Soundblaster XtremeAudio PCI-Express

Posted on January 18, 2008
Author: Sean Potter
Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Features and Specifications

Before we open the box, let's look at what Creative'sf product page for the XtremeAudio tells us about the product in terms of the XtremeAudio's Specifications
  • PCI- Express Interface
  • Playback: 24-Bit/96kHz up to 7.1
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >100dB (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Weighted)
  • Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise at 1kHz: <0.007% (20kHz Low-pass filter)
  • Recording: 24-bit/96kHz
  • X-Fi Technology
    • X-Fi Crystalizer
    • X-Fi CMSS-3D Virtual
    • X-Fi CMSS-3D Headphone
  • Connectivity
    • Line in / Microphone in (shared 1/8" mini jack)
    • Speaker out (4x 1/8" mini jacks)
    • Optical out (TOSLINK)*
    • Optical in (TOSLINK)
    • Intel HD Audio Compatible Front Panel Header (2x5pin)
  • Digital Out supports stereo SPDIF out and pass through of multichannel DVD sound
Aside from all the technical specifications that will give the user crystal clear sound and superior surround sound, I am very excited that it has an "Intel HD Audio" header, so I can finally utilize the front ports of my PC cases without having to create a custom connector for my Audigy card. Very exciting indeed!

Next, let's look at the entry-level card's promised features, or what you can expect from the card. These features are again taken from Creative's product page for the Xtreme Audio.
  • Revitalize your downloaded music and movies: Restore the details and vibrance your music and movies lost during compression. X-Fi technology intelligently enhances the highs and lows so you'll hear it all-crisp cymbal crashes, wailing guitar solos, screeching tires and booming explosions.
  • Surround sound from your stereo music and movies? Yes!Expand your stereo music and movies into surround sound. Voices are centered in front of you. Ambient sound appears all around you... just like a live performance. Listen on a pair of desktop speakers or a full 5.1 speaker system.
  • Hear headphone surround that sounds like multichannel speakers. Slip on your headphones and X-Fi technology moves the sound away from your ears and into the space around you. You'll be surrounded by nine virtual speakers and feel like you're sitting with your favorite band or in the best seat in the movie theater. Games sound better too with positional audio that's so accurate you can locate enemies by sound.
  • Enjoy Realistic sound effects in games Bullets whiz past your head. Explosions shake the room. Take your games to the next level with EAX ADVANCED HD sound effects.
I'm not sure what to think about the features. When it comes to audio, I'm a very large enthusiast that borders closely to being an audiophile. I enjoy using an external receiver that channels my music into 5 separate speakers and a subwoofer. I somewhat think that the virtual surround sound may leave me wanting more. This will have to be something we look at.

I am, however, all for making my low-quality MP3s sound better. Can Creative come through on this, however? Let's get the card out of it's packaging and get it in the PC.

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