Wednesday, May 30th 2012

Creative Unveils the Sound BlasterAxx

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Sound BlasterAxx, a whole new generation of Sound Blaster and a new genre of audio device that the world has not seen before. Specially designed and engineered to meet the audacious demand for simplicity and coolness by a whole new generation of networked mobile device users, the Sound BlasterAxx shifts to a new paradigm of literally producing great sound and becoming a great listener of sound while keeping everything amazingly simple. The sound produced by the flagship Sound BlasterAxx, a unique one-piece elegantly designed hexagonal device, simply blows people away, and yet mind-bogglingly, no power adapter is required.

Besides seamlessly supporting PCs and Macs, the Sound BlasterAxx is also designed to work intelligently with smart devices including the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and Android tablets, providing the best of all worlds. The Sound BlasterAxx leverages Creative's vast audio engineering expertise to provide best-in-class audio playback for music, movies, games and voice communications. To support the intelligent audio applications on these smart mobile devices, the Sound BlasterAxx also features advanced Bluetooth wireless audio connectivity and a high-quality dual-microphone array.


"After selling 400 Million Sound Blasters, I was staring at a mega-irony that few realized – they all don't make sound! It was probably due to the hassle of installing Sound Blaster inside the PC; can you imagine the horror if one needs to further install some speakers inside? Today we face a whole new generation of users, who have busy and fast-paced lifestyles. They demand elegant, simple and hassle-free solutions. My ultimate challenge was how to design a whole new Sound Blaster for them. Sound BlasterAxx ushers in a whole new generation of Sound Blaster and marks a paradigm shift for the brand – for the first time ever, we have created a Sound Blaster that not only produces awesome audio, it actually listens to you and your audio environment. This paradigm shift unlocks a whole new world of useful and exciting applications," said Creative Chairman and CEO Sim Wong Hoo, creator of the Sound Blaster.

"Sound BlasterAxx provides absolute freedom, total control and convenience from just a touch on their mobile devices, enabling users to completely customize their listening experience for music, movies and games. We have designed it to also deliver stunning voice quality with smartphone and Skype hands-free calls through adaptive communication technologies that can cancel ambient noise and focusing the microphone-array for accurate voice pick-up. If you like, you may even change your voice when calling others," continued Sim. "Plus it's amazingly simple to use! Installation is as easy as inserting a USB dongle – just simply insert-and-go, nothing else! And it requires virtually no power – in fact, I've banned the unwieldy power adapter together with its cable and plugs! This not only saves money for the users, it's a small but meaningful contribution towards saving the environment. Audio has never been so simple, so elegant, so fun, so engaging, so dramatic and so magical..."

The Sound BlasterAxx stands above the rest in appearance as well as performance. Elegantly designed in the form of a hexagonal tower with backlit capacitive touch controls, it allows users to access key functions at a touch. The Sound BlasterAxx utilizes a unique patent-pending "stacked stereo" speaker design that incorporates two-speaker drivers angled to provide stereo separation. When combined with SBX Pro Studio Surround technology, it delivers awesome room-filling sound from a compact one-piece device powered by only the tiny USB current. Specialized circuitry enables very low power consumption but large amplified power output from a PC or Mac USB connection. This all-in-one design eliminates the need for a two-speaker system with all the messy wiring, microphones and wires, and the unwieldy power adaptors along with their plugs and cables.

The Sound BlasterAxx also works standalone when used with mobile devices. It can then be powered by any certified simple USB power adaptor.

The Sound BlasterAxx is powered by the new SB-Axx1 (Sound Blaster "Axxelerated" multi-core audio processor chip) which inherited all the desired features and technologies of the legendary Sound Blaster series, and boosted by an array of additional technologies and features to tackle the challenges of the new market defined by the new mobile networked generation. This means that for the first time, a single audio enhancement solution bridges every major audio and communication platform and network; for example the PC world, Mac world, Mobile world, Tablet world, the Wi-Fi network, Bluetooth, the PSTN system, the LAN, the WAN, etc. Each of these worlds has its own unique complex requirements.

Since the SB-Axx1 chip is so powerful, flexible and programmable, it is able to adapt quickly and seamlessly to any new audio scenario in these multi-faceted and connected worlds.

With an astounding suite of audio technologies in the SB-Axx1 chip, Sound BlasterAxx delivers dramatic enhancements to two of our fundamental daily activities in the intricate new world of audio: LISTENING and TALKING. These technologies include:

SBX Pro Studio enhances the world of LISTENING with Awesome Playback:
The fully customizable SBX Pro Studio set of technologies dramatically improves audio playback for music, movies and games – delivering unprecedented levels of personal audio realism from a compact one-piece device.

