Pros Ease of installation. Dynamite easy to use software package.
Cons Price. But, actually, it's not too bad. SuperRip function is useless(for the average user).
Summary Bought mine from BestBuy. $140.00 with tax. Lower prices online, but with shipping and having to wait, basically the same. The soundcard is connected to my AV receiver, connected to a 6.1 JBL outfit of speakers. These are not computer speakers. So the price of the card was nominal compared to my investment for the speakers. And worth it.
Simple to install. PC cover off. Slide card in. PC cover on. Software was an easy, albeit large(380 MB), install as well.
Software is excellent. It was what actually drew me to this product. Obviously, the product was going to perform well and that wasn't my concern. But making the product easy and a joy to use, now that's the key. One panel, very easy to use, organize, find & play all my music files, regardless of origin or type. I really love it.
Performance: A lot of talk going around that this product makes your low quality MP3s sound like CD quality. Well, uh, close, but not quite. That is not to say the sound is not excellent, because it is. Far better than the "digital" music channels on my cable box. But, it's not fair to compare a CD quality file to an MP3 file. I'll give you an example.
I ripped a music file using the SuperRip function (which seems to be nothing more than WMA lossless with some tweaking) and ripped the same file using the highest quality MP3 encoding the Creative software provided. SuperRip 164MB file 5475kbps. MP3 12MB file 320kbps.
I did this with 10 more songs from various CDs. I then had my friend play the SuperRip and the MP3 of the same song in varied sequences. Without watching what he was doing, I was able to correctly identify which file was which 100% of the time. However, when all 22 files were placed in a playlist and played at random, I was not able to consistenly identify whether the recording was the higher quality version or not. Truthfully, I was really just guessing.
I could not justify using 164MB of space on my hard drive for one song ... not when I can easily fit an entire CD (and more) in high quality MP3 format into the same space. So for me, the SuperRip function is very useless.
Overall, I love the product. Not quite CD quality, but fantastic fidelity out of a compressed music file and pretty hard to tell the difference. 9.5 out of 10 in my opinion.
"audiophile quality"on by zelmo
Pros multi mode operation
Cons they are spendy
Summary Having used creative cards since the mid 80s I have always wanted sound that was as good as my music system could do, creative has finnally satisfied the audiophile in me.
with 3 modes entertainment, games ans music creation with 24 bit crystalizer the recordings made from my lp collection is so good at 44.1k samplng that i am redoing the 1500 recordins don previously and then attack the other 2700 lp's in my collection
Pros Excellent Sound Quality, Easy-To-Use Features, Easy To Install
Cons NONE AT ALL - SERIOUSLY
Summary The Best Sound Card available to the public.
Why would anyone still buy the Audigy Series when you can gey another card from the same brand that is 100x better.Updated
Very Much worth the $130 I spent for it the week it came out. One minor problem that i was a able to fix (once in a blue moon on strtup audio would be of poor quality but a restart would fix it, Creative relesaed a driver update and i have NO problems anymore). I would recommend ripping audio with Windows Media Player in WMA Lossless format, it is smaller than SuperRip files and bascily=quality. I have a Logitech Z-5300 5.1 THX Certified Sound Sytem = Excellent Combination. As the available versions have changed since it came out I would recommend getting the Cheapest X-Fi card that IS THX Certified.
Pros The audio performance is just what you'd expect from a company that's Blasting the Sound for this long.
Cons Bit of crackle in the rear. But only at obnoxious volumes.
Summary Definitely worth the money, a serious improvement over the standard integrated audio.
Pros First of all crystal sound, has functionality even for music production, supports 7.1 systems, supports the latest EAX 5.0, its excellent for all purposes, it has all the core functions of the more expensive xfi cards but a lot cheaper.
Cons The one major problem is that the latest Vista drivers cause windows to shut down/restart in the 5-10 minute range (fixed by installing the previous driver), also functions like X-fi Crystalizer and SVM are just gimmicks for non audiophiles.
Summary Some of the reviews said that "god must have a xfi music" and he could be right. It is the best bang for the buck sound card that Creative has to offer (I haven't had the chance to examine other highly claimed brands).
What you get for your money if a powerful sound processor for all your movies and music, plus EAX 5.0 for your games. Now all you need is a good set of speakers, which can be 2.0 all the way to 7.1. The gold plated behind of the card ensures minimal disruption to your sound quality.
Now on the other hand you have the 2.18.13 Vista drivers which cause Windows to restart 5+ minutes. They are the latest driver and are from over a year ago. Seriously?! Yes, Windows 7 got an update that fixed this problem, but apparently Creative don't care about their Vista clients. But the problem is semi-easily solve by installing 2.18.8 drivers or older (its difficult since they are hard to find). Other stuff that irritate me are that some of the functions work only for a set of people, but pose no real gain. The X-fi Crystalizer makes the high and low frequencies more loud, which ruins the mids; the SMV puts all the sounds in a single volume zone, resulting in unnatural sudden volume rising and dropping; and the CMSS 3D makes the whole sound blurry (it can produce good effects on headphones though).
Still, the X-Fi Music has all the X-Fi goodness the X-Fi Audio does not and a much lower price than the Titanium/Fatal1ty series.