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8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Good Stuff, but odd order processApr 20, 2012
By Daniel Meek
First the bad:
The ordering process for this software is annoying. I tried a while back to order this software from Creative's website, but the order process was broken. I tried again recently and was moved to Amazon for the order process which had the sofware (no CD) listed for $25 with $17 for shipping... but there is no shipping because it is a download. After ordering it there was ~9 hour delay before getting a confirmation e-mail from Creative with my product key and a link for the software, and the program (although being quite small) took nearly 45 minutes to download because Creative has perhaps the slowest server on earth. On installation it does not load everything on startup. It will load the new driver (which is where the bulk of the improvements are), but it does not load the crystalizer software by default (which is another huge chunk of quality, and kinda the point in purchasing the software) so you need to open the console, and manually tell it to open on startup. However, once you get past this it is easy to use, and makes a nice improvement in the audio quality of your system.
The Good: An excellent product
So far I have tried this software on 2 products: First on my computer (had the basic version of this software suite bundled with my ASRock Extreme3 Gen3 motherboard) which improved upon the basic version, and then on my wife's older PC.
On my PC I am connected to a receiver via an optical cable, and then to a pair of old home-built cabinets with a 1" super tweeter, 4" damp midrange, and a 12" sub in a stereo configuration (for any given price bracket you will always get better quality audio with stereo over surround sound, I have not found a surround sound set worth owning yet). Moving from analog to digital audio was a huge improvement for my system when I upgraded last year, and moving from the stock driver to this software was an equally significant step up in clarity.
1) For music there is much more definition between instruments which allows for a much more enjoyable experience for complex pieces, and freshens up music that was recorded poorly. However the chrystalizer does make some music a little harsh (especially emo which is already strained), so you may want to turn it down a touch for some genera.
2) For movie watching it removes a great many frustrations I have had. DVDs in particular have terrible clarity for voices which keeps me turning the volume up during dialogue, and then turning it down a touch during exciting action scenes. With this software this is no longer an issue. I can easily understand everything said even when turned down to -70dB (previously dialogue was not clear until -55dB so that is a monumental improvement) so I can watch shows/movies without worry of disturbing people who are sleeping, and without the distractions of constant volume changes (not that this is before turning on the Dialogue+ feature). Of course movies are always better loud, but it is a wonderful feature for my own use, and speaks a lot towards the added audio quality/clarity that this system brings.
3) The EQ system is quick to adjust, and gives you a great amount of control. I use it to flatten the audio during reccording/editing sessions (my speakers have a natural bump at ~600Hz which needs to be removed when doing work), and then to give a nice sub bump when listening to music and movies.
4) The fake surround sound features are good for headphones, but not particularly convincing with my speaker layout. While a nice feature I typically forget or do not care to enable it for movie watching as the default downmix is quite good (and I don't like wearing headphones unless I have to).
5) There is a music player gadget, as well as a VU meter gadget... both are useless gimmicks.
6) There are some other features to the software suite (mic voice filtering called VoiceFX, a music server, and EAX with legacy EAX game support), but honestly I have not messed with them yet, but I will update this review if I do end up using them down the line.
-One note is that this software seems to cap out at 48kHz output (previously I was using 96kHz quality with the onboard driver) in Win7. Honestly it is worlds better than my previous settings, but it is disappointing as my receiver is capable of doing better. still, no complaints, just an annoying 'what if it could do 96kHz'...
On my wife's system (~4 year old Core 2 Duo) the effect was not quite as dramatic, but still a large improvement over the stock audio driver on her motherboard (realtek I think?). She is running an analog 2.1 stereo system (zSeries from Logitech). I installed it without her knowledge and she did notice a difference in audio quality enough to ask me if I had done something to her computer, and she was quite happy with the change. I do not use her machine very often, so I cannot give much more information other than that it helps a bit.
Who is this for:
If you are running digital audio, or a system with limited upgrade space for a dedicated sound card then this software is for you. Moving all of the processing to the CPU helps clean up the audio significantly, moving quality issues to your source material or your speakers. If you have home theater speakers or headphones then you will hear the difference better than if you are running simple 2.0 or 2.1 computer speakers. Digital onboard audio paired with this software makes dedicated sound cards a thing for the past for all but the pickiest audiophiles.
Who is this not for:
If you are running high end analog audio then this is not for you. Analog is only as good as the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of your pre-amp on your audio device, and onboard audio simply does not have it. So purchasing a good Creative or Xonar sound card (~$50+) would be the better option as you will not hear much difference due to the quality of the output on your motherboard. Keep in mind that modern systems have an equivalent SNR to a $25 sound card, so if buying a card be sure to get a good one to really hear a difference.
If you are running an older system such as a single core Pentium 4 then this may not work so well. It would be fine for just listening to music, but would impact performance while multi tasking.