● SBX Crystalizer - Enhances audio for music and movies by restoring details in the high and low frequencies
● SBX Surround - Delivers an immersive personal surround sound experience
● SBX Smart Volume - Solves the problem of abrupt volume level changes in music, movies and games by intelligently applying gain and attenuation to deliver consistent volume levels; includes Night Mode to reduce the impact of explosions and bursts of sound so as not to disturb others after hours
● SBX Dialog Plus - Enhances the intricacy of the human voice in movies and games, allowing the listener to hear the dialog clearly
● SBX Bass - Fills in the missing low frequency tones and gives that 'extra punch' for a better entertainment experience

CrystalVoice Technology enhances the world of TALKING and Communication with crystal-clear hands-free voice and video conference calls:
The Sound BlasterAxx design also integrates a high-quality dual-microphone array which leverages SBX CrystalVoice technology to dramatically improve voice quality for hands-free phone calls or video-conferencing calls. Voice Focus ensures precisely targeted voice pick-up, while Noise Reduction enables clear conversations without background noise interference. Smart Volume gives users the freedom to walk around a room during phone conversations while the listener experiences clear, consistent volume levels.

● Acoustic Echo Cancellation - Eliminates the echoes in a hands-free conference call
● Noise Reduction - Enables the person speaking to be heard clearly over background noise by constantly monitoring the environment, eliminating unwanted noise that interferes with the conversation
● Smart Volume - Automatically adjusts the loudness of a voice to maintain a consistent volume level. This makes it convenient for the speaker to converse normally, regardless of whether the speaker is close to, or far away from the microphone
● Voice Focus – Envelopes the user in an audio shield that blocks out unwanted voices or noises, enabling only the user's voice to be heard clearly
● VoiceFX - Enables the alteration of the user's voice with a variety of effects: create interesting accents, or enable someone to sound like a completely different person, such as changing one's voice from male to female, or monster, or robot, and much more

The whole suite of technologies on the Sound BlasterAxx can be controlled from the PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets. Sound BlasterAxx Control Panel lets users fully customize and control their audio experience from a PC or Mac. The Creative Central app lets users do the same from an iPhone, iPad, Android phone and tablet – with a newfound wireless convenience.

In a nutshell, Sound BlasterAxx makes the two fundamental activities of TALKING and LISTENING simple again.

About the Sound BlasterAxx Series
The Sound BlasterAxx will be introduced in three models: the SBX 20 and SBX 10, which are Bluetooth wireless-enabled, and the SBX 8, which will connect to a PC or Mac via USB for use on a desktop.

Sound BlasterAxx SBX 20

Premium Wireless Sound BlasterAxx for Smart Devices

● Works wirelessly with Bluetooth-enabled devices
● Application support for iOS, Android, PC and Mac
● Innovative acoustic ID utilizes a stacked stereo design that directs sound to fill the room
● Voice Focus with dual-microphone array
● Premium speakerphone encompassing noise reduction and voice focusing technologies to improve communications
● Hardware-accelerated SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice technology
● Control buttons embedded in a backlit touch-sensitive panel
● Aux-In connectivity for wired connection to audio playback devices
● 410 x 91 mm form factor

Sound BlasterAxx is also available in the following models:

Sound BlasterAxx SBX 10

Best-in-Class Wireless Sound BlasterAxx for Smart Devices, PC and Mac

● This model incorporates all functions of the SBX 20, except it is smaller in size

Sound BlasterAxx SBX 8

Ultra-portable Sound BlasterAxx for PC and Mac

● Smaller in size than the SBX 10 and is designed to be the perfect companion for PC and Mac

Pricing and Availability
The Sound BlasterAxx SBX 20, priced at US$199.99, will be available in Aug 2012. The Sound BlasterAxx SBX 10, priced at US$149.99, and the Sound BlasterAxx SBX 8, priced at US$99.99 will be available in July 2012.
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35 Comments on Creative Unveils the Sound BlasterAxx

#1
RejZoR
by: Dent1
If the MX5021 is the best pc speakers you've heard then you've set the bar extremely low. To be frank the bar on PC speakers are low to begin with.

Wouldn't swap real wooden cabinets, 10' woofers, 2.5' tweeters for something plastic. Never.

You don't need to be an audiophile or have a big room. £60 stereo speakers would shit over £200 PC speakers.

If you haven't heard BF3 coming from a Home Theatre System with Dolby Digital Live or atleast Dolby Prologic or DTS Neo, then you can't criticise the audio experience in games.
You should know by now that wood doesn't make the sound, speaker drivers do. For as long as plastic doesn't make vibrations, it doesn't make ANY difference what so ever and if you'd place same drivers in different frames, not even the best ear could tell the difference. Don't compare cheap plastic crap for 6 EUR and plastic speakers for over 150 EUR...

