Creative Super X-Fi Gen 2

erek

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Could be pretty sweet.

“Creative also showed off the more budget-oriented OUTLIER ONE V2 wireless in-ear headphones for active users on the go, a prototype CLEVO laptop that integrates and SFXI DSP, a face-lifted SXFI AIR wireless headphones, as well as the recently released OUTLIER AIR and OUTLIER GOLD true wireless earbuds that boast best-in-class rated battery life on a single use cycle. We have some of these in hand for more testing, especially as a demonstration of Super X-Fi Gen 2, so look out for more on this subject coming your way.”

https://www.techpowerup.com/262900/creative-at-ces-2020-super-x-fi-everything
 

Archaea

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Creative’s fooled me multiple times, not least of which was the first gen Super X-Fi which sounds like a cheap set of home theater speakers in a small tile bathroom on my Sennheiser HD-6XX

I wont even buy this on solid early critic reviews. The last one had that in spades and ended up disappointing. Critics were baited (and consumers were switched). Critics reviewed with far superior in-ear microphone based measurements for intro auditions and consumers were supplied a product which based its configured sound on pictures of your ear. The difference is night and day. It went from being a really exciting product to an over priced but decent headphone amp with a poor to midline surround sound mode toggle button on that change. However, unless you were a savvy consumer and audio enthusiast you wouldn't know about the bait and switch. And even if you did know about it, we bought/pre-ordered on hope and false promises, because of the completely unethical way it was marketed. The critics raved about the in-ear microphone measured version shown privately and Creative said the picture based one would be 90% as effective and thats what the reviewers relayed to the consumers. That was a gross exaggeration, I’d even call it a lie on Creatives part.

I feel I’ve been lied to by Creative’s marketing so many times over the years that I wish the company would go belly up. Three different times I bought creative sound cards years ago because of wanting live Dolby Digital encoded output. All three couldn't deliver. Marketing lies. They could only do 5.1 for gaming via the analogue outputs. I started using onboard sound years ago and only got lured back to Creative’s house of mirrors because of my enthusiasm from demoing a Smyth Realizer A16, which is a similar premise in measuring inside your ears to get a surrounded sound headphone config that is personalized for you only and TRULY sounds like a atmospheric audio system. I demoed that a Axpona in 2017 and was blown away.
https://smyth-research.com/


Thats what I hoped the Super X-Fi would be like or 90% of that based on the way Creative demoed the Super X-Fi to the press and promised similar results via the consumer camera based version.

It was NOT that.

Now a year after release, it still doesn't have an iPhone app, and as best I can tell it doesn't have a PC app either (inexcusable). So any changes I want to make to the Super X-Fi config I have to borrow my wife’s android phone.

edit: just read the article. The author speaks to the bait and switch. But IMO it can’t be condemned hard enough. Buyer Beware.
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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Ah.

I came here because I thought it was a new PCIe sound card.

Funny thing is, I thought I would no longer need a sound card. I use an external DAC via optical cable, so there should be no issue just using the on board sound, right?

Wrong.

Gigabyte went all crazy on their latest motherboards using some sort of weird dual Realtek chip solution which is - despite being on board - connected via USB instead of PCIe and just does not work at all under linux.

I can't get any output over the optical port.

So, I had to install my old X-Fi Titanium HD again just to get an optical out. I'm thankful Inopted for the Threadripper board with the extra PCIe 1x port.

I may have to replace it though, as it appears to be going bad. Over time the sound output just starts to become corrupted.

So, I'll need to figure out another solution.

I could just use the USB hookup on the DAC, but I really like the optical isolation from the relatively noisy PC that an optical cable offers.

Maybe a USB to optical adapter of some sort?
 

dgz

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Now a year after release, it still doesn't have an iPhone app, and as best I can tell it doesn't have a PC app either (inexcusable). So any changes I want to make to the Super X-Fi config I have to borrow my wife’s android phone.

edit: just read the article. The author speaks to the bait and switch. But IMO it can’t be condemned hard enough. Buyer Beware.
My god, I am glad I waited long enough to forget about the magical surround sound headphone amp.

