Friday, March 12th 2010

Creative Announces Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD and USB Sound Blaster X-Fi HD Audio

Creative Technology Ltd. today announced the PCI-E Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD and USB Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD, setting the gold standard for PC audio with the first discrete audio card and USB digital audio system to include THX TruStudio PC audio technology.

"The Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD and Sound Blaster X-Fi HD provide the highest quality audio playback of any sound products we have ever introduced, over a period of time where we have sold more than 400 million Sound Blaster cards," said Steve Erickson, Vice President and General Manager of Audio and Video at Creative. "We are thrilled to announce that our newest additions to the Sound Blaster line include THX TruStudio PC audio technology, bringing together two of the most respected names in sound quality to provide an unparalleled audio experience on the PC."
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD
The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD is powered by the second-generation Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor for PCI Express slots. The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD combines captivating industrial design with audiophile grade Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and components to produce a 122dB signal-to-noise ratio, the highest SNR ever produced by a Creative sound card. A replaceable Op-amp is also a distinguishing feature allowing users to customise audio output with colouration that is refined to their personal tastes.

Additional product specifications include:
  • RCA Line Out for audio playback up to 122dB, 24-bit/96kHz Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • RCA Line Input for recording up to 118dB, 24-bit 96kHZ Analog-to-Digital Converters (ADC)
  • 0.001% Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise (THD+N)
  • Headphone output for audio listening up to 115dB 33 Ohms, and 117dB, 330 Ohms, at 24bit/96kHz
  • Replaceable Op-amps
  • Hardware-accelerated 3D positional audio and EAX 5.0 effects that provide a truly immersive experience with headphones and speakers
  • Dolby Digital and DTS encoding enables one-step single-cable connection to home entertainment systems
  • TOS-link optical-in/out
  • 1/8" microphone-in
  • 1/8" headphone jack
  • Creative ALchemy to restore EAX and surround sound that is otherwise lost in DirectSound game titles running under Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • ASIO recording support with latency as low as one millisecond with minimal CPU load
  • Works with Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems
Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HDDesigned as a high definition USB audio solution for notebooks and desktops, the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB digital audio system features audiophile-grade recording and playback. It is the only USB digital audio system that includes an analogue phono input, as well as standard audio inputs, enabling users to effortlessly convert analogue audio from their record albums or cassette tapes into MP3, AAC, FLAC and other digital formats. The systems comes with Media Toolbox, a comprehensive software package, including an advanced noise reduction programme that easily remove unwanted clicks, crackles, hums, pops, rumble and other sound imperfections from the tracks after they have been recorded, substantially improving the audio quality for playback.

The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB digital audio system also features THX TruStudio PC, bringing the same great audio experience found in live performances, films, and recording studios to laptop and desktop PCs.

Additional product specifications include:
  • RCA Line Out for audio playback up to 114dB, 24-bit/96kHz Digital-to-Analog Converters (DAC)
  • RCA/Phono Line Input for recording up to 108dB, 24-bit 96kHZ Analog-to-Digital Converters
  • TOS-link optical-in/out
  • Gold-plated 1/4" microphone-in
  • Gold-plated 1/4" headphone jack
  • USB-bus powered, no external power supply required
  • Creative ALchemy to restore EAX and surround sound that is otherwise lost in DirectSound game titles running under Windows Vista and Windows 7
  • Works with Windows Vista and Windows 7 operating systems
THX TruStudio PCTHX TruStudio PC is specially designed to bring the same great audio experience found in live performances, films, and recording studios to the PC. THX TruStudio PC provides groundbreaking PC audio technologies, the result of collaborative research and development from Creative and THX. Together, these technologies deliver the fullest audio experience for music, movies and games, while remaining true to the source and intention of the artistes who created it. THX TruStudio PC includes:

THX TruStudio PC Surround
THX TruStudio PC Surround provides immersion control to enhance the natural sense of audio depth and spaciousness by creating virtual surround sound channels. Stereo content or multichannel content played over stereo speakers and headphones will sound as if it is coming from all sides while voices remain centred in front and original balance and timbre is preserved.

