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Creative Announces Sound Blaster Audigy Fx V2 Card

Creative Technology today announced the release of Sound Blaster Audigy Fx V2, the latest addition to its well-established series of Sound Blaster sound cards. A compelling facelift over its predecessor Sound Blaster Audigy Fx, which was already a bestseller in its own right, this sound card features improvements in audio quality (including an upgrade option via a daughter board) and the versatile SmartComms Kit for seamless online calls. The Sound Blaster Audigy Fx V2 is quite simply the choice pick amongst cost-effective audio upgrade options for PCs.

The Sound Blaster Audigy Fx V2 is powered by the heralded Sound Blaster Acoustic Engine technology that delivers high-quality, 5.1 cinematic surround sound, 24Bit 192khz high-resolution audio. Coupled with its high-fidelity DAC which is capable of up to 120dB dynamic range, this sound card offers pure ear candy for users looking to improve their motherboard audio for movies, gaming and music. Scout Mode, a Sound Blaster staple, enhances in-game audio cues so that users get a 'ear-start' in nailing down opponent locations while in battle.

Creative Announces Live! Mic M3 USB Microphone

Creative Technology today announced the release of Creative Live! Mic M3, a plug-and-play USB microphone that allows users to record and sound like professionals while streaming, gaming, or even conferencing. It sports Cardioid and Omni microphone polar patterns, studio-grade recording resolution and real-time mic monitoring, making it the perfect all-round audio input solution for content creation and better communications with any PC or Mac.

Creative Live! Mic M3 offers users greater versatility across different use cases as it is designed with two 14 mm condenser capsules for dual polar pattern types, Cardioid and Omni, which can be easily switched via the control knob. With the Cardioid pattern, it is most suitable for single-person recordings, like streaming a gameplay, as it is a front-focused mode and is best used to capture sounds made directly in front of the mic. On the other hand, the Omni pattern is an all-angle mode that works better to capture sounds equally from all directions and is great for use with groups, like a podcast recording with two or three hosts.

Creative Announces Sound Blaster X4 Sound Card

Creative Technology today announced the launch of the Sound Blaster X4, the upgraded successor to the well-received Sound Blaster X3 which sports nifty new smart features and better connectivity. The latest USB DAC features both discrete and virtual surround sound powered by Sound Blaster, the award-winning Super X-Fi headphone holography and Dolby Digital Live to deliver the ultimate movie, gaming and music audio experience. With the new SmartComms Kit (for Windows) offering auto-mute and two-way noise cancellation, the Sound Blaster X4 makes online communication easy and fuss-free for users working from home. In addition, the Sound Blaster X4 also comes with a plethora of connectivity options and convenient controls for a hassle-free set-up right out of the box, making it the ideal all-in-one audio upgrade for PC, Mac, PS5, PS4 and Nintendo Switch users.

Creative Announces SXFI AIR GAMER Wireless Headset

Creative Technology today announced the release of Creative SXFI AIR GAMER, which incorporates the best features of the SXFI AIR and SXFI GAMER for the most versatile Super X-Fi headphones yet. With Bluetooth 5.0 and USB-C connectivity, the SXFI AIR GAMER offers users the best of both worlds - wire-free music enjoyment, and lag-free movie and gaming when plugged to PC or consoles. It also comes with a slew of wizardries that improve voice communication, be it in games, work conference calls, or online lessons.

Other features include intuitive touch control function on the earcup, the CommanderMic microphone with professional-grade clarity, and the SXFI BATTLE Mode audio profile to deliver the optimal experience for avid gamers. It is fitted with a Kevlar-reinforced USB cable for greater durability and plush oversized earpads for longer-lasting comfort.

Creative Announces Sound Blaster GC7 Gaming DAC and Amp

Creative Technology today announced the release of Sound Blaster GC7, the first premium gaming DAC and Amp in a new product series specially designed to enhance the user experience of avid gamers, aspiring content creators and streamers. Users can take full control of the gameplay easily with intuitive one-handed controls and fully programmable buttons, and enjoy the award-winning Super X-Fi and Sound Blaster technologies, in Creative's most comprehensive external sound card yet.

Blast from the Past: Creative Announces Updated Sound Blaster Z SE Discrete Sound Card

Creative today has announced an updated to their Sound Blaster Z discrete sound card. The updated Sound Blaster Z SE keeps the up to 116 dB SnR and 24-bit/192 kHz sound of the sound card it updates, but adds 7.1 support for headphones and 5.1 discrete audio on speakers. The new dedicated sound card also features additional gaming profiles (it has specially-designed profiles for PUBG and Fortnite, for example), and new equalizer presets.

