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Anyone build a new computer lately? X-fi chipset help!


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Looking for a new sound card that'll boost the quality of my music and music production :p

Does anyone have any experience with the X-Fi chipset? I'm currently using the Karajan audio chipset off my DFI Lanparty board, and it's really not to my liking. I'm interested in how the X-FI chipset compares to regular onboard chipsets, as i've never actually purchased seperate sound cards. Not really into the whole gaming thing, but once in a while i'll play some warcraft III. Theater isn't THAT important to me, i do watch movies but the emphasis is on the music and music production (which i guess indirectly affects gaming and entertainment).

From what i understand, the X-FI chipset is THE most advanced. If that's the case, i'll probably shoot for the X-Fi Platinum with the breakout box which i'll put on my desk close to my monitors. I have NOT looked at midi audio i/o soundcards, as i do NOT hook up any keyboards into my computer for sound. I'm strictly a software/midi controller person, so that isn't important.

So if i'm just looking at it from a music and music production point, will the X-Fi Platinum do what i want it to do?


:wave:

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Sound Blasters are absolute crap for audio work - period.

If are serious about recording, buy a card actually designed for that use. A M-Audio Audiophile 192 will be more reliable, have better drivers and be cheaper also.

If all you do do is watch DVDs and play games, consider the X-Fi. Even then, though, its overpriced for what it actually does.

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Sound Blasters are absolute crap for audio work - period.


If are serious about recording, buy a card actually designed for that use. A M-Audio Audiophile 192 will be more reliable, have better drivers and be cheaper also.


If all you do do is watch DVDs and play games, consider the X-Fi. Even then, though, its overpriced for what it actually does.



Thanks, i'll keep that in mind. However, could you specify and outline the problems with creative products for audio work? Keep in mind all the audio work i'll be doing will be LISTENING to what i'm doing, since all I'm running is soft synths and ableton/reason. My midi keyboard hooked up to my computer is something else, and although i'm not sure, i doubt that connection would affect the soundcard, no?

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Sound Blasters are absolute crap for audio work - period.


If are serious about recording, buy a card actually designed for that use. A M-Audio Audiophile 192 will be more reliable, have better drivers and be cheaper also.


If all you do do is watch DVDs and play games, consider the X-Fi. Even then, though, its overpriced for what it actually does.

 

Haha, you put M-audio and reliable in the same sentence. Damn, creative must really suck then :p

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Haha, you put M-audio and reliable in the same sentence. Damn, creative must
really
suck then
:p

 

 

... ok, now I understand :p

 

 

-------------------

 

(1) Of course it WILL affect the quality of:

 

- the sound coming out of the computer

- the actual processing power (because of DRIVERS)

- MIDI will get not directly affected but again, if the drivers suck, it all will either.

- if you are thinking on recording you synth's output, be ready to record bacon in a frying pan in you go the SoundBlaster way.

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Almost thought that was your sig there gus :D

 

I think i should specify what i do in terms of recording.

 

I run ableton, softies, samples, and reason as rewire. ALL of my work gets done there, i currently have NO midi interface, nor do i plan to add one in the future. Midi controllers + softsynths are much easier and equally as fun.

 

So, assuming the X-Fi's drivers don't suck (which from what i understand, they don't) would it be safe to use it the way I intend to?

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So, assuming the drivers do not suck AND that they work fine under 24/96 ... (which usually they don't... but if you do not work on that resolution will simply not notice ever...)

 

I guess it will be fine.

 

 

I was a SoundBlaster user once. It did a fine work even in a K6 II AMD computer with 64 MB of RAM. Decent drivers (at 16/48kHz, BTW). Noisy as hell outputs, even noisier inputs.

 

When I switched to a Tascam US-428 and then to an Event's EZBus and later to a Delta 1010, it all changed, for good and better.

 

 

But then, that was 8 years ago.

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So, assuming the drivers do not suck AND that they work fine under 24/96 ...
(which usually they don't... but if you do not work on that resolution will simply not notice ever...)


I guess it will be fine.



I was a SoundBlaster user once. It did a fine work even in a K6 II AMD computer with 64 MB of RAM. Decent drivers (at 16/48kHz, BTW). Noisy as hell outputs, even noisier inputs.


When I switched to a Tascam US-428 and then to an Event's EZBus and later to a Delta 1010, it all changed, for good and better.



But then, that was 8 years ago.



I'm curious about where the 1/8 headphone and speaker inputs are on the M-audio products :confused:

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I'm curious about where the 1/8 headphone and speaker inputs are on the M-audio products
:confused:

 

Hummm good question!

 

 

By taking a look at all my cards around...

