Friday, September 2nd 2011

Creative Rolls Out Sound Blaster SoundCore 3D 'Quad-Core' PCIe Sound Cards

Alongside the Recon3D external audio device for PC, Mac, Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, Creative announced its latest line of PCI-Express sound cards. It's curtains for the X-Fi generation of sound cards that led Creative's pack through the second half of the last decade. Creative's newest sound card technology is called Sound Core3D. Unlike with X-Fi which continued the tradition of high-performance native (hardware) audio processing by making use of RISC processors on the card such as the CA20K series, with Sound Core3D "quad-core", the focus finally shifted to the set of DSPs (digital signal processors).

The "quad-core" moniker doesn't refer to there being four processing cores on the sound card, but a set of four DSPs, not necessarily hardware-accelerated, that work to give out the best audio. Two main DSP sets include Creative CrystalVoice and THX TruStudio Pro. THX TruStudio Pro is a DSP set that we're familiar with, some modern sound cards feature it, some motherboard vendors even pack it with their onboard HD audio solutions. THX TruStudio Pro provides THX TruStudio Pro Crystalizer, which works to improve clarity of lossy compressed audio, TruStudio Pro Surround creates a virtual 360 degree surround space that is touted to be better than the countless earlier attempts by various companies, at virtual surround. Smart Volume is a volume stabilizer that keeps in check abrupt volume spikes in games. Dialog Plus controls the mid frequencies to ensure the clearest voice dialog in games (cut-scenes or multiplayer voice chat). Lastly, Pro Bass is a bass compensation feature that works to restore lossy bass.

The CrystalVoice DSP is another DSP that improves in-game voice chatter. Acoustic Echo Cancellation eliminates echos and talkback. Noise Reduction works to suppress background noise, sending through only the player's voice. Smart Volume stabilizes volume. FX allows users to morph their voice to remain anonymous.

Microsoft Windows NT 6 kernel, used in operating systems since Windows Vista and Server 2008, saw a relocation of the audio stack, that effectively made hardware audio processing useless, because there's no direct access to hardware using DirectSound. There still is the third-party OpenAL API, but it is greatly limited and doesn't keep up with the latest sound resolutions. For Creative to stay competitive in the sound card industry, it has to do what its younger competitors such as ASUS, Auzentech (to an extant), and HT Omega realized long back, which is focusing on high signal-to-noise ratio (sound fidelity), and DSPs. Today's system processors by Intel and AMD are fast enough to process several DSP layers without impacting on system performance.

Creative's new sound cards include the Sound Blaster Sound Core3D (base model), Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional and Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion. The SB Core3D is the base model, its PCB doesn't have any fancy EMI shield. It uses a simple PCI-Express audio processor that does away with most of the RISC processor components of the CA20K series audio processors. There's a rounded-square fancy-looking object in the middle that screams "SoundCore 3D". I suspect it's an EMI shield for the DAC under it. It features common HDA front-panel output, Fatal1ty Champion front-panel IO capability, and a common-looking set of 7.1 channel analog jacks next to TOSLINK digital input and output connectors.

The Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional ups the ante with a groovy looking EMI shield for the entire PCB, a red LED lighting, and a polycarbonate window. This card comes with a beam microphone that helps with the CrystalVoice technology. The Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion takes it a notch further with a front panel that fits into the 5.25"/3.5" exposed drive-bay, and provides some connectivity such as headphone out, volume control, and DSP control.
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69 Comments on Creative Rolls Out Sound Blaster SoundCore 3D 'Quad-Core' PCIe Sound Cards

#1
seronx
FX allows users to morph their voice to remain anonymous.

YOU TOO can sound like batman(or david keith <3)

:respect:
Posted on Reply
#2
caleb
by: seronx
FX allows users to morph their voice to remain anonymous.

YOU TOO can sound like batman(or david keith <3)

:respect:
Couldn't we do chippunk ages ago with SB Live ?
Posted on Reply
#3
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
I doubt weather a soundcard being quad or single core makes any difference these days. not since DX was taken out of the picture.

OpenAL is an option, but development is stagnant so it seems.

For a long time a lot of games developers have been using Miles Audio - they say the list on their website is a 'partial list' but its huge! Activision have used Miles Audio for so many of their games.
Posted on Reply
#4
Roph
And let me guess, they'll sell various models all technically capable of doing the same thing and then artificially limit them via drivers.

Screw creative, they deserve their near bankruptcy.
Posted on Reply
#5
Mistral
Interesting, this board looks incredibly sparse on components. I hope that's reflected in the price too.

Not to worry though, I'm sure Auzentech will pick that "SoundCore" up at some point and deliver a monstrosity of a board with a ton of swappable parts on it...
Posted on Reply
#6
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: FreedomEclipse
I doubt weather a soundcard being quad or single core makes any difference these days. not since DX was taken out of the picture.

