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Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D THX USB 3D Surround Sound Processor
|Average Customer Rating:
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Average Customer Review:
( 61 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Five Stars for SQMar 24, 2012
By Jay Comeau
That is the first reason to buy this thing. Onboard sound chips are the bane of audiophiles, and this product helps correct that. This thing drives the biggest headphones with ease, even those with high impedance ratings, with loud, clean audio.
If you are connecting the output to your home audio receiver, you are completely missing the point of this device. This is made for people with good headphones, and a laptop with sub par audio capabilities.
Right off the bat, it works in windows as a 'usb sound device' so if you only care about high quality stereo listening with unaltered sound, you don't even have to install the software. However, technogeeks will want to dig into all the features this thing has to offer.
I have long been a fan of 'dolby headphone' for the simple reason it 'externalizes' stereo listening so that your sound seems to come from speakers outside of the headphones sitting on your head. Even the most devout stereo fanatics will tell you that music is made to be heard from speakers in a room where psychoaccoustics from the two speakers can play off each other. The THX processing in the recon3d takes dolby headphone to another level, you have the ability to adjust the surround simulation from two speakers in a room to 7.1, whatever your preference is. Plus you can turn off all processing with the touch of a button on the recon3d. One of the banes I have always had with headphone listening is that centralized sounds like vocals or snare drums seem to come from 'inside your head', which is unrealistic.
You also have the ability to 'simulate' a .1 subwoofer and you can adjust the level and crossover point of it.
So right off the bat, being able to change my laptop music listening from 'pinned to your ears' sound to 'big speakers in my living room' sound made this worth the purchase.
After running DOSBOX and playing some old fashioned doom, I couldn't believe how immersive this game became, the surround simulation works like a charm, pinpointing where the grunts were became second nature and lots of headshots followed.
If you have a dvd player in your laptop, the recon3d takes dolby 5.1 digital audio and again simulates a room environment, depending on what level of surround simulation you set it at, similar to dolby pro logic, using dopplar effect for the desired result.
Another thing people are missing is that the input doubles as both a toslink input OR an analog two channel input. So you can connect your favorite game console of choice, it's not limited to 360/ps3. Hell if you power the unit with usb power you can connect any source you want to enjoy the surround processing. With a regular 3.5 to 3.5 cable you can hook your ipod up to it, and enjoy the added clarity, volume, and surround processing.
It IS limited to 24 bit/48 khz audio so if you are accustomed to higher, you might be dissapointed. However, online music is still 16 bit/44.1 khz, and 360 audio is still 24 bit/48khz audio so you aren't losing anything.
In a nutshell : S/N ratio is high, it will drive big headphones with ease, blowing away your onboard junk. Surround simulation is adjustable from 7.1 to off. The equalizer allows tweaking for that *extra* bit of perfection. And for those that still care, it even puts EAX hardware acceleration back into older games that Vista/7 removes, since it acts as a complete standalone sound processing unit. Oh, and being able to sound like Diablo while voice chatting is just plain cool.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
Just bought this card and fell in love immediatelyMay 12, 2012
""The voice of intelligence ... is drowned out by the roar of fear. It is ignored by the voice of des"
From the packaging, software, and set up this card is awesome!!!! It is a little larger than a large man hand ( about the size or a car Radar) very sturdy in it's build. Very nice looking with controls easy to see and understand. Once the software is installed this card works like a dream. The features it offers are just awesome to play around with. The sound quality it puts out is fa nominal! This card it literally the same as a Creative PCIe sound card that would be installed on you motherboard, but is portable! I have it connected wirelessly to my Tactic Omega #d wireless Headset and man between the two the sounds are mind blowing! This is currently Creatives Flag Ship car and headset and i can tell you first hand... They will remain top Tier for a long time.
One thing I was not told and that it does not explain either here at Amazon or at Creative is that the Card will not come with either the sound card or the headset if you buy them separately. It will only be bundled with them if you purchase them as a package. So if you are shopping around and think it is cheaper to buy the sound card and the headset separately you are going to be pissed off when you get them delivered to find there is no wireless Tactic Link card included. That will cost you another $29.99+shipping so my suggestion would be to find the total package and purchase it that way. It is cheaper that way.
The set up ROCKS, the bass is so hard that at 100% I can't keep the headset on due to the bass pressure it creates. I might decide to make a video review to show all that this set up has to offer.
Something else I found to be cool is the packaging say the wireless range is about 10M and I have been able to walk anywhere in my house and go outside with no distortions either listening or talking on TS. SO far I have been as far as 25M with no distortion. So you definitely get plenty of distance on these. If you are looking in the range of $200 - $300 Hard core headsets look no further, buy the Recon 3D and the Tactic Omega headset and you will feel as if you own the top of line studio headset with the ability to play games and talk on Team speak,Ventrillo or even Mumble with the best sounding headset you've ever owned... Let alone heard!!!!
