Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Fiio E17 against an Creative X-Fi (Xtrememusic)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Fiio E17 against an Creative X-Fi (Xtrememusic)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Recently purchased new headphones (M50s) and ended up wondering on just how much of an improvement I could get by using an amp. So I went, tried out and purchased the Fiio E11 over the weekend and it was awesome.

 

However as I was aware of, the Fiio E11 cannot be used while charging meaning it's use with my desktop is somewhat limited at best. However, going up to the E17 which has a comparable amp would overlap (DAC-wise) with my existing sound card (albeit somewhat older now). Also the shop I bought at allows exchanges ( the store owner actually recommended that I go ahead with the E11 and if I changed my mind - to exchange it for the E17 - awesome shop, awesome owner)

 

Thus the main question!

 

Is the DAC portion of the E17 > a Creative X-Fi sound card? Exact model is the xtrememusic one if you want to be specific, but I'm fine if you have something similar to compare against. 

 

 

post #2 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchikoma View Post

Recently purchased new headphones (M50s) and ended up wondering on just how much of an improvement I could get by using an amp. So I went, tried out and purchased the Fiio E11 over the weekend and it was awesome.

 

However as I was aware of, the Fiio E11 cannot be used while charging meaning it's use with my desktop is somewhat limited at best. However, going up to the E17 which has a comparable amp would overlap (DAC-wise) with my existing sound card (albeit somewhat older now). Also the shop I bought at allows exchanges ( the store owner actually recommended that I go ahead with the E11 and if I changed my mind - to exchange it for the E17 - awesome shop, awesome owner)

 

Thus the main question!

 

Is the DAC portion of the E17 > a Creative X-Fi sound card? Exact model is the xtrememusic one if you want to be specific, but I'm fine if you have something similar to compare against. 

 

 


IT's hard to know, but from reading it seems that your Xi Fi card isn't at all that expensive. I would say without knowing anything that the E17's WM8740 and circuitry implementation is superior to a Xi Fi . Post additional info on the card for a real answer as I am taking a long shot with no information on your current card right now. Some Xi Fi cards have great DAC's.

 

post #3 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchikoma View Post
Recently purchased new headphones (M50s) and ended up wondering on just how much of an improvement I could get by using an amp. So I went, tried out and purchased the Fiio E11 over the weekend and it was awesome.

However as I was aware of, the Fiio E11 cannot be used while charging meaning it's use with my desktop is somewhat limited at best. However, going up to the E17 which has a comparable amp would overlap (DAC-wise) with my existing sound card (albeit somewhat older now). Also the shop I bought at allows exchanges ( the store owner actually recommended that I go ahead with the E11 and if I changed my mind - to exchange it for the E17 - awesome shop, awesome owner)

Thus the main question!

Is the DAC portion of the E17 > a Creative X-Fi sound card? Exact model is the Xtrememusic one if you want to be specific, but I'm fine if you have something similar to compare against. 


The E17 would come with a better DAC then the Xtrememusic sound card.

But when you plug the E17 into the computer's USB port, I believe you are bypassing the sound card and losing it's features.

For $12, you can order 2 extra batteries and an AC battery recharger for the Fiio E11, off eBay.

 

 

post #4 of 14

Being unable to use E11 while charging is one of the few dealbreaking features it has.

 

The E17 is a much more balanced unit in both DAC and amp sections. It is superior to a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic, although not superior to cards such as Auzentech X-Fi Forte, Auzentech X-Fi Prelude and Creative X-Fi Titanium HD.

 

If music listening is the main concern, then the XtremeMusic can be bypassed and the E17 being the main output device. But if gaming or watching movies is a concern, then the XtremeMusic has the upper hand.

post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post

Being unable to use E11 while charging is one of the few dealbreaking features it has.

 

The E17 is a much more balanced unit in both DAC and amp sections. It is superior to a Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic, although not superior to cards such as Auzentech X-Fi Forte, Auzentech X-Fi Prelude and Creative X-Fi Titanium HD.

 

If music listening is the main concern, then the XtremeMusic can be bypassed and the E17 being the main output device. But if gaming or watching movies is a concern, then the XtremeMusic has the upper hand.

