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Creative speakers and soundcards...

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February 2, 2010 5:24:01 AM

Is creative a good brand? I used to have the sound blasters way back when it was cool to hear "sound" rather than beeps from the computer in Wolfenstein 3d. Is the brand still of good quality or are Altec Lansing, Bose, and Logitech better? How about for speakers?

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February 2, 2010 5:36:21 AM
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Bose is creme de la creme, then comes altec lansing, then logitech, then creative. Creative a more budget orientated sound route.
As for soundcards creative xi-fi series are considered to be some of the best around
February 2, 2010 6:01:35 AM

Whats your budget? And what are you doing with this?

I personally think you cant go wrong with this:

http://www.newegg.com/product/product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

You can get a cheaper price but read the reviews and see for yourself. As for the sound card I would try the onboard sound in the beginning and see if it performs above your expectation. If not, then buy a sound card.

I am still a little bitter with creative and their business practices. I would shop another brand but thats me...
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February 2, 2010 1:00:26 PM

Creative sound cards the best around? I am not so sure about that.
Creative is like the best of the cheezy cheap stuff, maybe slightly better than good onboard sound at best.
Auzentech, ASUS, Omega are all good brands, if someone was giving me a sound card free, I would take one of their low-end cards over a Creative X-Fi card of any kind.
I used to own a X-Fi Titanium card, I ended up giving it away and going back to my onboard sound. The reason I gave it away was because I would have felt terrible if I actually asked anyone to pay good money for such a piece of junk.
Anyway, that is my 2 cents.

And I do have a set of the Logitech 5500's. For the price, it is really hard to beat Logitech. When I bought them, they were set up in a store (Fry's in Fountain Valley actually) right next to a $600 set Bose speakers (cannot remember exactly which ones), and there was not a single person around who did not think they were superior to the much more expensive Bose set right next to them.
But, sound is very subjective. What sounds good to 1 person will sound bad to someone else. You know, like when I hear a car going down the street booming away and say to myself, "my god, how can anyone actually sit and listen to that rubbish!"
So it really is worth it to go somewhere they have speakers set up so you can listen to them your self and make sure they fit your taste.
February 2, 2010 1:50:31 PM

Creative sound cards are the best
February 2, 2010 3:04:08 PM

clever_noob said:
Creative sound cards are the best



Compared to what? I had creative for a long time and tbh I can't tell a difference between any sound card I have had from creative and the onboard sound on my high end motherboards.


You are someone looking to start a flame war and see how far it goes.

Clever_noob = instigator :lol: 
February 2, 2010 4:34:09 PM

Not looking to stoke a flame war, but Creative really does NOT make good products.
Their sound cards are sub par at best, their drivers and OS support are terrible and they are overpriced.
The last pair of Creative speakers I owned where junk and I hear the new ones are not much better.
Stick with Auzentech, ASUS or HT|Omega for the sound card and someone else for the speakers.

My staple sound card recommendation is either the ASUS Xonar DX (PCIe) or Xonar D1 (PCI).
Both have excellent sound quality that NONE of Creative's cards can best (not even their $280 X-Fi Eliete Pro)...
At $90 they are not priced over the top either.

As for speakers, I almost always use headphones so I am not necessarily an expert here.
I have heard mixed things about the Z-5500.
I hear that it has lots of bass (perhaps even to much) and, depending on who you ask, it is either reasonably detailed or really muddy, usually described as somewhat lacking in the mid range.
I personally use the much cheaper Logitech X-540 when I have guests and find them to be reasonably detailed with pretty good (if somewhat shallow) bass.
Still 1000x better than my old Creative 5.1 setup...

