Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 Vs Creative X-Fi Sound Blaster Review ~ Creative Labs Zen MP3 Players Sound Blaster Card
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Monday, December 31, 2007

Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1 Vs Creative X-Fi Sound Blaster Review

Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1
PC AUDIO buffs have long waited for a sound card that can play their songs clearly and yet produce all the effects in action games.

In this high-end Auzentech offering, they finally get the best of both worlds.
The key feature here is Creative Technology's X-Fi sound chip, which is well-known for producing immersive audio for games - without burdening the computer's CPU like onboard sound chips do.

For the first time, this X-Fi chip is appearing on a sound card made by a third party. It comes with 64MB of X-RAM memory on the Auzentech board, which gives a performance boost when processing audio effects in selected games like Battlefield 2142.

Creative has already done a great job with its own X-Fi Gards. The Prelude ups the ante with operational amplifier (opamp) chips made to produce neat-sounding music.
It may sound like Greek to others but PC audio buffs will love the TI OP A2134 SoundPlus opamp, which provides low-distortion audio. If you like to tinker, you can even swap an onboard opamp with a new one in future.

Also onboard is an AKM AK4396VF DAC (digital-to-analog converter) that delivers Cligital music (MP3s and CDs) to your analog speakers without many of the distortions that plague PC audio.

I was not disappointed when I hooked up Creative s Megaworks 550 5.1 speakers to the Prelude. Explosions and surround effects in the Crysis game and the Black Hawk Down DVD were delivered with much punch and precision.

More importantly, the setup produced some of the best music I've heard from a PC.
Most of my songs, which range from low-quality MP3s to uncompressed (and better-sounding) W A V files ripped from my CDs, sounded clear and de
tailed enough, with none of the headache-inducing fake bass heard on most PCs.

Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy and tracks from a Congo to Cuba CD were detailed enough for me to finally put some faith in PC music for the first time.

The Prelude's DAC clearly helped transfer the sound cleanly from the PC to the speakers. I preferred this to my plain-vanilla SoundBlaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio sound card, which was a little harsher although acceptable.

To be honest, I've heard richer, more detailed sounds from a traditional (and more expensive) hi-fi setup, with separate CD player, amplifier and stereo speakers.
But if you, like me, spend an increasing amount of time listening to songs on a PC instead of CDs in the living room, the Prelude, paired with a set of good PC speakers, is a nice alternative.

If you want, you can still hook up the sound card to ah external amplifier, which can then output the sound to a set of bookshelf speakers. This can be done with the handy optical/co-axial SPDIF port on the Prelude.

Auzentech also release a software update - which I managed to test here - to let users send Dolby Digital Live sounds digitally to an external A V (audio-visual) amplifier or speakers.

Not a cheap sound card. But it will wow PC audio and home theatre PC buffs who want good sounds for both music and games.

Via Digital Life

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kickenchicken said...

As far as i know. the Xtreme Audio card from Creative is a hoax. it doesnt even utilize a X-FI processor which leads to lower audio quality all together.
Nice post :D

Creative Fan said...

yea, you are right, the xtreme audio is not a true blue x-fi soundcard, not sure why they have called it x-fi xtreme audio...

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