Creative teases us with new Sound Blaster reveal

When was the last time you got excited by a PC sound card announcement? Sure, some of us get pumped for a new processor, or a new graphic chip, but sound on the PC has become something of an also-ran in terms of its rung on the PC technology ladder.

Today, Creative wants all of us to get excited about its next Sound Blaster product. That includes launching a new teaser page that promises something with the word "Axx". We don't think that's a real word, but at least it sounds interesting.

We will have to wait until May 30th to find out what all of this "Axx" stuff is supposed to mean. However, Creative is giving the community a chance to guess exactly what this new Sound Blaster product is suppose to be. Creative says that the "most accurate and most creative answers will be the first to axx-perience the new Sound Blaster."

The first Sound Blaster PC sound card was released back in 1989. Creative hasn't released a new Sound Blaster product line in a little while; the last was in September 2011 when the company launched the Sound Blaster Recon3D family of products.

Image via Creative

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What a f@&king joke that not even a Sound Card it Wire/Wireless Speakers
Creative Lab may as well just cut off it own you know what hehe

Only my DAC, amp and HD 650's cost about $2000 guess how an onboard chip compares. I also have a Creative Titanium HD which is actually pretty decent for what it's worth. That said onboard is indeed good enough for 95%+ of people and regardless of all the marketing Creative try to pull off I just don't seem them coming back with something truly innovative.

Many users referred to Driver issues with Creative cards, those who dismiss them as invalid simply because you didnt have a problem need to give the rest of us a break.

The biggest issue with many of Creatives cards were surely linked to driver issues. In Windows 98, not only did the cards not work properly, the software was very bloated and crashed. I was a msuic professional in those days and has been using cards from Creative since the AWE32 and AWE64 which were my first. Those cards awre ok, but the AWE128 sucked big time. The Live! weer even better, but using apps like SoundFonts was simply horrible. I would be in the middle of creating a huge SoundFont and the application would just crash out killing all my work.

For those who dont know what SoundFonts are, these ares files created using digital sounds like WAV files and creating your own sounds to enhance instrument sounds to make them richer.

The Live! applications were constantly getting updates to deal with constant issues. When Windows XP appeared, it offered native support for basic features of SB cards like the Live, but it didn't support the fancier Live! cards properly. Even tho there Windows generic driver worked all the time, the software wouldn't work with it until you install Creatives own drivers. In my experience, it was better to extract Creative's drivers from the package and manually install them and then install only the applications you need, vs installing the whole suite.

The Live! Platinum was my last. I want the XFI option as I did my an Express Card for my laptop with it. But using the laptop speakers kinda killed mu enthusiam for using it. I didnt buy the desktop versions simply because I felt they wree to costly and my then 5.1 onboard option was reasonably better. And since I was out of music production, a dedicated card was not needed.

Also after moving up to Virtual Sound Canvas for what I was doing, I could use ANY sound-card good or bad, because the software bypassed the sound-card and produced richer more ambient sound using the systems CPU instead. When I compared it to someone I knew who had the XFI Fatality, I knew Sound Canvas was a better option. Even thr EAX enhancements just didnt sound rich enough.

If this new card is even better, I will certainly buy it.But the last software updates I used with my XFI notebook card, it simply good looking software with bad performance overall.

The MP3 enhancements just made the highs to high and lows weren't low enough

I haven't used a sound card in at least 10 years. But I am not an A/V pro. Also, I CAN tell the difference between coke and pepsi in a blind taste test , so I have no doubt that some people can do the same from on board to card output.

There's absolutely no difference between on board audio and a dedicated soundcard if you are using standard PC speakers. Anyway not to my ears.

Edited by LaP, May 25 2012, 4:26pm :

I have one of their cards (IDK which one) to hook up my 7.1 surround sound. I've had no problems so far with it. Bit perfect sound cards are a must to me if you listen to your music in FLAC and have a sweet pair of headphones. I do notice a difference in quality if I were to take out the card and use on board with headphones.

I have love Sound Blaster cards since the first one I bought which was the Sound Blaster AWE64. The last one I had was the Sound Blaster Live Platinum which was way back in early 2000?

There just hasn't been a need to buy one for me for 2 reasons. One, I use to make my own MIDI files and the SB line of cards just made music sound better. That until I moved over to Virtual Sound Canvas software. Two, the on-board cards found on the boards I bought were more than sufficient as they all carried 5.1 or 7.1 surround a capabilities.

I miss buying them, but the XFI offerings were to expensive for my taste.
I am surprise anyone even still buys dedicated sound card for any less than professional usage.

Still waiting for drivers that will make my X-Fi Platinum works under Windows.