When you say upperhand do you mean by the enhancements and DSP's it has? With S/PDIF out if he has it you can sometimes (haven't done it enough to know if it is all the time) add the DSP or enhancement effects to the LPCM stream of the S/PDIF..if the card has an S/PDIF out on it.
 

 

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post

When you say upperhand do you mean by the enhancements and DSP's it has? With S/PDIF out if he has it you can sometimes (haven't done it enough to know if it is all the time) add the DSP or enhancement effects to the LPCM stream of the S/PDIF..if the card has an S/PDIF out on it.
 



I mean that the E17, like most external DACs, only has the basic output capabilities present, meaning no proprietary drivers and software that allows to tap into advanced features such as media encoding and decoding, specific DSP features, and obviously ASIO.

 

The XtremeMusic doesn't have S/PDIF through regular jacks, so for that to be possible, it's required to use a Digital I/O Module (with a going price of $15, give or take): http://us.store.creative.com/Sound-Blaster-Digital-IO-Module/M/B002DS2IRA.htm

post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post



I mean that the E17, like most external DACs, only has the basic output capabilities present, meaning no proprietary drivers and software that allows to tap into advanced features such as media encoding and decoding, specific DSP features, and obviously ASIO.

 

The XtremeMusic doesn't have S/PDIF through regular jacks, so for that to be possible, it's required to use a Digital I/O Module (with a going price of $15, give or take): http://us.store.creative.com/Sound-Blaster-Digital-IO-Module/M/B002DS2IRA.htm


Of course. the Module you have linked. Wouldn't that make the Wolfson in the E17 useless...wait. I see a 3.5mm jack with 3 nothces on it. That would mean it plugs into the headphone out on the sound card. Which means the audio is already in analog format and has already passed through the DAC of the device. For it to go back into SPDIF ..there must be an ADC on board..right? Of which you then take your cable and plug it into your E17 of which the newly remade Analog signal from the ADC goes into the DAC. 

 

post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowei006 View Post


Of course. the Module you have linked. Wouldn't that make the Wolfson in the E17 useless...wait. I see a 3.5mm jack with 3 nothces on it. That would mean it plugs into the headphone out on the sound card. Which means the audio is already in analog format and has already passed through the DAC of the device. For it to go back into SPDIF ..there must be an ADC on board..right? Of which you then take your cable and plug it into your E17 of which the newly remade Analog signal from the ADC goes into the DAC. 

 


 

The jack used is the mic/line jack, that doubles as a S/PDIF port, Creative calls it FlexiJack, something that other manufacturers also use. Then the card needs to be configured to send the audio through the S/PDIF port rather than analog out.

post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roller View Post


 

The jack used is the mic/line jack, that doubles as a S/PDIF port, Creative calls it FlexiJack, something that other manufacturers also use. Then the card needs to be configured to send the audio through the S/PDIF port rather than analog out.



Genius. Anyway, now we have that option on the table as well to add DSP effects to the LPCM stream sent to the E17 that will make it suitable for music and what not. Of course this is not just limited to E17.

post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hmm...this has turned out to be a harder decision than I thought it would. My activities are split between music listening and gaming so it's a toss-up. On the flip side, if I upgraded my sound card to say a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD then I get decent results on both music and gaming...so I think I'll just use the upgrade money towards a higher end sound card (and I'll be building a new computer within the next couple months that'll require a PCI-E sound card anyways so this kind of works out)

 

That said (and going off the original topic): what about the ASUS Xonar equivalents?

post #11 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by uchikoma View Post

Hmm...this has turned out to be a harder decision than I thought it would. My activities are split between music listening and gaming so it's a toss-up. On the flip side, if I upgraded my sound card to say a Creative X-Fi Titanium HD then I get decent results on both music and gaming...so I think I'll just use the upgrade money towards a higher end sound card (and I'll be building a new computer within the next couple months that'll require a PCI-E sound card anyways so this kind of works out)

 

That said (and going off the original topic): what about the ASUS Xonar equivalents?



You would do well in considering the Titanium HD, as it is a significant upgrade from the XtremeMusic in both general audio and in gaming terms. You won't feel sound quality lacking with it, and you will have a plethora of features due to it being a soundcard and not a separate DAC. Do note I like DACs, but they have a rather specific purpose, while you do several different things that do require support from the hardware in order for you to obtain ideal results.

