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Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Champion PCIe Sound Card
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Average Customer Review:
( 100 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 25 found the following review helpful:
Excellent soundcard! Works perfectly out of the box.Jan 26, 2012
By John E Trussell
First let me say I've been building systems for 20+ years, and have been using Sound Blaster products since day one. I have had all of the latest, including soundcards from other brands. IF you want to use this with high end headphones - stop right here and buy an Asus Xonar or something else. IF you want a fantastic sounding card that is going to be used primarily for gaming, then this is a great product. Some will say the X-fi cards are better...maybe...but sound is such a subjective thing that I couldn't possibly tell you what works best for you. For me, I'm using Polk floor standing speakers, a Martin Logan Vignette center channel, Mirage 10" Powered sub and Mirage wall mounted rears on an Onkyo 7.1 receiver using all Audio-quest cabling. I used to sell high-end home audio equipment so let me describe it's sound qualities:
I use this for music listening and gaming, and this sound card is miles ahead of the Realtek onboard on my Rampage IV Extreme. It has a very warm tonal quality to it, but excellent channel separation. Some may think it's too warm, but you can adjust the tonal balance using the included software. They say it can drive up to 600ohm headphones, and it had no problems driving my Sennheisers. However, you will notice it does not have 1/4 jacks so like I said, buy something with replaceable Op-Amps if you want a true "audiophile" soundcard. Personally, I couldn't tell you if there is a huge difference.
I will say this software is the BEST that Creative has packaged in years. Don't bother looking online, you need to use the CD drivers as they are the only ones you can get. As of this writing there are none online. The included beam-forming microphone works amazingly well with the Crystalvoice software options. I had music playing and tested it using X-fire on max bit-rate, and my friend could barely hear the music. It has fun voice effects too, and adjustable noise canceling features.
Back to the software...this soundcard was instantly detected and worked on my first boot into Win7. Impressive! Plus this processor is the first new Audio silicon in many years. I believe it. It's well built, does exactly what it says and sounds fantastic!
94 of 115 found the following review helpful:
Creative is no more... Time to move on!Jun 22, 2012
I've owned the X-Fi Platinum Champion for close to 6 years. I've held on to the card and refused to trade it off simply because it came with everything I need. 5.1 in the back, SPID/F and RCA in the front, I had all of my gadgets plugged in, sound bit-matched at 24-bit 192k/Hz. Life was good. Granted, I had to go through sleepless nights of researching, patching and playing with everything from drivers, the various utilities creative made for various cards, various version of the THX console, even using various 3rd party drivers until I got the sound and functionality that the card was actually capable of.
Well, sadly, the card died after all these years.. and this is not a SoundBlaster X-Fi Platinum review.. this is a review of what Creative decided to be the newest family of that very specific product line. Except the first thing that you will notice is the absence of "X-Fi", this is because Creative is now using their new dubbed "Recon3D" chip which is supposed to be the reinvention of sound! In reality, its the reinvention of disappointment.
I'm not really sure where to begin, I can start with the features and get down to the nitty gritty.. Lets see. To make this easier for you, I copied and pasted the Output choices available between the Recon3D Champion and the Platinum Champion:
>> Back of card:
> 3.5mm Rear-L, Read-R
> 3.5mm Center, Sub
> 3.5mm Front-L, Front-R
> TOSLINK/Flexijack(I/OU Switchable)
> Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF I
> Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF O
> 1/4" Headphone Jack
> 1/4" Line-In/Mic Jack
> mini MIDI Input
> mini MIDI Output
> RCA Aux Input
> IR Receiver Port (For Remote)
> 1/4" Headphone Volume Knob (Independent)
> 1/4" Microphone Volume Knob (Independent)
>> Back of card:
> 3.5mm Rear-L, Read-R
> 3.5mm Center, Sub
> 3.5mm Front-L, Front-R
> 3.5mm Side-L, Side-R
> TOSLINK IN
> TOSLINK OUT
> RCA In
> 3.5mm Headphone
> 3.5mm Microphone
> Volume Knob (Dependent on Windows)
Notice how many features Creative stripped out from the card.. Just look at the list for yourself. That's not how products progress. This is a clear sign in the decline of quality.
For those who are more versed in Audio, this is another comparison between general audio reproduction of both cards:
192 kHz Analog Playback
24-bit Analog-to-Digital conversion of analog inputs at 96kHz sample rate
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of digital sources at 96kHz to analog 7.1 speaker output
16-bit to 24-bit recording sampling rates: 8, 11.025, 16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48 and 96kHz
24-bit Digital-to-Analog conversion of stereo digital sources at 192kHz to stereo output
92 kHz Analog Playback
You can clearly see the giant drop in SNR as well as the sample rate from 192kH to 92kHz...
Do I need to even begin to describe the terrible muffled tin-can sound that Recon3D makes?
> Surround (5.1 and 7.1 Setups) Will suffer a major hit in the Rear and Side speakers, since the card has to virtually direct sound and you end up with half of the frequency range being chopped in the process so you only hear highest highs on the rear speakers. The DAC in this thing is practically non-existent.