I'll admit though it's a great looking and totally geeky paper weight. When people tell me "hey man! it's a great paper weight". I tell them "yeah! it's a CREATIVE X-Fi Plati ******* num man! you know the 200$ card that never actually worked".

I'll never touch a Creative product again. Not even with a 100 foots pole.

Listening to music with snap, crackle and pop sounds coming out of the speakers every 30 secondes is not fun at all. Maybe with cheap speakers you can't hear it but with my expensive set of speakers the sounds are clearly audible.

The more frustrating was not the fact that the card never actually worked. **** happens. It's the fact that Creative lied to us (there was a 100+ pages long thread on their forum about this problem, lot of people had it). At first they blamed the nForce chipset. They said X-Fi was not working properly with MB having the nForce chipset. I really wanted this card to work so i switched my DFI MB for an ASRock MB with a VIA chipset. Would not have been the first time 2 hardwares had problems working together. But the sounds was still there with the VIA chipset. I waited ages for a drivers update solving this issue. The last drivers i tried reduced the amount and frequency of the snap, crackle and pop sounds but the sounds was still there.

I heard new X-Fi cards don't have this problem. Maybe it's only the first batch of cards.

Was it that hard for Creative to admit that the problem was hardware related and to replace the card of every early buyers ?

Anyway now using an Auzentech X-Fi prelude. Same chipset, same drivers, no snap, crackle and pop sounds at all.

personally, ive never had a PC that used onboard audio. ive used sound cards my whole life. while i cant get excited about a new Creative card, i've been using my X-Fi Xtrememusic since it was released. I love this card. i'll continue to use it until PCI slots completely disappear.

They just came out with there "Recon3d" brand of sound cards just came out just recently, They switched over to a four core arm processor, is this going to be Ver 2 of the Recon3d and this cards new features won't implement for the existing Recon3d users?

Sorry, but been very bitter with creative over the years, buying A3D tech and burying it, driver support in general, Vista - EAX debacle, abandoning support for older cards while still manufacturing and selling them.

Jason Stillion said,
They just came out with there "Recon3d" brand of sound cards just came out just recently, They switched over to a four core arm processor, is this going to be Ver 2 of the Recon3d and this cards new features won't implement for the existing Recon3d users?

Sorry, but been very bitter with creative over the years, buying A3D tech and burying it, driver support in general, Vista - EAX debacle, abandoning support for older cards while still manufacturing and selling them.

The Vista/EAX "debacle" - that was Microsoft, not Creative.

A major criticism of Windows Vista is that the entire audio stack was rewritten from the ground up and road-blocked direct-to-the-hardware audio processing I/O (which was especially used by EAX). The audio-environment side of EAX was not affected, as that relied on post-processing done by the sound card's APU; however, hardware-direct calls, which EAX relied on in XP and earlier, were a no-no in Vista and later. OpenAL - which restored most of the functionality of EAX, but in an OS-neutral fashion, was introduced in 2004 (prior to Windows XP's Service Pack 2). Creative's ALchemy (introduced that same year) converted EAX calls in older games to OpenAL calls. (Originally packed only with the X-Fi line of cards, it was later made available to Creative's Audigy sound cards as well as a free add-on.) Lastly, unlike EAX, OpenAL is also truly cross-platform; it's supported by OS X (Apple), GNU, and even Android.

And while A3D had its uses (I did have the Monster Sound M80 and the later MX-200), it was still trumped by the X-Hi XtremeMusic and original XtremeGamer when they launched; the one trick that A3D had (that Creative pre-X-Fi lacked) was support for multiple audio streams (which would take until the launch of the SoundBlaster Live, Creative's first mainstream PCI sound card, to fix properly).

PGHammer said,

The Vista/EAX "debacle" - that was Microsoft, not Creative.

To be fair, Creative have dropped the ball big time too - their driver support was terrible and lots of stupid bugs (4GB of RAM bug for example) were clearly down to bad programming. They're also very good at abandoning products quickly (in terms of support) which isn't great.

I'm not encouraged by the fact my XFI to go isn't playing 100% well with W8 (I've got the sound working but the control panel apps claim I don't have an XFI.. hey ho..).

It was never a good thing to have EAX sitting out there as a proprietary exclusive thing much like I hate nVidia's physx for the same sort of reasons. I'd rather MS took control of the audio stack/physics stack within Windows/DirectX.

I use an XFI to go at work because I can attach it to any PC without opening it and the onboard audio on generic HP/dells can often really suck (and have horrible interference problems - anyone else able to 'hear' their CPU lol?).

99% of people probably don't use speakers that would justify going to a dedicated audio card over onboard.

I hope that Creative fully ditch that EAX crap and try give Asus and Auzentech a good run for their money. But personally I haven't been fond of Creative stuff.

