Creative Launches Super X-Fi Amp

mjz_5

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same here. I thought we were going to be e-mailed and get a bonus headphone set for signing up earlier like we did. Absent the bonus gift - are you still going to "pre-order".

I’m tempted to order it. But I need more information. Waiting for a review. How are the drivers and software?
 

James Robinson

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I am one of the few who couldn't care less about headphone audio.. I have a decent speaker system and playback 7.2 audio on it from my PC. Problem is my Xi-Fi Platinum Pro finally shit the bed last year.... and low & behold Creative refuses to support 7.1 audio . LOTS of overpriced crap in their catalog... nothing I'm even vaguely interested in. Bought an Rx Xi-Fi 7.1 off Spamazon for $18 and make do. Until 'Creative' starts supporting higher then 5.1, I'm not buying any of their new products.
 
D

Deleted member 93354

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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.

Somewhat true. What you hear might be different from person to person due to factors like age, head shape, and how the panea (the folds in your ears) are shaped. HRTF does delays, reflections, and freq response curve changes based on those factors to simulate what you would hear from positional audio Plus they use some cheap effects like spacializing (feeding the negative of the sound into the opposing ear) to make it sound bigger than it is.

As far as the headphone amp goes, higher resistance coils change the frequency response. Shifting the freq. eq in the digital domain based on the impedance would help. A simple BEMF resistance measurement at the critical frequencies using a frequency sweep would help.

I still wouldn't buy creative even if it pooped gold out the ear cups. The leadership and therefore it's philosophies of how it treats customers has not changed over the years.
 

AngeloBJ

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Is anyone else distracted by the way they say SXFI (Sexfi) in their iPhone video?

Also....I didn't get my email either......
 

LostMF1

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all you need is a cheap amp and decent set of headphones for gaming. everything is dependent on how well the audio is programmed into the game. and most of the time, that programming is shit.
 

Nenu

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all you need is a cheap amp and decent set of headphones for gaming. everything is dependent on how well the audio is programmed into the game. and most of the time, that programming is shit.
Many people wont care for this level of quality but it is targeted at those who appreciate high quality audio.
For this level and the focus of this thread I disagree with you.
A cheap amp can harm crosstalk, imaging and detail to name a few.

Other threads will be more suited to your needs.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Jesus.

This is utter nonsense.

Using DSP to fake what speakers sound like is just plain idiotic.

That, and there is no way with the limited power this thing pulls over USB you can properly power a decent set of headphones using it.

And there is no way a proper analogue stage fits in that tiny little stick.

If anyone is actually considering buying this garbage, I have a bridge to sell you...

Don't fall for the hype, or the placebo effect!
 

Zarathustra[H]

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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 ;).

I'm not a fan of tubes, but yeah, I'll keep my dac and amp as well.

Something this tiny, there is no way it has a proper analogue stage. It's just a dumb 1 bit off the shelf sigma-delta DAC, and a shitty low end op-amp in a tiny package, and tried to make up for it with some software and DSP "black magic". I wouldn't pay $20 for this.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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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.

I've never seen the point of 5.1 (or 7.1) in games. Give me a decent 2 channel set of headphones, and I can find the source of audio with my eyes closed. No need for the multichannel nonsense, real or imitated on a DSP.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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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.

A large part of it is also the difference in frequencies and timing of audio as it passes through our skull (far side) and directly into our ears (close side).

You can try to emulate this with a DSP, but the truth is positional audio is learned. We all have different shaped heads, and even the smallest difference throws it off. You'd need to have a different DSP profile for every person.

That, and I don't believe it is necessary. I can hear the exact position in games with only two channels. Never had a problem. Back in the CS 1.6 days when I had more practice I could close my eyes and shoot straight at other players based solely on audio.

Judging just by the size, power envelope and cost of this thing, it is a piss-poor dac-amp that tries to do DSP based magic. Save your money. It's garbage.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I've never been a fan of head phones because they were never comfortable for extended listening sessions. I always preferred a descent set of stereo speaker and a descent receiver.
It seems that most self described audiophiles prefer headphones now a days.

