Anyone get a Creative Super X-FI yet?

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by mjz_5, Dec 9, 2018.

  1. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    Unfortunately I live an Canada and I can't get one yet. I am super interested in hearing how you guys like it???? Anyone??? :)
     
  2. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Ordered on release and it still hasn’t shipped.
     
  3. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    I don’t understand why they can’t release this thing like any other normal product.
     
  4. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    They are probably broke and couldn't manufacture the orders until they got paid.
     
  5. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Gawd

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    Wait, what? I thought they retired the X-Fi branding by now; guess not.
    https://us.sxfi.com/products/sxfi-amp/

    The notion of having a personalized HRTF just by snapping photos of your face and ears sounds pretty interesting, but I'm still more than a bit upset at Creative for turning "X-Fi" into a buzzword instead of a clear indication that something has the proper EMU20K1/CA20K1 DSP that set apart all the original X-Fi cards a decade ago. (And, yes, I still fire up the classics from back then now and again, so I'm not giving up my Titanium HD.)

    Still, if I can get my hands on this Super X-Fi Amp thing for the right price, it ought to be fun to put up against the Sennheiser GSX 1000, which currently holds my top spot for a mostly plug-and-play, HRTF-based USB sound card, albeit with a high price tag and not the best sound quality. Having even better sound quality and sense of positioning, on top of their support for more platforms, might just give Creative an edge with this thing.
     
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  6. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Also still running a Titanium HD =p. Some games I like it but others can get a little echo like.
     
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  7. OFaceSIG

    OFaceSIG [H]ard|Gawd

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    #metoo lol... I'm still on my ancient Ti HD with some Sony cans.
     
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  8. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yeah "shipping" was like 8-10 weeks or something absurd. No returns or refunds.

    I think they are basically running their own little Kickstarter for this product. I hope they do not go bankrupt in the next couple months...
     
  9. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    Once I went HDMI out + Dolby Atmos I haven't wanted for much in the way of a dedicated sound card. I will probably grab one of these eventually just to muck around with it.
     
  10. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Gawd

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    MDR-MA900, perchance? I loved that set when I still had it, but had to sell it at one point when Head-Fi was hitting my wallet too hard.

    Yeah, that's ridiculous. If that's the kind of estimated lead time they have, they should make it clear it's a pre-order and not act like it's an in-stock product like everything else in the store.

    Besides, didn't they attempt their own little crowdfunding thing with the X-Fi Sonic Carrier soundbar?

    Creative going bankrupt would be rather karmic after what they did to Aureal, though. Made 'em bankrupt through a costly lawsuit, bought out the remains, killed support for Aureal's products and their A3D tech just to push their own stuff.

    Too bad my computer room and my wallet aren't exactly conducive to all the speakers needed for an Atmos setup, and I'm sure I'm not alone there. Putting on a pair of headphones with HRTF mixing is much easier.

    Actually, if there's an Atmos receiver that can do a proper mix with height cues and all over the headphone output, I'd buy it just for that. No, seriously, I've contemplated buying specific receivers just for Dolby Headphone before. Too bad I'll have to wait for HDMI 2.1-compatible versions to show up.

    If anything, Dolby Labs should've been pushing Atmos two decades ago, because the notion of object-based audio is exactly what Aureal and Creative were doing with PC games in the late 1990s. We're only just now starting to see that come back, now that the movie formats caught up and game developers want to utilize them.
     
  11. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    I just got a notification that it is shipping, so that's cool. I'll post a little review when I get it.
     
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  12. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Same here. Got a text with tracking this morning. Showing up Wednesday.
     
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  13. King of Heroes

    King of Heroes [H]ard|Gawd

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    This looks interesting. Does anyone know if this support mic input via the 3.5mm jack?
     
  14. Reimu

    Reimu [H]ard|Gawd

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    I really would like to try this amp. This stuff is interesting to me since portable audio fidelity matters a bit for me. Currently using LG's V20 largely because phones sacrifice amplification and separated dac section mostly.
     
