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What are your x-fi settings?

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March 7, 2006 11:48:33 PM

I have the Logitech z2300 and the Creative X-Fi Extreme Music (on Driver 2.07.0004). I was curious to know what other people's settings for the X-Fi card are because I want to get ideas on how I should adjust the settings (or if I should even change it). The settings are still all on default.

More about : settings

March 8, 2006 12:25:42 AM

I've got the Fatal1ty, and shoud be getting my speakers in the next few days. I'll be looking into this very thing then, so I'll post back when I'm setting everything up.

Fritz
March 8, 2006 12:55:33 AM

What speakers are you getting?
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March 8, 2006 4:45:28 AM

I suggest turning off CMSS if you have a 2-channel speaker set.
March 8, 2006 9:15:59 AM

Klipsch Promedia 5.1 Ultra

Hopefully I will get one of the 99% that have no problems. They are so good, yet the amp blowing on 1% ish worries me.

Fritz
March 9, 2006 3:43:41 AM

I would suggest downloading foobar and using at least the advanced limiter to keep the number of transient peaks that hit the Promedia amps low. That way, if it does blow, you'll know it wasn't from overloading (hopefully), or maybe it was just some cheap capacitors.
March 9, 2006 4:22:01 AM

Quote:
I have the Logitech z2300 and the Creative X-Fi Extreme Music (on Driver 2.07.0004). I was curious to know what other people's settings for the X-Fi card are because I want to get ideas on how I should adjust the settings (or if I should even change it). The settings are still all on default.


I´ve got SoundBlaster X-Fi Elite Pro with Logitech Z-680 5.1.
CMSS can be turned on for 2.1 speakers too, but it doesn´t do much. It is much better if you have 5.1 or more speakers with CMSS2...

Which settings do you mean?
March 13, 2006 8:51:42 AM

I have 2.1 logitech speakers with my X-fi... i wish i had more room in my accommodation for at least decent 5.1 speakers, but knowing student flats... oh well, the least i could do is find a decent set of 5.1 headphones...
March 13, 2006 10:41:28 AM

@Bluefinger,

I would not go for 5.1 headphones if you have X-Fi. Did you try CMSS-3D headphones? This option allows for real surround when gaming with regular headphones. I have it on for gaming all the time, together with Crystallizer -set at default 50%. For music and movies I have both off, most of the time.

Anyway unless you want a headset that vibrates I do not think there is reason to go for 5.1 headset
March 14, 2006 1:26:06 PM

Just realized something:
If I have crystallizer on then I have EQ off. Having both on is overkill, especially that there is default 12dB boost across whole bandwidth in EQ.
So it is rather either-or. Either EQ or 24 bit Crystallizer, at least I find it more transparent to have on one of these two only at one time
March 14, 2006 2:09:12 PM

Quote:
i find it better to have no effects whatsoever. i prefer to hear music as it was meant to be. if your music sounds better with an eq preset get better speakers.


We do not live in ideal world, my friend.

My room is not anaechoic chamber.

My hearing curve is not exactly parallel to CCIR weightening curve.

That's why I may need EQ. Speakers are of course important, nevertheless customizable EQ is a must for ANY audio device IMO
March 24, 2006 5:25:32 AM

Creatives stuff is really not any good for criticalmusic listening, its great for movies and games though. if you want good sound on music from a pc try the M-audio Audiophile 24/192 or even better an external usb DAC like the Apogee mini direct into a pair Genelecs or Dynaudios or any decent active monitor.
Then again if your listening to mp3 it would be a waste of money since it would just let u hearhow bad lossy compression sounds. Use a lossless file type combined with what i said above and be ready to hear what good sound is all about.
March 24, 2006 7:34:56 AM

Quote:
i find it better to have no effects whatsoever. i prefer to hear music as it was meant to be. if your music sounds better with an eq preset get better speakers.


We do not live in ideal world, my friend.

My room is not anaechoic chamber.

My hearing curve is not exactly parallel to CCIR weightening curve.

That's why I may need EQ. Speakers are of course important, nevertheless customizable EQ is a must for ANY audio device IMO

Rooms aren't anechoic chambers true, that's why most mid/high end receivers and mid/high end subwoofers have autocalibration programs which measure your room response and level out your loudpspeaker response in relation to your room.

