Originally Posted by selway89
A note id like to make for X-Fi users. The crystalizer is a dynamic eq setting. However it reduces the sound stage by quite allot, making difference between frequences smaller. I have noticed hiddeous distortion with this setting and use mine without any surround or crystalizer settings.
Crystallizer is actually an oddly implimented loudness/signal processing effect, not an EQ setting.
as per how it's used - it's a double-edged sword. Very poor quality audio (e.g. .mp3 @ 128kbps or less) will sound 10x worse with the crystallizer, as certain portions of the frequency range are amplified . . . usually the same portion of the band where the artifacts and distortion will lie after such compression.
High quality audio (e.g. .wma @ lossless) will see no benefit from Crystallizer - actually, quite the contrary, the effect hurts
high-quality audio . . . masking certain portions of the band.
The only worthwhile purpose of the Crystallizer feature that I've been able to deduce - gaming. Most game audio is a decent middle-of-the-line audio compression, usually using .wav or .ogg formats (WAV being an "uncompressed" format), at 44.1kHz. In-game, the audio system will play sounds at various levels of playback, and "position" sound based upon their relation to the actor, as well as applying environmental filters, occlusion filters, reverb effects, etc. The amount of filters placed over a track can sometimes mask certain frequency ranges that the player should
be able to hear (usually high frequencies) - Crystallizer is capable of strengthening these portion of the range, as it's applied individually to each file for playback - giving gunshots, for example, a very crisp sound . . . even if their source is far enough away from the player that it's still muted, it can bring out the high frequencies that still enable the player to vaguely discern those sounds.
Otherwise, I find the Crystallizer feature to be absolutely horrible for general entertainment playback . . . perhaps, in regards to my audio collection, is due from the vast quantities of lossless, uncompressed audio I have. If I rip a CD, it goes down in either .wma lossless or .wav.
As to audio specs and general hardware, etc. feel free to check out my guide: http://forums.techpowerup.com/showthread.php?t=64921
As to audio equipment I *currently* have:
X-Fi Fatal1ty PCI (2)
X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty
X-Fi Elite Pro
Harmon/Kardon Soundsticks II
Razer HP-1 5.1 headset
I've also hound countless 5.1 setups that I seem to destroy sooner or later
My personal setup, though consists of:
4 vintage Pioneer CS-99A 5-way units:
full wood enclosure, and they stand about mid-thigh from the ground. These are 80W units, but sound like much more powerful units - excellent lows and mids, with a very balanced high range. These bad boys will rattle the drywall right out of your home . . .
vintage JVC 4-channel stereo reciever - looks similar to this:
although mine has a black finish to it with chrome trim around it
and a vintage JVC amplifier that lokos similar to this:
again, though, black finish instead of the polished aluminum. The two I have are a matching set.
I'll just say that my personal setup, if set to a volume level of "3" will
get the cops called - it's LOUD . . . very LOUD. I can easily run my computer into the reciever as well, but I tend to prefer my headset most of the time.