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Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 9/10/07

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August 15, 2007 12:41:53 AM

for anyone looking to invest in a new HT/Gaming sound card, the Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 has a tentative scheduled release date of September 10th (around august - september time frame is probably more reliable, since its been delayed a couple times so far due to correcting drivers issues and such). and just going by its specs alone, its worth waiting for compared to what else is currently available, at least waiting for some reviews to pop up to see if it is worth it, most likely it will be since their hardware and drivers are pretty good usually (for starters, it combines an upgradable, improved x-fi based board; eax 5.0, 64mb x-ram, etc. with ddl and dts interactive encoding hardware). for anyone interested, googling for it will turn up a lot of results.

http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php... ns

More about : auzentech prelude

August 29, 2007 11:00:43 PM

Thanks for the update choirbass. I've been keeping an eye on this one. Is that release date for the EU or the US or both?
August 29, 2007 11:03:28 PM

auzentech has updated their page, its officially available to purchase now for $199 (im assuming thats american currency, but the price between countries should be about the same)
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August 30, 2007 7:16:34 AM

You got me interested since I've about had it with Creative. But if you look under the specifications of the card it states it will be using Creative X-FI drivers so I can't see paying 2x the price for the same issues.
August 30, 2007 8:58:18 AM

it wont be using creatives drivers, since the hardware itself is different. they were having numerous delays to get the drivers stable, and newer hardware features will be introduced through additional driver updates, such as dolby digital live, and dts interactive. the hardware itself is already above par to existing x-fi cards, the SnR is improved for instance, with certain parts of the card also being user upgradable (the front channels).

but, auzentech is known for making quality cards and drivers... creative just lent out their technology for the first time. third parties are no longer limited to just eax 2.0, for instance. and now are allowed full hardware support for all the other features, modifying drivers and such as needed. maybe other companies will be allowed the same luxury.

edit: ah, i see what you mean when it says creatives drivers... but if you look elsewhere such as in the pdfs, theyre not using stock creative drivers either, and are still in the process of correcting remaining problems with them, till theyre all fixed most likely. creatives drivers would seem to be the point at which theyre building from.
August 30, 2007 11:26:15 AM

Thank goodness for that. Is $199 a good deal? Costs more than a fatal1ty card, but I'm guessing it's got better specs. nice to see creative letting others play with their tech.
August 30, 2007 5:52:58 PM

it seems worth it to me, at least if you dont already have an X-FI anyhow (youd still be getting a better card, but i dont think it would be worth the comparatively small improvement, imo). it seems to combine the best of all worlds, and its probably not too good to be true, simply because of the price, which seems more in line just because of how much it offers compared to competing sound cards.

and yep, the specs are better than other X-FIs, but again, probably not worth switching if you already own one, unless you really really want the improved/added specs.

most likely the price will drop after a somewhat short time anyhow at other retailers, as thats just the price that auzentech lists on their site.

now all we need to do is wait for some reviews..
August 31, 2007 5:52:18 AM

This is probably why Creative is dragging their butts releasing new, working, and functional Vista drivers.
August 31, 2007 6:00:17 AM

might be. at least creative isnt alone in getting the drivers working for this card, which is good, so the drivers should be at the very least as good as what they currently have available, as far as reliability.

imo, this is probably the one worthwhile card for them to work on right now, and, if the drivers really are being lagged on that much, that might very well be why even. unless theyre just having a ton of difficulties getting all the other drivers to work (if they are working on them currently), which might not bode well for vista driver support in general, *shrug*
September 2, 2007 7:27:37 PM

I'm getting a X-Fi ExtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro for 80$ shipped.....is it worth that much better?
September 2, 2007 7:52:39 PM

