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X-fidelity cards, need help

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  • X-fidelity cards, need help

    i have got a X-fidelity Elite-Pro, and it sounds phenomenal, on my crappy logitex speakers at home, now

    i got mATX good computer set up in the car, and would like to put similar card, the price of elite pro set is around $300.00, but i just need a board, nothing else, i have found that some X-FI board do and don't have a port for additional stand alone interface, which i would not need in the car, and some of the board, need additional power for operation like the one i have in my pc right now.

    question if i just get extreme music broad, with X-FI chip, 4 port Front R/L, Rear R/l, and of course SUB/MID, and microphone, or the one with all bells and whistles what kind of difference in sound quality i should expect, keeping in mind everything is processed by software anyway, and x-fi chip should be the same in models.

    why do prices varies

    R. T. F. M

  • #2
    As far as I know, the X-fi chip used in the entire line is the same. The Elite Pro or whatever just comes with all the bells and whistles for digital recording. Save yourself a bundle and just get the basic board. Use the console or THX setup wizard to dial in your system. Oh, and the card processes sound in hardware, not software, which is why you buy a card like this.

    I have the XtremeGamer, and I really don't know why I spent the extra $20 to get the Gamer chip. The card sounds awesome though, wired directly to my amps in a 4.1 setup.


    • #3
      thanks, that's what i meant hardware

      i guess i get the cheapo one


      Cooper BTW, you actually power all the setup via m2 atx, damn
      i was gonna go with start up shutdown, and inverted

      i have ASRock mATX with Athlon 2400
      i am thinking of adding a lot of usb, that where wattage cuts out

      R. T. F. M


      • #4
        Yes, Creative's X-FI series of sound cards all use hte same chip, but the different models have different features. Take for example that The Fatality Pro card has extra ram dedicated to be used during gameplay for less cpu usage. If you want an X-FI card that has does not have anything extra that you woul;d not need in a carPC environment, you should get the older XtremeMusic not the newer and cheaper Xtreme Audio. The are pretty much the same basic X-FI cards but the older XtremeMusic is goldplated, which would be suitable in a car environment.


        • #5
          Yes I agree with volum3rider, get the XtremeMusic -- I've had lots of problems with my newer XtremeGamer (like the software not recognizing the card, and refusing to install). I don't have that problem with the XtremeMusic in my home PC. I've figured out workarounds, but it took me a while.

          Edit: The advantage of the newer cards is that they're half height and old cards are full height.

          I power my Barton 2500+ by underclocking the FSB from 333 down to 200, dropping the CPU speed (and power requirements) almost in half. I don't notice much speed difference when using RR. Streets works just fine too. I also underclock my AGP Geforce2 MX using Coolbits. For some reason the onboard video won't project 800x600 on my Xenarc correctly.


          • #6
            I have the XtremeMusic and it is definitely worth the money. It was a night and day difference between that and my integrated audio. You won't regret it.


            • #7
              crooper I also have the extreme gamer. I'm having a problem with the rear channels having a lower volume. I have worked for a while but it is still not right. Any tips on where to look to fix this problem?


              • #8
                Um I haven't had that problem. Have you checked the CRMS 3D (or whatever) to adjust front/rear balance in stereo surround mode? You might just have to increase the gain on your rear amp.

                My biggest problem was installing the drivers from the CD, because it didn't recognize the card as being in the machine. My workaround was installing the updated driver from the Creative website and then installing the "THX console" from the CD, so I could get bass redirection. I wish I could get the X-Fi Console to work, though, because its EQ has both 30 hz and 60 hz points, allowing better fine tuning of the bass hit vs. rumble. Oh well.


                • #9
                  Originally posted by YellowMater View Post
                  crooper I also have the extreme gamer. I'm having a problem with the rear channels having a lower volume. I have worked for a while but it is still not right. Any tips on where to look to fix this problem?
                  Im having the same problem the rear speakers are too low...I tried messing with all the set up but no luck.


                  • #10
                    I have the Xtreme Audio. It doesn't have hardware support for games, but I didn't need that. I just wanted multi-channel output, ability to redirect bass frequencies from mains to the sub, mirror audio to all channels (CMSS2 Stereo), and the card is very low profile for my mini-ITX setup. I had to shift the fan on the heat sink just a tiny bit for things to fit.