 

* only the USB Transit and JamLab (from the USB line) have 1/8" stereo i/o connections. All the others have individual 1/4" or even XLR and in some specific cases, RCA (on DJ-oriented products and old models like the Audiophile 24/96, Audiophile USB and FireWire).

 

 

* The speaker connections are outputs :p ... same answer than above.

 

 

* None of the PCI interfaces have headphone output (yeah, I know... :rolleyes: ) You can add the omni i/o to the Delta 66 and get two mic preamps and dual headphone outs, summed to other 14 i/o total.

 

 

* all of the PCI interfaces (other than the old AP 24/96) have breakout boxes or cables for connections, to avoid being too close to the computer's inner noise. This is not an issue with FireWire and USB boxes.

 

 

* all USB and FireWire interfaces have dedicated 1/4" (other than Transit and JamLab, again) headphone connections, just like the most of manufacturers.

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Here's a good read over lil bit of history of the Creative sound cards, the Creative X-Fi family and the technologies used in the card (Crystallizer, CMSS 3D, etc). I would say the most expensive card is actually decent for recording, although for that kind of money you could buy a m-audio card and it will do recording better.

http://www.digit-life.com/articles2/multimedia/creative-x-fi.html

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you could buy a m-audio card and it will do recording better.



In what aspects? Recording from other keyboards, you mean? I'm not sure what you're getting at, but if you mean as a midi/audio interface, that's something I don't need in my setup.

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In what aspects? Recording from other keyboards, you mean? I'm not sure what you're getting at, but if you mean as a midi/audio interface, that's something I don't need in my setup.



You know what, if you don't want people's advice then don't ask the question and ignore the resounding conclusion everyone is coming to...:wave:

Any Soundblaster is over priced for what it does. It does a lot of different things in a mediocre way.

I would rather spend less money on something designed from the ground up for a specific use which does it well.

I worked on an Audiophile 2496 for over 4 years mostly doing softsynth work without a single issue. It sounded much better than the half dozen SB cards i used over the years. I don't know what your experience has been with M-Audio, but your alluding to their cards being of lesser quality than a SB are completely ridiculous and based on a brief personal opinion rather than fact.

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I have an X-Fi. For doing what you want, the X-Fi will be fine. But the others make a point, in that for the money, you may be able to find a better-dedicated audio card.

I've been using SoundBlaster cards for about 8 years now. We only have 1 PC for my family, and I wanted to have a good sound card to record with but I didn't want to loose the PC's "genericness" (I think I just made that word up) because the family still needs the PC for various other multimedia functions. So I went with SB Live!, which actually worked out quite well. The difference between the Live! and the motherboard's sound generating capabilities was huge. When I got the new PC, I had them install the best SB card that's out there right now.

I'm a bit confused by the X-Fi over the Live!, but I'm sure I'll get to know it better. In the meantime, it's doing everything I want it to (and at a better bit rate than the Live!).

The X-Fi is not a professional audio card. But you don't need a professional audio card to make good music on. I'm not familiar with your motherboard, but I imagine that the X-Fi is leaps and bounds beyond the sound it can produce.

Regardless of what you get, be sure to deactivate your original sound drivers (from the control panel) so there won't be any conflicts. Good luck!

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Haha, you put M-audio and reliable in the same sentence. Damn, creative must
really
suck then
:p



:bor:


Anyways, the new Asus Xonar caught my attention. I'll be looking into that and it's release date and see if it works out! It looks absolutely stunning, and from what i understand the components are top quality, better than Creative's.

Please keep in mind that I just needed a generic audio card that could still handle entertainment needs, and that didn't need to have ANYTHING to do with midi i/o's. I know a lot of you brought up the M-audio cards and questioned my reasoning on the quality of them, but now I've decided to wait it out and see what ASUS can bring to the table.

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The X-Fi will be fine, but there are some things to consider. The reason Soundblasters have such a bad reputation in anything but gaming, is that they have had the following problems:

 

Frequent poor driver support, though this has gotten better over the years.

 

The older Live/Audigy models were 48000Hz native, and everything done at another frequency (like 44100) would be sample-rate-converted, resulting in noticeable quality degradation.

 

Many SoundBlaster cards use cheap converters as well, so you can get some noise from them.

 

All of this adds up to sub-optimal performance for doing any serious or pseudo-serious audio work.

 

The X-Fi has decent drivers. If you turn off all of their "Audio Enhancement" options like the Crystalizer, volume normalization, etc. it sounds decent. Also, they've added the ability to do bit-matched recording, which will record with no bit or sample-rate conversion with decent results. Their ASIO support has fairly low latency as well. I'm fairly impressed with it as far as consumer cards go. (great for games too)

 

Now if you want something that will really sound good, and produce highly accurate results, you want something with some low-jitter converters. Burr-Brown, Crystal-Semi, AKM, etc. Creative's EMU line uses Burr Brown and Crystal converters. M-Audio use AKM, etc.

