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X-Fi Xtreme Audio Notebook
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Average Customer Review:
( 20 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 found the following review helpful:
Unbeatable Practicality in Notebook SoundJan 07, 2008
By Glen Tan
I raise an eyebrow at reviews that contain statements like, "I'm pretty sure they are all defective." My experience with this card has been nothing short of stellar, and others share the same experience.
This card is not marketed as a gaming soundcard, although it will handle games. The main purpose of this card is to give you unparalleled sound for music and movies, and it definitely delivers on both fronts. I am very particular about sound, and couldn't tolerate the electronic noise contamination from my HP Pavilion's on-board soundcard, thus I bought this card.
Using very sensitive in-ear monitors, I could not detect any electronic buzz at any volume level. The card really isolates your sound from all the other electronic fluctuations going on in your computer, and delivers great sound. The software interface is very intuitive, and even has a button that toggles playback through your notebook speakers--a tiny feature, but it shows that real thought went into the product design.
People are already familiar with Creative's EAX and Crystallizer technologies, so I won't review them here, suffice to say they work just fine.
What won me over was the fact that this tiny wonder has -both- optical inputs and outputs, enabling one to connect it to a Dolby Digital decoder (for multi-speaker setups), an external DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Converter), or any permutation of such devices! Furthermore, sound quality output is versatile with both 48Khz and 96Khz master outputs, in 16 or 24-bits.
Besides the optical ports, the dock provides a multitude of connection options.
When considered from a price-to-performance/features point of view, the Xi-Fi ExpressCard is a real winner. Products in this category are already rare, but Creative has put some real thought into this, and it shows.
Please note that this product is incompatible with the following notebooks:
* 1. Fujitsu Lifebook E8210*
* 2. Fujitsu Siemens Amilo A1667G*
*As listed on Creative's Website
4 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Great card, but no dock includedJan 18, 2009
By Mikael Arvola
I have owned a great number of internal and external sound cards, and I do not lie when I say this card is one of the best in its price range.
I have it hooked up to professional studio monitors that really point out any problems in sound output, and this card passes with flying colors. I was worried that the small size and the location would create interference or static noise, but I was positively surprised to find that none of those were present.
It performs very well in everything I do: music, movies, games, the lot. But do take note! This is an ExpressCard card, so it does require a correct version ExpressCard bay. If you do not have one, or would prefer USB, Creative makes other products for those. Personally I greatly prefer the ExpressCard, 'cause having a USB box dangling on the laptop would make it harder to carry it around and use it on your lap.
That being said, there are a few downsides.
First of all, it is relatively pricey compared to the desktop versions of similar cards. However, take note that the size and location do pose problems when trying to uphold sound quality, and I feel the increase in cost is justified through the success of their efforts in preserving the quality.
The real big downside is that they DO NOT include ANY expansion dongles/docks with the original product. I greatly disagree with this policy, and think that they should've included one in the original package. As the card is already pricey, and the dock costs at least $30 more, it does add up to a rather nasty sum. Thus, 4 stars.
7 of 8 found the following review helpful:
A MUST if you watch movies and listen to music on your notebook!Jul 18, 2007
Believe me when I say you have to experience Xtreme Fidelity to really appreciate what it does for music and movies. I don't really understand the how "X-Fi" works. A friend tells me it has something to do with the way the Crystalizer repairs the damage that was done to audio and video files during compression. Too much geek speak for me! All I know is that my movies and music have never sounded clearer or more vibrant. Plug in your favorite headphones for an even better listening experience!
If your notebook is basically a desktop replacement, why cheat yourself out of superior audio quality? Get this ExpressCard and start enjoying your music and movies the way they were meant to be heard!
11 of 15 found the following review helpful:
Great Sound Card For MusicNov 11, 2007
By Jeffrey Liss
I liked the sound on this Expresscard so much that I bought 2 of these for my Dell 1520 and Dell 1705 laptops, running Vista Ultimate. Set up was simple. I just inserted the ExpressCard into the slot and then loaded the CD. Downloading time took over an hour as there were many auto updates to install. There is very little documentation and no user manual for this product so one must be free spirited and discover which settings are right for you based on the kind of music you listen to and the way you intend to use this card. Unfortunately, there is very little discussion as to which stereo earbuds (or headphones) work well with this ExpressCard. The best music player I've ever listened to, the Creative MediaSource Player 5, is bundled with this product. A pair of comfortable white earbuds also comes enclosed.
This is a high end product which requires that you invest more money in either a high quality stereo earbud, headphone or stereo speakers (along with Creative's speaker docking module, which is now available on their web site)) in order to fully take advantage of the features this card offers.
I found the sound of music to be far superior using the enclosed Creative earbuds in this ExpressCard to my USB Jabra 5035 stereo headset. But when I tested the Sony MDR-EX90LP stereo earbuds in this ExpressCard, the sound clarity and bass improved tremendously so I bought 2 pair and now use them exclusively in this ExpressCard.
I chose this ExpressCard because when I custom built my Dell 1520, this was offered as the best option (of 3) for the sound system of the notebook. However, Dell sent the card 2-3 days after I received my notebook so I had to install it on my own. Once I was able to fine tune this ExpressCard to suit my penchant for 60's Rock Music, I then bought another one for my Dell 1705. When I listen to "Paint it Black" and "She is a Rainbow" from the Stones, I feel like I'm in the front row of the old Phillmore East Auditorium in New York City.
I have no intention of buying the speaker docking module at the present time since it sort of defeats the purpose of having a laptop to begin with. But if I ever decide to move out to the country (or suburbs) and do not live near anyone, perhaps I'll buy the speaker docking module and the Logitech Z-5500 Digital speaker system.
The sound of music is taken to another level with this ExpressCard. I now enjoy listening to my music more than ever.
I now give this Expresscard 5 stars.
12 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Maybe if they fix itJun 30, 2007
By S. siman
Bought this card a couple weeks ago and is quite disappointed, and let's just start off with the docking module. For those who are familiar with the docking module, be aware it is not packaged with the card. Even worse is the docking module is not even available in most countries yet including the u.s. and has no current estimated release date, so 7.1 support of the card is currently useless. The x-fi crystallizer sounds good and so does the 3-d headphone effects thing. Oddly enough games that support x-fi claim the card doesn't support it. It is a x-fi audio card and not a x-fi gaming card and this is probably difference with creatives card though not clearly labeled. x-fi on the cover means x-fi support to me. It does support the eax sound effects which is neat. This card is almost worth getting for the 3-d effects and eax effects IF THEY WORKED. Turning these effects only causes all windows sounds to make weird cracks and pops. In games sounds do the same. Explosions become weird noises. This is a well known problem with x-fi cards. Creative knows its a problem, knows their cards are defective and took them two weeks of emails and drivers reinstalling,optimizing,ect just for them to say my card is defective. Well duh. I'll be returning this if i can. Don't expect a fix for the pops and cracks. I've read a million forums and it seams like a bunch of people are having the same issues with this card(and other x-fi cards) which creative has just been telling people their particular card might be defective. I'm pretty sure they are all defective.
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