Anyone get one yet, I want to hear your thoughts!
September 2, 2007 8:33:21 PM

After reading through the Auzentech site, it seems to me that this is a Creative X-FI card that's been packaged by a third party, much the same as ATI cards are sold by several third party vendors, as well as Nvidia cards. The final package may or may not be better then a standard Creative X-FI, can't say about that. At least there is more choice in the vendors, and that is good. Looked at the Newegg listing and saw no reviews written yet, so either no one has bought one (too expensive?) or no one has bothered to say whether its good, bad, etc.
September 2, 2007 9:59:17 PM

sailer said:
After reading through the Auzentech site, it seems to me that this is a Creative X-FI card that's been packaged by a third party, much the same as ATI cards are sold by several third party vendors, as well as Nvidia cards. The final package may or may not be better then a standard Creative X-FI, can't say about that. At least there is more choice in the vendors, and that is good. Looked at the Newegg listing and saw no reviews written yet, so either no one has bought one (too expensive?) or no one has bothered to say whether its good, bad, etc.

It's not just a repackaged X-Fi. Creative's X-Fi cards use **** electrolytic Jamicon capacitors, mid-range DAC's (except for the Elite Pro, but that's too expensive), and bad op amps. The X-Fi Prelude uses solid capacitors, AKM's flagship DAC, an LM4562 (one of the most popular op amps in the audiophile scene right now) op amp for front L/R channels and OPA2134's (also good op amps) for the other channels.
Nobody's submitted a review because it just showed up Friday night.

(Edit: Uh... the first time I tried editing this, I just got an error that said "Yes. But actually no."
...)
September 2, 2007 10:17:04 PM

I realize there are differences such as you mention. At the same time, according to Auzentech, they use a Creative X-Fi CA20K audio processor at the heart of their card, along with Creative drivers and Creative ALchemy. This is why I made the comparison to ATI and Nvidia third party products that use their main chipsets and then add differing components to support the chipset. Thus my meaning when I said that its a Creative X-Fi that's been packaged by a third party. The base chipset is the same, the drivers are the same, some of the accompanying components are different.

Is it worth the extra money, does it actually perform better? No one knows for sure. As I wrote, no reviews had been submitted yet, therefore there is nothing to go by. In time, there should be some reviews written. At that time, we will be able to see if it lives up to the promise or not. I do find this card interesting in concept. Whether it will work as well as advertised for the money charged is another question.
September 3, 2007 12:33:52 AM

one 'small' concrete advantage it has over creatives x-fi's, is being able to use eax up to 5.0, and other creative functions (as 5.1 multichannel surround) over a single digital cable, both optical and coaxial (as opposed to lots of cables), by way of ddl and dts, so at least one other non creative APU chipset is in use. (the drivers kinks are still being worked on though to allow the chipsets to play nice together and all, so those features arent scheduled for full availability until the first month or so of 2008, by way of driver updates from now till then). an external decoder is required for this, so the external decoders DACs and such would be used instead of the sound cards DACS, and even they may very well be superior to the sound cards DACs in the case of some HT amplifiers, which is the more ideal place to use this, minimizing cable clutter and such.

relatively smaller advantages as were pointed out (and what seems is the most controversial reason to upgrade), is the quality of analog hardware in use compared to creatives (even if the primary creative APU chipset is the same for the most part), part of the difference also is the ability to upgrade physical parts of the card yourself (just as with auzentechs previous cards). HDMI 1.3 will be available through an add on X-Tension board as well i believe (supporting other surround formats as well, such as are found on hd-dvd and bluray discs). theres other stuff as well, but the above differences are what stick out most to me as being worthwhile.

edit: it seems creatives stock x-fi drivers should work okay, but youll be missing quite a few other hardware features it looks like then, till theyre made available to download. kinda like using legacy drivers, the basic functionality works, but specific tailored parts of the hardware just wont work.
September 3, 2007 1:49:49 AM

Four words: Front Panel Audio Connector! Auzentech has one, stock X-Fi's don't. That, in and of itself, is worth about $100 >;o)

Man, I'm such a dork...
September 3, 2007 2:42:14 AM

Just a few things about it. Just got it and installed it on Vista 32bit.