So, one basically need a smartphone to use them lol. No wai, Jose
 

Falkentyne

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Gen 2 on my SFXI Amp improves positioning clarity of rear surround and lessens the reverb. It does seem like I can hear rear cues of enemies behind me better with it and it's not placebo, even though I had no problems before. It does seem more distinct now and I'm happy with the change.
Also apparently Creative is going to sell the in-ear microphones to end users in the future. Since the Smyth Realiser A16 costs as much as a cheap car and there ARE people on this forum who are NOT made of money, I'll give Creative the benefit of the doubt and see what happens.
 

Archaea

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My god, I am glad I waited long enough to forget about the magical surround sound headphone amp.

So, one basically need a smartphone to use them lol. No wai, Jose
you have to do initial setup and all subsequent configuration on a android device, but then you can subsequently use it on your phone or Windows PC via USB C interface.
 

Archaea

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Gen 2 on my SFXI Amp improves positioning clarity of rear surround and lessens the reverb. It does seem like I can hear rear cues of enemies behind me better with it and it's not placebo, even though I had no problems before. It does seem more distinct now and I'm happy with the change.
Also apparently Creative is going to sell the in-ear microphones to end users in the future. Since the Smyth Realiser A16 costs as much as a cheap car and there ARE people on this forum who are NOT made of money, I'll give Creative the benefit of the doubt and see what happens.
So I just updated my app and reran the config with "gen 2" with hope they've made some progress.

junk

The sound makes me feel like I need to yawn to clear my ears. The soundstage is TOTALLY jacked on my Philips X2HR. I'd next try my Sennheiser HD-6XX, but I have to borrow my wife's phone again. I'll do it after work.

I do agree, that they seem to have (thankfully) killed some of the awful reverb of the first gen software, but it is still a crappy DSP mode at the end of the day. Vocals have lots of sibilance. it reminds me of an exceptionally low bit rate MP3, like 64kpbs, but strangely only the vocals are horribly affected in my listening so far. Bass sounds fine, and treble sounds largely fine. Sadly there's just the On or Off toggle. and Off still sounds better --- sooo yeah - still just an overpriced USB headphone amp. Who cares about surround sound if everything sounds like it was downloaded off napster 20 years ago in the lowest bitrate you could possibly find. The one bright note is it has a really low noise floor and so I use it every day (just with the surround DSP disenganged). My onboard realtek sound card (Gigabyte x99 motherboard) has a higher noise floor which I can hear in my headphones. The Super X-Fi is dead silent when nothing is playing. Thats the only reason I didn’t return it for a refund - that and it drives high impedance headphones like my Sennheiser much nicer than onboard.

If you listened to that Smyth Realizer A16, this X-Fi isn't even comparable. I'm still bitter that Mark Henniger on AVSForum compared the two and said this was very nearly the whole way there, and stated that I would not be disappointed (We know each other from AVSforum g2gs). (Granted he heard them with the inner ear mic measurements at a presser which by all accounts was a very special experience rather than the consumer version release) These two devices shouldn't even be mentioned in the same breath. The A16 was PERFECT in my audition time with it. I could not tell when the headphones were on, and when they were off in a 7.1.4 setup. Such an amazing demo. WOW WOW WOW!

If they were both musical instruments - this is a Smyth Realizer A16
upload_2020-1-13_14-6-28.png



and this is a Creative Super X-Fi
upload_2020-1-13_13-59-30.png



I put my write up of the Smyth Realizer A16 on page 29 of this thread. If you want to read more. At that time it had a $1,700 pre-order price. Still pricey, but I see they've raised the price to $4k now. Ouch. It's an amazing piece of kit, but $4k and probably $1.7K is still too rich for my blood. But an A16 this X-Fi is not.
https://www.avsforum.com/forum/61-area-home-theater-meets/2782657-axpona-2017-april-21-22-23-who-s-going-avsforum.html#post52554841


Stitch1 has listened to my Super X-Fi and we calibrated for his ears. He liked it even less than me. We do recognize that the Super X-Fi is going to be unique per person, and it's possible that some people get a good config because their ears better match the research profiles. Maybe, maybe, maybe...
 
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Stitch1

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It's been a while since I have experienced the X-Fi but it was crap. Sounded horrible and I would rather not have it in the sound chain. Waste of time and money.
 

RPGWiZaRD

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I was one of the fools that decided to give the Super X-Fi amp a go based on all the praise and "best of CES" etc stamp and it was among my most dissappointed purchases ever. It made it sound gross and I'm a guy that typically likes surround sound emulation techniques.