If you suppose most of these features could have been added via a software/firmware update, you'd be right; Creative is releasing most of these features via a software update for the Sound Blaster Z as well. Other specifications remain the same, with the Sound Blaster Z SE sound card featuring Creative's Sound Core 3D audio processor. Whether or not there is a requirement for discrete soundcards in this day and age of integrated sound quality is another discussion, as is the option for users to connect and process their audio via an external DAC.

Creative Releases Aurvana Trio Wireless Headphones

Creative Technology today announced the launch of Creative Aurvana Trio Wireless, the latest addition to its well-received Aurvana headphone series. Featuring a new upscale neckband design powered by the same high-definition hybrid triple-driver system as the Aurvana Trio - only better, lighter, and wireless. Intricately designed for all-day comfort, excellent audio and call quality, and long-lasting battery life, Aurvana Trio Wireless makes for the perfect audio companion for both discerning audio lovers and casual listeners on the go.

Creative Announces SXFI GAMER USB-C Flagship Headset With Computational Audio

The SXFI GAMER is engineered with one main goal in mind—to be the perfect companion for gamers, including hardcore gamers who demand for more. Equipped with Super X-Fi technology and a pro-grade CommanderMic, SXFI GAMER is truly a game changer. Get lost in the fantasy reality of gaming world with its built-in Super X-Fi technology, which provides holographic audio personalized to your own ears. Experience an unbelievable level of realism in your headphones that sounds as good as the real thing.

Accumulating a total of 23 "Best of CES" awards over 2 years (2019 and 2020), Super X-Fi is our critically-acclaimed technology set to transform your listening experience. Super X-Fi delivers high-definition holographic audio as though there is a set of high-end multi-speaker setup within your headphones. Plus, Super X-Fi generates a custom sound profile based on your head and ear anthropometry, so the audio you get is specially optimized just for you.

Creative Launches SXFI TRIO: USB-C In-ears with the Super X-Fi Difference

Creative Technology today announced the launch of the Creative SXFI TRIO, a triple-driver USB-C in-ear headphones that is designed to deliver high-quality holographic audio with all-day comfort on Android phones, PCs and laptops.

Implemented with the latest Super X-Fi Gen2 technology, users can expect greater accuracy in personalization and a better all-round audio experience. Powered by the same triple-driver system as the well-received Aurvana Trio and fitted with a custom-designed Kevlar USB-C cable, SXFI TRIO sets to exceed expectations with balanced, accurate, and natural-sounding digital audio for users on the go.

Creative Intros Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Pure Edition Sound Card

Creative today introduced a limited-edition variant of its Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus discrete internal sound card, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Pure Edition (model: SBX-AE5P-WH). This is essentially a white color trim of the AE-5 Plus sound card which debuted in mid-April 2020, which sees silvery matte white make up the main shroud over the card, and much of the backside of the PCB being painted white. There are still some contrasting piano black bits, such as the ARGB insert.

The AE-5 Plus slots between the AE-5 and AE-7, while being almost identical to the former. It's only feature-additions over the AE-5 are Dolby Digital Live and DTS encoding support, which the AE-5 lacks. The hardware of the AE-5 Plus is identical to the AE-5, with 122 dB SNR, 32-bit 384 kHz audio format support, and 0.00032% total harmonic distortion. Available in limited quantities, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Pure Edition is priced around USD $170.

HP Unveils new ZBook Studio and ZBook Create Notebooks

Today, HP Inc. unveiled its newest Z by HP mobile workstation and HP ENVY portfolio - designed for creators who push the envelope of what's possible. The HP ZBook Studio, HP ZBook Create, and the HP ENVY 15 are the latest additions to the HP Create Ecosystem, which launched at Adobe MAX in 2019.

The powerful line-up enables all levels of creators, including consumers, prosumers and professionals, to capture, create, and bring to life digital concepts and ideas that can be shared, enjoyed, and experienced. In the past, creators had to choose between heavy workstations or bulky gaming devices to get the power they require for work and play. Today, HP is pushing the boundaries of engineering and creative productivity by allowing photographers, vloggers, graphic designers, architects, film makers, and everyone in between, to achieve what was never thought possible.

