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Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatal1ty Professional Sound Card
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Average Customer Review:
( 102 customer reviews )
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57 of 62 found the following review helpful:
Very Impressed, Great Controls & Enhancements, Improved My Music (but watch for speaker setup control)Mar 29, 2012
[[VIDEOID:mo10OUV5OU7T3Z7]]The sound card really did transform the sound to my ears. You don't have to install the software for it to work with Windows 7, or even uninstall drivers from your onboard sound, and it immediately worked by default and sounded better. But it comes with some really nice configuration controls (which I show in the video), better than my onboard driver software. However, after I installed the drivers it came with on CD, it sounded significantly worse. The reason was a default speaker setup setting that assume 5.1 surround sound. So in its configuration tools, there is a speaker setup selection so you can turn it back to stereo, and it sounded great again. There are lots of really nice things in the configuration tools it gives you enable/disable enhancers and sliders to fine tune things. For example, mic volume & mic boost (both of which I needed to hear well from the mic), surround sound, crystalizer (which makes instruments & voice stand out), bass boost (which I prefer to leave disabled), and many more. One really cool aspect was the microphone "focus" slider from narrow to wide. It really did isolate a narrow cone in front of the mic if not sitting right in front of it. The noise cancellation for the stereo microphone was amazing.
INSTALL & JACKS
Installing was a breeze (which I show in the video). It comes with an optical input instead of the standard minijack input of most onboard sound. Of course you can just overuse the mic input if you had something you needed. But it is meant to be able to plug an xbox or other high end output device into it to share the speakers. It comes with 3 unlabelled output jacks (just numbered and colored), but they are really the same purpose as the same color for other cards. But I believe it will probably let you reassign them, which I could do on my onboard sound anyway even though they were labelled. One thing that you might not notice, is that the card has an internal header for "HDA FP", which is for your HD audio front panel cable (shown in the video). It wasn't stated in the quick start instructions. But on a PC, you probably want your headphone jack on the front of your case so you don't have to reach around for a headphone port in the back under your desk. Many cases have a front panel headphone port, so if you do, this card does support it.
I was pleasantly surprised that this card only drew an extra 1.4 Watts according to my Kill-A-Watt meter. I was worried it would chug power like a high end video card. Before the card my PC drew 50.2W and with the card it draws about 51.6W while idle, playing audio, or playing video.
I liked my onboard sound from my Intel motherboard. But I was really surprised at its transformation. Sound is a matter preference. Some people say vinyl records sound better than CDs, or love songs for how they sounded in the car stereo, so the particular mix is still a matter of preference. For me, I preferred my music about 80% of the time more on this card's mix than the default mix on my onboard sound. To be fair, it is largely the difference in the mix and enhancement that each offer their own flavor of and default settings that differ, and vary by how they sound on your speakers. This is no lazy card, and I think it delivers an honest effort to make a claim for its value. But whether this control, enhancements, and particular flavor is the perfect value for you is a matter of preference. Of course the microphone is something special I have never seen before, but a novelty if you don't use the mic a lot to communicate.
Check out the video review.
23 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Fantastic Upgrade from the X-FI AudioJan 17, 2012
By Asim Qureshi
I recently assembled a new PC and have never been a fan of On board Audio hence I started looking around and then while browsing I came across this new Creative sound card. At the time it was out of stock from Amazon but i was quite pleased when Amazon eventually got their hands on it and sent it to me before Christmas. Anyways coming back to the car.
The card came as advertised, shipping was great as usual from Amazon. The box was sealed and undamaged. Arrived as advertised (Prime) two days shipping.
BOX CONTENT & INSTALLATION
The box contained the sound card (Recon3D), a beam forming microphone, and an installation disc. Along with a quick install guide. THat's it. Kinda miss the old days when creative used to bundle quite a lot of free stuff with their cards in the form of games, applications, that would take advantage of all the new technology in their cards. But oh well, that was all that was included.
Installation was a breeze, dropped the card in a PCI-e 1x slot, mount the bracket to the case via the screw. That's it you're good to go. Incase your motherboard has onboard audio as many do nowadays, make sure you disable the onboard audio to make it less confusing.