Having an arbitrary "west coast sound" equalizer is not going to guarantee linear response in your room. Measured EQing to achieve linearity is a different thing altogether. Strangerstranger is most likely implying the arbitrary EQ is not something he prefers. Either that or he has a really dead room and very linear speakers, and it fits his situation.
June 21, 2006 6:26:13 PM

I have logitech x530 speakers, which are 5.1 but not high-end by any means. Because of a family sleeping I game and listen to music mostly w/ headphones, of which my plantronics flat rock.

I keep cmss-headphones on the settings that come on when I plug them in. (I have a dongle setup that makes my front case ports work) along w/ the crystalizer.

When the 'phones are off, I have it set w/ the crystalizer on b/c mp3's are just crap compared to full range cds and dvds. It does improve the mp3's sound (provided they are at a high enough bit-rate) and I do like the "fuller" range that is fabricated for them. You do need to adjust it to the type of music you listen to, and I mess w/ it alot so it never sits at a static point.

I appreciate "flat" sound that is true to the original, but I have concluded that my mp3's are already outside of that original, and the crystalizer is only trying to return it to that point. ;) 
June 23, 2006 6:55:23 PM

I have the same set and the only reason those amps blow is because people are hooking them up to on board sound cards and blasting the volume. The only way you can help not to blow the amp is to buy a really nice sound card like the X-FI which provides a very clear signal to the amp.
June 23, 2006 7:02:38 PM

Entertainment mode:

Main volume: 100%
Bass: 50%
Treble:65%
CMSS-3D: ON
24 Bit Crystalizer: on and set to 95%
SVM: ON


I use the audio creation mode only when ripping mp3's and such or if I'm playing around in Reason

Games mode:

Main volume 100%
Bass & Treble: 50%
CMSS-3D: OFF
EAX: on
24 Bit Crystalizer: on and set to maximum
SVM: off

I have 5.1 speaker set-up and have my X-Box, Gamecube and Ipod hooked up through the exteral jacks Digital inout and stereo
June 23, 2006 7:30:07 PM

Quote:
i find it better to have no effects whatsoever. i prefer to hear music as it was meant to be. if your music sounds better with an eq preset get better speakers.


We do not live in ideal world, my friend.

My room is not anaechoic chamber.

My hearing curve is not exactly parallel to CCIR weightening curve.

That's why I may need EQ. Speakers are of course important, nevertheless customizable EQ is a must for ANY audio device IMO

EQ maybe.. thats fair enough, but dont use effects.
June 23, 2006 7:33:58 PM

Quote:
ye i know but if sound sounds muffled or lacking something when played normally its usually bad speakers. but if it helps music sound more to you liking then it must be good for you. i've seen some people buy cheap pc speakers and audigies and x-fi's and expect miralcles though which annoys me. i used to use presets but found some details which made a song that song were lost so i stopped using it.


indeed. Im sure you get far superior quality just using a cheaper soundcard and using ur exess money to go towards buying a propper hifi amp and speakers. Better still if you already have a good hifi system buy a cheap soundcard with a digital out and use the DAC on a minidisk deck or any otehr component you have that has a D -> A pasthrough function
June 23, 2006 7:45:25 PM

well, the crystalizer is not an "effect" in a traditional sense. It attempts to "reverse" the compression on an mp3 and reproduct the "full range" of the song.

No, it is not a perfect reproduction. Yes, you can run the settings too high and "over-engineer" the sound so it sounds more like a crappy effect. Thus you must tweak on it for the type of music / type of compression you are listening to. But it is still heaps better than a straight mp3 when you compare to the original cd/dvd audio it was ripped from.

But yes, an eq helps w/ differences in acoustics and can help compensate for speaker defficiency. Quite frankly, unless you buy a set of good reference speakers (M-audio has some nice ones) then ANY speaker set will color the music and add something over the original.
June 23, 2006 7:49:09 PM

I feel you need to do it equally... cheap sound card w/ nice speakers will be just as bad as cheap speakers w/ good sound card. One cannot make up for the other... good speakers only put out good sound if the source is good, and vice-versa.