I think that's just a reality based on two things:

1.) A good DAC, AMP and set of headphones can be had for much less money than having to add in a good speaker amp, speakers and a subwoofer. So, it's a lot easier for people to gain entry with headphones

2.) A lot of us either live in apartments where we can't blast speakers all hours of the days, or have grown oder and live with families and have kids sleeping during most of our downtime when we have time to listen to stuff.
 

Archaea

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Jesus.

This is utter nonsense.

Using DSP to fake what speakers sound like is just plain idiotic.

That, and there is no way with the limited power this thing pulls over USB you can properly power a decent set of headphones using it.

And there is no way a proper analogue stage fits in that tiny little stick.

If anyone is actually considering buying this garbage, I have a bridge to sell you...

Don't fall for the hype, or the placebo effect!

This post is rubbish.

DSP can indeed FAKE what speakers sound like -- in a way that is imperceivable from the real thing. As discussed previously in this thread -- anyone who has used the Smyth Realizer will tell you plainly that's the case.

USB 2 can supply 2.5 watts. USB 3 can supply 4.5 watts. Even at a 80% efficiency that's still 2 watts or 3.75 watts. Either is plenty of power for headphones.
http://www.apexhifi.com/specs.html

Keep in mind when using this tool that 105dB is THX reference volume (commercial movie theater calibrated volume). To get to 105dB, the calculator in that link says a difficult to drive pair of headphones, like the Sennheiser HD600 use 6 milliwatts.

I remember having a pair of Sony DJ heaphones MDR-v700dj that were designed from the ground up to pound out the SPL for use when mixing in a live club environment and they were power rated to 3,000 mw as a marketing bullet point (3 watts max)
 
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Armenius

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A large part of it is also the difference in frequencies and timing of audio as it passes through our skull (far side) and directly into our ears (close side).

You can try to emulate this with a DSP, but the truth is positional audio is learned. We all have different shaped heads, and even the smallest difference throws it off. You'd need to have a different DSP profile for every person.
That is what this does, though. It uses a companion app to profile your head to make a customized profile just for you.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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This post is rubbish.

DSP can indeed FAKE what speakers sound like -- in a way that is imperceivable from the real thing. As discussed previously in this thread -- anyone who has used the Smyth Realizer will tell you plainly that's the case.

USB 2 can supply 2.5 watts. USB 3 can supply 4.5 watts. Even at a 80% efficiency that's still 2 watts or 3.75 watts. Either is plenty of power for headphones.
http://www.apexhifi.com/specs.html

You assume 100% efficiency. That is never the case. The DAC and the DSP consume some of that power.

Many have tried, even some big name audiophile companies, but none have been able to provide a good DAC/amp solely based on USB power.


That is what this does, though. It uses a companion app to profile your head to make a customized profile just for you.

I guess my take is as follows:

I'm not opposed to seeing what they can do with some good DSP based multichannel emulation. I'm a skeptic, but I can keep an open mind about that aspect of it.

I am - however - opposed to downgrading to whatever cheap DAC and amp they put in that thing. It probably won't even be able to properly drive any of my headphones, and will need some half-assed low impedance set.

If there were a pass-through DSP only version of this I could insert between my DAC and my PC and enable only for games, but disable for music, I might be convinced to at least give it a test drive.

Otherwise I'll pass, and I recommend everyone else does as well.
 

LostMF1

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Many people wont care for this level of quality but it is targeted at those who appreciate high quality audio.
For this level and the focus of this thread I disagree with you.
A cheap amp can harm crosstalk, imaging and detail to name a few.

Other threads will be more suited to your needs.
I actually appreciate high quality audio quite a bit, but for gaming, it's just not there and there's nothing wrong with pointing that out from experience. You can throw all of the "high-end" hardware you want at a game (I tried, many times) and there still won't be a distinguishable difference in quality from a decent amp and headphones. If you 'feel' you're hearing a difference, it's pure placebo. Lot's of people discussing value in this thread so hop down from your high horse today :)
 

alxlwson

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You assume 100% efficiency. That is never the case. The DAC and the DSP consume some of that power.