The sound card has a really cool red light, that lights up the entire inside of the case, although for those that don't like that sort of thing, you probably already have a case without a window so that pretty much negates that.
Switched on the PC, Windows 7 detected the card and installed the drivers via the disc provided. That was it. had the card running in 10min installation time. I've read that a lot of people had issues with creative drivers in the past, and I can assure you this was a breeze to install, I'm using a 64bit version of Windows. So really quite pleased with the easy install.
The beam-forming mic included with this card is rather nifty, sits on top of your LCD, I just wished creative had some kinda adhesive tape that would help secure the mic further. I just placed it on my monitor and luckily it sat quite well there. HP 22" LCD. The wire runs from behind and into the sound card's rear panel.
SOUND QUALITY & INCLUDED SOFTWARE
I'm using a 5.1 setup so this applies to that. The improvement in sound is quite noticeable, the bass sounds meatier , the centre channel clearer. there is a marked improvement in quality. I'm really pleased with this, since this was the major reason in buying this sound card. Improvement in games that I play such as SW:ToR, WoW, Skyrim, etc.
The software provided is also quite easy to use and isn't a ram hog like some of the old creative tools that had to be installed in order for the card to run it's best.
NOTE: For those that don't want the sound card with frills like the red led illumination and the casing the card is in along with the beam forming microphone, i'd suggest just opting for the Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D THX PCIE Sound Card SB1350, it's slightly cheaper about $50 but still has all that quad core processing goodness.
Over all I'd recommend this card to anyone that wants their games to sound great. I haven't used the headphone amplifier that is built into the card, but i'm quite pleased with my purchase. This is probably the best gaming sound card out there and I recommend it to anyone that wants the very best sound quality in their games.
8 of 8 found the following review helpful:
Great gaming sound card, not meant for audiophiles.Sep 27, 2012
I purchased this sound card for my new gaming m-atx rig. I knew from the start that this sound card wasn't designed for audiophiles. The sound it produces is 100x better than onboard sound without a doubt, but compared to other sound cards within this price range there are better alternatives. Alternatives such as Creative's own Titanium HD, which I also own.
This sound card is deigned to give you the best precised audio precision and this sound card delivers with flying colors in that category. You can easily hear precised foot steps in games like Counter-Strike: GO in the correct positions they are coming from. The Recon3D also includes an updated version of Alchemy to enable games with software accelerated sound.
The microphone is comes with is pretty neat. It has dual microphones that connect together to give you a omnidirectional like microphone. It's post to latch onto your voice and block out environmental sounds. I don't use it because all my friends say I sound clearer with my $10 Logitech microphone. The Creative control panel also includes a feature to help reduce ambient noise.
Overall, if you are looking at purely a gaming sound card then this one is the best one to get. If you are looking more for audio quality, maybe take a look at an Asus Xonar. If you want an overall good in both categories but nothing amazing take a look at Creative's Titanium HD.
11 of 14 found the following review helpful:
Probably overkill for my setup... but works great!Dec 15, 2011
I previously reviewed this much cheaper alternative sound card:
ASUS PCI 5.1 Channel Sound Card XONAR_DG
I ended up returning the Xonar DG because of some driver issues and the non-functioning microphone jack in the sound card itself. I then decided to splurge and buy this card that costs over 6x the price of the cheap Xonar.
So far I'm extremely happy that I did. Again, I first had to make sure that my onboard sound was disabled, I fully uninstalled the Xonar drivers through Windows Control Panel uninstall, as well as Driver Sweeper to remove any leftover files. I then installed the Recon 3D drivers from the included CD. As of 12/10/2011, the CD drivers are the latest for this device. In fact, I usually try to get the drivers directly from the website before using the included CD, but in this case, this particular sound card is not yet listed in the driver support section of the Creative Labs website. I tend to think that the drivers for the Recon 3D external amp that works for the PC, Xbox 360, and PS3 might just be the same as this internal sound card's drivers, but I didn't want to risk it.
