Upgraded from Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD to Sound Blaster AE-9

Sprkd1

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My Titanium HD is now EOL and won't receive driver updates to support the latest versions of Windows 10. There are many reports that the Titanium HD does not work well or at all in Windows 10 version 2004. Because of this, I decided to just get a new sound card (I have yet to upgrade to Windows 10 version 2004 as my PC is apparently "not yet ready" for the update as per Windows Update).

I received the AE-9 today and installed it. I tested out some audio material I am very familiar with. I noticed a significant increase in clarity and detail. I use a pair of JBL LSR305 monitors and a single JBL LSR310S subwoofer for a 2.1 setup. Bass quality has also significantly increased as I can hear more "definition" and/or detail in the bass. I also noticed an improvement in imaging as well.

One quick/easy example of the improvement I noticed is in the following trailer. With my Titanium HD, the deep-voiced narrator was quite hard to understand and make out what he was saying. With the AE-9, it is MUCH easier to make out what is being said.


Overall, I think this was an awesome upgrade.
 

GotNoRice

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My Titanium HD is now EOL and won't receive driver updates to support the latest versions of Windows 10.

What makes you think that it won't receive any new driver updates? The latest driver is only about a year old, and came out right after a Windows 10 feature update that caused issues. The new driver fixed those issues. Creative has actually done a great job keeping up with the new feature updates.

There are many reports that the Titanium HD does not work well or at all in Windows 10 version 2004.

What reports? I'd love to see some actual links instead of vague references to "reports". I have an X-Fi Titanium HD as well as a regular X-Fi Titanium in computers that are both running 2004 with zero issues. I'm also running an even older X-Fi XtremeMusic and an X-Fi XtremeGamer in other computers that are also running 2004 now, and again, no issues.

I received the AE-9 today and installed it. I tested out some audio material I am very familiar with. I noticed a significant increase in clarity and detail. I use a pair of JBL LSR305 monitors and a single JBL LSR310S subwoofer for a 2.1 setup. Bass quality has also significantly increased as I can hear more "definition" and/or detail in the bass. I also noticed an improvement in imaging as well.

One quick/easy example of the improvement I noticed is in the following trailer. With my Titanium HD, the deep-voiced narrator was quite hard to understand and make out what he was saying. With the AE-9, it is MUCH easier to make out what is being said.


The Titanium HD already has a very good DAC. The DAC in the AE-9 may very well be better but the difference between a very good DAC and an even better DAC won't be significant enough to make huge differences such as being able to hear the voice of a narrator or not. More than likely, you are using different settings on the two cards. Settings for things like CMSS-3D, "Crystalizer", EQ, and their equivalents on the AE-9, can all potentially have a huge impact on what you hear.
 

Sprkd1

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What makes you think that it won't receive any new driver updates? The latest driver is only about a year old, and came out right after a Windows 10 feature update that caused issues. The new driver fixed those issues. Creative has actually done a great job keeping up with the new feature updates.



What reports? I'd love to see some actual links instead of vague references to "reports". I have an X-Fi Titanium HD as well as a regular X-Fi Titanium in computers that are both running 2004 with zero issues. I'm also running an even older X-Fi XtremeMusic and an X-Fi XtremeGamer in other computers that are also running 2004 now, and again, no issues.



The Titanium HD already has a very good DAC. The DAC in the AE-9 may very well be better but the difference between a very good DAC and an even better DAC won't be significant enough to make huge differences such as being able to hear the voice of a narrator or not. More than likely, you are using different settings on the two cards. Settings for things like CMSS-3D, "Crystalizer", EQ, and their equivalents on the AE-9, can all potentially have a huge impact on what you hear.

Have a look at the following, it says "End of Service Life" and that support is limited to whatever is already available: https://support.creative.com/Produc...i Titanium HD&subCatName=X-Fi Series&CatName=

Search Google for "titanium hd windows 10 2004" and you'll see quite a few Reddit posts of users having issues with the Titanium HD and Windows 10 2004. That might not classify as concrete proof to you but I was already having a few bugs/issues with my Titanium HD and Windows 10 1909 (which I am still currently on).