I would recommend staying away from Bose.
Their products are really over priced for what they offer, which is not really accurate or quality sound.
I have also not seen anything good come from Altec Lansing for quite some time.
Klipsch, Harman Kardon, M-Audio and Logitech are the brands I hear tossed around most with good PC speakers.
February 5, 2010 12:46:43 AM

^Dead right on. Tell it like it is.
February 5, 2010 4:19:36 AM

Wow! I was thinking of getting an X-fi Fatality, but reading all this, I'm starting to have my doubts. My needs may be different. I was wanting to set up a media work center where I could plug analog sources into and edit music, video and pictures. Strange that I was also considering the Z-5500's, but, I'm having my doubts about them now too, based on other things I've read. Bose isn't the answer either. Now, I'm confused, hehe.
February 5, 2010 2:21:14 PM

mrmazo said:
Wow! I was thinking of getting an X-fi Fatality, but reading all this, I'm starting to have my doubts. My needs may be different. I was wanting to set up a media work center where I could plug analog sources into and edit music, video and pictures. Strange that I was also considering the Z-5500's, but, I'm having my doubts about them now too, based on other things I've read. Bose isn't the answer either. Now, I'm confused, hehe.



Do yourself a favor and take anything made by Creative off your list. There really are better sound card choices. Way, way better in price, performance, features, drivers, and customer support.
You do know what happened with Vista and the X-fi cards, right? Well long story short, they were not going to write drivers for Vista. That is right! The card would work under Vista and provide sound with the generic Windows drivers, but that is all it did. None of the features of the card worked. Finally, a guy wrote a set of 3rd party drivers for the cards. We were all happy! Finally drivers for our beloved X-fi cards that let us use the card under Vista! He posted them for download, and then Creative stepped in and said they would prosecute him if he did not remove the drivers for download. Finally, after a year of bad publicity, Creative did release a somewhat limited driver/application set for Vista. But it was just not the same. The only way to get full functionality out of the card the way you did in XP, was to go back to XP. I think that now they are over that hump, but it gave a lot of Creative customers a very bad taste for Creative. So, if want, spend your money and take the chance that if Micorsoft releases something new in the future, Creative products may or may not work if you upgrade.
Google around, there is a lot about this fiasco on the web.

As far as speakers go, you have to just go listen to them. Like I said, everyones taste is a little different here, there is no perfect choice that works for everyone. I have a set of the 5500's, and for my budget, I think they are hard to beat.
If I was the least tiny bit picky about how my music sounded, I would never suggest anyone buy a set of speakers they did not listen to first.
February 5, 2010 5:25:31 PM

Avoid Creative products at all costs. Hell, you'd be better off with a Turtle Beach soundcard than any of the crap Creative puts out.

As far as speakers, Bose are overpriced for what they do. Logitech's desktop speakers work great.
February 5, 2010 11:50:36 PM

^ jitpublisher

Yup, you got it just about nailed.
Forgot to mention how Creative absolutely refused to release Linux drivers (or even enough information to allow drivers to be made by someone else...) until well AFTER the whole Daniel_K incident.
Seriously, the X-Fi chip was released in August '04, it took until 2009 for proper Linux drivers to come out!

What really got me to move away from Creative and learn a little more about audio was some quite interesting driver issues.
When I was still using my X-Fi eXtremeGamer as my primary card, I would get an intermittent issue where all speakers would shift one to the left :??: 
The right channel would become center, center would be left, left was sub, etc.
The only way I could reset it was by rebooting.
After that, I swore off Creative for a good long while :pfff: 
February 6, 2010 2:53:19 AM

I never saw a thread with so many posts as the one you are talking about jtpublisher. It grew by the 1000's daily and I posted my share as well.

I haven't bought any creative products since and am not sure if I will. Most likely not, and I was a fairly die hard customer as I paid 130 bucks for their high end card before the xi-fi series came out. Its in a box somewhere collecting dust...
February 6, 2010 10:10:58 AM

ppl, creative not very good with soundcards anmore, since vista, and even b4... asus will beat any soundcards, made by creative

plus, BOSE????? cmon...
February 6, 2010 6:55:10 PM

Bose last time i knew only made speakers... go with a asus card as everyone else is saying if you want to pay for that, but tbh, onboard is more then enough for most people
February 6, 2010 8:45:27 PM

I have the Logitech Z-680 system, which is the wired version of the Z-5500. I've owned the system for about 4-5 years now and I have zero regrets. The Z-5500 system is supposed to be very similar (wireless being the big difference, of course). The overpowering bass claims are factual, but I just don't turn the bass up that high. It's all about finding an equalization between sound (Oh, and if you use an equalizer for anything, you can putz with the bass anyway :D ).
February 8, 2010 6:15:16 AM

sovereign110 said:
I have the Logitech Z-680 system, which is the wired version of the Z-5500. I've owned the system for about 4-5 years now and I have zero regrets. The Z-5500 system is supposed to be very similar (wireless being the big difference, of course). The overpowering bass claims are factual, but I just don't turn the bass up that high. It's all about finding an equalization between sound (Oh, and if you use an equalizer for anything, you can putz with the bass anyway :D ).