Right from the start, this sound card worked exactly how I needed it to. No extra fiddling with drivers and software required. The only caveat to this is that Creative pushes a ton of shovelware in your face, especially once you try the auto-updater. I now have around 4 different sound configuration softwares to choose from, but I haven't yet decided to uninstall the non-essentials. Software like "Alchemy" don't really appeal to what I need. I could probably get by with the simple/intuitive default Sound Blaster control panel.
I have not fully tested the card's features, but I bought it for use in Star Wars: The Old Republic, Battlefield 3, and Skyrim - in other words, I'm using this card for gaming specifically. So it's overkill, but I figured that I may want to use other features in the future. One feature that I like in theory is the "CrystalVoice Voice Clarity technology" which is part of Creative's "THX TruStudio Pro" technology. It's supposed to allow you to use speakers along with a table mic in a way that prevents your speakers from broadcasting into your mic. Sounds good, but I haven't had a chance to test that out. For now, I'm simply using the 3.5mm headphone and microphone jacks with my Seinheisser PC360 G4ME headphones.
Sennheiser PC 360 Headset for Pro Gaming
Over the past week, the sound from this card to my headset has been nothing short of spectacular. The card boasts a nice headphone amp and support for 600ohm impedance which is ample for most any headphone setup. My PC360s use 50ohm as a reference.
"Scout mode" actually works well in Battlefield 3, but I think it would be better tested in a game like CoD or even moreso, Counter-strike where CQC is generally more applicable, and vehicles are not present. Still, in BF3 where there are tanks, choppers, and other vehicles making tons of noise, you can pick up footsteps decently. Sounds are crystal clear.
All in all, I recommend this for gamers. It was the most hassle-free driver installation I've ever encountered with a sound card. Installation was a breeze - it sits right above my 1st GTX 580 in a PCI-E slot. There may be other alternatives that do just about the same for less money, but I'm perfectly content with this purchase. I feel that it is a card I will be using for several years to come.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Good upgrade for gamers.Feb 21, 2012
By N. Johansen
The Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D Fatil1ty is a good option for gamers who demand premium surround sound audio. This line of cards carries the Recon3D branding -- formerly introduced in a line of external cards/headsets -- which offers various virtual surround effects. The technology is largely promotional; the THX TruStudio Pro 3D effects and scout mode are both quite underwhelming. As a disclaimer, I've never been a fan of virtual 3D modes, as they distort the audio and sound generally unnatural. If this effect doesn't bother you, then you probably will enjoy the multitude of options available in THX TruStudio Pro. Additionally, the card is Creative's first offering to have a quad-core processor on board. As one might expect, this is more marketing jargon; the box claims that it enables the CPU to offload all the audio to the card, increasing game frame-rates. In practice, while the card sounds great, I wouldn't expect huge frame jumps -- the performance impact is negligible, much like Creative's much hyped "X-Ram" tech that was hyped a few years back.
That's ok, though, because the SB1356 offers a host of other features, including dedicated headphone amp and I/O optical jacks that distinguish it from many other offerings in its price range. It also includes the standard surround sound audio and microphone jacks. The headphone amp is a nice touch, as external USB amps can be expensive; the specs claim that the amp runs at 600 ohms. The addition of the optical in jack is pretty unique, and useful if you record audio or route the audio from digital sources such as your game console or television into the Recon3D for processing. The main difference between SB1356 and the lower priced, entry level Recon 3D Fatal1ty model is a beam forming microphone and some added voice software features. You will need a free PCI Express x1 slot to use this card.
The card functions as a 24-bit DAC at up to 96KHZ, which means that audio -- particularly games -- sound pretty good. The initial settings are a little bass heavy (probably as a result of the THX branding and its intended market), but this can be adjusted via the myriad of programs that Creative includes on the installation CD. If you're a gamer looking for surround sound audio, the SB1356 is probably your best bet in the price-range; if you're more of a stereo music listener, you might want to check out Creative's SB1270 Titanium card, or ASUS' Xonar Essence SE series.
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