                    You can view my thread below for pictures of some of the mods I did for it. I swapped out all of the op amps in favor of the Burr Brown OPA2107.

                    Sound quality is great, but I am waiting on better drivers because of the crackle/pop issue associated with nForce4 chipsets.


                    • #11
                      I should've saved my cash and gotten the Xtreme Audio. I was under the impression that the standard (non-game) UI didn't have bass redirection.

                      I have an nForce4 chipset on my gaming computer (A8N-SLI32) with an XtremeMusic and have never had the crackle/pop issue. My CarPC has a VIA chipset of some sort.


                      • #12
                        Cool! I haven't tried bass redirection since I didn't install the entire software suite. I only had the Audio Console installed before finding out it lacked extra audio controls like Bass Redirect and EQ!!!

                        At least for volume control, I can adjust individual channels. It's not as intuitive since I was hoping the sliders function as offsets instead of individual volume adjustments.

                        I hope they add more options to the console since it's logical so I wouldn't have to install the Creative bloatware interface.

                        As for the differences in cards, the most expensive ones contain a higher quality Cirrus Logic mixer and Burr Brown parts. The cheaper ones like the Xtreme Audio contain a good quality Cirrus Logic part. The op amps are cheapies from ST Micro or New Japan Radio. I switched them out with Burr Brown parts and the audio is must more lively. I currently have a similar setup with the Audigy 2 card in my PC. The bass sound is sooo clean, and there's barely a hint of computer noise.

                        My project is still standalone so I haven't hooked it up to my car for testing. Please let me know how well it works with your amps and stuff.


                        • #13
                          Bass redirection is a must for my system. I have a 4.1 setup (separate front, rear, and sub amps), with AC3Filter to matrix the center channel to the front channels for movies. You can get bass redirection in either the Creative Console or the THX Console. I like the CC because it adds an additional 30 Hz EQ point (Winamp only goes to 60 Hz). But I can't get it to install with my XtremeGamer (bummer). Why they don't include bass redirection on the standard Audio Console is beyond me.

                          To set up the THX console individually (after you've installed the driver) you have to copy the "THXCon" directory from the X-Fi install CD "Audio" folder to your hard drive. Then copy the "" file from the "Setup" folder into the THXCon folder on your hard drive (this allows Installshield to run). Then run "setup.exe" in THXCon on your hard drive. This took me forever to figure out, no reason for you to suffer too. You can install just about any of the tools off the CD using this method (remember to copy to every install folder).

                          One of the things I like in the Audio Console is the CMSS-3D, where you can set it to "Stereo Surround", which provides a fader control to the rear speakers.

                          I get zero computer noise once the sound card inits (during Windows boot). I plan to do the serial port thing to turn on my amps with a Windows service, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.


                          • #14
                            Out of curiousity, how did you replace the op amps on the X-Fi card? Is it hard to do? I'm good at soldering wires, but not tiny circuitboard things.


                            • #15
                              Awesome! Thanks for the tip. I just didn't like the fancy control panel and bloatware to bog down my startup times. Is there an EQ of some sort that comes with the drivers and utilities? I never tried to install the entire suite.

                              I'm not sure if you really need AC3Filter for mixing the center channels to the front. You can set your sound card to output 4.1ch, and then set your DVD decoder to 5.1 or above. Your card will mix the center channels to the front without losing the discrete subwoofer output. I did this with PowerDVD.

                              For the op amps, you have to be very careful of the tiny components that sit close to the op amps. You'll need a heat gun like the Weller 6966C and some heat resistant Kapton tape:

                              You will need to place the card on a heat resistant surface of some sort and "mask" out a bunch of stuff you don't want moving around. Use a tweezer to grab the op amp while heating it with the heat gun. The weight of the car will eventually "pop off" the op amp. You can use the same heat gun to place the new op amp, and then go over the leads with a regular soldering iron. Once the surfaces got warm enough, I was able to remove the op amps quickly.

                              So with the higher quality op amps from Burr Brown, for example, you can feel the high hats and snares. The sound is very distinct instead of mushed up together. The vocals are clear, tight, and defined. The bass feels warm, clean, and controlled.

                              Are you using a line driver?