Many have tried, even some big name audiophile companies, but none have been able to provide a good DAC/amp solely based on USB power.




I guess my take is as follows:

I'm not opposed to seeing what they can do with some good DSP based multichannel emulation. I'm a skeptic, but I can keep an open mind about that aspect of it.

I am - however - opposed to downgrading to whatever cheap DAC and amp they put in that thing. It probably won't even be able to properly drive any of my headphones, and will need some half-assed low impedance set.

If there were a pass-through DSP only version of this I could insert between my DAC and my PC and enable only for games, but disable for music, I might be convinced to at least give it a test drive.

Otherwise I'll pass, and I recommend everyone else does as well.


Curious...what constitutes 100% efficiency in regards to audio output? I wasn't aware of a 1W = xxxdB specification for 100% efficiency
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Curious...what constitutes 100% efficiency in regards to audio output? I wasn't aware of a 1W = xxxdB specification for 100% efficiency

I'm not talking about dB.

I'm talking watts supplied by USB port -> watts output to headphones.

The efficiency/impedance of the transducers will determine how much sound it can produce with the wattage output.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I guess my example is this:

I have two headphones, a Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro at 250Ω and a Sennheiser HD650 at 300Ω

My current amp (Class A/B circlotron-based design) is able to produce 350mW RMS per channel into 300Ω in single ended mode. If I crank it all the way up it is just about sufficient for my listening preferences when I want some vigorous listening.

(Now I have modified the cables for my HD650's so the ground for each channel is separate, what audiophile companies falsely call balancedd this ups the efficiency significantly to the point where I can get 900mw RMS per channel, and thus I stay in the 55-60% volume range, which is much better as amps perform better if they are not being cranked all the way up, but this is besides the point for this comparison as I doubt Creatives little dongle does this)

In order to do this it has a typical power consumption of about 25W.

Unless it is USB-C / 3.1 you aren't going to get this kind of power over the USB port.

Now, you can get a lot greater efficiency out of an amp, by utilizing so called "Class D" or the patented "Class T" topographies which are all digital amps on a chip, and with one of these, you might be able to produce enough power to drive decent headphones based on USB power, but the quality will suffer over a decent Class A or Class A/B design.
 

Stanley Pain

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Man some of that marketing BS.

"HOLY SHIT I GOT FUCKED IN THE ASS MAGICALLY #METOO" :rolleyes:

That being said for $150 I'm in. There's been some serious forward momentum when it comes to virtualized spatial sound. I've heard that the Apple mono speaker is damn incredible at creating surround sound from one device so maybe Creative managed something neat here.
 

AlphaAtlas

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I guess my example is this:

I have two headphones, a Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro at 250Ω and a Sennheiser HD650 at 300Ω

My current amp (Class A/B circlotron-based design) is able to produce 350mW RMS per channel into 300Ω in single ended mode. If I crank it all the way up it is just about sufficient for my listening preferences when I want some vigorous listening.

(Now I have modified the cables for my HD650's so the ground for each channel is separate, what audiophile companies falsely call balancedd this ups the efficiency significantly to the point where I can get 900mw RMS per channel, and thus I stay in the 55-60% volume range, which is much better as amps perform better if they are not being cranked all the way up, but this is besides the point for this comparison as I doubt Creatives little dongle does this)

In order to do this it has a typical power consumption of about 25W.

Unless it is USB-C / 3.1 you aren't going to get this kind of power over the USB port.

Now, you can get a lot greater efficiency out of an amp, by utilizing so called "Class D" or the patented "Class T" topographies which are all digital amps on a chip, and with one of these, you might be able to produce enough power to drive decent headphones based on USB power, but the quality will suffer over a decent Class A or Class A/B design.

