wav files up-sampled with Windows 7 to 24/96  sound indistinguishable from direct CD and SACD playback as heard through my JBL L100t3's.

post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 

I'm so tempted to get one of these, it's quite expensive though.  As I have B&W MM-1 speakers that I use with my computer (usb connection) I'm not sure it would really add enough to justify the cost.

post #10 of 12

i use one and is detected as sound blaster x-fi go! pro (lion 10.3)

and it works great


post #11 of 12

I use a Griffin iMic daily with my Mac. I've had it for a few years, and it's still going strong. I use it to either to plug my headphones into, or run a line into my amp. You could take a look at the iMics.

post #12 of 12

I know this is an old thread, I just got my X-Fi HD and it works right out of the box on Yosemite.  

The only thing I really wish for is the ability to rename the device so when using Audio Hijack we could have some better names for audio devices.

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