Creative Launches Super X-Fi Amp

Discussion in '[H]ard|OCP Front Page News' started by AlphaAtlas, Sep 24, 2018.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Creative says they dumped about $100 million in R&D developing a new surround virtualization technology. Yesterday, they announced the culmination of all those efforts: a headphone amplifier and a pair of earbuds with "Super X-Fi Holography Technology." Creative claims SXFI is distinct from regular surround virtualization algorithms, using a special DSP far more powerful than any chip put into a Creative soundcard before, as well as an image of the user's ear to factor in the listener's head and ear shape. There are profiles optimized for specific headsets, though the algorithm will work with any set of stereo headphones. Reviewers have spoken highly of SXFI demos before, and CNET seems to like the new amplifier. Creative says the SXFI AMP is priced at $150, and is available at SXFI.com starting today, with worldwide delivery in November 2018. There's also a free demo app coming "soon," though it will only be available to SXFI Amp owners at first. Thanks to djoye and the people of this thread for the tip.

    "Since its preview at CES Las Vegas in January this year, Super X-Fi has consistently blown the minds of reviewers with the way it has transformed the listening experience on headphones. Audio pundits have described it as 'frigging mind-blowing', 'magical', 'nothing short of amazing' and that 'it sounded glorious'. It's even bagged multiple awards. Pretty amazing, if you consider that all this was based only on sneak demos of a headphone audio technology. Super X-Fi is not just any 3D or surround sound technology; we had that 20 years ago. It's much, much more. Think of the magic of holography, but for audio, and for headphones. And now the real deal is finally here," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative.
     
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  2. ryno9100

    ryno9100 Limp Gawd

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    I'll be interested to see how well these do. I've been looking into a USB-C Amp I can use with both my phone and my computer.
     
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  3. pcgeekesq

    pcgeekesq [H]ard|Gawd

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    Double-blind testing or it isn't real.
     
  4. prime2515102

    prime2515102 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Those are some pretty bold words by that CEO. The proof will be in the pudding.
     
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  5. zehoo

    zehoo Limp Gawd

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    Did they finally decide to use the tech that they ended up with after making Aureal go broke? I've still yet to hear something as impressive for 3d sound out of stereo speakers than the vortex 2 I owned.
     
  6. chaos4u

    chaos4u Limp Gawd

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    i was wondering the same thing. why spends millons on r&d for a new tech when they had superior tech from decades ago. im sure their is a reason why i just hope its not because its better to sell expensive bluetooth headphones rather tham improve stero 3d technolgy.
     
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  7. The Mad Atheist

    The Mad Atheist Gawd

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    "Super X-Fi Holography Technology" with Super Saiyan Over 9000 Audio Tech.....
    Gotta luv marketing.
     
  8. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    You can only pre-order it for $150 here in the US. For the $150 you get a pair of headphones as a free bonus while supplies last... they reviewed well and are on Amazon for around $60 dollars.

    They don't charge you but they do take your name and email address.

    I'll bite at $150.
     
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  9. lollerwaffle

    lollerwaffle Gawd

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    I'm biting as well. I'm a huge fan of headphone audio and this device warrants testing. Looks like a great work audio setup! I'm still using a Sound Blaster External 24-bit and am quite happy with it, but who doesn't want better?

    Thanks for the news item, I would otherwise have missed the early offering for sure.
     
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  10. gtrguy

    gtrguy [H]Lite

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    Screw Creative, they're never getting back in my good books. Ever.
     
  11. Considering Creative Lab's shitty practices in the past (intentionally crippling older products, bad drivers, and unfair competitive acts) They can byte me.
     
  12. IdiotInCharge

    IdiotInCharge Not the Idiot YOU are Looking for

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    I'd be interested in the software when they make it available, but I'll keep my tube amp and balanced optical DAC, thanks ;).
     
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  13. haste.

    haste. [H]ard|Gawd

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    I'm curious. I do have a decent tube amp (GemTune GS-01 - love the aesthetics) driving an old school Zenith record player and love the sound, but for headphones and home theater generally prefer digital.