Maybe they'll update their speaker line to squash Logitech. But one can only dream.

So true... I had 5.1 creative speakers and there was no difference between dedicated and integrated audio. One day I tried some ancient Yamaha speakers 2.0.... never looked back to integrated audio.

This hole onboard vs dedicated sound processor discussion reminds me of someone I know who was bragging about the audio quality of his new MacBook laptop. I would understand if he had a Mac Pro desktop with some 5 figures hardcore audio card and a top of the line mixing station. But his laptop has an onboard DSP like any other laptop

Interesting discussion... I have always been a fan of dedicated sound cards as well. Particularly the Sound Blaster as it was a great card with good MIDI processor (with the AWE, Live! and onward), great for gaming and good for musicians. Generally on board sound cards didn't have good plug connectors (or not enough) or a poor MIDI processor.

I reckon that onboard sound has also come a long way.

I agree that speakers also play a vital role. I got a new DELL XPS 17 with onboard sound and JBL speakers and it is great for games. Even if I had a desktop, I reckon that today I wouldn't go for a SoundBlaster as Creative Labs seems to have reorganised their product line. SoundBlaster nowadays is for game and general audio only. Musicians should look for either Ensoniq or another manufacturer.

pmdci said,
Interesting discussion... I have always been a fan of dedicated sound cards as well. Particularly the Sound Blaster as it was a great card with good MIDI processor (with the AWE, Live! and onward), great for gaming and good for musicians. Generally on board sound cards didn't have good plug connectors (or not enough) or a poor MIDI processor.

I reckon that onboard sound has also come a long way.

I agree that speakers also play a vital role. I got a new DELL XPS 17 with onboard sound and JBL speakers and it is great for games. Even if I had a desktop, I reckon that today I wouldn't go for a SoundBlaster as Creative Labs seems to have reorganised their product line. SoundBlaster nowadays is for game and general audio only. Musicians should look for either Ensoniq or another manufacturer.

Creative acquired Ensoniq in 1999 - it was *that* acquisition that dragged Creative - kicking and screaming - into PCI-based audio. (My first PCI sound card was, in fact, the Ensoniq AudioPCI - which replaced the SoundBlaster 32 PnP.)

Aaah, listen to the MP3 generation grumble. There is quite a big difference in onboard audio to even a reasonable x-fi card. Just cos you listen to crappy MP3's through crappy PC speakers and tin pot gaming headphones should we all not want decent quality? I remember looking forward to moving into DVD quality audio. MP3 seems to have squashed that due to people wanting small files and convenience.

b_roca said,
Aaah, listen to the MP3 generation grumble. There is quite a big difference in onboard audio to even a reasonable x-fi card. Just cos you listen to crappy MP3's through crappy PC speakers and tin pot gaming headphones should we all not want decent quality? I remember looking forward to moving into DVD quality audio. MP3 seems to have squashed that due to people wanting small files and convenience.

Which is why MP3 should be killed off. There's far better compressed audio formats out there ... Apple's MP4 files at the same bitrate sound much much better than Mp3, and that's just one format.

b_roca said,
Aaah, listen to the MP3 generation grumble. There is quite a big difference in onboard audio to even a reasonable x-fi card. Just cos you listen to crappy MP3's through crappy PC speakers and tin pot gaming headphones should we all not want decent quality? I remember looking forward to moving into DVD quality audio. MP3 seems to have squashed that due to people wanting small files and convenience.

And Creative - as good as Realtek HD audio has gotten - still smacks it around with even the X-Fi XtremeGamer low-profile launched pre-Vista. That was my last sound card purchase because it still works great - even with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview. (Realtek HD audio is also used by audio HDMI via GPU by all except Intel.) One issue I've found with MP4 files over GPU-based HDMI is that the processing eats CPU cycles like Chiclets - high-quality MP4 video files will inevitably cause a BSOD unless I let the X-Fi handle the audio chores - and that's with a Q6600, which isn't exactly a wimp.)

used on board for 30 minutes and then changed back to dedicated sound card. Like everyone said before, if you have a nice pair of speaker or headphones you will notice the difference.

For users that have lower end sub $200 headsets and speakers, yeah you won't notice much of a difference between onboard and dedicated but when you have a pair of $700 cans it makes all the difference...onboard is out of the question

Sonne said,
For users that have lower end sub $200 headsets and speakers, yeah you won't notice much of a difference between onboard and dedicated but when you have a pair of $700 cans it makes all the difference...onboard is out of the question

Precisely ... I make music and the difference between on board and my Focusrite Firewire audio hardware IS obvious through studio monitors.

But yes ... the argument that the average gamer, or music listener is going to notice or care through standard PC speakers etc... that's true. They wont.