If you do not have quality speakers or headphones then this is not for you. Focus your efforts on getting quality speakers first and then work your way back to the source to get the most bang for your $. Moving to digital/optical equipment should be a priority.
If you are a true audiophile, then you would be better off with a dedicated card for higher kHz rates and for the features and inputs bundled with high end cards. But as someone who has a background in some audio engineering I have to say that this software is pretty convincing.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Amazing software - a must buy for anyone with onboard audioMay 17, 2012
By Vinay Raval
This is an absolutely fantastic piece of software. Easily worth every penny (and enduring the ridiculous ordering process). Upon installation, my sound quality was noticeably improved. Music was sharper, bass was stronger, and my 5.1 speaker system finally displayed it's true surround sound. It's worth mentioning that my setup only has on-board sound and one audio out jack. Thus, even though I can not naturally take advantage of the built in front/rear/center ports on the speakers, the creative software replicates this perfectly. Honestly, I couldn't be any happier with this software.
As mentioned, the ordering process is a pain. Amazon's checkout is easy enough, but it takes some time for Creative to send over the download link and activation code (same e-mail). The software installs upon execution of the EXE file, which is fairly large and takes an hour to download. As the review below mentioned, this is due to slow servers on their end.
In short - buy this product! You will not regret it!
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 software based is a Great HD Sound addition!Apr 23, 2012
By Svyatoslav Korniyenko
I have macbook pro (early 2008) with windows 7 64bit ultimate and Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro <-- USB sound card, which does not have a support to all these new features Creative Labs offered in current sounds cards such as: Creative EAX Advanced HD, THX truestudio pro and etc (see here: [...]
The sound completely became crystal clear after installation of Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2 and reboot, and also if you go to creative support and look how to eliminate system sound (see here: [...] ); you will find after all the exceptional value sound.
I am not big gamer, so you will check for yourself :)
About ordering: I bought this product 1 day ago on Sunday, I waited for email from creative labs with download link only about 40 minutes apart after I ordered on Amazon. Installation was quick and it works good with already installed hardware and drivers with software of Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro.
I hope this helps.
creative labs X-Fi MB2 softwareOct 14, 2012
116 meg download. installed on a low end note book 2.2 gig celeron single core
4 gig mem. Shows a black Creative Launcher with 3 icons
Speaker EAX Equalizer . THX has its' own applet.
It seems the THX pro studio is the same THX that comes with creative hardware products.
The latest Alchemy is automatically installed too.
If you want ALL the EAX stuff to work, on a notebook , then see below.
I recomend disabling the MB2 as a sound device, and let the
physical sound card do all that. If you want 5.1\7.1 with EAX then you
will need a 5.1\7.1 USB sound card too.
Alchemy.exe does not just "off the cuff" detect games as EAX .
The programs MUST be entered into Alchemy.ini file .
Even if you stay with onboard Realtek stereo, I recommend
disabling MB2 as a playback device, as described below,
and you MUST update Alchemy.ini on a per game basis
to get EAX to work.
I did try using MB2 as a device, and set MB2 to 5.1 in windows 7,
and had the MB2 device "feed" the SB1095 sound card device,
in "Selected Devices" but the audio quality was degraded.
Windows 7 only shows one sound device on my system:
SB1095 , and the analogue and optic outputs both have equivalent
desktop quality sound, with FULL EAX 2.0 to 5.0 support.
I've run 32 bit programs on windows 7 , as far back as late 1998\1999
that were made with EAX , and they ALL work with EAX , on windows 7 ,
on the notebook , in stereo, quad, and 5.1 .
MB2 is NOT sound card specific, but to get the best sound quality,
I still recommend to disable MB2, as described below, and just use
the MB2 installation for it's EAX Alchemy support.
SB1095 + MB2 = 55 + 25 = 80 for quality sound on a notebook .
The best use of MB2 is with the SB1095 USB sound card,
or any external USB 5.1 sound card.
disable the MB2 playback device.
then disable MB2 in windows 7 Device Mangager
disable Realtek onboard playback device
then disable Realtek in windows 7 Device Manager
now, the only audio device available is the SB1095 which has two entries
2. SPDIF optic
Even though the MB2 as an audio playback device, it is now disabled and thus
not available. However, the FULL MB2 EAX stuff IS available to the SB1095 .
Of coarse, an EAX supported application will not find EAX until Alchemy
knows about the app. Inspect
C:\Program Files (x86)\Creative\ALchemy\Alchemy.ini
Creative labs only entered a limited number of games into Alchemy.ini
Chances are, Alchemy.ini does not include your programs, yet .
If a non-supported EAX app. is entered into Alchemy.ini , that app. may have
distorted audio, just Delete that non-supported app. from Alchemy .
A non-supported EAX app. doesn't have EAX anyway, so no loss there.
The easiet way to add
a known supported EAX app. is to open Alchemy.exe
and "add" via the "Path" .