And those "normal" speakers for 60 pounds have piss poor bass. What good is superior sound detail if it sounds like goat pissing on a sheet of metal. The MX5021 offer good sound through the entire frequency range and doesn't focus only on low like most Logitech's do.

I also don't know what kind of difference would DD Live! or DTS Connect or Neo make to the BF3 experience. You just add additional encoding/decoding stage where in my case it gets decoded and playbacked directly from soundcard. First two are just real-time encoders, Neo is just a matrix filter. Considering i'm running a stereo+sub, i couldn't care any less for that.
I do care for an advanced 3D positioning filter that can deliver a correct 3D space positioned sound through just 2 speakers.
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#2
DannibusX
Ok, ok, ok.

So the name it SoundblasterAxx, which to my eyes says SoundblasterAss.

Then they make it resemble a suppository. Oh, yes.
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#3
Prima.Vera
I remember back in the days when SB 16 was The King of the Hill, there were no other cards that could compete with it. Then AWE 32 came up... DOOM 2/Heretic/Hexen/Duke 3D never sounded better especially on the MIDI music. Then AWE 64 came, then Live!, etc...Nowadays? Completely total silence on the new significantly improvements for sound cards. Especially for gaming...
And then Craptive release BlasterAss...Somebody need to ball shot their CEO....Seriously.
Posted on Reply
#4
Dent1
by: RejZoR
You should know by now that wood doesn't make the sound, speaker drivers do. For as long as plastic doesn't make vibrations, it doesn't make ANY difference what so ever and if you'd place same drivers in different frames, not even the best ear could tell the difference. Don't compare cheap plastic crap for 6 EUR and plastic speakers for over 150 EUR...
I wasn't insinuating that wood makes it sound better. I was point out that the quality of material is better for your money. You are paying more for plastic, why?

Altec Lansing MX5021 cost about £100.

£40-50 gets you a pair of Wharfedale DIAMOND 9.0, CAMBRIDGE AUDIOSL20, Gale 3010S. Just to name a few and would sound much better!

by: RejZoR

I also don't know what kind of difference would DD Live! or DTS Connect or Neo make to the BF3 experience. You just add additional encoding/decoding stage where in my case it gets decoded and playbacked directly from soundcard. First two are just real-time encoders, Neo is just a matrix filter. Considering i'm running a stereo+sub, i couldn't care any less for that.
I do care for an advanced 3D positioning filter that can deliver a correct 3D space positioned sound through just 2 speakers.
For 2 speakers, Dolby Digital Live and DTS would be pointless, granted. You can still use Prologic and NEO, but without a center speaker the dialogue will be lost.

But for 2 speakers you can run 2.0 PCM 24-bit /192000Hz and with bookshelf speakers it would sound noticeably better.

by: Prima.Vera
I remember back in the days when SB 16 was The King of the Hill.
I used to have the SB 16. Amazing, also had the SB 128 which was even better.
Posted on Reply
#5
BumbleBee
plastic, aluminum and MDF can change the resonance, distortion and tonality. cosmetics are important in low cost speakers.. so plastic is a popular choice because it's cheap and malleable. you won't find high fidelity in PC speakers.
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#6
Dent1
by: BumbleBee
you won't find high fidelity in PC speakers.
My point exactly.
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#7
remixedcat
by: Octopuss
Hey not everyone has ears of a dog. Me personally can't tell difference between 128 and 320kbit mp3 even on good speakers, so I don't think I could hear a difference between the latest Realtek chip and extra card.
you got to be kidding....
Posted on Reply
#8
m4gicfour
Audiophiles of TPU, UNITE!!!!


Hey, I don't know... could be a nice gag gift. Oh, yeah; your Yamaha/Onkyo/Denon (etc)AVR & Totem/Klipsch/Cambridge/Polk (etc) are garbage now! Look! I bought you a Creative Dildozer Ass *fuck* I mean... Creative SoundblasterAxx!
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#9
D007
lol I run 7.1 surround with onboard sound. I bought a few sound cards, both creative, both were absolute garbage. It is because of that experience that I have not purchased a sound card for over 5 years..
So basically if someone is straight creative would make them gay.
Yes they ruined sound cards for me..
Posted on Reply
#10
Dent1
by: D007
lol I run 7.1 surround with onboard sound. I bought a few sound cards, both creative, both were absolute garbage. It is because of that experience that I have not purchased a sound card for over 5 years..
So basically if someone is straight creative would make them gay.
Yes they ruined sound cards for me..
I had the Creative X-fi Forte to my receiver via SPDIF. It sounded great for DDL and DTS Connect, but the card was just too buggy. After about a year I sold it!

When I upgraded to a HDMI capable receiver, I decided that I would hook it straight my ATI video card and use DTS NEO or DD Prologic on my receiver. No fuss, no buggy creative drivers, dont have to worry about Creatives software suite hanging or using up all the resources. I have no complaints.
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