    Using a Creative X7 for the PC right now which I've been very impressed with - drives def tech towers surprisingly well with the low output. Creative had some dark days for sure, but I'll probably bite at $150 just to give it a whirl... X7 software isn't terrible, better than most Sound Blaster products I've used. My biggest concern with this product as it's being advertised is that it's purely targeted at mobile shitty headphones/buds that most people use (yes they claim this "unpowered" amp can drive 600ohm). Might be nice for traveling replacing the little amp I'm using for the IEMs...
     
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  14. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    Is [H] going to try to do a review on one of these?
     
  15. lostin3d

    lostin3d [H]ard|Gawd

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    Yeah, I'll never forget when that happened to me with an Audigy 2 I was using for SW Battlefront I+II EAX. I blindly installed a driver/firmware update, didn't read the EULA/notes. A few weeks later noticed the sound seemed different and my card went from 24/192 to 24/96. Turned out they lost a lawsuit had pushed out the update per settlement which gimped the card.

    I'd be more interested in the part of the tech that analyzes the ear. Aside from possible medical applications it'd be interesting if they could apply it mic/speaker setups similar to what Onkyo receivers do.
     
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  16. PenGunn

    PenGunn Limp Gawd

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    I only have a couple of rules when it comes to computers. Always buy the appropriate Seasonic, and never ever buy anything Creative even got close to.
     
  17. capnstabn

    capnstabn Limp Gawd

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    Little confused. If you don't live in Singapore you have to wait for an email to pre-order? Or can I buy the 219 option now?
     
  18. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    So you just plug this into any headphone jack and the sound improves?
     
  19. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    Nevermind. I read it. It connects Using USB
     
  20. filip

    filip [H]ard|Gawd

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    That is BS. You cant have 5.1 or 7.1 unless you have independent speakers. One of their points that you can experience 5.1 or 7.1 with the "magic" of this device. Their points are full of shit.
     
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  21. clockdogg

    clockdogg Gawd

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    That or your mind is blown. And a blown mind is harder to repair than a blown fuse. :D

    "Super X-Fi has consistently blown the minds of reviewers..."
     
  22. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    Before I had kids, I used to use my 5.1 system religiously. Now that I am forced to use headphones, i hate it. I don’t see this thing comparing to my dedicated 5.1. But I’m very hopeful and excited to see if it’s atleast somewhere close to it.
     
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  23. artforz

    artforz n00bie

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    Positional audio using headphones + a 3D HRTF model, now with 5720% more marketing wank.
     
  24. SixFootDuo

    SixFootDuo [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm glad my personality and mind are not built that way. I would hate to think that I would get so mad to the point I would miss out on new exciting tech.
     
  25. The Mad Atheist

    The Mad Atheist Gawd

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    Hmm, bluetooth, mean they have a battery inside.
    At $150, I hope they have at-least 2 year warranty just in case it goes bad.
     
  26. clockdogg

    clockdogg Gawd

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    The Symth Realiser appears to be getting closer.

     
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  27. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    This isn't true. Humans only have two ears. We differentiate the angle of the sound beyond left and right by our brains decoding the attenuation and reverb of the sound after it interacts with our ears. If a set of purely stereo headphones were to modify the sound to provide the same audio modification the shape of our ears provide, there would be no discernible difference between them and a true multi-speaker set.
     
  28. alxlwson

    alxlwson You Know Where I Live

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    I just want a small portable headphone amp for the airplane. Cell phones (at least my last several phones Note 3,4,5,8,9) are unable to drive my Ultrasone Pro 550. No bass at all, sounds like in a poorly designed music hall.
     
  29. filip

    filip [H]ard|Gawd

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    If they could reproduce what I hear naturally everyday, with headphones, that would be great. They can't. You can try with 5.1 and 7.1 and it will be much better than having sound coming from one speaker into one ear on a headphone but it is not the same.
    Those two ears an pick up sound from the back of the head and from the front where are the 360 degree headphone bubbles that we would put over our heads to achieve that but wait there is more you pick up sound off your body too and that thing next to you and so on. Maybe in the future they may have that but for now they don't.
    This $150 amp that is the same as a $35 sound card for the PC can't do that for sure.
     