If you have good speakers you can hear noises when you move your mouse with on-board sound card. i am not saying everyone should get a good quality card but there is a difference...

maximx86 said,
If you have good speakers you can hear noises when you move your mouse with on-board sound card. i am not saying everyone should get a good quality card but there is a difference...

No, you won't. I have never heard any interference from my mouse on my speakers. That's across multiple PCs, motherboards, mice, and speakers.

maximx86 said,
If you have good speakers you can hear noises when you move your mouse with on-board sound card. i am not saying everyone should get a good quality card but there is a difference...

This usually happens with low grade PSU.

The last time I had a discrete sound card it was a Sound Blaster 16. Integrated audio all the way since then. The difference is barely noticeable for any normal person.

Slugsie said,
The difference is barely noticeable for any normal person.

You mean average person, isn't that right, Mr Average?

Hello,

Given that EAX is Creative's abbreviation for Environmental Audio Extensions, I am going to guess that AAX is their abbreviation for Advanced Audio Extensions, and is a new version of EAX with some upgraded (and possibly new) features.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky

goretsky said,
Hello,

Given that EAX is Creative's abbreviation for Environmental Audio Extensions, I am going to guess that AAX is their abbreviation for Advanced Audio Extensions, and is a new version of EAX with some upgraded (and possibly new) features.

Regards,

Aryeh Goretsky


It´s AXX not AAX.

modern onboard HD audio sound is seriously great audio using optical out, no point 3rd party sound cards, especially if your motherboard/sound card has hdmi and you have a hdmi receiver. I bitstream my audio via hdmi from laptop to receiver.

I used to think present onboard sound was great until I got a Asus Xonar DX.

Absolutely no comparison.

"Delivers 35 times cleaner audio quality (116dB SNR) than most motherboard audio (85dB SNR)"

I just wonder if they're ever going back to supporting 7.1

I have a GigaWorks 7.1 system and the newer Creative cards only do 5.1. I used to have an X-Fi Elite Pro, but it burned out after 3 years of use (naturally out of warranty). Now I use the onboard sound from my Asus which has the X-Fi processing but definitely a step back

i have audigy 2 and creative-branded 5.1 speakers and i hear a whole 5 second crackle 20 minutes a time when the sun is high noon.

Still using my Audigy 2 Platinum Ex, running on Win7! Sounds great, I'm not using most of the inputs though for the box, just use it as a big headphone jack and remote-control input. I would say it sounds better than onboard because there is no noise interference from the computer. The onboard I have used elsewhere, always clicks and hisses and whirrs.

cleverclogs said,
Still using my Audigy 2 Platinum Ex, running on Win7! Sounds great, I'm not using most of the inputs though for the box, just use it as a big headphone jack and remote-control input. I would say it sounds better than onboard because there is no noise interference from the computer. The onboard I have used elsewhere, always clicks and hisses and whirrs.

Not if you use the Digital Audio out options...

I'm not sure how Creative is even still in business. There's not exactly a large market for dedicated sound cards since onboard audio works great for most people. Besides, computers are gradually moving in the direction of smaller systems with fewer changeable components. Especially with the ideas that Windows 8 is pushing.

I was finished with Creative after all the driver issues they had during the Vista development. Onboard Realtek audio works great for me.

Chugworth said,
I'm not sure how Creative is even still in business. .

They make all sorts of things besides sound cards. Headphones, media players, etc.

TRC said,

They make all sorts of things besides sound cards. Headphones, media players, etc.


All of which are complete ****.

Chugworth said,
I'm not sure how Creative is even still in business. There's not exactly a large market for dedicated sound cards since onboard audio works great for most people. Besides, computers are gradually moving in the direction of smaller systems with fewer changeable components. Especially with the ideas that Windows 8 is pushing.

I was finished with Creative after all the driver issues they had during the Vista development. Onboard Realtek audio works great for me.

On board Realtek is **** compared to even my Audigy2. CMSS works wonders on low bitrate music. realtek can't pull that off.

Creative's claim is always that listening through their latest sound card will give you an orgasm. They are helpless without Microsoft putting audio acceleration and surround sound HAL back into the OS.

Hmm, I still had a X-Fi Titanium in its box. Used once. Didn't realise at the time that I couldn't fit it in my desktop cause the graphics card was too big .

Though there was definitely a reduction in that white noise level when nothing is playing. I bet this new card can process Cubase at very low latencies.

I stopped using dedicated sound when my SBLive stopped working with Win7. However, I have since gone back to dedicated sound (Top end X-fi), and after hearing the difference, in quality and performance for music, dolby and games, I would never go back. Not only does a dedicated sound card produce much crisper audio, but it changed the whole way music sounds. My wife also wants a sound card, as in comparison her 5.1 sound system is no where near the quality of mine (sits right next to me). It was such a huge difference that a good friend instantly went out and bought one too.