I know the Titanium HD has a good DAC and to be fair I always had in Game Mode. I am running the AE-9 in Direct Mode with all processing left off.
 

GotNoRice

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Have a look at the following, it says "End of Service Life" and that support is limited to whatever is already available: https://support.creative.com/Produc...i Titanium HD&subCatName=X-Fi Series&CatName=

It's said that for a very long time, during which they've released at least two new drivers.

Search Google for "titanium hd windows 10 2004" and you'll see quite a few Reddit posts of users having issues with the Titanium HD and Windows 10 2004.

I did the exact search you specified, but only see a few results that were posted after 2004 was released (May 27th), and in most of those threads there are people claiming it works fine.

Sorry for coming down hard on you, but you started this thread with some fairly declarative statements about the future of the X-Fi series that were clearly based on little more than assumptions and hearsay. Hopefully you will enjoy your new AE-9 card for a long time. Creative has provided new drivers for the X-Fi series for 14+ years. That would be like still getting new drivers for your AE-9 in 2032. If creative continues that level of support, then you should get more than you're money's worth out of your new AE-9.
 

Sprkd1

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It's said that for a very long time, during which they've released at least two new drivers.



I did the exact search you specified, but only see a few results that were posted after 2004 was released (May 27th), and in most of those threads there are people claiming it works fine.

Sorry for coming down hard on you, but you started this thread with some fairly declarative statements about the future of the X-Fi series that were clearly based on little more than assumptions and hearsay. Hopefully you will enjoy your new AE-9 card for a long time. Creative has provided new drivers for the X-Fi series for 14+ years. That would be like still getting new drivers for your AE-9 in 2032. If creative continues that level of support, then you should get more than you're money's worth out of your new AE-9.

No worries. It's just that I saw quite a few Reddit posts also saying that the Titanium HD will not receive any more driver updates.
 

Sprkd1

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There is 1 inch of space between my graphics card and sound card (with the sound card being under the graphics card). Is that enough "breathing" space for the graphics card's fans for effective cooling?
 

GotNoRice

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There is 1 inch of space between my graphics card and sound card (with the sound card being under the graphics card). Is that enough "breathing" space for the graphics card's fans for effective cooling?

That's an impossible question to answer, as there are going to be a lot of variables that come into play. Your best bet is to simply monitor your temperatures. Use something like MSI Afterburner and simply keep an eye on your temperatures. Generally blower-style coolers are the most forgiving when it comes to being close to another card. The 3 GTX680's that I have in my backup computer all have blower-style coolers and are less than a half inch apart from each other. Assuming the specs in your signature are current, the triple-fan layout is not going to be as forgiving, but again, your temps will be what tells you the full story.

I'd be more worried about your soundcard really... Not that your soundcard will overheat or anything like that, but your soundcard is basically an "internal DAC". They are susceptible to electrical noise, and a GPU is very electrically noisy. As long as you aren't hearing weird background noise via your soundcard while your GPU is under heavy load, then you should be good to go.
 

Sprkd1

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That's an impossible question to answer, as there are going to be a lot of variables that come into play. Your best bet is to simply monitor your temperatures. Use something like MSI Afterburner and simply keep an eye on your temperatures. Generally blower-style coolers are the most forgiving when it comes to being close to another card. The 3 GTX680's that I have in my backup computer all have blower-style coolers and are less than a half inch apart from each other. Assuming the specs in your signature are current, the triple-fan layout is not going to be as forgiving, but again, your temps will be what tells you the full story.

I'd be more worried about your soundcard really... Not that your soundcard will overheat or anything like that, but your soundcard is basically an "internal DAC". They are susceptible to electrical noise, and a GPU is very electrically noisy. As long as you aren't hearing weird background noise via your soundcard while your GPU is under heavy load, then you should be good to go.