To add an app. via the RegPath= registry, you must use regedit.exe
most window 7 apps. are in the key:
the Wow6432Node is not needed, so Alchemy.ini can use:
here is how I entered the "Deadly Shadows Demo" into Alchemy.ini
[Deadly Shadows Demo]
RegPath=HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Ion Storm\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo\1.0\InstallDir
note: InstallDir at the end of RegPath . I manually added it to the registry:
InstallDir C:\Program Files (x86)\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo
as a new key into the 1.0 sub key as "STRING" . Now RegPath=
in Alchemy.ini can find the path to "Deadly Shadows Demo"
here is the complete key as exported from the registry.
See the entry I added: InstallDir= **
do not use double slashes , regedit.exe export added the extra slashes.
Also see the
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Ion Storm\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo] *** , below which is copied\pasted from the registry key , into Alchemy.ini
Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Ion Storm\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo]
"ION_ROOT"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo"
"SaveGamePath"="C:\\Users\\crap\\Documents\\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo"
[HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Wow6432Node\Ion Storm\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo\1.0] ***
"InstallDir"="C:\\Program Files (x86)\\Thief - Deadly Shadows Demo" **
Buffers= valid range 2 to 10 ( override ) default is 4
...........say, one buffer per speaker, stereo 2 buffers, 5.1 6 buffers
Duration= valid range 5 to 50 ( override ) default is 25
...........I assume in "seconds" of audio
DisableDirectMusic= TRUE or FALSE
MaxVoiceCount= valid range 32 to 128 ( override ) default is 128
................is "max Voice Count" the same as "max 3D Channels" ?
Preset=1 sets all to default , when no "overrides" are used.
Now, all installed EAX programs, are in Alchemy.ini as a "Factory" entry .
again, the easier way is to open Alchemy.exe and just "add" the "Path"
the EAX gaget shows:
EAX HD 3.0
EAX HD 4.0
EAX HD 5.0
as best I can find:
EAX 1.0 supports 12 voices ?
EAX 2.0 supports 32 voices ?
EAX 3.0 supports 64 voices
EAX 4.0 supports 64 voices
EAX 5.0 supports 128 voices
If a known EAX app. isn't found automatically, then do both of these steps:
vampire masquerade redemption EAX 2.0 is now found.
1. Manually add it into the Alchamy left pane, then moved it into the right pane.
For the requested path I used the Folder's path to the Vampire.exe directory ,
and not the Registry key way.
2. The hard to find tip from creative is to right click the a game ICON short
....cut , properties , then Compatability Tab and set non Window 7 apps. to
....XP service pack 2 and set to run as administrator.
mafia( original ) with EAX 3.0 , they did release an audio patch in 2003, works !
mafia was always found automatically because Creative had made an entry in Alchemy.ini
I do get the Use of THX, for the notebook and small speakers, the crystalyzer
really extends the range of wimpy speakers, especially when combined with a
low quality audio source.
With full range audio gear, I would leave crystalyzer OFF .
The latest Alchamy is automatically installed with MB2.
If Alchamy doesn't find it automatically, then read the above comment about how I got Alchamy to find the Vampire EAX 2.0
Also installed is a creative juke box and a creative music server, have not tried these.
Performance seems good . No problem on this low-ender .
order process was pretty good. about 2 hours later I was installing and activating it.
The ship time always defaults to like 4 days, but more like a couple of hours for
the digital download.
I tried to find the MB2 via amazon and can't . I had to go via
creative dot com or via items ordered to get back here.
Other wise there is some odd MB product for 19.99
which is NOT the same thing.
If ordered via creative dot com , you'll get the right thing.
5 stars for creative dot com and 5 stars for amazon dot com
Poor product, MB2 was betterFeb 23, 2013
This is seriously a disappointment. I decided to try this out since I lost the serial key to Soundblaster X-Fi MB. I thought I was upgrading, not even close. Soundblaster X-Fi MB integrated beautifully with my laptop (xps 15 l502x) and the sound quality was astonishing. With no luck at all from Dell, or from Creative on trying to either purchase a new serial for MB or trying to just get a new disc for free... and by no luck I mean literally no response (6 or so months ago) I just decided to buy this. The sound quality is actually a little bit worse with this, the crystallizer works, the mixer doesn't, the EQ doesn't, it doesn't even pick up more than 2 of my 5 surround sound speakers, which completely defeats the purpose of buying an audio suite to enhance my surround sound. It's a failed product, somebody at Creative should be fired and their badges should be hung on pikes in front of the building as a warning to any employees who try to release a flawed product. I Mean really, I could have burned my money and at least entertained myself with it, now I don't have any entertainment for the money spent, not even with a software suite meant to enhance entertainment. I've been buying soundblaster products for years (ever since I bought by first sound card) and I can honestly say that I won't buy another soundblaster product, or another creative product. I'll listen to music on my 8 track, it'll sound better.
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