 

My favorite interfaces are the Lynx L22 or L2, RME and MOTUs for the upper end of the sub-insane-price category. M-Audio, Saffire, and Echo are my preferred interfaces in the lower-cost category. Leaning heavily toward Echo. I have a little Delta 44 that has zero problems.

 

(I used to test audio hardware with a major multi-track package, so I have hands on experience with most interfaces.)

 

Anyway, I don't think the X-Fi will give you any trouble. There are real reasons why people don't trust Creative though. The X-Fi is a decent product, but I don't see a lot of people giving them the benefit of the doubt.

 

I have some software synths, and a cheap sequencing package on my gaming computer, and whip up music using the X-Fi frequently (when I'm feeling musical and on that floor of the house.) I don't always feel like going down to the bottom floor where the studio is. I have no complaints with its performance under those circumstances.

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The X-Fi will be fine, but there are some things to consider. The reason Soundblasters have such a bad reputation in anything but gaming, is that they have had the following problems:


Frequent poor driver support, though this has gotten better over the years.


The older Live/Audigy models were 48000Hz native, and everything done at another frequency (like 44100) would be sample-rate-converted, resulting in noticeable quality degradation.


Many SoundBlaster cards use cheap converters as well, so you can get some noise from them.


All of this adds up to sub-optimal performance for doing any serious or pseudo-serious audio work.


The X-Fi has decent drivers. If you turn off all of their "Audio Enhancement" options like the Crystalizer, volume normalization, etc. it sounds decent. Also, they've added the ability to do bit-matched recording, which will record with no bit or sample-rate conversion with decent results. Their ASIO support has fairly low latency as well. I'm fairly impressed with it as far as consumer cards go. (great for games too)


Now if you want something that will really sound good, and produce highly accurate results, you want something with some low-jitter converters. Burr-Brown, Crystal-Semi, AKM, etc. Creative's EMU line uses Burr Brown and Crystal converters. M-Audio use AKM, etc.



Yeah, I was reading a review about the aforementioned Asus Xonar, that seems to hold 4(?) Burr-Brown converters.

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M-Audio Audiophile 2496
. Period.



How would you say it compares to the delta series? Like the 44? I need a breakout box for various reasons...

I'm also now paying attention to Creative Emu's line, never knew it was there, and it looks promising. Researched it a bit, apparently recommended over the X-Fi cards for quality and reliability. I'm looking at the 1616 series, i'll do a bit more research on those particular cards, how they compare to the m-audio deltas, and what the difference between 1616m and 1616 is.

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Ive just been through this mill.

Heres some findings / advice etc

After thinking about moving to add a softsynth (dimension pro/rapture) i came to the conclusion that my asus onboard sound card needed replaced.

Even though it has coax and optical on board the sounds from just seemed very flat.

I did the same shopping exercise as you .... and very nearly bought one of the X-FI cards.

But I was finally checking on here actually and saw a conversation that mentioned a card from E-MU that got a lot of good reports.

By the way E-MU is creatives professional audio line ;)

http://www.emu.com/products/welcome.asp?category=505

I chose the 1212 card and no breakout box and bought the card for 140eu here in Germany which is mid range of the creatives.

Installation easy - connects direct to my amp/mini disc using opticaöl / coax

The professional breakout box I will add later - ohh it also has a midi interface which same me alittle more as I was already wanting to add more than a USB keyboard interface from my Novation SL 61 Remote.

Soo....... quality vs the onboard - day and night - softsynth sounds awesome and itunes played previously sound 100x better

software mixer is great - controls over the in/outs - very easy and v v flexible

for the price I paid I would say that I got a deal - would I go and buy the card again - yes yes and yes.

Ive been a creative fan for years but for audio use I cannot say that I am more than pleased with this E-MU card, which is creative in another name but I will leave the gamers cards to the gamers!

You may want to check that out before finally committing but for the prices I was very pleased and the look/feel of the boards makes me think that they are actually under priced!

hope thats of help

rgds

Simon:D

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i'm not sure if it will be the same with your system, but with mine i've noticed that using different sound cards/audio interfaces will affect the speed of my mixdowns.

 

i can render much faster with an 828 or even my USB interface (tascam 122 i think) than i can with the stock apple soundcard.

 

i can't explain it, but it's true. something to consider.

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I have no issues using my delta 1010 for everything the PC does, games, internet, music, whatever it's just fine. I see no reason to ever buy a creative card again. Also the 1010 is basically bullet proof.

Also I would never buy a Bose product, they are about equivalent to creative in terms of quality as far as I'm concerned.

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