Ran the Fire Strike Ultra Stress Test for about 10 minutes. Max GPU temp was 75 C. No weird background noise via my sound card either.
 

Sprkd1

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Ran the same test again for another 10 minutes but this time with the case's side panel removed. Max GPU temp was 74 C.
 

tungt88

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Amir over @ ASR hasn't reviewed the AE-9 yet, but he thought well of the AE-5, so if the AE-9 has a similar implementation, it should be quite good. That having been said, you're probably better off with a separate audio deck/setup; but as you already have the AE-9, good luck & enjoy!
GotNoRice's points are all good ones, and essentially boil down to "what you're paying Creative for in the AE-9 is basically them providing EQ presets" (as well as the electrical noise stuff, all of which is valid).
The AE series does have a much better headphone amp setup than the (anemic) Titanium HD, though (if you use headphones).
 

Enzojz

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I have an X-FI THD and I bought an AE-9 this months, I could say the speaker out is almost the same, the headphone bring a difference but I can't say which is better, AE-9 bring more solid bass on my headphone while X-FI THD give a better vocal.

And the driver for X-FI THD works better under windows 10 20H2 for ASIO or WASAPI, AE-9 get more failures on this point and there's no automatic headphone/speaker switch on AE-9.

Without considering the future of driver I would return AE-9 back, and my X-FI THD works very well under Windows 10 20H2, you just need the most recent driver.
 

GotNoRice

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I have an X-FI THD and I bought an AE-9 this months, I could say the speaker out is almost the same, the headphone bring a difference but I can't say which is better, AE-9 bring more solid bass on my headphone while X-FI THD give a better vocal.

The Titanium HD uses a separate DAC for the headphone output that is not nearly as good as the DAC used for the RCA analog outputs. It's okay in a pinch, for the rare times when you might really need to plug headphones directly into your computer. For long term listening, you should really always be using the main RCA outputs (which use the better DAC) and a separate external headphone amplifier.
 

Darunion

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I have an AE5 and liked it, its now shelved though. Software IMO is the worst part for soundblaster products. The x-fi looked very tempting though.
 

greenie537

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The Titanium HD with Burson V6 Vivids and an O2 amp absolutely slaughters the AE-9 with the same setup...Hands down, CMSS knocks SBX out of the park. If you're seriously worried about a good mic, get a Yeti Blue.
 

GotNoRice

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The Titanium HD with Burson V6 Vivids and an O2 amp absolutely slaughters the AE-9 with the same setup...Hands down, CMSS knocks SBX out of the park.

Yeah I did that upgrade recently myself:
https://hardforum.com/threads/breat...-soundcard-creative-x-fi-titanium-hd.2003840/

In my case I used two V6 Vivids in the buffer section and two V6 Classics in the I/V section. The Classics in the I/V stage actually seemed to make a bigger difference than the Vivids in the buffer stage.
 

greenie537

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Yeah I did that upgrade recently myself:
https://hardforum.com/threads/breat...-soundcard-creative-x-fi-titanium-hd.2003840/

In my case I used two V6 Vivids in the buffer section and two V6 Classics in the I/V section. The Classics in the I/V stage actually seemed to make a bigger difference than the Vivids in the buffer stage.
Excellent! Just clicked the link to have a look. I'm going to read it now :)

I ended up hack-sawing the shielding where I needed to to fit the Bursons in, really works. I do some pics.
 

greenie537

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greenie537

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Unfortunately no, I've used a USB Webcam for my microphone for a while now.
Argh, yeah, I was using a Yeti but it's SOOO big on the desktop..must just be interference from the GPU or whatever causing the HD to buzz, it comes through Nvidia recording aswell . So, I enabled the onboard audio and used the mic input to solve it. I'm loving the PC37X wide soundstage, I have the PC38x's arriving today or tomorrow :)
 
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