  15. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    I think it only has a 3.5mm headphone jack.
     
  16. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    I gave it a whirl tonight. A few observations:

    • It is very small. About the size of a small cigarette. This is not going to be an issue sticking out of your phone.
    • Setup was surprisingly easy (unless you have an iPhone. I don't think they have an iPhone app yet). Whoever Creative put on their app team for this did a good job; I have been less than impressed with numerous Creative software applications but this was well done. You take a picture of your right ear, your left ear, and your face, and select your headphones, and you are off to the races. The headphone selection is currently limited but there are a number of popular ones there; e.g. AKG K701's, DT880 and DT990's, all of Creative's headphones, Sennheiser 598 and 800, and others. There is also a generic option.
    • In typical Creative head-scratching marketing-fashion, they push you into perhaps the least likely avenue that the 3D holographic effect is really going to be worth it: Music on your phone. I enjoy listening to normal, stereo sound for music on my headphones. If you want a realistic creation of two stereo speakers in a room for music on your headphones, this will definitely synthesize that for you, but I feel like you lose some audio fidelity with that. Also I was getting 10 seconds of weird audio static in everything I listened to around the beginning of every video. It would go away but it was annoying and seemed to be an issue with the Android USB audio as it happened on every app.
    • And as far as finding surround content an Android phone, this is hit or miss; I had trouble finding 5.1 or 7.1 audio content on Netflix on android, for example, where I could confirm I was getting a surround feed. Multi-channel test .wav files on Chrome browser would crash. Youtube is always a bad idea for surround tests as I don't believe Youtube passes accurate channel information. BUT, even in stereo sound only, you get a very very realistic "out of your head" effect with this device. I would characterize it more as a room speaker simulation than your typical headphone virtual surround sound, if that makes any sense. Sort of like the Realiser A16. I first tried it with the free Aurvana SE headphones they gave me for ordering day 1, and it was very noticeable and realistic. More so than almost any other VSS DSP I have tried thus far.
    • But, forget your phone. The real use for this in my opinion is surround virtualization for movies and games. This is where the device can really show itself off as I explain below.
    • To really put it through its paces, I tried it on Windows with 7.1 enabled. You can select 7.1 channels with this as a USB soundcard! Awesome. I fired up some bots in Black Ops 3. I tried it with the Aurvana SE, Audioquest Nighthawks, and Sennheiser HD800S. (The Nighthawks were the closest 3.5mm headphones I had lying around other than the Aurvana's, and I wanted to try something not on their list.) With the Aurvana's and the Nighthawks, there was definitely directionality, and as I said the 3D out of your head sound was very convincing. For closed headphones the Aurvana's did well, which is a testament to the DSP I would say more than the cans. The Nighthawks opened things up quite a bit and improved directionality even though I did not even set the app to "generic." But when I tried the HD800 (which is included in the app)..... HOLY SHIT. It was incredible. Directionality was very, very convincing. Rear cues were super accurate--this was the best thing I have heard since the Out of Your Head preset and was better as far as audio fidelity. I don't know if this was because the app has a preset for the HD800 (I have an HD800S but whatever) or because the HD800S are just amazing imaging cans with a superb stage, or some combo thereof. But it was incredible and I highly, highly recommend you try this if you like DSP's for virtual surround in video games. And it got them plenty loud! It is cheaper than almost all the other options out there too.
    • I cannot really speak to how good this is for just music listening yet. As I said there was a little hitch in the audio on Android that would be a deal breaker for me if I could not figure it out, but I don't really plan on using these on my phone much anyway so I don't care, really. In my hour or so of testing though, I did not really notice anything sounding "bad." The 3D holographic effect is not overly "reverby" but with headphones it always is a little weird at first if you are not used to it. I would not say it sounded any worse than my X7 connected to a iFi Black Label. Sounds were crisp, bass was fine, there was no distortion I could hear, there was no hiss at all and they were completely silent when nothing was playing. But as I said, this sounds more like you are surrounded by speakers in a room than a headphone simulating a game's surround field. It is just different, but I like the effect. It is very good for pinpointing directional cues.
    Also, this has a mic, so no need for a mic input.
     
