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What X-Fi shall I go for?

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Phil2008, 12 May 2006.

  1. Phil2008

    Sgarrista

    Joined: 17 Dec 2004

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    About 2 months ago I bought the HDA Digital X-Mystique 7.1 Gold sound card but I had probs with the sub channel.

    So Im trying again with a creative card. I can't make up my mind if to go for the "Xtreme Music" or "Elite Pro". The only reason I wouldn't mind getting the Elite Pro is because its got 64mb of memory onboard and the Xtreme Music doesnt have any memory?

    I listern to alot of music on my pc and play the latest games, plus ive just bought the logi z680 speakers..

    What do you guys think...The Xtreme Music or Elite Pro??
     
  2. Alexrose1uk

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    The elite pro also has a breakout box over the xtreme music. The XRAM isnt worth much, but the additional features like preamp provided by the box might be useful to you if you record. I also heard the components are slightly higher spec too, which increased the cost.
     
  3. Phil2008

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    I dont think I will have any use for the breakout box. Would you guys pay a extra £100 for the 64mb x-ram and slightly higher quality.
     
  4. squiffy

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    Neither. Get a M-Audio. :)
     
  5. Phil2008

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    Duplicated
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2006
  6. squiffy

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    So you're going to lump all non creative sounds in the "rubbish" pile? Although I understand you'll want D3D hardware mixing for games, generally the M-Audio are held in high regard in sound quality terms for music. Non hardware mixing will cost some CPU % though, probably neglibable now.
     
  7. Phil2008

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    NA, The one non creative card I had was the X-Mystique and it was totally useless,, Ive even gone back to my sb live it was so bad. So its only creative soundcards from now on, but I guess it was mainly due to my motherboard
     
  8. Phil2008

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    Non creative cards has only eax 2.0
     
  9. squiffy

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    True, for gaming Creative are the most widely supported by game companies. Unless you have multi-channel speakers EAX is a gimmick (I have 4 point surround with Creative soundcard btw) But the drivers do seem to cause alot of problems and not exactly updated often. I had loads of latency problems with my SB Live on another mobo.

    You said for "music", apparently Creative's aren't the best for 2 channel, those that build HTPC's and use them for high quality music source into a 2 channel analogue pre-amp don't get Creative, usually M-Audio. EAX, games support and hardware mixing is irrevelant in this setup, as you want ASIO drivers and sound quality.
     
  10. TooNice

    Hitman

    Joined: 7 Mar 2006

    Posts: 546

    The Elite Pro also has better DAC/Op-amp than the rest of the X-Fi lines (which all use the same). Those are comparable to the Emu 1212, itself competitive with the M-Audio offerings. And, it does support ASIO.

    But that's pretty irrelevant unless you use good headphones/speakers. The main disadvantage, is it's high cost. If you don't care about gaming support, then sure, EMU & M-Audio is better value.

    I wouldn't lump all non Creative card card in the rubbish pile, nor would I dump all Creative card in the rubbish pile. It doesn't get much more versatile than the Elite Pro for a single card solution.

    Edit: That said, I don't think I would bother with the Elite Pro if all you are using is the Z680. It's alright for MM speakers, but you probably won't notice the improved DAC/op-amp on those.
    The Elite Pro is handy if you think that you'll upgrade to hi-fi class speakers or add a high quality headphones to your setup later, although there are other ways to improve sound from an Xtreme Music later on too.
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2006
  11. Phil2008

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    so what card? cos i've already made 1 mistake with my last card?, If I go with the Elite Pro , that costs more then my z-680 speakers that I have recently bought
     
  12. TooNice

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    Up to you. If you want bang for buck, then definitely the Xtreme Music. The Elite Pro is a better card, but it is up to you to decide if the benefit is worth the cost.

    I was also deciding between those two a couple of months back. I went with the Elite Pro in the end, but I don't want to push you towards it, since it -is- a significant sum of money.. I'll say that I don't regret my purchase, though I probably would say the same even if I had picked the Xtreme Music instead ;)
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2006
  13. Phil2008

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    Have you found any use for the breakout box?? and hows the extra 64mb X-RAM? Shame theres not a balance control on the breakout box. The only thing I can think of that the breakout box would come in handy, if I got a turntable, but then again you can plug a turntable into the soundcard too. EDIT: Also I could plug a turntable in my z-680 speakers
     
    Last edited: 12 May 2006
  14. squiffy

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    Are you sure? (TT into speakers) you need a phono pre-amplifier, you can't just plug TT into a pre-amplifier if it doesn't raise the level to normal line level (around 2-2.5v I think)
     
  15. Phil2008

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    Im not sure what you mean,, but you would need a lead with a phono plugs on one end that goes into the turntable and a 3,5mm plug on the other that will go in the soundcards line in socket or the line in socket on th z680. Then the sound card and/or z-680s acts as a amp to alter the sound level.. If that makes any sense.
     
  16. squiffy

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    The output is NOT the same voltage as a CD player, so you can't just plug in a turntable into a stereo integrated pre-amplifier, you need a phono stage (moving magnet or moving coil) to raise the voltage. ie Nad PP-1. I have no idea if any of the Soundblasters have phono pre-amp, but you certainly can't plug output into line level input. The output is even to low for a pre-amplifier, so this phono pre-amp is before the line level pre-amp.
     
  17. Phil2008

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    so if you bought a turntable and pugged it in your hifi with phono leads, it woudnt work either, cos a hifi does the same job as a sound card when you use the aux doesnt it? It amplifies the volume. Or am I all upside down here?
     
  18. squiffy

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    No, you need a phono pre-amplifier somewhere in the chain. Some record players have phono stages actually built into the unit, so the outputs are in fact line level. If you have a good quality record deck say a Rega P2, the outputs require a phono amplifier. Then the output is sent into a pre-amplifier, then onto a power amplifier. Some stereo amplifiers have the phono stage built into them also. Then you also have neither have phono stage so require a little external box inbetween the two.

    So unless the record deck or sound card has a phono pre-amplifer it won't work. Confusingly some line level inputs are called "phono" input.

    Record deck----->Phono amplifier---->Pre-amplifier----->Power amplifier

    Course you can just try it out, worst thing will be a really really low level from the speakers even with mixier, input and master all to max. If it's like that you will need a phono amp, probably looking at moving magnet considering your budget (moving coil pickups really high end gear, usually) You need to find out if the sound card has a phono stage.
     
  19. Phil2008

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    You learn something new every day,, I would be sending the turntable back saying its faulty. That info will come in handy in the future, thanks alot. :p
     
  20. TooNice

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    I'll start with the X-RAM. I think that's gimmicky. I can't test the differences, but I expect there to be very little difference in current games (the reason why I am the least keen on the Fatal1ty edition of the series).

    So far, I use the breakout box for mic recording (dynamic mic only - the box doesn't provide phantom power), and the headphone out for my Grado/low impedance headphones. My AKG is still connected to the line out via a splitter to my own amp. The digital output is currently unused, but they will be handy when I opt for an external DAC upgrade. I don't use the other controls (EAX, 3DMIDI and the Crystalizer are occasionally played with, but rarely used overall). So that leaves the volume control, and CMSS I use for movies as my most commonly used feature. All those can be software controlled though.

    I don't use turntables, so no comment from me there ;)