So while a large portion of users wont notice the difference, with their low end computer speakers, anyone with good speakers/headsets, anyone playing high end games on a gaming PC, or anyone wanting the most out of their music quality, you wont beat a full featured (high end) dedicated sound card.

On-board, and low end dedicated sound cards are simply there to give sound, nothing more, nothing less. The last decent performing on-board was the Nforce 2 boards with their Soundstorm, which at the time was similar to the Audigy 2 in spec and performance.

Creative's drivers are notoriously bad, I think I'll give this a wide berth. I just use usb headsets now anyway, good sound with no need for crappy Creative drivers

I'll stick with onboard sound. I would have to get some good speakers and/or headset or it would be a waste of money for a dedicated card.

corrosive23 said,
every time ive tried to use onboard sound, i get background jitter noises in the background.

what media player do you use?

I lost all respect with Creative when Vista was released and I couldn't get a brand new card I got from them to work cause of no driver support - this may give them a +1 and a step back in the right direction but as of now I'm happy with Realtek and onboard with my Asus board.

sava700 said,
I lost all respect with Creative when Vista was released and I couldn't get a brand new card I got from them to work cause of no driver support - this may give them a +1 and a step back in the right direction but as of now I'm happy with Realtek and onboard with my Asus board.

Yes creative was and still is notorious for horrid drivers and for dragging their feet in putting out a working driver for new cards, I remember reading about the vista debacle, creative really fumbled the ball on that one, they should have been sued right out of existence.

sava700 said,
I lost all respect with Creative when Vista was released and I couldn't get a brand new card I got from them to work cause of no driver support - this may give them a +1 and a step back in the right direction but as of now I'm happy with Realtek and onboard with my Asus board.

Not going to defend Creative because their driver releases are terrible, but Microsoft did do a dramatic change to the sound stack.

Dot Matrix said,
So, will this cause endless system crashes too?

No issues whatsoever from my Sound Blaster cards.
Are you sure it wasn't just Vista? Jokes. Kinda.

Most likely. And they will stop updating drivers in a few months to "encourage" an upgrade to the next crapcard.

I stopped using Creative and am now a happy Asus D2X user. Stable, great sound, and a lot better than the onboard crap some here seem content with.

Dot Matrix said,
So, will this cause endless system crashes too?

Been using creative sound cards for years and never had a crash... even on server releases of windows... you're doing it wrong if you get crashes.

Xexo said,
Most likely. And they will stop updating drivers in a few months to "encourage" an upgrade to the next crapcard.

I stopped using Creative and am now a happy Asus D2X user. Stable, great sound, and a lot better than the onboard crap some here seem content with.

I've been using an ASUS XONAR card for the past 5 years, which has been working great. The drivers are never updated, but this card has yet to crash my system. Also, last time I used a Creative card, I was on XP, which wasn't the most stable system in the world when it came to driver issues.

Never had any problems what so ever with any Creative Sound card. I have the Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional right now and it works great. Quality in games is much better than my onboard Realtek.

My TitaniumHD sound card works just fine from soundblaster and yes I could never use onboard sound, quality isn't anywhere near the same. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this release.

Titanium_NX said,
My TitaniumHD sound card works just fine from soundblaster and yes I could never use onboard sound, quality isn't anywhere near the same. I'm looking forward to hearing more about this release.

My X-Fi Titanium on PCI-Ex is pure ****. Sure, when it works the sound is definitely better than the integrated one (but only when I use my studio headphones, can't hear any difference on speakers - Logitech Z4). But sometimes, out of the blue, it starts popping and crackling, which really ****es me off. I have to change from music mode to studio mode and then back to music mode for it to fix.. pretty annoying. Creative, you suck.

The only reason I still use that card is because I have my 360's digital audio connected to the Digital Input channel. This way I can share the same speakers between my PC and my console..

Eraser85 said,

My X-Fi Titanium on PCI-Ex is pure ****. Sure, when it works the sound is definitely better than the integrated one (but only when I use my studio headphones, can't hear any difference on speakers - Logitech Z4). But sometimes, out of the blue, it starts popping and crackling, which really ****es me off. I have to change from music mode to studio mode and then back to music mode for it to fix.. pretty annoying. Creative, you suck.

The only reason I still use that card is because I have my 360's digital audio connected to the Digital Input channel. This way I can share the same speakers between my PC and my console..