9 of 11 found the following review helpful:
A fine product, but slightly overpricedNov 29, 2011
By Marblehead Johnson
Having used several gaming headsets, including a pair from Creative, I have become used to top notch sound with my computers and only slightly lesser sound with my gaming consoles. The Recon 3D Sound Blaster doesn't stray too far from this idea as it works exceptionally well with a Mac or PC, very well with a PS3, and marginally less with an Xbox 360. I tested this product with a Mac, PS3, and Xbox 360, and while it more or less does its job, the price proves to be a tad high in the overall scheme.
I tested the Recon 3D with the Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D Omega Wireless Gaming Headset and it added some noticeable strength in quality to my Mac setup. This sound enhancer is about the same size as other enhancers, but the added bonus of the Recon 3D are the array of buttons. Buttons for volume, mute, THX, and Scout Mode are featured on the front, and I found the latter button to be the most clearly recognizable sound difference to the unit. This mode enhanced the sound immediately while tested with a few video games on my computer and certainly made a big difference in ambient noise. Both the high and lows were more clear than without it, and explosions were intense. There is also a button for a wireless adapter that is not included with this product. There are USB and optical audio jacks included here for easy plug in adaptability.
I found that the THX TruStudio Pro Surround works well on the Mac, but this feature only works on your computer, not on your consoles. However, the THX is more or less useless with music, so make sure that if the THX sound is what you're after, you plan to use the feature for gaming only. I tried the sound enhancer with several tracks and it certainly loses some of its dynamism with bass heavy tracks. This enhancer is made for strength in gaming sound, and it performs admirably in this respect.
This unit works well with the PS3, and with my Omega headset it was an easy setup. The 3D surround sound was exceptional, and with many headphones seeming to leave out the surround option these days, this Recon 3D becomes even more important. For example, one of the biggest annoyances with the Creative Omega Headset is there is no 3D surround option leaving many gamers turning to sound enhancers like this. As usual, the sound with Xbox 360 takes a minor hit as everything is required to plug in to the controller which leaves the wireless idea at the door, making the entire gaming sound experience more cumbersome with less quality. Owning a great pair of headphones first is going to enhance your gaming experience more anyway, but I didn't find the Recon 3D to be much of an improvement with the 360.
My only complaint comes with the way Creative offers their $200 Omega headset with no surround options, then asks $130 for the sound enhancer. Most quality headphones include surround with the headphones itself, so if you plan on getting the best experience for your buck, you'll need to drop $330 for the whole lot. It certainly seems both the Omega headset and Recon sound enhancer would make a solid purchase for customers at $250, making the Recon a tad overpriced.
In summation, the Recon sound enhancer is another solid addition from Creative's canon and will certainly enhance any video game or computer system with its nice array options. Keep in mind that owning a nice pair of headphones is essential to getting your money's worth out of these, so if you've already invested in a quality headset, you really can't go wrong.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Great alternative to Dolby Headphone ampsJun 17, 2013
By Christian G. Rivera
+ Affordable wired alternative to the DSS, with mic capabilities (which the DSS lacks for everything but Turtle Beach headsets)
+ Low noise floor compared to the competition in the affordable price range (excluding the Headzone)
+ Software (computer required) has many settings to tweak to your personal preference, including an equalizer, bass boost with crossfeed, which you can then import directly to the device with a press of a button
- Virtual surround doesn't quite match Dolby Headphone processing, with slightly inaccurate panning, lack of rear soundstage depth (compared to Dolby Headphone), and strange distortion with certain sound effects.
- Does not decode DTS natively.
- Software program has several useless and confusing settings, best left off (i.e. Crystalizer.)
- Scout Mode hurts the surround emulation for emphasis on certain audio ranges
I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it is. It is indeed a viable alternative to devices like the Mixamp, DSS, and AX720, but it doesn't quite reach the performance sound quality-wise as those devices. It does deliver a clean, clear sound, with just a few hiccups (like odd, grainy treble distortion at times). I found the program to be mostly useless. Other than maxing out the Surround setting (default is at 65%), I left everything else alone. Bass boosting and EQ is best left to hardware, not software, though if you have no other choice, the option is there.
I'd personally put the surround emulation to be 75% as good as Dolby Headphone devices like the Mixamp. I found THX mode (the best mode), to be comparable to the Victor SU-DH1's DH1 mode. The Recon3D had better soundstage width and FRONT depth, but was comparable in rear depth, and didn't match the SU-DH1 in in positional cues (even in DH1 mode).
If you already own the Recon3D, no worries. It's a pretty good device, and you may not find the need to upgrade to a Dolby Headphone device, at least until you compare them side by side. The Recon 3D has a good sense of immersion and decent surround emulation. However, I find Dolby Headphone to be worthwhile over the Recon3D's surround emulation.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Only noticed a slight improvement...Oct 25, 2012
First, let me preface this with the fact that I am not a hard core gamer. This product works, but it isn't so exceptional that I would pay a lot of money for it. Now, my teenage son that loves gaming swears that he can hear a difference. We have attached it to the computer and the XBOX 360. Both sound about the same. So, would I recommend... depends on how much you have to pay for it. Would my son recommend it, he said yes.
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