Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro Reivew - Page 9 of 9
Review by Kyle Kerley - January 15, 2006
24-BIT CRYSTALIZER This is probably my favorite feature on the card. The Crystalizer makes everything sound so much more amazing! With this cranked to 100%, cymbals are ear piercingly sharp and bass is bowel-looseningly low. The Crystalizer enhances sound in a way that an EQ could only dream of doing. Everything sounds so much more dull and flat without the Crystalizer on. There really is nothing more I can say about this. Itís amazing and is alone worth the price of the card.
SVM SETTINGS Apart from the fact that the SVM is useful for watching DVDs at night (this tip came from forum member jolle), the Smart Volume Management is a complete waste of a feature. It acts as a normalizer, but unlike other normalizers that either boost or mute a track to keep volume levels the same across an album, for instance, this normalizes a song to itself, scanning for the highest and lowest points and finding a happy medium. Except, for instance, take the song ďWith TeethĒ off the album by the same name as NIN. There is a VERY quiet piano/synth breakdown in the middle of an otherwise loud and chaotic song. Turning on SVM just dampens everything to a point of me having to crank the volume way beyond any level I should have to. Stay away from this unless you want to watch Die Hard at 2:00 AM without enraging your neighbors.
EQ SETTINGS The EQ is on and set for ďrock.Ē I made no changes to it since it varies drastically from the way Winampís EQ works. I tried other EQs and none gave me the bass and cymbal sounds remotely close to what I like to hear, so, even though the Rock setting in the Creative drivers is marginal at best, itís much better than the alternatives.
MIXER SETTINGS The only volume control I really mess with in here is the Wave volume. Iíve got it set to 90% to keep it loud, but still avoid distortion. Otherwise, I believe everything is default, since Iíve never touched it. The only other setting I used on this screen is mute for the microphone when Iím not using it.
The Dolby Digital, DTS and Digital I/O settings have all been left at driver defaults.
WINAMP Using the built-in Rock preset, everything is left default on that. I used to put the 60Hz band down to 0 because the bass was just too distorted. But now that Iíve got redirection on, Iíve put the bass back up to where Winamp recommends, and it thunders gloriously clear now.M
4Front EQ10 Officially known as the OSPI DSP Plugin API made by 4Front Technologies, I find it much easier to just call it the 4Front EQ10 (and they do, too, apparently, since thatís the name in the window title bar). Anyway, this is a free plugin for Winamp 2, 3 and 5 (unofficially), as well as WMP, RealPlayer, Sonique, J.River Media Player Jukebox, MusicMatch Jukebox and Jet Audio with support for more coming soon.
4Front EQ10 Settings
To say this EQ is powerful is an understatement. Make no mistake about it: the EQ10 is a professional caliber piece of software that delivers incredible control over 10 frequency bands of sound. The included preamp also boosts already boosted frequencies to help you find the perfect sound.
The only negative part of the 4Front EQ10 is that there aren't any numbers that you can use to remember settings...just those little notches (and there are a number of notches in between each of the marked ones, to truly give you precise and exact control over your sound).
I then have my speakers around 1/10-1/3 of the max volume, and the subwoofer level is set at about 55%. This is how I listen to and love my music and movies and I hope this has been of some help to others. Please post feedback in the review feedback thread and thanks for reading.