If the plan is to do it one at a time that is fine... as long as you plan to upgrade both eventually then high-end speakers on a dumpy sound card are fine for a temporary solution.
June 23, 2006 7:54:41 PM

Quote:
I feel you need to do it equally... cheap sound card w/ nice speakers will be just as bad as cheap speakers w/ good sound card. One cannot make up for the other... good speakers only put out good sound if the source is good, and vice-versa.

If the plan is to do it one at a time that is fine... as long as you plan to upgrade both eventually then high-end speakers on a dumpy sound card are fine for a temporary solution.


I only meant, use a cheap soundcard if you intend to use its digital out, and an external dac. If you must use the internal DAC then get a high quality card. So, yeh i whole heartedly agree with your point there. I wish though it was possibe to get a high quality sound card without all this extra crystalizing features and gimicks.

Since i dont own a desktop, i have always had to go with whatever soudn is integrated into my laptop, so i have never had a chance to experiment with a full size and high end audio cards. Thus far though, the onboard sound of the laptops i have had has been excellent. The only downside is the slightly noiser signal compared to a propper hifi component, and the fact that the line out was impropperly mathched to my amp. So i built my own pre-amp that matches my soundcard output to the amp, and applies that little bit of extra gain to bring it to the same level as a standard hifi component. And it sounds EXCELLENT. A high quality 192KBps AAC track is almost indistuingishable form the origonal CD. infact im not even sure i can pinpoint the difference.

Anyway i guess, my point being, you dont need excessively expensive and overblown soundcards to get ecellent sound. The key is getting decent hifi speakers and amp (none of this 5.1 xx etc PC speaker cra*) Im certain that anyone will be musch happier with such a setup.
June 23, 2006 9:02:18 PM

Yes, and in addition to the DAC being better on the higher-end cards, you also do not get the noise that comes w/ onboard sound and some of the cheaper add-in cards. You simply have too much interference on the mobo to get rid of. Even digital output suffers there. That can be eliminated w/ the higher-end cards. Even better are pro-sumer and full pro-level cards, but they cost way too much. Of course, like you said... w/ a laptop you are limited to what it has.
June 23, 2006 9:03:16 PM

NOTHING in Creative's SoundBlaster line, not even their mighty X-Fi EP can be considered High-End in the AudioPhile world. Their SoundBlaster line products are only High-End to consumers that are used to $30 soundcards and $30 worth of features. Yes, they're the best for games because of their on-board processing, but, in reality, an AudioPhile doesn't really even consider a SoundBlaster.

If I could afford better without sacrificing things like a nice car and my other toys...I'd get better equipment myself. But I love my X-Fi for what it is and what it can do.
June 23, 2006 9:40:21 PM

Someone mentioned applying a limiter to your tracks... interesting idea for transient peaks, but most 'radio-friendly' music is squashed and over-compressed anyway, so you run the risk of completely ruining the dynamic range of your source material.

In fact, the Crystalizer (which I have set on 50 percent) is designed to reincorporate crisp, transient and percussive sounds back into the mix to give a more lively, energetic and clear audio experience.

For my 5.1 surround speakers, I have them set to CMSS-3D Surround 'Stereo Surround' rather than 'Stereo Xpand'. Stereo surround just duplicates the front two channels in your rear ones, which for me gives the best sounding music.

My speakers also sound great with the EQ set to 'EQ Rock'.

I'm using a Logitech Z-5450 speaker setup with the X-Fi platinum, and a pair of Sennheisser HD-477 headphones in reserve.

As for the opinion that Creative stuff is no good for critical listening or in other respects, I suggest you read up on some comparisons of the X-Fi vs M-Audio's consumer-level sound hardware because the results will surprise you - the SNR and frequency response of the Creative hardware is better and more faithful respectively.

I'm qualified in Music Technology and I love the versatility that the X-Fi gives for all tasks from music creation to audio playback to gaming. Unless you have really specific audio recording requirements I would find it very hard to be swayed by the Audiophile 24/192, especially because it has none of the advanced DSP capabilities that creative implement.