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2018
  17. Neapolitan6th

    Neapolitan6th Gawd

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    People can talk crap about the HD800 as much as they want, but there is no doubt their soundstage capabilities are truly remarkable. Loving mine for that reason. I'd love to give this product a go now. I'm glad to see they have a preset for it!
     
  18. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    When I picked up my Ether Flows I seriously considered the HD800/800S. The only thing that put me off on them were the endless threads of people arguing about how to drive them. Seems like it might not be that complicated after all.
     
  19. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    It's a bit of an audiophile obsession to handwring over HD800 amp selection.

    For imaging and soundstage, which are the most important things for headphones when it comes to virtualizing or simulating 3D sound, it is hard to beat the HD800/S. Electrostats and maybe some planars are basically the only thing that in my experience challenge them for accuracy. Good planars can come close, like the HE-560.
     
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  20. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Man so when I popped it out of the box, the surround emulation sounded absolutely horrible. Realized they were too lazy to get their IOS app to set it up out the door before launch, so I had to dig up my old android tablet. After doing the picture of your ears wizard it actually sounds much better now. I'll see how well it does on some battle royal games tonight.
     
  21. magnetik

    magnetik Moderator Staff Member

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    It didn't start too well for me. First it didn't come with a way to plug it into standard USB. Luckily I had a USB-C to USB adapter that came with my other usb DAC (Sabaj DA3) Second.. the software wasn't compatible with my Note4 but compatible with my Shield Tablet and S6? Kinda of a bummer since I planned on using my spare Note4 as a PMP. Lastly when I first plugged it into the usb port... it hard rebooted my computer. Not sure if it were a surge or what but once rebooted it did install the drivers, etc. I'm going to try gaming tonight and see if I have better luck.
     
  22. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Ya it is fairly wonky. I played Blackout for 2 hours last night and you are going to have mixed results depending on the game. Blackout has horrible audio in the sense that everything is loud AF. Depth and directional audio in the game is bad out of the box, and running sounds like your character is a 2,000 pound mouth breathing buffalo. SXFI did add depth and better directional positioning. What the SXFI also did was make my own characters actions a bit more quiet. I am going to have to do more testing but it does have certain advantages in this game. I also watched the first half of "A Star is Born" with the SXFI mojo enabled, and the live music sequences were really cool.
     
  23. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    I wish I could try Blackout on the XFI but I only have that on the Xbox. The XFI can't decide DD+. (So even if I converted it's optical out to USB it wouldn't work.)

    It seems the personalization is pretty important and some users are even reporting that they needed to redo the pictures to get it right.
     
  24. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Curious how they figured that out. I hope my pictures are making it function to the fullest extent.
     
  25. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD [H]ard|Gawd

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    You can do your own custom EQ curve in the android app correct? If I'd get one I'd try to counter EQ to my best abilities whatever balance change it adds if that's a possibility.

    At least it says:

    10-band Equalizer for further audio customization

    Well EQ'd can be a key difference to the end result, I mean I pretty often still listen with my custom Dolby Headphone settings for expanded soundstaging/surround feel but it has some pretty surgical EQing to counter effect the DH response change, some examples below:




     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2018
  26. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Let me start by saying this will OBVIOUSLY be subjective, and unique to each person's ear mapping, face, matching the Creative algorithms - so I don't expect my experience to be indicative of anyone elses - it's only my experience.

    First 10 minute impression using the included closed cans and a couple songs and a couple 7.1 tracks on the computer.

    meh

    It sounds like a sound effect room dsp - sort of like picking concerr hall or bathroom on your run of the mill soundcard - adding reverb, echo, size -- at least as my first impression goes with the bundled Creative headphones. I'm trying not to be disappointed, frankly. And to my subjective experience, it's NOTHING, not even close to the Smyth Realizer A16 I heard at Axpona 2016.