I'm not hopeful for this generation 2 update but I will give it a go, maybe I get back some of those highs the software killed. I mean it literally sounded like it deleted the 10kHz+ range alltogether and the built-in EQ wasn't enough to bring it back even WHEN MAXED OUT.
 

Archaea

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I was one of the fools that decided to give the Super X-Fi amp a go based on all the praise and "best of CES" etc stamp and it was among my most dissappointed purchases ever. It made it sound gross and I'm a guy that typically likes surround sound emulation techniques.
But we have a 98% satisfaction rate!!!
Said the creative rep who sprung onto the board at AVSforum and tried to do some damage control to the opinions of the true consumers who purchased the retail product and were noting disappointment. Meanwhile I only read a couple people who said they liked it in consumer release form. It was like that 98% number was inverted.
 
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OFaceSIG

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I haven't used ANY of the Creative tertiary accessories, speakers, amps, you name it. But a Creative sound card has been in EVERY single gaming machine I've ever built. I've never had an issue I could attribute to a Creative driver issue and I've played AAA titles in nearly every major Microsoft OS since the beginning of time.

Am I really that lucky?

EDIT: It could be related but If I'm not using a piece of hardware on the motherboard it gets disabled. Onboard audio, extra NICs, parallel and serial ports don't exist on the motherboard, all disabled.
 

Darunion

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I have the AE-5 and the sound is pretty nice. My issue is that switching from headphones to speakers can confuse windows. You have to change it in the creative UI and you hear a couple relays click and then a new output device shows up in windows. Then you have to change to that output source.
 

Armenius

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I haven't used ANY of the Creative tertiary accessories, speakers, amps, you name it. But a Creative sound card has been in EVERY single gaming machine I've ever built. I've never had an issue I could attribute to a Creative driver issue and I've played AAA titles in nearly every major Microsoft OS since the beginning of time.

Am I really that lucky?

EDIT: It could be related but If I'm not using a piece of hardware on the motherboard it gets disabled. Onboard audio, extra NICs, parallel and serial ports don't exist on the motherboard, all disabled.
Only time I had an issue was with Vista because Creative refused to release a driver for that version of Windows. Got crashes constantly and just lived with onboard audio until Windows 7. Have not had an issue since.
I have the AE-5 and the sound is pretty nice. My issue is that switching from headphones to speakers can confuse windows. You have to change it in the creative UI and you hear a couple relays click and then a new output device shows up in windows. Then you have to change to that output source.
Agreed on the AE-5. It's the best sound card Creative has released since the original Audigy.
 

Auer

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Ah.

I came here because I thought it was a new PCIe sound card.

Funny thing is, I thought I would no longer need a sound card. I use an external DAC via optical cable, so there should be no issue just using the on board sound, right?

Wrong.

Gigabyte went all crazy on their latest motherboards using some sort of weird dual Realtek chip solution which is - despite being on board - connected via USB instead of PCIe and just does not work at all under linux.

I can't get any output over the optical port.

So, I had to install my old X-Fi Titanium HD again just to get an optical out. I'm thankful Inopted for the Threadripper board with the extra PCIe 1x port.

I may have to replace it though, as it appears to be going bad. Over time the sound output just starts to become corrupted.

So, I'll need to figure out another solution.

I could just use the USB hookup on the DAC, but I really like the optical isolation from the relatively noisy PC that an optical cable offers.

Maybe a USB to optical adapter of some sort?
If it's for 16/44 music only try casting over Wi-Fi.

If not, Try it with a decent USB cable, you might/might not have any issues. Even things like having the DAC and the PC on different power circuits/breakers can play in here.

I use a powered 2.1 speaker setup for watching youtube and games, and cast to a Chromecast audio for music connected to a DAC and my Stereo.
 

GhostCow

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Ever since EAX and A3D stopped being a thing I haven't seen a point in sound cards. Most of what they do to make things sound better is done through software. I'm quite happy sending sound to my monitor with DisplayPort and plugging my speakers into the headphone jack
 
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RPGWiZaRD

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I'm positively suprised, at least something has changed with gen 2 software update. At least it's not a reverby & muddy mess anymore, the highs that was the biggest issue for me previous is definitely there now too, might have been some bug on my side when I first tested this X-fi amp as it sounded so horrible back then I couldn't believe any of the feedback it had recieved.