I was one of many suffering similar problems - eventually I realised I had a kernel mode driver with extremely high latency causing this. In my case it turned out to be an marvel SATA controller connected to my DVDR drive - disabled it in the bios and my latency problem was instantly fixed. Never had it happen again - all those hours lost reinstalling sound card drivers!

Will this be another poorly designed sound card with drivers that have endless issues and won't work properly with Windows 8 when released?

Wait, it's from Creative, I answered my own question.

Frazell Thomas said,
After all of their driver problems I'm surprised they still make cards...

What driver problems? Been using many of their cards in Windows 98,2000,2003,XP,Vista,7,2008,2008R2, and Several Linux distros without a SINGLE crash.

remixedcat said,

What driver problems? Been using many of their cards in Windows 98,2000,2003,XP,Vista,7,2008,2008R2, and Several Linux distros without a SINGLE crash.

Have you been living under a rock ?

The xfi snap, crackle and pop issue is notorious. One of the biggest debacle in the computer tech ever imo.

LaP said,

Have you been living under a rock ?

The xfi snap, crackle and pop issue is notorious. One of the biggest debacle in the computer tech ever imo.

Never had that issue, nor do I know anyone that did... even audiophile friends that had those cards...

remixedcat said,
Never had that issue, nor do I know anyone that did... even audiophile friends that had those cards...

Ran into this issue myself when I used to buy Creative stuff. Long since swore off of them.. between this and their driver nonsense a few years back (had to use Daniel_K's drivers).. no thanks. Their forums had a lot of complaints about it too. You'll find plenty of YouTube videos about the issue as well, a couple pages worth. Couldn't tell you if it's still relevant though, don't use that card anymore.

Max Norris said,

Ran into this issue myself when I used to buy Creative stuff. Long since swore off of them.. between this and their driver nonsense a few years back (had to use Daniel_K's drivers).. no thanks. Their forums had a lot of complaints about it too. You'll find plenty of YouTube videos about the issue as well, a couple pages worth. Couldn't tell you if it's still relevant though, don't use that card anymore.

I'm aware of it.... thing is the majority of people don't know what they're doing....

I'm a computer tech i know how to install and use a sound card rem. The first batch of x-fi had major issues and you can find plenty of evidence of it with a simple google search.

I don't mind problems. Like i said **** happens. Specially in the computer market. But i have a lot of problems with the lack of support by creative to the people who ran into the snap, crackle and pop issue with the x-fi. There was simply no support at all. At first Creative did everything they could to deny there was something wrong. A lot of people had to rely on community drivers (those drivers did not resolve the issue for me). It was almost impossible to contact Creative about the issue. There was a forum post without much information and that's it.

I had issues with my Razer Mamba too. But even a company like Razer famous for its bad support offered me a better support than Creative. I submited a ticket and actually got an answer from a Razer tech support guy. I sent them videos about my issues with the mouse and firmware upates resolved most of them. The left click not always registered was resolved and the tracking lag after a liftoff in low dpi mode was resolved too. Still get some minor lags here and there (did not have any with my g7) but the mouse is now usable. Razer drivers are still crap and for a 130$ mouse some lags is unacceptable but at leasr i fell like Razer did what they could to resolve the situation. MS also did what they could to resolve the RRoD problem of the 360. Sadly i can't say the same for Creative with the x-fi snap, crackle and pop problem.

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.


Audiophiles are notoriously disconnected with reality.

On-board audio is indistinguishable from even the most high-end experiences for more than 90% of users. Double-blind studies show over and over again that the ability to notice different degrees of audio quality is *greatly* exaggerated by people.

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.

I disagree... my onboard is really really good with no real need to fill a PCI slot and add more power draw for something that is already here.

Joshie said,

Audiophiles are notoriously disconnected with reality.

On-board audio is indistinguishable from even the most high-end experiences for more than 90% of users. Double-blind studies show over and over again that the ability to notice different degrees of audio quality is *greatly* exaggerated by people.


So true, a couple of years ago I had a creative fatal!ty something or another, kept hearing about the asus xonar cards, bought one of those and didn't hear any difference or notice any decrease in cpu usage, sent it back and was going to try something else, started using my onboard realtek while I was waiting for the refund and thought the realtek sounded every bit as good if not better than the creative and the xonar, been using realtek ever since.
One of the best things about the onboard realtek (besides sound quality) is they update their drivers quite a bit and their software stays out of your way, unlike creative.

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.


Maybe I agree with you. But Im fine with onboard since personally, I dont find huge differences between the "pro" stuffs and my free Realtek ALC889.

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.


Maybe you're misinformed about the quality of your own senses. True, there are slight differences between generic on-board and expensive add-in sound cards like less signal to noise ratio, etc. but if you're using it with basic speakers or normal headphones (like beats by dre which are actually pretty ****, with a very large price tag) you won't notice much.