THX TruStudio PC Crystalizer
THX TruStudio PC Crystalizer restores the natural dynamic range that is lost when iTunes and MP3 music get compressed. This makes the music sound as good as the artiste originally intended, and adds an enhanced level of realism for movies and games.

THX TruStudio PC Speaker
THX TruStudio PC Speaker fills in the missing low frequency tones and gives the extra impact for a better entertainment experience. Consumers no longer have to tolerate lack of bass in speakers built into notebook PCs, 2.0 speakers or headphones, as THX TruStudio PC Speaker technology dramatically improves the sound experience without a subwoofer.

THX TruStudio PC Dialog Plus
THX TruStudio PC Dialog Plus enhances the voices in movies for clearer dialogue, allowing the listener to hear the dialogue over the rest of the soundtrack and over ambient noise in the listening environment.

THX TruStudio PC Smart Volume
THX TruStudio PC Smart Volume addresses the problem of abrupt volume level changes during playback and between songs by automatically and continuously measuring volume, and intelligently applying gain and attenuation to compensate for those changes.

Pricing and Availability
The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD and Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD will be available at The CREATIVE Stores at International Business Park and Marina Square, the online store at sg.store.creative.com and authorised dealers in Singapore from March 2010 onwards at the suggested retail prices of S$299.00 and S$149.00 respectively.
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124 Comments on Creative Announces Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD and USB Sound Blaster X-Fi HD Audio

#1
R_1
HDMI is just a port, that I am using when playing movies/games on HDTV, so forgive my ignorance when referring to AV receiver as a "HDMI" receiver.
Posted on Reply
#2
pr0n Inspector
Cheap $500 receivers can't even drive headphones properly.

Also, not everyone likes $1000 mediocre speakers.
Posted on Reply
#3
pjladyfox
imperialreign said:
Actually, when MS was first beginning work on Vista, they did plan to have DirectSound. They were actually working closely with both Creative and nVidia to incorporate an improved version for hardware access and other low-level chores. For whatever reason, late into the game, nVidia backed out, and soon after MS dropped the project altogether - I've yet to hear what happened, and who was at fault for this EPIC FAIL - and MS went ahead without DirectSound. They used the lame BS excuse that they were cutting the feature because the majority of system crashes in XP were due to software trying to access the audio kernel (reason I say BS is because I've never seen an audio-related BSoD in XP, and have never seen anyone else complain of a BSoD that turned out to be audio related). Either way, it left Creative with about 6 months to completely re-write their early Vista drivers, for an OS design they were not originally designing for. Big reason why their Vista beta drivers didn't release until about 1 month before Vista's release.

And I defi agree on the OAL point - Only Creative and Auzen properly support the API. ASUS, HT, C-Media and every other audio manufacturer need to get off their arse and start getting involved with the project. The only thing ASUS has been doing with OAL is using it to gain "backdoor" access for EAX3+ support (their "EAX" software operates nearly the same as Creative's ALchemy).
That's interesting. I had heard about Creative being involved with it but I'm really surprised at NVIDIA's participation especially since they dropped support for their SoundStorm line. The only reason I can think of that Microsoft switched gears like that is that they had no real confidence in Creative being able to carry the rest of the project to a degree to make going any further worth the effort. Not saying that I excuse the major FUBAR that Microsoft did but Creative really has not built up a lot of confidence especially considering their rather rabid defense of EAX.

I did some current reading on OpenAL and it looks like Creative is pretty much carrying things at the moment. This could explain why there really has not been any major adoption of it by say Realtek or C-Media since they've already been burned by Creative over the entire EAX fiasco. I mean, were I in the same shoes I'd be rather hesitant in order to work with them especially since Creative could turn around and incorporate any information into their own hardware regardless if it is an "open" standard.

Again, not an excuse for the involved parties but it could explain a great many things. Does not make it any easier for those of us on the front lines dealing with all of the fallout over the complete and utter lack of progress in audio.

imperialreign said:
Yeah, and even for those cards that do support OAL perfectly fine - there's also issues on the software side . . . some media programs are still having issues in Vista . . . and we need to see more software dev support with OAL as well.