Creative Rolls Out Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Gaming Sound Card

Creative rolled out the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus, a discrete internal sound card with PCIe interface. The card is a step up from the Sound BlasterX AE-5, and is positioned below the AE-7 the company debuted in June 2019. The new AE-5 Plus uses the same Sound Core 3D audio processor as the rest of the AE series, but with an ESS Sabre Ultra DAC carried over from the AE-5, which offers 122 dB SNR, sound resolution of 32-bit 384 kHz, and 0.00032% total harmonic distortion. Much like the AE-5, it lacks user-replaceable OPAMPs. What sets the AE-5 Plus apart is support for Dolby Digital Live and DTS encoding, just like the AE-7 and AE-9, which is something the original AE-5 lacks. It also only comes in a black color-scheme, unlike the AE-5. The company didn't reveal pricing, although we expect it to be around 10-15% pricier than the $149 AE-5.

Quick Look: Creative Outlier Gold True Wireless Earphones

Following up on our coverage of CES goodies that are more than just swag, we continue exploring the wacky world of true wireless (TWS) earphones. The first set in this quick look series examined the Altec Lansing Nano Pods that clocked in at just $30, and today we up the ante into the oh-so-barely-under-$100 with the Creative Outlier Gold at $99.99. The company has impressed yours truly for three CES showings in a row with their Super X-Fi headphone holography tech, which we examined in the first retail iteration via their SXFI amp. This technology aims to replicate a surround speaker speaker audio experience into earphones/headphones, and requires their SXFI DSP to make the most of it. So when Creative said they have TWS earphones with SXFI, I was intrigued and simply had to test them for myself.

As it turns out, the Outlier Gold does support SXFI, but only with a software experience from their mobile app. This makes sense considering these are meant to be quite small and, well, wireless, and yet Creative claim a whopping 14 hours of battery life per charge. In addition, this set is an upgrade to their previous Outlier Air TWS earphones, which were quite popular for offering good value for money, and we see signs of it already with the packaging going with a two-piece unboxing experience with renders, marketing features, and product specs all over the box. Read past the break for more on these, especially if you are looking for a good balance of audio performance, battery life, and price point.

Creative at CES 2020: Super X-Fi Everything!

Creative had a positive impact on us at TechPowerUp who attended CES last year, with their retail demonstration of Super X-Fi headphone holography arguably being the most impressive product announcement at the trade show. Yours truly was especially taken aback with the hardware implementation of Super X-Fi, with the first product implementing it, the SXFI Amp, earning a well-deserved recommendation too. Naturally, we were eager to see what the company was up to next, and met them at CES this year too where it was evident they were going all aboard the Super X-Fi train, and inviting everyone along for the ride.

There were definitely a lot of hardware products with the SXFI DSP built in, but the main announcement was in the form of the new Super X-Fi Gen 2 audio profile. Gen 1, from last year, garnered a lot of positive reviews, but also had mixed reception from the general populace who had to rely on head mapping and not also the microphone-based measurements the press got in person. Indeed, my own experience with higher end headphones was not as positive, with music losing detail in favor of a surround sound speaker setup experience that perhaps was not necessary. The worse the audio source was, the worse this discrepancy was as well. Creative had gathered tens of thousands of ear profiles and feedback this past year, and used it to train their Super X-Fi AI engine to develop a more accurate, personalized audio profile as part of Super X-Fi Gen 2. The company claims this free update to all existing Gen 1 profiles will improve also the preservation of audio detail, as well as better positional accuracy as well. We will put this to the test soon enough, but read past the break on more new announcements from Creative, including all the new hardware with this technology built in.

Creative Releases the Sound Blaster G3 USB DAC Amp: Improving Audio for Game Consoles

Creative Technology today announced the release of Sound Blaster G3, a portable gaming USB DAC Amp that marks the latest addition to the Sound Blaster revolution ignited 30 years ago. Designed and built with game console users in mind, Sound Blaster G3 is the first Sound Blaster that works directly on PS4 and Nintendo Switch via a driverless plug-and-play format, and is also compatible with PC and Mac. Palm-sized and weighing in at a mere 32 grams, it boasts a great balance of the fabled Sound Blaster audio signature, on-the-go customization and other nifty gaming features at an attractive price tag.

Creative Announces Sound Blaster X3 with Super X-Fi; Upgrade Promotion for Existing Users

Creative Technology today announced the release of Sound Blaster X3, its latest addition to the illustrious Sound Blaster line-up of sound cards which ignited the PC audio revolution 30 years ago. A high-resolution USB DAC with multi-channel audio playback, it combines Creative's multiple award-winning technological breakthroughs - the famed Sound Blaster digital processing technology and game-changing Super X-Fi headphone holography - for a compelling solution which audio enthusiasts simply cannot ignore.