Here's another sense that comapnies use to make people seem to think they can spot a difference; http://www.thebestpageintheuni...et/images/revlon_fraud3.gif

n_K said,

Here's another sense that comapnies use to make people seem to think they can spot a difference; http://www.thebestpageintheuni...et/images/revlon_fraud3.gif

Guess I'm a whore because I can tell a very subtle difference between the two reds :-).

I prefer a dedicated sound card because of the recording aspects of it. Much better quality when recording through a Soundblaster than through on-board. I do realize that that would be being part of the 1% and not the "other 99%".

Joshie said,

Audiophiles are notoriously disconnected with reality.

On-board audio is indistinguishable from even the most high-end experiences for more than 90% of users. Double-blind studies show over and over again that the ability to notice different degrees of audio quality is *greatly* exaggerated by people.

Wrong... my "Realtek HD Audio" sounds like **** compared to even my Audigy 2. Xfi is even betterer.

Joshie said,

Audiophiles are notoriously disconnected with reality.

I'm no audiophile but the difference is quite dramatic on my system (even with a high end motherboard) versus my (pretty old) XFI. I'm only using some logitech 5.1 speakers for the PC.

Quite happy that you're OK with onboard though!

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.

Iv`e used the onboard Realtek for ages but have a Creative card sat in a draw never used. Think i might just give it a whirl to see if i can tell any difference...

loadedpampers said,
Onboard sound isn't in the same league as a good quality sound card.

"the general consensus" is that you are misinformed.

Depending on usage you woudl be wrong. That si liek claiming a onboard GPU isn't asgood as a dedicated GPU and again depending on application and model, you would be wrong.

Intel has all but proved so with Sandy Bridge and Ive Bridge. Those to sets produce graphics that burn many dedicated cards in the same category as far as benchmarks.

When using laptop or desktop and you are using low end speakers, a better sound card is like putting $5000 RIMS on a Yugo. If you are playing games, or playing movies where you need sound enhancements, your claim that dedicated cards are better is still wrong. My PC has a dedicated 7.1 surround sound onboard card. When I attach it via my HDMI cable to my 7.1 surround system, it sounds equally as good as any dedicated card I every used.

In the old days of using SoundBlaster vs onboard cards that used cheesy processors, I would back you 100%. Now you're just wrong.

Here is the main reason why a onboard card today is better.
When I did MIDI music in the past, I hated using MIDI on onboard cards bec they used cheesy reproduction for piano sounds. Sounded like a child piano toy. Bec dedicated cards has better more powerful onboard processors that bypassed the PC's way of doing it, those same instruments were enhanced. Then I found Sound Canvas software which bypassed thr system card and used the system CPU to product the sound instead. And since the CPU has MORE power than the onboard card, the sound was more rich an ambient. Today, the onboard card uses your systems CPU to create its rich sound. Creative isn't going to make a card that has a sound processor that is more power than your Sandy Bridge or Ivy Bridge CPU. It simply isn't possible for only $200.

Where Creative still has an edge is at the software level. The concept is to use software tricks like EAX that enhance the sound by using the CPU in certain ways to draw power. But those enhancements aren't natural.

Joshie said,

Audiophiles are notoriously disconnected with reality.

On-board audio is indistinguishable from even the most high-end experiences for more than 90% of users. Double-blind studies show over and over again that the ability to notice different degrees of audio quality is *greatly* exaggerated by people.

I'm not audiophile , though I do have good speakers. It's not an exaggeration, it's the plain truth.

To say, onboard sound works for the vast majority of the people, I can accept that.
But to say, a dedicated sound card is overrated, then that's just wrong.

I recently bought Logitch Speakers; Z906 (last year), but had a very old Creative Megaworks 550 for 7 years and even through them I could hear the difference.

I'm not listening to HD videos/music all day long, heck I don't change ANYTHING on the audio software. I just play the music as everyone else. Even my old (early 2002) MP3 sound different. You won't know till you hear it. It's like saying 1080 (on video) is overrated. Once you see (hear) the difference, you can't go back.

Order_66 said,


So true, a couple of years ago I had a creative fatal!ty something or another, kept hearing about the asus xonar cards, bought one of those and didn't hear any difference or notice any decrease in cpu usage, sent it back and was going to try something else,


dont they use the creative chips? lmao

remixedcat said,

Wrong... my "Realtek HD Audio" sounds like **** compared to even my Audigy 2. Xfi is even betterer.

Same here. I noticed a big difference in sound quality when I added my SB titanium. I get if people can't see (or hear) the benefit of a dedicated sound card. Hell, some don't see the need for a dedicated GPU and think the integrated solution is... GOOD ENOUGH.

