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Creative Introduces Sound Blaster X-Fi

Creative announced its new Sound Blaster X-Fi line of sound cards based on the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor introduced as far back as in May.

The completely redesigned X-Fi processor realizes the idea to offload CPU that, in other situations, spends up to 70% of its time for resampling. The sound is processed with 24-bit precision (backward conversion to 16-bit is possible when needed). The new audio processor features 51 million transistors and operates at 400MHz without active cooling. X-Fi also features Crystalizer quality enhancement and CMSS-3D Headphone Expander technologies.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi Series includes:

Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro features professional-quality digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with 116dB SNR, plus an I/O module for audio creation with easy-to-use control knobs for the X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer, X-Fi CMSS- 3D (Creative Multi-Speaker Surround), 3DMIDI, and EAX. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro also features 64MB of on-board X-RAM dedicated to higher gaming audio quality and performance, in addition to a built-in pre-amp for direct recording, and high-impedance inputs for electric guitars. The "top of the line" Sound Blaster X-Fi solution, the Elite Pro includes all of the standard features, application software, power and performance capabilities of the entire family of Sound Blaster X-Fi cards, in one solution.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS marked with a nickname of a well-known professional gamer Johnathan "Fatal1ty" Wendel. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS sound card provides 109dB SNR audio quality, accelerates gaming performance and also includes 64MB of on-board X-RAM for high performance gaming. Supports EAX ADVANCED HD 5.0, the latest version of the EAX Environmental Audio standard, and utilizes X-Fi CMSS 3D technology. This series features a convenient front-facing internal drive bay for easy connectivity, plus the X-Fi IR remote for easy access and controls, including X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer, X-Fi CMSS 3D, 3DMIDI and EAX. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS includes all of the standard features, application software of the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum and Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music series.

Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum sound card includes an internal drive bay with additional, convenient front-facing input/output connectivity for headphone listening, PC gaming and audio creation. Delivering 109dB SNR audio quality, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum includes the X-Fi IR remote, for easy access to the Entertainment Center software console. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum also includes all of the standard features, application software of the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music.

Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic harnesses the power of the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor to upgrade any existing library of MP3 or any music files to the Xtreme Fidelity audio standard. With the included Creative MediaSource 3 software suite, users can "SuperRip" all their digital music to Xtreme Fidelity. The SNR of Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Music sound card is also 109dB.

Now let´s mention "Optimized Modes" available for the new sound cards. Each Sound Blaster X-Fi sound card can work in any of three modes that are optimized for experiences with music and movie playback, PC gaming or music creation. Each mode is configured to dynamically dedicate the processor´s power to deliver only the features, quality and capabilities that the user requires.

Entertainment Mode accesses the X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer, which is driven by the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor. The processor converts audio to 24-bit/96kHz quality using its 136dB virtually transparent SRC (Sample Rate Converter) engine. Then it re-masters and selectively enhances the audio by analyzing and identifying which parts of the audio stream have been restricted or damaged during the dynamic compression stages to 16-bit and then the data compression stage to MP3 or WMA formats. For music, low and high frequencies are enhanced while dynamics are improved, for cleaner, richer sound. For movies, explosions, gunshots and high-impact audio sequences sound more realistic. In the Entertainment Mode, X-Fi CMSS-3D technology upmixes audio into surround sound. It also uses advanced techniques to extract specific audio elements, like voice to the center channel and ambience to the surrounding channels.

Gaming Mode accelerates PC game play. A completely re-engineered game audio processing engine utilizing the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor enables the Sound Blaster X-Fi cards to deliver performance boost of up to 40% (in some cases). The Creative X-Fi CMSS-3D is also used in this mode. And EAX ADVANCED HD 5.0 supports 128 voices using the X-Fi processor´s hardware, utilizing EAX MacroFX, EAX PurePath and Environment FlexiFX technologies. The X-Fi 24-bit Crystalizer automatically upgrades existing games to the Xtreme Fidelity audio standard.

Audio Creation Mode the Sound Blaster X-Fi utilizes the transparent SRC engine in the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity audio processor to convert to and from any resolution at 136dB THD+N. It also provides digital-matched recording capabilities in resolutions from 44.1kHz to 96kHz. ASIO recording is available with latency of one millisecond with no CPU load as well as with up to eight different 24-bit hardware effects, 24-bit SoundFont sampling, and 3DMIDI.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi Elite Pro, priced at US$399.99, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty FPS, priced at US$279.99, the Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum, priced at US$199.99 and the Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeMusic, priced at US$129.99, will be available this month at major retail outlets.

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