OpenAL is an option, but development is stagnant so it seems.

For a long time a lot of games developers have been using Miles Audio - they say the list on their website is a 'partial list' but its huge! Activision have used Miles Audio for so many of their games.
Read the second paragraph again. "core" isn't an independent silicon sub-unit, but a DSP (not necessarily hardware-accelerated). The use of the term "quad-core" is gimmick by Creative.
Posted on Reply
#7
mR Yellow
I'd rather buy an Asus Xonar.
I'm so over creative. The Xonar is way better than my X-Fi.
Posted on Reply
#8
Swamp Monster
Very interesting, but integrated DAC/ADC worries me. It could be good and it could be bad. If it can also use external DAC/ADC, then it's possible to see it in Auzentech cards with lots of components. No performance numbers! Is it better than current X-FI soundcards? I was waiting for next generation of creative chips with improved performance and music quality, but this looks like gimmick . I am so waiting for a review (and technical data).
Posted on Reply
#9
Chaitanya
lets hope driver support improves, else I am happy with my SupremeFX.
Posted on Reply
#10
fausto412
bullshit

"The Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion takes it a notch further with a front panel that fits into the 5.25"/3.5" exposed drive-bay, and provides some connectivity such as headphone out, volume control, and DSP control."

really? like the old x-fi cards? no fucking standard hookups again?
i won't pay that much money for shit that won't work out of the box with my pc case's standard mic and headphone jack.
Posted on Reply
#11
erixx
My case frontpanel is connected to my XFi pins, but you have to be carefull buying the right card (as someone above said they sell tons of versions with gimiicks, oem, versions this and that, gamer this and audio that...)
The quality is fine and the stability is unseen since the AWE32 days.

So I have no reason to change to this card. If only games could bring us a whole new audio experience!
Posted on Reply
#12
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
by: fausto412
"The Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion takes it a notch further with a front panel that fits into the 5.25"/3.5" exposed drive-bay, and provides some connectivity such as headphone out, volume control, and DSP control."

really? like the old x-fi cards? no fucking standard hookups again?
i won't pay that much money for shit that won't work out of the box with my pc case's standard mic and headphone jack.
Standard HDA frontpanel header is there.

Posted on Reply
#13
Mussels
Moderprator
There still is the third-party OpenAL API, but it is greatly limited and doesn't keep up with the latest sound resolutions.
sound has a resolution now?
Posted on Reply
#14
[H]@RD5TUFF
Anyone else notice the faitality symbol on the card ?

Also the hardware is pointless when you look at theri drivers and how big of a piece of unstable crap they are.
Posted on Reply
#15
Steevo
It looks like my old Turtle Beach.

Congrats creative on realizing that you are outdated.
Posted on Reply
#16
TheMailMan78
Banstick Dummy
by: btarunr
Standard HDA frontpanel header is there.

http://img.techpowerup.org/110902/bta063.jpg
lol Never had an issue hooking up my front jacks to a creative sound card.

by: Mussels
sound has a resolution now?
I'm thinking they meant frequency? But I'm no audiophile so I could be wrong.
Posted on Reply
#17
cadaveca
My name is Dave
by: Mussels
sound has a resolution now?
Uh, always did? what rock you been hiding under?

8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit....RESOLUTION!!! :laugh:
Posted on Reply
#18
Maban
I sure hope they make one with a EMI shield that isn't fatality and Asia-only. I've had my eye on this new chip for a while now.
Posted on Reply
#19
Mussels
Moderprator
by: cadaveca
Uh, always did? what rock you been hiding under?

8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit....RESOLUTION!!! :laugh:
and since when have we been limited in that respect by openAL?
Posted on Reply
#20
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
whats that Sata connection doing there??/
Posted on Reply
#21
Maban
by: FreedomEclipse
whats that Sata connection doing there??/
12 pin header, not SATA.
Posted on Reply
#22
[H]@RD5TUFF
by: Maban
12 pin header, not SATA.
for optical drives, not that many drives come with that anymore.
Posted on Reply
#23
Maban
I doubt it's for drives.
Posted on Reply
#24
FreedomEclipse
Crazy Dogmatic Bullsh!t!
Im probably gonna get moderated but i feel a thread derailment coming along....



I cant helps myselfs
Posted on Reply
#25
Major_A
It doesn't matter how good the hardware is Creative will still screw it up with their drivers and software. Against my better judgement I bought a X-Fi after all the issues I had with my Audigy previously. If they ever hire good software engineers then they can have great products. As of now their software is clunky and full of bugs.

For example, look at Realtek. They supply a very large percentage of HD audio logic/solutions to motherboard manufacturers. The software is pretty straight forward and to put the icing on the cake they update their drivers usually every month. Creative releases a new "beta" driver for my X-Fi maybe once or twice a year.
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