    I haven't tried redoing the photos, I guess I could try that, and next I'll try my Sennheiser HD-600 instead of these cheapo Creative cans it came with. Frankly the HD600 cans alone are so much better than the Creative headphones w/ SFXI combo that I'd never pick this over a standalone set of HD600.

    Sounds bigger, extended from your head, but not necessarily better...

    We'll see if my impressions change after more use, and upgrading the headphones.

    Maybe it's my big fat head... :p
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  27. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Okay, so I played a few hours of games with the SXFI tonight. My initial meh opinion has improved some.

    First using my HD6XX (massdrop's ~ HD650) headphones and setting the Creative App's output to use HD650 was a tremendous improvement over the Creative headphones that came bundled with. Night and Day difference. Creative why bundle a cheap set of headphones unless they bring something to the table? They don't.

    The SXFI has plenty of power to drive the HD6XX - so if that was a question - put it aside.

    I played a couple hours of Star Wars Battlefront II. It sounded good, and you could imagine you were listening to a cheap set of 5.1 speakers rather than a highend set of earphones. (but FWIW that game sounds great in just standard stereo too). Did I like it better than simple old stereo mode? Nah, not really. Is it different yes. Better? …… ??? Maybe it's still that my head is fat and it doesn't map well for me. who knows.

    After that gaming session, I compared Windows Sonic for headphones, and Dolby Atmos app sound that are the default two options built into the Windows 10 OS (Atmos app costs $15) to this hardware SXFI on some .mkv bluray clips with Dolby Digital audio and the SXFI is definitely better at placing objects behind you and around you in space than the software options --- that's subjectively without question - playing back and forth multiple times. Playing the Dolby Digital Ball Bounce clip for instance with Dolby Atmos Headphones or Windows Sonic for Headphones really just gives you a small hint of sound behind you in comparison, but most of the sound still sounds like it's from the left and right. The SXFI REALLY places the sound behind you when appropriate, and I'm very familiar with these Dolby Digital showcase clips from my $25k home theater setup (7.8.4) - so I do know how they should sound. The software options don’t stand up to the hardware SXFI option for surround placement.

    The SXFI is most impressive when fed a true 5.1 or 7.1 signal, vs. a stereo signal. It's still no Smyth Realizer A16, but it's interesting enough for me not to pack it up to resell, which was my original thought after my first listening session with the bundled Creative headphones.

    Also note -- perhaps a small hassle for gamers -- Hunt Showdown which uses binaural audio, which needs to have the Windows speaker output to stereo - or it just sounds all kinds of bad with this SXFI and 7.1 speaker output selected. So not too many games use binaural audio, but when they do you'll have to switch the sound settings in your control panel. Just turning off SXFI processing on the amp didn't fix the binaural audio, only changing the windows speaker setting back to stereo does. As I play with it more I'll update more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
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  28. illram

    illram [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a Realiser A16 on order. We will see if I ever get it.... In the meantime my primary gripe with this thing is the limitation of its input. Creative needs to put this DSP in more of its product line.
     
  29. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm sure there will be new soundcards and SXFI built-into headsets etc, depending how soon I might skip this dongle although one aspect is great about it, it supports 5.1 / 7.1 channels (which always bring slight improvement to positional cues switching up from stereo) and it doesn't need a lot of software driver coding so there's less chance that Creative fcks up the sound quality or what not. On my SoundBlaster G5 USB soundcard it sounds a bit like the DSP processing isn't 100% turned off despite not activating anything (brickwalled recordings come out as cleaner and punchier on my onboard Realtek chip even so). So in this sense it might be a positive thing that this dongle doesn't have so many bells n whistles so Creative cannot destroy the output in the software way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2018
  30. Trmntr

    Trmntr [H]Lite

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    So not worth it?
     
  31. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Sound like they are worth it for gaming. Especially fps? I am waiting. I don't want their headphones. Just the improved version of whatever this is would be ok. I am never going to be able to afford a realizer. My stereo speakers and sbz do really well with surround. Very solid soundstage. I get strong footsteps almost completely behind and beside me as is.
     