New Wacom MobileStudio Pro Provides the Power Creative Professionals Need to Work Without Boundaries

Wacom announces the new Wacom MobileStudio Pro 16 to update its important category of high-end mobile creative pen computers to meet the growing demands of creative professionals. It gives artists, designers and engineers the power they need to run full versions of even the heaviest creative software applications and the freedom to work and create anywhere - on location, with clients, in art and design schools, while travelling, between projects and studios or simply as a standalone all-in-one solution to replace a desktop computer. Just like the Wacom Cintiq Pro pen displays and the Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablets, the Wacom MobileStudio Pro is part of Wacom's dedicated product line for creative professionals, who expect the best performance, pen precision, power and flexibility in the creative tools they use.

Windows 10 1903 Has a Nasty Audio Stutter Bug Microsoft Hasn't Managed to Fix

Windows 10 May 2019 Update (version 1903) is the pinnacle of neglect and contempt Microsoft has shown towards the all-important audio subsystem of the modern PC. With it, Redmond has one-upped its last big move against audio, by killing the DirectSound hardware pipeline and mongrelizing PC audio under Intel's lousy and fundamentally anti-competitive Azalia specification that solves common audio compatibility problems under a scorched-earth guiding principle - "kill any feature that could possibly lick our aftersales support budget, by dumping every aspect of audio onto a very restrictive host-signal processing (HSP) architecture, let people come up with their own soft DSPs, because CPUs can handle them." Windows 1903 proves how this approach wasn't a silver bullet against PC audio problems, and is fallible.

I've never owned a PC without a discrete sound card. My first "multimedia PC experience" was powered by a Creative kit that included a Sound Blaster PCI, an Infra-CDROM drive, a clip-on mic, and tiny stereo speaker boxes. ISA-based integrated audio solutions back then were bested by greeting cards. I've since made it a habit to buy a sound card every 5 or so years. No gleaming SNR numbers by Realtek can convince me that an integrated audio solution can best a $100 discrete sound-card, and I've owned plenty of motherboards over the years with the most premium Azalia implementations (be it the ALC889 or the modern ALC1220). My current machines feature an ASUS Xonar AE (a bang-for-the-buck ESS ES9023P implementation with a 150 Ω amp), and a Creative SB Recon 3D. Both cards implement the Azalia pipeline at some level, to survive operating with post-Vista Windows. The SB Recon 3D uses a chip that converts PCIe to the HDA bus; while the Xonar AE uses a PCIe to USB chip and a USB (Azalia) to I2S chip (essentially a USB headset laid out on a sound card with a high-quality analog side). Both cards are borked after the "upgrade" to Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903), and two successive "Patch Tuesday" updates haven't managed to solve it.

Creative Formally Launches the Sound Blaster AE-7 and AE-9 Audiophile Sound Cards

Creative Technology Ltd continues its legacy of revolutionizing audio with the launch of its most advanced PCI-e sound cards ever - the Sound Blaster AE-9 and Sound Blaster AE-7. Built with only the most premium components, and complemented with the latest technologies from Creative, these sound cards are designed to define a new performance standard in this class for the ultimate PC entertainment experience.

Up till 1989, the only sounds coming out of the PC were mere beeps. The same year, Sound Blaster was born, and PC audio was transformed forever. Since then, over 400 million Sound Blasters have been sold; and the Sound Blaster brand has become synonymous with the term sound card and high-quality PC audio - first for gaming, and then movies and music. With experience and expertise refined over three decades of audio innovation, Sound Blaster has continued to reinvent itself with the development of digital audio processing technologies. Each new innovation served to redefine what the ultimate audio experience really means, such as when it evolved beyond the PC in the form of external sound cards for platforms like gaming and entertainment consoles.

Creative Unveils World's First Super X-Fi Headphones

Creative Technology today announced the launch of the follow-up to the critically-acclaimed Creative SXFI AMP - the Creative SXFI AIR series. Comprising the SXFI AIR and SXFI AIR C, these are the very first headphones featuring built-in Super X-Fi technology, the game-changer which has captured the imagination of users by delivering the listening experience of a high-end multi-speaker system, simply through a pair of headphones.

"After the SXFI AMP, it was a natural next step to develop headphones with built-in Super X-Fi technology. With the SXFI AIR series, users can now enjoy the magic of headphone holography, complemented by the best of our headphone engineering. The SXFI AIR is meant to pave the way for the headphone industry to adopt Super X-Fi into all future headphones," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative Technology.

