Creative X-Fi Sound System i600 Review ~ Creative Labs Zen MP3 Players Sound Blaster Card
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Creative X-Fi Sound System i600 Review



Creative X-Fi Sound System i600
In the light of the hype and hysteria over the Apple iPhone, it is ea.sy to overlook the Creative X-Fi Sound System i600.

This recently launched 2.1 speaker system - produced for the iPod and presumably, the iPhone too - is one of the fruits of the US$100 million (S$151.6 million) patent. suit settlement between Creative and Apple.

(For the record, Creative could not confirm If the X-Fi Sound System i600 is compatible with the new iPhone.)

What is certain, however, is that the i600 system is different from the likes of the Apple Hi-Fi, the Tivoli iSongBook and the Altec Lansing inMotion series of speaker docks, which are all meant to be carried around.

With four components - a dock, two speakers and a subwoofer - the i600 system is meant to sit tight in the home entertainment comer. It also doubles up as a PC or game console speaker system, and a charger for the iPod.

Note: It looks and feels exactly like the Creative X-Fi Z600, which works with the company's Zen Vision:M music player. The i600 is a simple device at heart: Just slide the iPod into the dock, and press the "on" button - and the power button on the subwoofer too - to enjoy sweet music.

Creative's patented X-Fi ("Xtreme Fidelity") audio technology performs the equivalent of an extreme makeover on compressed audio formats - it intelligently reconstructs all the elements "lost" through compression to bring out the original ri,ch sounds.
It is hard to describe the i600 in action with the X-Fi Crystalizer activated, without resorting to cliched superlatives.

In musicality, on a scale of one to 10, the i600 "turns up (the musicality) to eleven" - to quote a much paraphrased line from the rock music spoof movie, This is Spinal Tap.

MP3 tracks ripped from the International Sound and Sight Exhibition demo CDs (from 2005 and 2006) sounded nothing like compressed music files. More as though they were the jazz and orchestral pieces being played straight from the demo CDs used to test audiophile sound systems.

As for vocals, a flat song suddenly becomes a power-packed rendition, and you feel as though you are hearing the singer belt out her lyrics standing right in front of you.

Turn on the Creative CMSS surround sound technology at the same time, and you might think that you are right in the middle of a live concert.

The wood-enclosed 130 watts RMS (root mean square) subwoofer is powerful enough to rock the neighbourhood, and can handle deep rumbling bass at high volume without cracking or soqnding muffled. The two speakers do a fine job with the treble and mid-range too.

The Creative X-Fi Sound System i600 is not a $100,000 audiophile system, so there are still limitations in its performance. But most people will come away thinking that it is worth many times its price.

Via Digital Life

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