TBH, I'm glad the audio industry is moving to PCI-E, as that has really cleared up a lot of audio clipping problems related to the PCI BUS, and the fact that most modern hardware is extremelly heavy on the SYS BUS. The increased bandwidth with PCI-E allows the card to send and recieve more info per clock cycle, and that's a major bonus with some processing heavy audio cards.

But, we need to see more audio manufacturers start going to native PCIE, instead of relying on the translators. As I believe I mentioned in an earlier post, it adds latency to the audio processing stream, and that's not exactly something you want in regards to audio. TBH, I've kinda felt it's a bit of a joke from all the audio manufacturers . . . everyone has gotten wrapped up with the SNR war, and keep stouting they have the best audio quality - but are using poor design architecture (even Creative were guilty of this with their first PCIE card).
Oh, do not get me wrong I know that the movement towards PCI-E is a good thing but I also have to be a realist here that a great many STILL use PCI-based audio cards. By designing fixes for resolving a lot of the PCI latency issues it carries forward to the PCI-E line. This, in turn, would allow for a larger potential customer base for sale AND would encourage game developers to hop onboard with OpenAL completely rather than the hackneyed software audio that they are currently using. I think a lot of momentum could also be garnered if the consoles went over to OpenAL as well.

Either way, the feature war needs to stop and we desperately need someone outside of Creative to take the lead towards driving OpenAL adoption across ALL hardware platforms. At the rate we're going now I'll be retiring before we'll actually see this happen. :cry:

imperialreign said:
BTW - if you're experiencing a lot of EMI noise, you could attempt some DIY fixes. It's a hard noise to get rid of, but there are some things that might clean it up - if the noise is being induced from the local environment . . . if the card is picking up noise via the SYS BUS, there's not too much you can do :ohwell:
I'm really holding off on doing anything major until I can get a new set of headphones to replace my ancient Razer HP-1's since I think they may be part of the problem. The fustrating thing is that finding a decent set of 5.1 dedicated audio headphones is not easy nor cheap. And whomever thought the entire USB 5.1 audio was a good idea needs to be repeatedly nut stomped until they can no longer produce children. :mad: :nutkick:
Posted on Reply
#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Not many takers for OpenAL in a post Windows Vista world because...nobody other than Creative makes real audio processors. Only HSP controllers. OpenAL gives the application a direct path to hardware, but when that hardware doesn't know what to do with raw audio stack the app, hence the OS has to process it using the CPU. With real hardware processors (which Creative makes), it gets processed on the card.
Posted on Reply
#5
Wile E
Power User
pjladyfox said:
[snip] since I'm really getting tired of the humming I hear in my headphones from EM noise.
You could always just attempt to build a simple emi sheild for your current card. Shouldn't be too hard to manage, and would be a hell of a lot cheaper to do than buy a new card.
Posted on Reply
#6
RejZoR
Well, i know ADI (Analog Devices) supports native OpenAL. Not sure about Realtek...
Posted on Reply
#7
Wile E
Power User
RejZoR said:
Well, i know ADI (Analog Devices) supports native OpenAL. Not sure about Realtek...
It supports it in software. The cpu still does all the work. Creative is the only manufacturer that makes true hardware accelerated DSPs.
Posted on Reply
#8
imperialreign
Wile E said:
It supports it in software. The cpu still does all the work. Creative is the only manufacturer that makes true hardware accelerated DSPs.
It's an APU, dag-nabbit! :p
Posted on Reply
#9
Unregistered
Wile E said:
You could always just attempt to build a simple emi sheild for your current card. Shouldn't be too hard to manage, and would be a hell of a lot cheaper to do than buy a new card.
Interesting. How do you do that??
#10
imperialreign
TAViX said:
Interesting. How do you do that??
There's a few different methods - probably the most basic would be to use some aluminum foil and fold it over on itself 3-4 times, making sure it's about the same L and W of the card, and a little bit longer at the PCI bracket so you can attach it there. You'll need to find some way to support the "shield" from the other components on the card . . . thermal pads, double layered duct tape, folded up electrical tape, rubber washers tapped onto the shield, etc.

It's looks a little barbaric, but it works.