Creative E-MU Unveils Audiophile Headphones with User-replaceable Wood Enclosures

Creative's audiophile and studio brand E-MU unveiled two new around-the-ear monitors featuring user-replaceable wood enclosures. Headphones and monitors with wood enclosures are sought after for sounding more natural, with deeper lows and crisper mid-range; compared to most common headphones with ABS plastic enclosures. Among the two headphones launched are the heavier E-MU Teak and lightweight E-MU Walnut. The E-MU Teak features 50 mm neodynium drivers with bio-cellulose diaphragms, while the E-MU Walnut features smaller 40 mm drivers with the same quality of magnets and diaphragms as as the E-MU Teak.

The star attraction here is their enclosures, which are made of specialized single-origin woods - teak, walnut, rose, etc. The outer surface is polished for protection, while the inner one facing the driver is exposed. The enclosures ship in separate airtight, dehydrated jewel-cases. The E-MU Teak has an astounding frequency range of 5 Hz to 45 kHz, 106 dB sensitivity, and 25 Ω impedance. The E-MU Walnut, on the other hand, provides 10 Hz to 30 kHz frequency range, 103 dB sensitivity, and 30 Ω impedance. Both ship with 1.2-3 m long deoxygenated copper cables.

Creative to Launch Audiophile-grade Sound Card: Sound BlasterX AE-9

Creative have been relatively dark in the soundcard front, a business for which they were mainly recognized not that many years ago. The company is looking to cater to the highest-end of music listeners with the impending introduction of their Sound BlasterX AE-9 sound card, though. At $300 a pop, these will pack serious hardware for audiophiles. While the audio processing chip remains the same 3D Sound Core as used in Creative's gaming-focussed AE-5 and AE-5 Pure, for the AE-9, Creative opted for an external DAC - thus removing any digital noises or interference from your system's electronics.

The replaceable operational amplifiers are a given, then, since we're talking about a crowd of users that wants to be able to experiment and tinker with sound processing on their audio sources. The operational amplifiers can be tinkered with as well, aiding in reaching that desired tuning. As for outputs, Optical in and out, standard 3.5mm jacks for rear, center, and sub, as well as RCA stereo out make out the card's rear connectors. And lo and behold - there's a dedicated 6-pin power connector for the card so as to power all of that sound wizardry.

Creative Announces Sound BlasterX H6 50mm USB Gaming Headset

Creative Technology Ltd announced today the release of the Sound BlasterX H6 gaming headset, which elevates both gaming and audio experiences to the next level.

Featuring an all-new design, the Sound BlasterX H6 packs massive performance with a plethora of enhanced features - including pro-tuned 50mm Neodymium drivers, breathable memory foam fabric mesh pads, detachable noise-reducing ClearComms microphone technology and RGB lighting.

Creative Announces Outlier ONE Plus Wireless IEM with Integrated Player

Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Creative Outlier ONE Plus. The all-new Bluetooth in-ears are the latest addition to the Outlier Series; which includes the Outlier One-included as one of the 'Best Bluetooth Earbuds of 2018' by tech review site SoundGuys.

The Creative Outlier ONE Plus maintains the superior sound quality, comfort and fit of Outlier ONE, but now is enhanced with Bluetooth 4.2 connectivity and a 4GB built-in MP3 player that allows you to play music directly - without cellular connection or your phone. Certified IPX4 sweat-proof for the toughest workouts with a long-lasting battery life of up to 10 hours, Outlier ONE Plus is the perfect plus for all activities.

Creative Unleashes the Sound Blaster K3+ Portable Mixing Board for Online Streamers

Creative Technology Ltd announced the Sound Blaster K3+ today. The compact and portable mixer is targeted at today's generation of online influencers and content creators, such as musicians, podcasters, live streamers, vloggers, and more. The K3+ captures the goodness of its predecessor, the Sound Blaster K3, while being enhanced further with additional features. Like its predecessor, Sound Blaster K3+ was developed in part by a number of broadcasters, singers, musicians, and audio engineers. Their feedback has allowed Creative to understand various recording needs, and has resulted in a practical, professional recording interface that boasts incredible connectivity options.

"We're proud to be part of that amazing journey in helping people to express themselves through the content they create," said Low Long Chye, General Manager of Creative. "The Sound Blaster K3+ is a full-fledged portable mixer with a wealth of features that allow any budding musician, comedian, live-streaming gamer or vlogger to customize their content and broadcast in amazing quality. And because it's so compact and easily powered via USB, they can broadcast live from almost anywhere with just a mobile phone, the book-sized K3+, and a USB powerbank."
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