 

If you do plan on doing any kind of gaming that requires audio performance, positional cue accuracy, 3D effects and such, then you can entirely dismiss Asus cards. Despite all the advances happening in the audio world, the reality is that only cards that have a X-Fi DSP chip are really gaming capable due to having hardware support for both advanced audio present on adequate audio renderers as well as the DSP chip itself improving gaming audio (when those options are selected) even on regular sounding games.

Just so you have a better understanding of what I'm talking about, your XtremeMusic can outperform the best currently available Asus card with "gaming" support. That's how important it is to have the DSP chip in your audio hardware. Now, don't misunderstand me, (some) Asus cards are quite good and are good value for your money, but it's all about who they're targeted for, namely they are music and movie cards above all else.

 

Since your budget allows you to consider the Creative X-Fi Titanium HD, the only equivalent alternative from Asus, the Xonar Essence STX, has basically the same sound quality but with a harsher signature, also in part due to its integrated amp, and lacking any real gaming audio support. You should be aware that initially, Asus advertised gaming features far more and made false claims that it supported features that are only available on Creative cards, with Asus being heavily sued because of that.

 

With that being said, the X-Fi Titanium HD is the best purchase you can make given your listening habits.

post #12 of 14

Hi Uchikoma,

 

I just want to add my opinion on your situation since it sounds very familiar to what i went through a while ago.

 

I had the exact same sound card and in my 'comfortable' world of computers I was always a 'soundcard' guy specifically 'Creative' cause I liked their sound. 

 

When I took a chance on the E17 I was immediately rewarded and all fears quickly vanished!

 

The E17 was a vast improvement to my Xtreme Music in ways like:

 

  • Driver less, plug and play! Not having to install a billion crappy software programs was liberating! (As a computer guy, I am deadly serious about this point!)
  • Sound quality and clarity is simply 'High End' to my ears, you get a big 'Wow' factor going from a sound card to a 'proper' Dac/Amp.
  • Functionality is simple and user friendly. I can adjust volume/treb/bass etc. off the E17. Power it on and off and sits comfortable on my desktop next to my rig.
  • I was afraid it wouldn't preform well in games like BF3, Css, Diablo 3 or many of my other steam games but guess what...not a single issue/error/glitch. Sound is fantastic and I was not disappointed at all! I've played many rounds of CSS with the E17/AD700 and I can still track movement very easily! Before the E17 I was using the Xtreme Music with BF3 and when i switched over I could not hear any lack of detail compared to the creative card!

 

I just want to go back to your original question in regards to if the dac on the E17 better than the Xtreme Music, well in my opinion I believe it is! I use to have to tweak the settings like crystaliser and that just to make the sound good but with the E17 I did not have to adjust anything I loved the sound it's powerful, impactful and crystal clear! (If you've used a creative card then you know about the so called 'enhancements' creative implement in to the drivers just to make it sound decent. 

 

Also you asked about the Asus equivalents, all I can say is before the Xtreme Music I had the Asus Xonar D1 for a short while but I did not like the sound at all and 'enjoyed' the Creative sound better!

 

Well I hope that helps a bit Uchi, just giving you my experience going from the Creative XFI Xtreme Music to the Fiio E7. 

 

(P.s I'll be using the E17 until the wheels fall off LOL!)

 

Kind regards,

post #13 of 14
Quote:

Originally Posted by volly View Post

 

Also you asked about the Asus equivalents, all I can say is before the Xtreme Music I had the Asus Xonar D1 for a short while but I did not like the sound at all and 'enjoyed' the Creative sound better!

 

The Xonar D1 does not have a real headphone (not line) output, so it is not surprising that many headphones do not sound right when driven directly from it without an amplifier. In fact, headphone amplification is one area where sound card manufacturers really like to cut corners, and probably that (rather than the DAC) is the main reason why the E17 sounds better.

post #14 of 14

Yes, totally agree Stv!

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Portable Headphone Amps
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Portable Headphone Amps › Fiio E17 against an Creative X-Fi (Xtrememusic)