Another idea would be to use the outer casing from an old HDD. Makes for an excellent shield. Little bit harder to attach to the card, though, and you might have to use a small piece of wire to connect the shield to the PCI bracket.
Posted on Reply
#11
Wile E
Power User
imperialreign said:
It's an APU, dag-nabbit! :p
And an APU is a DSP.
Posted on Reply
#12
Unregistered
imperialreign said:
There's a few different methods - probably the most basic would be to use some aluminum foil and fold it over on itself 3-4 times, making sure it's about the same L and W of the card, and a little bit longer at the PCI bracket so you can attach it there. You'll need to find some way to support the "shield" from the other components on the card . . . thermal pads, double layered duct tape, folded up electrical tape, rubber washers tapped onto the shield, etc.

It's looks a little barbaric, but it works.


Another idea would be to use the outer casing from an old HDD. Makes for an excellent shield. Little bit harder to attach to the card, though, and you might have to use a small piece of wire to connect the shield to the PCI bracket.
Seeems.......complicated....:nutkick::D
#13
kaosII
When I started to reply there where 6- 7 replies as I went to post............Holy crap this seems to be a very touchy subject.
I deleted my original post and I'll just watch. Glad you're not all in the same room.
Posted on Reply
#14
RejZoR
Any idea when these will be available in Europe? They were suppose to be available in March but it's mid April now and i haven't seen a single one in any of our stores. And i want one now because i can't stand the rotten Xonar anymore.
Posted on Reply
#15
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
RejZoR said:
Any idea when these will be available in Europe? They were suppose to be available in March but it's mid April now and i haven't seen a single one in any of our stores. And i want one now because i can't stand the rotten Xonar anymore.
whats wrong with the Xonar??
Posted on Reply
#16
RejZoR
It's rubbish, that's what it is. And i don't want to see it anymore. BSOD after BSOD and when i think i just managed to patch it i get a BSOD. Fuck that. I threw it out and i'll sell it as soon as i can.
Sound was good when it worked. But that was all gone when i swapped HD4870 for HD5850.

So, do you have any idea when will Titanium HD cards be available?
Posted on Reply
#17
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
according to creatives news report - the cards were released in Singapore at the end of march - but have found no additional info other then that.
Posted on Reply
#18
Wile E
Power User
RejZoR said:
It's rubbish, that's what it is. And i don't want to see it anymore. BSOD after BSOD and when i think i just managed to patch it i get a BSOD. Fuck that. I threw it out and i'll sell it as soon as i can.
Sound was good when it worked. But that was all gone when i swapped HD4870 for HD5850.

So, do you have any idea when will Titanium HD cards be available?
You don't necessarily have to wait for them to release. The Auzentech X-Fi Forte or X-Fi Bravura would be excellent alternatives. Both are based on the same X-Fi processor, and have the same attention to detail, and are built from top quality components.
Posted on Reply
#19
RejZoR
I know, but i'd prefer the Creative one.
Posted on Reply
#20
Wile E
Power User
RejZoR said:
I know, but i'd prefer the Creative one.
Really? The Auzen cards are built better, and less people have been complaining about the drivers than the typical Creative card. But hey, to each their own I suppose.
Posted on Reply
#21
Steevo
My onboard with tweaked drivers, and a good tweaking sounds OK. Mostly it is just the crap filters, and encoder/decoder codecs that cause the poor quality sound. And the lack of real power, but if I want that I just burn a CD and listen to my yamaha. I can feel my eardrums flex at high volumes.
Posted on Reply
#22
RejZoR
Wile E said:
Really? The Auzen cards are built better, and less people have been complaining about the drivers than the typical Creative card. But hey, to each their own I suppose.
As it turns out, Titanium HD cards are nowhere to be found (no one knows when either), X-Fi Bravura is rubbish (renamed X-Fi Xtreme Audio with better components). I could hardly get my hands on Auzentech X-Fi Forte. But i got it and it just shipped out. I'm expecting it tommorow. Will see how it works.
Posted on Reply
#23
Unregistered
I wonder....Is a SB Live! better than the on-board soundcard??? Just found one in my old PC...
#24
FreedomEclipse
~Technological Technocrat~
If you got Reatek HD codecs then probably no.
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