The sound is pretty good, not incredible but pretty good.
The drivers work perfectly, had no problems whatsoever.
And also, the front audio connector apparently (haven't tested it) uses a shitty amp, so don't buy it just for that! ;p
September 3, 2007 3:25:33 AM

im curious, but where did you read that the front audio connector has a poor quality amplifier?

if its the front left and right channel operational ampifiers youre referring to, those are user replacable to better quality 3rd party ones.
September 3, 2007 3:30:29 AM

Important info for audiophiles using headphones!

Just wanted to say that I installed the card and plugged in my Shennheiser HD570's and was greated with mediocre sound, somewhat muddy in fact, then I realized, I beleive the front panel audio jack is supplied with a cheap opamp for amplification. I plugged in the headphones to the main front out to take advantage of the quality opamp and indeed, it sounds MUCH better, so beware if you do critcal listening, use the front L/R speaker jack on the card instead of the front panel audio connector. Remember to put the volume all the way down before playing any music!

I am letting the card breakin before I give any critical judgements.


From http://forum.ncixus.com/forums/index.php?mode=showthrea...

Not official or anything, but that's where I saw that
September 3, 2007 4:05:19 AM

asgallant said:
Four words: Front Panel Audio Connector! Auzentech has one, stock X-Fi's don't. That, in and of itself, is worth about $100 >;o)

Man, I'm such a dork...


Therein might be a difference between the Creative X-Fi that I use and what some people might think of when they refer to a Creative X-Fi. I have the X-Fi Platinum Fatal1ty Champion on both my computers, which does have a front panel audio connector, along with a remote control. Don't know exactly how different the internal parts of this card differ from the standard Creative X-Fi, but it does work very well on both my computers.
September 3, 2007 5:50:10 AM

yeah, sounds like theres a couple issues they still need to work out. the sound quality is good as expected when configured properly (according to that poster), but needing to use different connections to get the sound cards sound output, simply sounds like its an issue that needs to be addressed as far as which audio outputs to use, nothing major really.

the same poster was also talking about trying out his replacement front channel Analog Devices AD826AN Opamp, to see how much more of an improvement there is... have yet to read that part though.

as far as other functionalities, again, the card is out, but not everything is quite working yet as has been said in this thread and that one. everything important is in place, now it just needs to be tuned by drivers.
September 3, 2007 8:06:24 PM

asgallant said:
Four words: Front Panel Audio Connector! Auzentech has one, stock X-Fi's don't. That, in and of itself, is worth about $100 >;o)

Man, I'm such a dork...


My X-FI is hooked up to my front panel, card and cable under $100.00. You have to know what to look for.
Granted it's only my mic and headphone jack, but it's possible.
September 3, 2007 8:36:03 PM

kpo6969 said:
My X-FI is hooked up to my front panel, card and cable under $100.00. You have to know what to look for.
Granted it's only my mic and headphone jack, but it's possible.


Yeah, you can do it, but it's a PITA, and it doesn't always work very well. I've tried it with 3 different Creative cards and only one of them has worked acceptably.
September 4, 2007 12:11:02 AM

asgallant said:
Yeah, you can do it, but it's a PITA, and it doesn't always work very well. I've tried it with 3 different Creative cards and only one of them has worked acceptably.


What's a PITA?
September 4, 2007 12:50:55 AM

kpo6969 said:
What's a PITA?


PITA = Pain In The Arse
September 4, 2007 4:33:13 AM

Yes it can and it was. Only regarding doing the research to make sure it worked and it does.
September 4, 2007 4:46:59 PM

as far as game support, AFAIK, it would only require the same software support that other X-FIs need. since the other chipsets/hardware isnt game dependant that ive used before. the only software really needed, would be driver support i would imagine, and configuration software to change audio settings.
September 8, 2007 3:10:01 PM

Those reviews show an impressive card. Needs some fine tuning in the drivers and a better mike input, but the rest lools very good for those of us with expensive speakers. I also liked the honesty from the Xtremesystems review that said if a person has less expensive (under $200) speakers, they won't notice any difference from Creative's X-Fi. But now that I know that this card does do well with good speakers, I'll be looking at it when I do my new build.
!