Class D amplifiers aren't necessarily junk anymore. Yeah 2 cent amplifiers are class D by default (and I wouldn't be surprised if Creative cheaped out...), but high end digital amps have come a long way.

Power/cost savings aside, I think there's something to be said for integrating the everything into one finely tuned package in stuff like this, for example. Now, I'm no audio expert, but I've listened to one of those D2Audio chips in a pair of Vanatoo speakers, and they sounded more neutral than most pricey, discrete A/B amps and speakers I've listened to.
 

Nenu

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I actually appreciate high quality audio quite a bit, but for gaming, it's just not there and there's nothing wrong with pointing that out from experience. You can throw all of the "high-end" hardware you want at a game (I tried, many times) and there still won't be a distinguishable difference in quality from a decent amp and headphones. If you 'feel' you're hearing a difference, it's pure placebo. Lot's of people discussing value in this thread so hop down from your high horse today :)
I'm a hardcore audiophile, this isnt something I would use because I have a very good Atmos setup for gaming.
But if I were travelling a lot or had close by neighbours to look after I would be in the market.

Its not meant to be an audiophile dream but to bring a very good surround experience to headphones.
The price reflects this.
Current Creative cards have a much appreciated HRTF feature, this is the next step above.
Its long overdue, where is the problem? You dont have to buy it.

It has a 99% appreciation rate so far and Creative have said they are looking to support the remaining 1% with a future product.
That will be interesting, the last 1% will want it all.
 

Stanley Pain

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Jesus.

This is utter nonsense.

Using DSP to fake what speakers sound like is just plain idiotic.

That, and there is no way with the limited power this thing pulls over USB you can properly power a decent set of headphones using it.

And there is no way a proper analogue stage fits in that tiny little stick.

If anyone is actually considering buying this garbage, I have a bridge to sell you...

Don't fall for the hype, or the placebo effect!

Please tell me this is copy/pasta from somewhere :p
 

James Robinson

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I like to wear headphones in public places, and that's about it. I'm not a kid, don't live in my parents basement, and feel no particular need to be 'quiet' in my own home. I find headphones to be restrictive and almost claustrophobic @ times. I WEAR a set because I can't seem to find a decent wearable mic that doesn't have the headphones attached.. so they rest on my throat like hands waiting to strangle me when i stop paying attention. I have multiple 4k monitors, and tend to keep game maps up on one, discord on another, movies on a 3rd, and the game I'm playing on the 4th. Want my money? Make a decent worn mic without the added headphone crap.... quit with the laughable 'haute couture' audiophile bullshit.... and get back to making soundcards that are awesome (have DTS, Dolby, & THX decoding for 7.1 and higher, etc...)
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Class D amplifiers aren't necessarily junk anymore. Yeah 2 cent amplifiers are class D by default (and I wouldn't be surprised if Creative cheaped out...), but high end digital amps have come a long way.

Power/cost savings aside, I think there's something to be said for integrating the everything into one finely tuned package in stuff like this, for example. Now, I'm no audio expert, but I've listened to one of those D2Audio chips in a pair of Vanatoo speakers, and they sounded more neutral than most pricey, discrete A/B amps and speakers I've listened to.


I've heard that Class D has improved, but I still don't trust it too much.

Don't get me wrong. I have a class D amp in my kitchen and it does Ok for low cost casual listening, but it's not something I would want to use anywhere I do critical listening.

As far as all in one package vs separates, I tend to prefer separates, as I can upgrade them separately from each other. This stuff usually isn't cheap, so being able to upgrade or swap an amp separately from a DAC and not just have to replace the whole thing is a pretty big selling point.

Also, there is something to be said for having the sensitive analog parts of an amp separate from the gigahertz noise inherent in the digital side of DAC's. It's already a tricky enough design challenge to not get that noise into the analog side of the DAC.
 
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joobjoob

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So ya a virtualization technology. That's huge leap..... maybe.

Been reading hype about this for almost 2 years. Some reputable places said they were surprised by the demos they tried. They are charging alot for such a small amd simple device so maybe they feel it's good enough to charge a huge markup over build cost.