> BASS: You cannot control Bass and Treble independently like you used to do with all other Creative cards.. >.< You have to use the EQ which is absolutely atrocious in sound reproduction.
> Crystalizer: Gone are the days of the X-Fi Crystalizer, Creative tried hard to recreate this feature with this card and they failed. The highs are stingy and make acoustic tracks sound like metal shredding.
Overall, I am EXTREMELY disappointed with this card. This should NOT be labaled as a Hi-Fi or even a Gamer card. This is a disgrace to the SoundBlaster product line that USED TO be a feat of audio engineering. Creative has been on a constant decline since 2006. It is not just apparent in these products, but also in their portable devices that used to lead the PMP market.
I have returned this card back to Amazon and purchased an ASUS Xonar ST (PCI) instead. I highly recommend for anyone interested in perfect audio for their PC to avoid any PCI-E solutions as they have major problems with jitter clocks and accurate sound reproduction. PCI is more natural for Audio and unfortunately the socket is on its way of being phased out from all motherboards. Until someone can make a truly good PCI-E Audiophile card. PCI is the only way to go.
If you have a PCI slot in your motherboard, I highly recommend that you buy either a X-Fi Titanium HD or a Xonar. Don't be fooled by the pretty marketing. New is no longer better. It's quite the opposite these days actually.
My 2 cents.
7 of 7 found the following review helpful:
Almost perfectMay 11, 2012
I upgraded my X-Fi card for this one due to some weird hissing and CPU issues with the X-Fi. The hissing was only in one speaker and would come and go without cause. I assumed it was interference from the video card (GTS250X2) I'm not sure if the shell on this Recon3D card helps but the hissing is gone. I have dual quad xeons and the processor would jump to 15% when I jacked in the sound from my DTV box. No hit at all with the Recon. The sound quality was great on the X-Fi but I do notice quite a difference with the Recon especially on movies. I use a logitech 5.1 speaker setup and Bose AE headphones. I hear sounds I never heard before in movies and songs. The fidelity of the bose headphones and the recon3d are amazing. Handles PCM 5.1 uncompressed and dolby truehd with no apparant hit to the CPUs. (CPUs at 6% while watching bluray)
PROS: Sound quality is amazing. Easy to switch from headphones to speakers with buttons on I/O panel. No unplugging required.
CONS: I uninstalled the X-fi driver, shut down, and swapped in the Recon3D card. This caused win7 x64 to fail to boot. Uninstalled recon card. Did a complete cycle (and an auto bootup repair) and it was fine. Allow the X-fi driver to completely remove before installing the new card. With the high fidelity of the Bose AEs, I was hearing static interference from the processors on the analog cables that run from the card to the I/O panel. Repositioned them away from the processors to clear it up. When playing around with the beamforming mic, I started picking up a loud rolling hum. Dropping mic input cleared it up but it quickly came back. When I tried to focus the mic, I got an unexpected high pitched squeel at full volume in both the headphones and speakers that left my ears hurting for 2 hours. Did a quick reboot and turned crystalvoice off as I suspect it was the culprit. Time will tell if others experience this issue.
All in all, a great setup.
8 of 10 found the following review helpful:
Nice card.Mar 07, 2012
Very nice card. Reminds me of how Creative products are supposed to be. Attractive software and very easy install. Actually works perfectly with windows 7 (and we can assume 8 as well as 8 is just 7 with a "touch" interface.)No crash nothing.
Headphone amp is a HUGE deal. Given the price of this card, I can imagine only people who really value audio from their computer would be buying, and thus should have good quality German headphones. The amp really lets these kinds of headphones show off what they can do when fully powered.
The I/O drive is great as well. Easy access to headphone and quick change of speakers or headphones is so nice.
The only real complaint so fair is Creative taking out EAX effects, like for music. I loved the creative cards with the settings to add concert hall or theater effects to music, adds so much depth and richness. CREATIVE PLEASE YOU MUST ADD THIS BACK! PLEASE.
All in all it seems like Creative is trying to take back its crown as the leader in PC sound. If you are in the market for a new sound card or want to ditch onboard sound, dont pass this up. THX didn't just plaster their name all over the card for no reason either, its their for a reason. A little expensive, but well worth it. The shield is nice as well, protects card and looks great, card should last forever.
Would get five stars if it has the option to enhance music with EAX effects like past products. Please add in next software update.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
this is THE card for FPS playersSep 01, 2013
By Frederic E Kemp III
My Soundblaster Audigy did not make the transition from my old rig to my new one. After 8 years it was time to upgrade. I had read a ton of reviews trying to decide what card to go with. The one thing that tilted the balance was the front control panel, and I just so happened to have one empty slot left in my Cooler Master HAF 912.
Install was easy on Windows 7 64-bit Pro. My Logitech 5.1 speakers plugged right up in the back, and my Razer Tiamat 7.1 plugged right up to the front... Neither one of them have sounded any better! Rich bass and clear highs.
I jumped right in and started playing BF3 to test this thing out. I actually played badly I was so overwhelmed by the sound. It was like there is this whole new layer of sounds I hadn't heard before! It's like watching standard def then going to full 1080p for your ears!
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