  32. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Anyone else get this? I’ve not read any consumer reviews that paint this device in the same glowing light as the original reviews (pre-release).

    Am I missing something? Is there more feedback from others here who bought it? Have you seen any super positive reviews by consumers on the shipping product?

    A Creative rep showed up over at avsforum and is offering a full refund to anyone who is dissatisfied — and still claiming a 99% satisfaction rate.

    Post 61
    https://www.avsforum.com/forum/#/topics/2949928?page=7
     
  33. pooloffire

    pooloffire n00b

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    After reading what you wrote to the rep. I agree that they kind of baited and switched on everybody. I guess it may not have been intentional in that fact they probably wanted to make it as easy as possible for everybody to get the best experience out of the box and the phone app was probably the best way they felt to do it.
     
  34. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    Should have mine in about 2 weeks. Looking forward to checking out gaming + movies on it. I have a 7.1.2 (rear height) in my office so It'll be interesting to see how it compares to that. I've really enjoyed HDMI audio out + dolby atmos for HT on Windows 10 (great positional audio for games).
     
  35. Zefram0911

    Zefram0911 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Mine's coming on Thursday. I hope it's not a bust.
     
  36. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    Got mine a couple of days ago and I have to say I'm pretty damn impressed with this piece of kit. This is going to be a bit of a word salad, sorry in advance.

    Even as a straight up headphone amp it has no problem powering my Sennheiser HD800s and 650s, or the Denon D7000s and it sounds really good. I've also been using it as the primary sound source on my laptop/computer without any problems.

    My initial impressions when I first plugged it in could be summarized by the following statement: ??????!!!????!??!??!??!??. At first I wasn't sure I liked the sound when SuperXFI was turned on. But after listening to a metric ton of movies, music and gaming I have to say that I don't think I'll be turning it off save for a couple of bits of music that have their own spatial qualities already encoded. I've read a lot of people don't like the Aurvana SE headphones but I find I've really warmed up to them and they make a great portable set.

    Like I said music can be a mixed bag. The overall effect makes it feel like you're actually in a room with musicians on a stage in front of you. It gives it a slightly "live" feel. When you initially turn on the the SuperXFI it sounds strange for all of 30 seconds and then something inside your brain kicks in and it starts sounding very natural. So much so that when you turn it off, you immediately want to turn it back on. I tend to listen to a lot of metal (death, sludge, doom, regular metal, etc , etc), electronic (trance, techno, etc) and classical.

    Movies though. Holy crap. They create a VERY impressive and deep sound stage. Think taking the soundstage that is usually floating somewhere around the middle of your head and directly to the left and right of it and pulling it forward a good 2 feet, and then expanding it across the entire X, Y, and Z axis in every direction. As someone who has a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos setup (or 7.1) this amp really comes close to making it feel like you're surrounding by speakers with a subwoofer add in for good measure. You feel like you're in the middle of every scene and the result is incredibly immersive. Can't watch movies without this now. :D
     
  37. spaceman

    spaceman [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Seems like one of those things that depends on the person. It might work great or just be meh to your ears?
     
  38. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    I think expectation plays a big role too. If you are expecting "just a headphone amp" you might be disappointed (even though it works great as just an amp for it's size and form factor). It really is a 7.1 simulation through and through.
     
  39. SvenBent

    SvenBent 2[H]4U

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    yeah and companien dont get why they get sued for mis representing...
    any knew words always seems to be some kind of trap.
    first it mens you get somehting. and then they just apply the sh3t to everying to make it sell better
     
  40. Zefram0911

    Zefram0911 [H]ard|Gawd

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    This.

    I love this thing. My only criticism is that for FPS games, it really messes me up with positioning. Maybe I have to unlearn everything and relearn how the Super XFi positions sounds, but playing games like Overwatch, I just couldn't tell where anything was coming from. Other non-fps games were great though. like this poster, I'm going to be keeping Super XFi on for everything, except fps games.