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Wow. This is huge!
So a third quarter release, can’t wait!
I had the opportunity to attend the same demo as the AVSForum guys.
If you can see in the video, there were two options available for profile capture. First one being the pinnae/head photo, and second one being the head/pinnae photo + in-ear mic test tone sweeps. I did the latter option. Cans used were the EMU headsets, which were open-backed cans (https://www.head-fi.org/threads/e-mu-wooden-series-headphones.781884/page-58). The reference set-up was the same Elac system.
Unlike the AVSForum guys, demo material for mine was different, being 1) the Santaria Atmos demo, 2) a scene out of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, 3) an Overwatch game scene (think it was the same one in the Atmos demo disc), 4) Steely Dan track (same as the AVSForum video).
To caveat, I have no understanding on the science behind this technology, but here are some of my thoughts.
a) The technology does create a very immersive soundstage. Out of all the material, I was most impressed with the Atmos clip. If I was to nitpick, directional imaging was better with the reference set up (I could better pinpoint the position of the bird calls).
b) The choice of material unfortunately didn't stress this technology to its limits. The demos had surround mixes that contained "filler material" (background music scores, additional sound effects, etc) which did provide an enveloping soundstage but failed to test on other aspects. Would have loved to demo material testing directional panning.
c) Using this with 2 channel audio is a no go for me. I never liked additional DSP processing against 2 channel sources anyway... but a colleague mentioned an interesting use case: DSP processing against sound characteristics of famous concert halls. Imagine being able to replicate the acoustic signature of the Royal Albert Hall or the Boston Symphony Hall...
1) I suspect this technology will work better for specific cans than the others (i.e. open-backed cans with a wide soundstage). On hindsight I should have done a A/B test with my own cans, but wasn't sure if I would be allowed to do that. It'll be interesting to see how they can compensate this with custom calibration curves. Apparently the h/w profiling isn't as simple as capturing the frequency response.
2) The initial products will be in the form of an app, and the USB dongle. In these use cases, how can multi channel material be decoded? As per the CEO, they do have other products (e.g. an HDMI breakout box) in the works. But it's worth noting that the prototype was also a USB-linked breakout box.
For what it's worth, they used a simple Android phone for the pinnae/head photos. No fancy iPhone-like depth sensing cameras. Also interesting to test on what makes the difference, the ear profiling, or profiled hardware?
Have you heard any 2-channel speaker systems that use crosstalk cancellation? Some examples are Ambiophonics and BACCH. It is possible to get a similar effect on headphones by using the Smyth Realiser or BACCH-hp, and it might be more to your liking. Maybe Creative will offer such a mode.
Did the CEO mention HDMI specifically? A box with HDMI would compete better with the Smyth Realiser.
Some other companies are planning to use phone images as well. One example is the THX Spatial Audio Platform. Another example is the partnership between IDA Audio (OwnSurround), Genelec and Hefio.
How would this connect to a gaming console or pc? Could you use your own dac and amp with it?
I'm fairly certain it will be via USB. The dongle shown on creative's site shows it connected to an iphone via a usb to lightning cable. The device contains a custom SOC (system on chip), 8 channel DSP capable of 24/96 @ 100+ SNR. here's the quote from Creatrive:
This article says it will be released later this year and will MSRP for $150 usd.
anyone know if this thing is any closer to coming out? the app was supposed to be out in april and the device in june. its now august and not so much as a peep...
"SXFI was announced in the third quarter of FY2018 and has received overwhelming reception. We expect to commence volume shipment of the new SXFI products from the next quarter (Q2 FY2019)."
Quote from Creative Technology in the black in Q4 on gains from lawsuit award against Huawei
You can enter this drawing today to win one.
Looks like it will be ready to order today for Singapore users and worldwide seems to be November.
It looks like I might just have to give the dongle a go even if I would have preferred waiting for something more traditional soundcard. Well mic-in would be great to have at least but I do have Mobius I could use in bluetooth mode for those occasions I'd need it. I'm so curious to try this Super X-Fi thing. November can't come soon enough.
are there any singapore online retailers that deliver to the US? i would like to get one now and not wait until november. would make an awesome christmas gift if it is as good as advertised!
I just bought the Super X-Fi Amp yesterday. Very good deal, a friend of mine gave me referral link so additional SG$ 20 discount, I ended up paid SG$ 199.- or around US$ 146.- for the SX-Fi Amp dongle and a pair of Aurvana SE Super X-Fi Certified headphones, that according to Creative would be similar to CAL. Awesome deal. Collection on the 9th of October, with special personalization appointment with time slot. I hope what they mean by that personalization is calibration using the binaural microphones on our ear for accurate profiling. Well, let's see. Another 2 weeks.
I did try the prototype of Super X-Fi in Creative HQ, last March 2018. To my memory it was like 70%-80% as good as the Smith Realizer that I tried in Canjam Singapore. But that was the prototype, tested on different setup, so not an objective side by side comparison. But it was already pretty good in my opinion, quite a realistic simulation of the speaker setup. Hopefully this small dongle can perform as good or even better.
With 7.7 billion people and the diversity of peoples of the world, I will be surprised if head and ear-mapping process (combined with AI processing to pick a sufficiently matching HRTF on a large and diverse enough database) achieves performance as accurate as an in-ear acoustic measurement. At least in a shorter timeframe than the one estimated by Stephen Smyth (20 years). Well, let’s see. I hope to be alive until it happens.