Jan 18, 2013

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro

Gear: Sound Blaster 5.1.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi is a sound card for computers.  The device offers 24-bit 86 kHz audio when in stereo mode, switching to 5.1 uses 16-bit 48 kHz.  The reason I bought this sound card is because it's external, powered and managed by USB.  Currently I have two computers, my main system is the X230T and my secondary is my DV6T QE.  Switching audio from one pc to another can be problematic, but not with the Sound Blaster.  Let me explain.

I could use the HDMI and DisplayPorts, or the stereo outputs of the systems, but the problem comes when switching from speaker output to headphones.  Before, I would have to connect/disconnect a bunch of cables, and switching from speakers to headphones would add another layer of complication and hassle.  These days I connect a single USB cable to my external monitor, and this monitor works as a hub for "shared" usb devices.  With the speaker being a shared device I can easily switch audio from one machine to another.

The box contents and images:

The back of the box.

THX TruStudio Pro, X-Fi, EAX, and Dolby technologies are present.

Inside the box.

With the top removed, the rest of the things inside the box.

Box contents: CD with software and drivers, documents, RCA to 3.5mm cable, USB cable, Sound Blaster 5.1, and a remote.

3.5 mm female, RCA male.

USB cable.

The remote control is a neat feature, but fails to perform properly.  For example, pressing volume down twice will do that, but when you press volume up button it will continue to decrease volume.  It's not a good remote.

You need line-of-sight for the remote to work.

Battery of the remote.  (Lithium battery CR2025, 3V)

The Sound Blaster 5.1.  The knob provides volume up/down and mute/unmute.

The receiver portion for IR.

3.5mm Headphones, Line In, and Mic In ports.

RCA left and right, Rear and C-sub, Optical Out, and USB.

The bottom of the unit.

I'm becoming very "picky" about sound quality and the Sound Blaster X-Fi 5.1 is a very good sound card.  There are many settings which you can tweak to get the audio quality you are seeking.

Audio Control Panel.  Some like the Crystalizer, and others will not.  Play with the settings.

Entertainment Console.  If you need to modify the EQ or the inputs/mixer stuff you can do so here.

By default the audio quality is set to 16-bit, you may want to change this to 24-bit if you are using a two speaker system or headphones.  To enable the 24-bit audio you need to do it through Windows.  Press the Win key and type "manage audio devices", and select the option.  From the Sound window double click the the Sound Blaster, go to the Advanced tab, change the audio quality.

That's all for now, more info at Prodibox.

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