You are confusing the Z-5450s (wireless) with the Z-5500s (wired). The Z-5500s use the same 3" fullrange drivers as the Z-680s but with a slightly different enclosure. Also the subwoofer is bigger. Supposedly the fixed the Z-680 pre-amp hiss with the Z-5500s.

And EQ...is definitely needed with those subs. I can't tell if its harmonic distortion or the satellites and sub not being level matched, but the Z-680 sub is obviously limited by its poor bracing and 1/2" MDF enclosures that resonate like a drum, not to mention being plagued with a 140hz crossover that forces too much midrange to bleed through it.
February 14, 2010 5:07:55 PM

astrallite said:
You are confusing the Z-5450s (wireless) with the Z-5500s (wired). The Z-5500s use the same 3" fullrange drivers as the Z-680s but with a slightly different enclosure. Also the subwoofer is bigger. Supposedly the fixed the Z-680 pre-amp hiss with the Z-5500s.

And EQ...is definitely needed with those subs. I can't tell if its harmonic distortion or the satellites and sub not being level matched, but the Z-680 sub is obviously limited by its poor bracing and 1/2" MDF enclosures that resonate like a drum, not to mention being plagued with a 140hz crossover that forces too much midrange to bleed through it.



i know 140hz is quite a high crossover

but what do u think about 120?? cos thats seems to be the xover point for many pc speakers
February 23, 2010 5:03:31 PM

p1n3apqlexpr3ss said:
Bose is creme de la creme, then comes altec lansing, then logitech, then creative. Creative a more budget orientated sound route.
As for soundcards creative xi-fi series are considered to be some of the best around


I'm not writing this to antagonize, but Bose is not the "creme de la creme" (sic) - in fact, anyone who really understands these things knows that there's no such thing as any given brand is de facto cream of anything. Yes, there are some brands you can write off as cheap and unreliable, but those are clearly inferior (in-house retail store brands), but don't fall into the brand trap! I always look at value - a $60 Logitech can sound better than a $140 Bose (yes, it's true). If you can, go to your local retail stores and test them out - but keep in mind that the sound in a large store isn't accurate to how it will sound at home. In any case, if you settle only for brand name, then you might be giving yourself a false sense of comfort which may easily result in a much lighter wallet. Be an educated consumer, not a brand loyal sheep! :kaola: 

As for the original question, yes, creative is good. There are those who hate and those who love it and it's all just fine - that's why there are choices out there. Don't expect the best drivers for creative though, that's probably their biggest flaw! Otherwise, the sound output is great unless you care about synthetic tests, in which case some of the creative cards will not get the best scores. Cheers!
February 23, 2010 6:37:13 PM

let me add to that, the quality ont he creative is still not as gd compared to the asus that is as long as the asus is NOT competing with the flagship models of creative of course...
February 23, 2010 6:39:29 PM

for budget/quality go with logtech and get a great logtech 5.1 to go with it you will be impressed!
February 25, 2010 6:14:08 PM

MEgamer said:
i know 140hz is quite a high crossover

but what do u think about 120?? cos thats seems to be the xover point for many pc speakers


120hz is bad idea for a crossover for PC speakers. To give you an idea, the Klipsch RSX-3 is a 1" tweeter/3.5" aluminum midrange and fairly large of a satellite, sold with the Klipsch 2.1 iFi. The -3db point is 113hz. Even with a 120hz crossover point you need a sub with a gentle x-over slope meaning a significant amount of mid-bass will bleed through. A satellite with the RSX-3 is the "bare minimum" you need to blend a with a subwoofer at 120hz without failing miserably.