As for studio monitors, yes they sound 'faithful' but that doesn't necessarily mean 'better'. Monitors are designed to clearly portray an audio signal - warts and all. However, it is widely known that most home audio gear 'colors' the sound to varying degrees. This may actually mean that the resulting sound is more pleasing to the ear than the average monitors which can sometimes sound a little hollow unless you spend alot of money. Home audio speakers are also designed to have a wider sound field than studio monitors, which are designed to be more precise. Sometimes its better to compare apples to apples, I don't think studio monitors are the right way to go for most people. Of course for mixing, but not neccessarily for general use.

Oh, and if you like to 'enhance' your MP3's then get the Izotope Ozone plugin for Winamp. I've been using it since long before I ever purchased an X-Fi and you will NOT be dissappointed.

X-Fi + Logitech Z-5450 + EQ + Crystaliser + Stereo Surround +
Ozone (Valve EQ + Room Modelling + Bass Compression + Tube Limiter + Tube Saturation)

= VERY happy ears.

Oh, but I'd recommend leaving things plain for gaming. You will certainly regret using the Crystalizer with gunfire.
June 24, 2006 1:59:26 PM

I feel like a soundcard is little else but a DAC+PreAmp. The DAC being the more important part of the equation. A poor sounding DAC can give you muddy sound, loose bass, too much treble, etc. I think the better the soundcard the better the DAC (the more neutral sounding the DAC). The X-Fi's EP uses one of the best Cirrus DACs available (the Cirrus CS4398). I'm not sure if this is still the best-in-class chip, but if not, it's not far behind.

It's really a shame you can't get the X-Fi EP's audio board without the breakout box for ~$100 less. They could call it "X-Fi Iridium" or some other rediculous moniker. :cry: 
June 24, 2006 7:05:21 PM

True that bro, I really wanted the DACs of the Elite Pro but couldn't afford them.

Its actually the case that the higher quality DAC's are only present on the Card-side connections, which renders the breakout box redundant anyway :( 
June 24, 2006 7:23:26 PM

Actually, there is hope(a little tiny bit), but you still have to spend $300 as opposed to $369...and the solution is really meant for headphones, but could be used for other purposes. The HeadRoom MicroDac use the same Cirrus DAC as the X-Fi EP. It has USB and optical in and line level output...and is external and built to audiophile standards...but its still ...$300...

http://www.headphone.com/products/headphone-amps/the-mi...
June 24, 2006 8:01:42 PM

I had the same problem with the notifications last week up until this morning, I had to go into my profile and unset/reset the posts-notification option. ...been working fine all day. 8O
July 2, 2006 7:58:58 AM

Quote:
I posted what settings I use for the soundblaster X-FI on wednesday June 21st.

Since then after trying various MP3's in i-tunes and media player, dvd films in powerdvd and also audio cd's in media player, I realise that the sound is less flat and has more punch when I turn on the 24 bit crystalizer and set the slider to maximum.

This also works for games in games mode, so I am now going to keep the crystalizer turned on and set to maximum in entertainment and games mode.

The distortion is gone because I can have the amplifier volume lower and still get a more sharp, punchy & less flat sound at lower volumes.


The sound is punchier to you because it's been, among other things, equalized. The 24bC can really add life to tightly compressed MP3s, yet I don't like what it does to Lossless encoded files. If you're a basshead, as I sometimes am, than the 24bC can sound okay, but the purist in me tends to return, p*ssed off, and wants the music the way it was meant to be heard. I tend to notice loss of details because of the 24bC's U-shaped equalization.
July 5, 2006 8:31:59 PM

I have medusa 5.1 on x-fi extreme music, and im pretty impressed, I'm also getting some altec lansing 2.1 speakers - mx5021 in a few days. In games you can hear every footstep so i dont understand why some people are saying not to get 5.1 headphones for the x-fi.
Im going to be using the 2.1 speakers for all music and casual gaming, but if i want to get into f.e.a.r im going to stick with the medusa 5.1.