Onboard is really good.... Really? Buy a top of the line card for once.

sava700 said,

I disagree... my onboard is really really good with no real need to fill a PCI slot and add more power draw for something that is already here.

chago12 said,

not an audiophile and i can tell the difference

The point is seriously asking yourself how much of it is a placebo effect. We often feel VERY proud and defensive of our own perceived senses and don't like to doubt our own opinions. That's why even pointing out that most people can't tell the difference (this is a quantifiable fact) can get people riled up when they believe they can.

It's like arguing that you can easily differentiate a high quality VBR lossy audio file stacked up against FLAC. The number of people who successfully tell the difference are so comically low, it's too hard to tell whether they're genuinely noticing it or 'got lucky' (ask a hundred people a multiple choice question in a subject they know nothing about, some of them will get it right).

People can't just assert that they notice the difference and expect to be taken seriously. They have to be willing to subject themselves to comparison tests, and until they've proven to themselves, in a controlled, blind environment, that they have this skill, they should at least reserve some amount of doubt (where is the skepticism guys? does it take second place to pride?) for themselves.

Never used a dedicated sound card since 1999, the general consensus is that onboard audio does a pretty well rounded job of rendering sound.

Jerid said,
Never used a dedicated sound card since 1999, the general consensus is that onboard audio does a pretty well rounded job of rendering sound.

I haven't used onboard sound cards since I got a studio pair of headphones. The onboard is more muffled.

I think onboard has come a long way, and is definitely good enough for maybe 80% of people. But with studio headset popularity, it is hard to go back.

ObiWanToby said,

I haven't used onboard sound cards since I got a studio pair of headphones. The onboard is more muffled.

I think onboard has come a long way, and is definitely good enough for maybe 80% of people. But with studio headset popularity, it is hard to go back.

yea right

ObiWanToby said,

I think onboard has come a long way, and is definitely good enough for maybe 80% of people. But with studio headset popularity, it is hard to go back.

I'd say closer to 98%.

Jerid said,
Never used a dedicated sound card since 1999, the general consensus is that onboard audio does a pretty well rounded job of rendering sound.

You got to be kidding me.

Jerid said,
Never used a dedicated sound card since 1999, the general consensus is that onboard audio does a pretty well rounded job of rendering sound.

I would agree for the most part, but there is a perceivable difference if you are comparing the output with goood speakers or quality headphones. Find someone who has something like AudioEngine A5 speakers and do a comparison between on-board and discrete. There's a difference, but unless you're truly an audiophile and have quality speakers, you will never notice a difference.

Skwerl said,

I would agree for the most part, but there is a perceivable difference if you are comparing the output with goood speakers or quality headphones. Find someone who has something like AudioEngine A5 speakers and do a comparison between on-board and discrete. There's a difference, but unless you're truly an audiophile and have quality speakers, you will never notice a difference.

Um.. even on cheap 5.1s I can tell the difference....

remixedcat said,

You got to be kidding me.

Well it does for general music or sound capabilities. You only need a dedicated card if you want a significant increase in sound production or clarity.

Its been proven that a 320 MP3 doesn't sound any better than one done at 128. All it is, is louder. Its just liek a speaker system ran @ 70v. You can tap all the speakers at 3W or 9W and the music will sound the same. The only different is, a speaker at lower wattage will require u to turn it up higher to hear it. There is no diffference in the quality.

The poster was right. On-board audio has come quite a way since the 90's and it is sufficient for the vast majority. Dedicated cards are a dying breed and have been for years. The only reason they haven't been totally killed off is because of the professional users. However I don't think they buy very many cards by Creative. They likely would go Turtle Beach or M-Audio. Soundblaster are more for sound enthusiasts, not pros in my opinion.

TechieXP said,

Its been proven that a 320 MP3 doesn't sound any better than one done at 128.

.


You got to be kidding there...

128kbps sounding the same as a 320.... LMNASO!!! anyone can notice that!!!! 128Kbps mp3s sound like crap compared to a 320....

TechieXP said,
Its been proven that a 320 MP3 doesn't sound any better than one done at 128. All it is, is louder.
oh WOW... What do you even listen to? Anything with any sort of drumming in sounds horrendous when encoded at 128, in most rock tracks you can *quite clearly* hear the crushed quality when cymbals are being hit. Grim!

hotdog963al said,
oh WOW... What do you even listen to? Anything with any sort of drumming in sounds horrendous when encoded at 128, in most rock tracks you can *quite clearly* hear the crushed quality when cymbals are being hit. Grim!

Listen to any of the songs from the "Future trance" albums they sound like crap at low bit-rates... My rips are all done at 224KbpsVBR. They sound much better.