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  30. KazeoHin

    KazeoHin [H]ardness Supreme

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    It is a big IF. I'm not saying this is what the product in the OP is doing, but in theory, we can only receive sound from our two eardrums.
     
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  31. mjz_5

    mjz_5 2[H]4U

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    I hate creative as much as the next guy. But PC sound has been stale for a good while and I’m excited for something new that could lead others to make a difference.
     
  32. Burticus

    Burticus 2[H]4U

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  33. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I’ll counter with a thing I experienced at Axpona 2017 that blew my mind. It was called the Smyth Realizer. It turned a pair of Sennheiser HD800s into whatever Atmos or DTS-x setup/speakers you wanted. Any speakers. Any room. Concert halls? No problem. They had a gyro hooked up to the sennheisers that turned the 7.1.4 Yamaha speaker setup on when you took the headphones off and vice versa.

    The tech took measurements of each auditioner’s ear canal with a pair of inner ear mics that creates a calibration file unique and precise to you!

    It was unbelievable. It was truly mind blowing. But it cost $2k and required a multichannel audio input.

    At any rate you hear in infinite positions from just two ears. The ear canals reflection of sound is responsible for making us hear vertical placement in addition to simply distance and degree. They can mimic that reflection through the processor and the result is entirely and I do mean entirely indistinguishable from the real thing. Had I not witnessed multiple of these demos and then experienced it myself I would have sworn there was trickery involved. Besides the light pressure on my head I could not tell I had headphones on compared to the true 7.1.4 Atmos speaker setup in the room. The demo material was Dolby Atmos demo disk content, and the auditoner got to pick the content - so nothing to hide.

    It’s recently more studied science and it’s making big advancements.

    I have a full 9.8.4 Atmos setup at home already or I’d be interested in one of these Smyth Realizer units myself. If I lived in an apt. or condo where the volume was limited I’d definitely buy one - full stop.
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
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  34. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Bam! That’s the one!
     
  35. tangoseal

    tangoseal [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'm extremely impressed with G5 amplifier. It can punish my ears with my Hifi Man He400i planar magnetics and the surround sound is very well presented. I also have the sennheiser GX amplifier.

    I will buy this new amp for sure.
     
  36. Archaea

    Archaea [H]ardForum Junkie

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  37. d8lock

    d8lock Gawd

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    The headphones look pretty slick. But I was really hoping for a 7.1 card. I don't understand why they only do 5.1 now.
     
  38. filip

    filip [H]ard|Gawd

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    That sounds nice, I would buy that but it seems like 4k content for tv. You have the goods but no content.
    Regardless I'm excited about that.
     
  39. Tiberian

    Tiberian DILLIGAFuck

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    I learned to adopt one basic truth about audio playback: if there's some circuitry in the path that alters what the original data contains, that means it's coloring the sound and I'm not interested in colored sound, ever. I've never been a fan of EQ circuits and I never use them. I don't fuck around with bass and treble adjustments, I never use them.

    I hate any and all types of audio processing - recently I purchased a ThinkPad W541 workstation laptop and was quite pissed to discover they made it with that stupid dumbass useless "Dolby Audio" BS and I hate it with a fucking passion. It cannot be disable effectively - well, it can be disabled as in I click some software button and voila, the Dolby processing is not part of the path but the problem with that is that the audio signal itself drops almost 24 dB in power meaning even if I max out the audio volume controls it's still too damned quiet.

    Of course, if I enable the Dolby processing BLAM, it's like a fucking explosion in terms of the sheer volume compared to it being disabled vs enabled, at any level of volume. The audio leveling thing that's part of the Dolby processing just maxes out the volume even if I set the main volume slider for the entire system to 10%, it's insanely loud and colored and tainted and I fucking despise it.

    I wish companies would stop forcing stupid useless BS on end users. It's one reason why I sold that laptop for a nice profit relatively fast and went back to an older Dell Latitude that still has plain old audio output without any BS processing as all hardware should.

    MANUFACTURERS: STOP DOING STUPID SHIT, YOU IDIOTS.
     
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  40. Alphawoolf

    Alphawoolf n00bie

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    "and it's still crap!"
     
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