I never use the cmss or crystallizer etc unless im in a fiddling mood. So all my settings are usually just - everything off.


btw - I was wondering what to have the bass cut-off frequency at for my medusa 5.1, any ideas? i currently have it bout 70hz for all modes.
July 7, 2006 11:50:34 AM

I doubt headphones can really reproduce anything below 70Hz. It's just overtones of this fundamental that you hear and the brain reconstructs the missing tone...
You also hear something from the bass cone because these headphones have (I suppose so) their own built in cross-over filtering sound at some higher frequency.
Medusas are not bad it's just that given the cost of manufacturing a headset that uses 8 cones you can have overall better 2 cone headphones
-at the same price. With CMSS-3D it will give you virtual 5.1 which is nothing short of "real" 5.1 -considering most of us have just 2 ears.
July 7, 2006 12:57:50 PM

Quote:
I doubt headphones can really reproduce anything below 70Hz. It's just overtones of this fundamental that you hear and the brain reconstructs the missing tone...
You also hear something from the bass cone because these headphones have (I suppose so) their own built in cross-over filtering sound at some higher frequency.
Medusas are not bad it's just that given the cost of manufacturing a headset that uses 8 cones you can have overall better 2 cone headphones
-at the same price. With CMSS-3D it will give you virtual 5.1 which is nothing short of "real" 5.1 -considering most of us have just 2 ears.


I have to disagree with your position on that, as I'd imagine many any an audiophile would. Perhaps the cans that the general public is aware of have such frequency limitations, but I'd wager that even basement-level audiophile cans do quite well below 70Hz with ease (GRADO SR60's, as an example). That's simply my personal experience though and I'm only *Bronze-Eared*. www.headfi.org.
July 7, 2006 2:05:43 PM

sound card: Creative X-Fi XtremeMusic
speakers: Creative Gigaworks s750 7.1
music styles: Trance, Goa-Psy Trance, House etc..

Entertaiment Mode:
EAX: OFF
CMSS-3D: STEREO SURROUND 50%
24-BIT CRYSTALAIZER: ON (15%)
SVM: OFF
EQ: COUNTRY
BASS LEVEL: 50%
TREBLE: 65%
MASTER VOLUME: 85%

Game Mode:
CMSS-3D: STEREO SURROUND 50% (UPMIX: AUTO)
24-BIT CRYSTALAIZER: 100%
EQ: OFF
EAX: ON
SVM: OFF
MASTER VOLUME: 85%
July 9, 2006 12:07:14 AM

Quote:
I have posted two entries about what soundblaster x-fi settings are used, one on the 21st June & one on the 1st July.

In the post for the 1st July, I said that I have started using the 24 Bit Crystalizer set to 100% in both entertainment & games mode.

Since then I have noticed some distortion in dvd's, audio CD's and games.

I realise that all media sounds as it's meant to sound with the 24 bit crystalizer slider set to 0% and turned off.

Earlier I was playing half life 2 episode 1 and there was a fair amount of distortion coming from the speakers during the intro sequence before you start the game proper.

This cannot be good for the speakers, so the 24 Bit Crystalizer is staying off in all modes.


Unfortunately, the 24Bit Crystalizer is known for reaking such havoc and distortion, especially with a quality recording. One is probably not too far off to believe it can only have value for <=160kbps MP3s, which are already "the dead horse" so the 24bC kicking that dead horse doesn't hurt much, eh?
July 9, 2006 1:10:25 AM

I run Crystalizer on 50-75% and when that's on I always pull down the master output volume to 80% or the bass will distort.

I also use 4 speakers and the sound mode "Stere Surround" Since that copies the sound data without modifying it like "Stereo Xpand" does.

And before you ask, I wouldn't be caught dead with a 5.1 system ;) 

Using a Yamaha 4x100watt amp with four identical three way speakers wich has double 10 inch bass woofers.
October 20, 2006 4:46:34 PM

Only you can decide what sounds good to you. The 24bit Crystalizer is okay as long as you realize that it adds quite a bit of distortion to the music. Otherwise it presents a U-shaped equalization to the music which may sound alright on tightly-compressed music. ...music so compressed that the U-shaped equalization is worth the added distortion.

I, myself, go through these phases where sometimes I'll enjoy the CMSS3D+EAX settings and sometimes I want the cleanest possible sound. The beauty of the X-Fi is the choice. When one does choose to disable the audio "toys" its done with incredible simplicity and we're left with 109db S/N ratio and .004 THD.