Definetly a lot of hype, hard to imagine that there was just a huge amount of improvement potential just sitting there and nobody had found it.

Sometimes it just takes someone to think about it differently. Creativity and engineers don't often mix but when it does lightning can strike.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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It has a 99% appreciation rate so far and Creative have said they are looking to support the remaining 1% with a future product.
That will be interesting, the last 1% will want it all.

Interesting. Do you have the source for this 1% statement?

Would be nice if instead of trying to sell the 1% on a higher end DAC/Amp, if they marketed a DSP only product, that performed the DSP 3D effects described, but allowed users to use the DAC and AMP of their choice.

Heck, it could be a PCIe card with an optical out that can then be plugged into the DAC of the users choice.

I mean, my old X-Fi titanium is still plugged into my system, and it has a DSP on it... And an Optical out... Who knows if that old DSP is capable of doing what they are doing now, but I could be persuaded to pay for the software/drivers and even hardware if necessary that would allow me to do this with my own DAC and Amp.

The sticking point for me is that I don't trust the DAC/Amp part of this.
 

joobjoob

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$100M on R&D... How is creative Labs still in business?

Their gear has just been snake oil since onboard soundcards actually stopped sucking.

Also, "surround" headphones are bunk. We hear audio in stereo, and quality stereo headphones can provide superior positional audio than every "surround" headphone set out there.

It's just gimmick after gimmick with creative. Maybe if they fixed driver issues that have been outstanding for more than 4 years, then they would be on my radar.

Instead they spend... $100M on garbage R&D...


I stopped buying virtual surround sound headphones after experiencing this with cheap plain headphones.



I keep wondering if this will somehow create this dual microphone placed at the ears experience.
 

Nenu

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Interesting. Do you have the source for this 1% statement?

Would be nice if instead of trying to sell the 1% on a higher end DAC/Amp, if they marketed a DSP only product, that performed the DSP 3D effects described, but allowed users to use the DAC and AMP of their choice.

Heck, it could be a PCIe card with an optical out that can then be plugged into the DAC of the users choice.

I mean, my old X-Fi titanium is still plugged into my system, and it has a DSP on it... And an Optical out... Who knows if that old DSP is capable of doing what they are doing now, but I could be persuaded to pay for the software/drivers and even hardware if necessary that would allow me to do this with my own DAC and Amp.

The sticking point for me is that I don't trust the DAC/Amp part of this.

On front page news. The discussion links to post 77 in this thread, with the same info repeated.
https://www.hardocp.com/news/2018/10/29/creative_super_xfi_launches_on_november_1/

"We are proud to share that over 99% of folks who bought the SXFI AMP are very satisfied! This is way beyond my wildest dreams. Honestly, I would have been ecstatic if we had achieved anything close to 80%. For this we would like to say a big thank you to all our customers for their support. This is what the team has worked so hard for. To make your headphone experience sound as good as the real thing," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative Technology, and creator of Super X-Fi. "For the remaining less than 1%, I'm not giving up on winning them over. From the recent interactions in Singapore, we now understand their needs better. We believe we can scale Super X-Fi technology to suit them, while maintaining the magic."
 

illli

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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.

lol this was literally my first thought as well.
 

JunXaos

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I read on the SG forum. I don't think it was well received. People were asking how to get refund.
 

illram

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This is the second time I've signed up for emails for this, and Creative never emailed me. (First for the general release, then for the US release.)

Very curious to try these out with the ear imaging stuff. I am also waiting (way too patiently) for a Smyth Realiser A16, so hopefully one day I will be able to compare the two. (My guess is the Smyth would be far superior. But bird in hand, etc.)

I am pretty disappointed though in the lack of processing for anything other than PCM. (No AC-3, DD+, DTS, etc.) And how limited its in/out is.
 

c3k

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Will this make my Star Citizen spaceship sound better?

;)

/s This is interesting to me. I will not pre-order. I will wait for [H].
 
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