The soundstaging is pretty impressive is my initial thoughts now that the glaring sound quality hit isn't there like I percieved last time and totally caught my full attention to the point I couldn't be bothered to give the rest of the sound changes any focus.

Definitely a much wide soundstage compared to the "off" mode. I get the feel this DAC is particularly closed-in sounding though without the processing on and most DACs have a much more open sound by default, like it would purposedly be done so that the x-fi mode would sound more impressive though. They should release a proper product with this function or have another manufacturer have a product released for them (as I understand it's free for others to implement for a licensing fee).
 

Archaea

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I'm positively suprised, at least something has changed with gen 2 software update. At least it's not a reverby & muddy mess anymore, the highs that was the biggest issue for me previous is definitely there now too, might have been some bug on my side when I first tested this X-fi amp as it sounded so horrible back then I couldn't believe any of the feedback it had recieved.

The soundstaging is pretty impressive is my initial thoughts now that the glaring sound quality hit isn't there like I percieved last time and totally caught my full attention to the point I couldn't be bothered to give the rest of the sound changes any focus.

Definitely a much wide soundstage compared to the "off" mode. I get the feel this DAC is particularly closed-in sounding though without the processing on and most DACs have a much more open sound by default, like it would purposedly be done so that the x-fi mode would sound more impressive though. They should release a proper product with this function or have another manufacturer have a product released for them (as I understand it's free for others to implement for a licensing fee).
Glad to hear it's notably better for you. What content are you checking it against, and what headphones are you using?
 

RPGWiZaRD

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Maybe spoke a bit too soon, was still set to HD650 headphones + some highs boost as that was the brightest sounding profile, at least now it gets too bright if boosting up the highs while before I could listen it the highs at the highend boosted up high without giving me any issues with sibilance but I need more testing before being able to say anything more accurately how well it fares.

But for me the calibration of your ear profiles doesn't seem to bring me the best result as it darkens the sound for me quite a bit (more bass, less highs), if I was able to skip the custom calibration process it might work better for me.

Having trouble getting it to work correctly on PC, it just says "Please connect your SXFI device to the computer" for some reason. It plays audio but the settings can't be changed and it sounds bad.
 
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Darunion

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Ever since EAX and A3D stopped being a thing I haven't seen a point in sound cards. Most of what they do to make things sound better is done through software. I'm quite happy sending sound to my monitor with DisplayPort and plugging my speakers into the headphone jack
That is very far from true. While onboard sound has improved, there is still a pretty large chasm between the two. You can only filter and boost audio in software, quality cannot be improved.

My setup is my creative AE-5 to my mackie cr3 and an old yamaha 10" sub. For when I am listening to music or gaming with a headset i use my DT-880 600ohms plugged right into the sound card (nice feature is it can drive them pretty well) that has a modmic attached to it for chatting.

I certainly can notice a drastic difference if I plug it into my onboard sound compared to just running direct output on the ae5.
 

Vega

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X-Fi was sooooo terrible when I tried it. I'll stick with my high end DAC.
 

GhostCow

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That is very far from true. While onboard sound has improved, there is still a pretty large chasm between the two. You can only filter and boost audio in software, quality cannot be improved.

My setup is my creative AE-5 to my mackie cr3 and an old yamaha 10" sub. For when I am listening to music or gaming with a headset i use my DT-880 600ohms plugged right into the sound card (nice feature is it can drive them pretty well) that has a modmic attached to it for chatting.

I certainly can notice a drastic difference if I plug it into my onboard sound compared to just running direct output on the ae5.

You should give this a watch
 

Darunion

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Prolly not going to watch a 20minute 7 year old youtube video, i assume that was presented as your argument? Sorry
 

GhostCow

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Watch the first 5 or 10 minutes then. You just think your soundcard sounds better because it has an amp and/or you are using front headers for the onboard test.
 

OFaceSIG

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Not to mention Tek Syndicate is kind of a joke in my eyes. Sorry, just my opinion.
 

Darunion

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Watch the first 5 or 10 minutes then. You just think your soundcard sounds better because it has an amp and/or you are using front headers for the onboard test.
Okay, it is clear you are just here to argue so goodbye. You have nothing useful to provide to this conversation. I am glad you like what you have but don't pretend you know anything about what others hear or enjoy.