With all of the toys the X-Fi offers its users can tailor the sound to their personal tastes...so much of what this thread appears to be about are different people's audio tastes and how the X-Fi supports those tastes. I doubt there's any notable performance benefits/deficits to different X-Fi setting/feature-mixing. ...at least my experience and the press and reviews I've read haven't noted any that I recall.

While it's nice to have such a flexible piece of hardware I hope future versions offer hardware DD and DTS decoding and DDL would be nice as well...with those I'd think the X-Fi would be hard pressed to find competition. ...and it'd be nice if they could lower the distortion of the 24bit Crystalizer.
October 25, 2006 9:58:54 PM

Any suggestions for a good setting for an X-fi with a Logitech Z5500? This is a 5.1 setup.
November 25, 2006 1:44:24 PM

Mine is:

New age Equalizer
Theatre EAX effect
24-bit crystalizer full
CMSS-3D full surround

Using Klipsch 2.1 Pro Media speakers
November 25, 2006 2:31:19 PM

Quote:
ye i know but if sound sounds muffled or lacking something when played normally its usually bad speakers. but if it helps music sound more to you liking then it must be good for you. i've seen some people buy cheap pc speakers and audigies and x-fi's and expect miralcles though which annoys me. i used to use presets but found some details which made a song that song were lost so i stopped using it.


indeed. Im sure you get far superior quality just using a cheaper soundcard and using ur exess money to go towards buying a propper hifi amp and speakers. Better still if you already have a good hifi system buy a cheap soundcard with a digital out and use the DAC on a minidisk deck or any otehr component you have that has a D -> A pasthrough function

I second this. THX speakers = thanx.
November 25, 2006 2:32:32 PM

Quote:
I feel you need to do it equally... cheap sound card w/ nice speakers will be just as bad as cheap speakers w/ good sound card. One cannot make up for the other... good speakers only put out good sound if the source is good, and vice-versa.

If the plan is to do it one at a time that is fine... as long as you plan to upgrade both eventually then high-end speakers on a dumpy sound card are fine for a temporary solution.


Today's onboard sound is pretty good, although it's not as well sheilded as what you'll find on a sound card. Which means more static. The best way to get clear sound is turning down your power on a high end set of speakers and turning up the volume on your computer, unless you use optical out, then it may not make such a big difference. But most people are not using optical out.
November 25, 2006 2:36:47 PM

Quote:
True that bro, I really wanted the DACs of the Elite Pro but couldn't afford them.

Its actually the case that the higher quality DAC's are only present on the Card-side connections, which renders the breakout box redundant anyway :( 


Me too. =( I have the Fatal1ty and am not using the box.

I might add too, that hearing is subjective. If people think their sound is pretty good, then they may not need a new card. Buy speakers first for the best sound improvement, the higher wattage, THX certified speakers are much better quality. Heavier speakers usually = better speakers.

Also, don't know if anyone mentioned drivers. Always uninstall old sound drivers before installing new ones. Driver updates can provide clearer sound too, but if you forget to uninstall the old ones, they can make it worse.
January 19, 2007 3:40:46 AM

Have the X-FI Fatal1ty hooked up to a 5.1 Cambridge Megaworks system (before Creative bought them).

My settings vary on what I'm listening to... Entertainment mode for music and movies. Gaming mode for games (obviousy)

In Entertainment mode...

Bass / Treble both at 55%.
EAX off
CMSS 3D Surround enabled CMSS Stereo Surround selected
Crystalizer on Max
SVM off
EQ enabled on Rock setting
Dolby-- Side and Rear Speakers selected, Dynamic Range is Full, Pro Logic Auto, Digital EX Auto,
DTS Side and rear Speakers, DTS-ES on Auto
THX Settings - (my system is calibrated because its not a perfect 5.1 arrangement), Bass redirection enabled crossover frequency default, sub volume @ 50%, sub gain +15 db.

When in Game Mode...

Settings virtually the same
except I have the bass redirection crossover frequency at 30 Hz in the Game console... not sure how it effects the THX settings? Never thought of this...

My speaker volume is usually at 45%. I use the volume bottons on my keyboard to adjust the volume through the computer. At 10%, its loud and very clear. Any game that supports X-FI is a wild ride for me...
!