I hate it, i always fall into a troll trap. One day ill learn
 

GhostCow

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Okay, it is clear you are just here to argue so goodbye. You have nothing useful to provide to this conversation. I am glad you like what you have but don't pretend you know anything about what others hear or enjoy.

I hate it, i always fall into a troll trap. One day ill learn
Yes everyone who disagrees with you is trolling. That definitely makes sense. You're the one who started the argument and then you have the gall to duck out and call me a troll? Weak.
 

Och

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I have two Super XFI products - the SXFI amp that I used with my PC, and SXFI air headphones that I use at the gym/biking.

They are decent products. The headphones are low quality themselves, but SXFI effects are nice. The SXFI amp however when paired with good headphones is pretty awesome with music. Unfortunately the "hardware" part of the amp isn't high end, which is not surprising for the size.

Basically the best purpose for the the SXFI amp is if you're going to use it with high end headphones and a mobile device, but I'm not sure how many people are actually willing to carry so much stuff with on them, most people just use wireless airpods. But if anything, it certainly destroys beats headphones that were once all the rave.
 

Och

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As far as Super XFI effects, they are just one of the competing binaural virtualization products on the market. You have the old Creative CMSS-3D that probably started the whole thing, now you have Creative SBX and SXFI, you have windows sonic thats built into windows, then there's Dolby Atmos that built into Windows but you have to purchase it for $10 in the Windows store, then you have Sennheiser GSX and a bunch more less relevant products. I personally think effects wise Super SXFI is hands down the best one, but its too bad they don't have a high end implementation of it. It only comes with relatively cheap lower end headphones and a lower end amp. I was looking forward their AE-9 card, but it came out without SXFI support.

There is software that is able to reproduce most of the competing tech (except SXFI) on any sound device.

https://sourceforge.net/projects/hesuvi/

And a good read.

https://sourceforge.net/p/hesuvi/wiki/How Is Headphone Surround Virtualization Even Possible and Why Do We Need It?/
 

Archaea

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You're going to compare a $4k product to $100 product, really?
You’re going to act like you can’t comprehend?

Creative marketed it that way. They showcased the product to the press core privately using custom unique in-ear microphone measurements — just like the Smyth does. They (AVSForum) even referenced the Smyth Realizer as the audiophile known entity that customers could compare this new Super X-Fi to. The press was blown away and wrote rave reviews (just like the $2K Smyth — but noted this could do the convincing surround functionality of the Smyth in a ~$100 package — which was revolutionary!). Creative then said the picture variant was very nearly as good based on their tech and proprietary algorithms - and that was the version they would sell to consumers, but didn't demo the consumer version for the press and early reviewers. The press bought the lie and then carried the in-ear measured hype to their readers. The early reviewers were lied to - no two ways about it. Mark Henniger of the million + member avsforum — the biggest A/V forum in the World gave the product a 2018 best of CES show award based on his private press review demonstration and told me directly if I had loved the Smyth I would not be disappointed with the Creative. He used the wording INSANEly effective in his description of how good the experience was. Mark is not a hype guy. He’s got a lot of years of experience and I trust his demo with the in-ear mic custom measurement for the config was as good as he says. The retail product pales to that though.

upload_2020-1-18_8-21-23.jpeg



Best of show refrains echoed through audio boards and excited enthusiasts from many popular reviewers. People bought on marketing hype. Then they didn’t receive an parallel experience — not even remotely like what was promised. NIGHT and DAY different. Mark, after reading complaints from AVSForum on the final release product bought the consumer version to compare. After he spent some time with it he confirmed in the thread to his readers the DSP was no good in consumer retail form, and the product only had value as a USB headphone amp and not for the primarily marketed surround sound functions.

If you can’t see the bait and switch and marketing dishonesty in this, then I don’t know what else to say.

It wasn't me who confirmed the comparison to the $1700 (at the time) Smyth. It was these reviewers who had heard both. So yeah, that comparison is valid. The whole thing was a farce.

references:
https://hardforum.com/threads/creative-launches-super-x-fi-amp.1968470/page-2#post-10438495

https://www.avsforum.com/forum/378-headphones/2949928-best-ces-2018-creative-super-x-fi-headphone-technology.html#/topics/2949928

 
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