Something like a full range 2.5" or 3" with medium/small satellites will not be able to meet a 120hz x-over because the natural rolloff would be too steep. If a 120hz x-over was used then the system would have a significant output deficiency in the midbass.
March 5, 2010 11:35:40 PM

darkjuggalo2000 said:
for budget/quality go with logtech and get a great logtech 5.1 to go with it you will be impressed!

Yeah I am looking for budget/quality, I thought Altec was the best at quality/price..... Did you know Lansing is the L in JBL................. just some fyi stuff...................
March 6, 2010 10:01:05 AM

James Bullough Lansing
March 17, 2010 4:13:00 PM

lansing is good but the 7.1 logtech was compared to a bose 450 dollar 7.1 setup and and the comparison was so close it was unbelievable. keep in mind that the logtech is 75 dollars at walmart
March 17, 2010 6:09:14 PM

Bose are small lifestyle speakers, they were never made to sound good. Even $4,000 Acoustimass systems are sonically unimpressive.
March 17, 2010 10:20:20 PM

man why does bose even try....
u see reviews by tiger direct, saying that the only company out there with the best LOOKING speaker is bose.... they clearly parid him to say that...

bose makes one of teh most ugliest speaker in the world.
March 17, 2010 10:51:47 PM

Personally, I tried switching from a Creative X-Fi Titanium (the PCI-E version) to an Asus Xonar DX, but so far am unimpressed to the point that I'm going back to the X-Fi (which was a big disappointment, given how crappy the Creative drivers/support are... thankfully the daniel_k drivers help).

To elaborate... I use Tritton AX 720 headphones which require Dolby Digital (Live). Although the Xonar DX supports it, it has an obnoxious habit of popping whenever starting a new application with sound. Also, in some (new!) games there is a really weird/distracting echo, like the person speaking is in a small room... this happens to great extent to me in Dragon Age, and is actually really annoying.

In any case, I love Asus in general and would really love to use/support their product, but for some reason the Creative's DDL just works and sounds great, where the Asus has some issues.

Note that I haven't tried analog connections since I'm using the Trittons...

In any case, to the OP, it's all up to you really. Check some reviews, but just try something. If you don't like it, return it for something else.
March 18, 2010 3:24:50 AM

Well Bioware isn't known for its technical expertise lol and both Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 are glitchy as hell.
March 24, 2010 7:47:04 AM

astrallite said:
Well Bioware isn't known for its technical expertise lol and both Dragon Age and Mass Effect 2 are glitchy as hell.

I have yet to install mass effect 2 on my pc, but how is it glitchy, soundwise or graphicswise? Or is the game in general glitchy?
March 24, 2010 5:10:45 PM

I've never had a good experience with Creative's soundcards, especially the newer ones, I've run into alot of driver issues especially considering that Creative doesn't often release driver updates for their soundcards (more specifically, x-treme gamer series)...I could be wrong here but that's just my personal experience
March 24, 2010 9:02:35 PM

I haven't actually found Dragon Age to be at all glitchy. And the only glitch I saw in ME2 was an occasional (uncommon) clipping issue where I'd end up stuck in the air and have to reload. This was before any of the patches, too. Not sure if it's been addressed but it wasn't a huge problem, especially with how ME2 auto-saves for every "mission."
March 24, 2010 10:37:37 PM

i was looking at a creative x-fi titanium card but after reading all the posts i was wondering what card you guys would recommend instead. the only thing is that i heard that creative is good for gaming with there eax tech and etc and since iam building my rig for gaming purposes iam kinda stuck ont he fence i guess

my motherboard is the ASUS P6X58D i heard it had good onboard sound would that be good enough (i need an optical out)
March 25, 2010 4:28:32 AM

I seriously think you will be happy with the onboard sound. Theres very few cases it wouldn't be good enough even for an avid gamer. Sound cards were more important back in the P4 and prior days to help offload some workload to the cpu. Todays cpus arent burdened by processing onboard sound like previous generation cpus. I think sound cards will fall the way of the dinosaur eventually. The last end users that may need a good sound card would be someone that produces music or some other high end audio...
March 25, 2010 8:52:46 AM

thefivetheory said:
I haven't actually found Dragon Age to be at all glitchy. And the only glitch I saw in ME2 was an occasional (uncommon) clipping issue where I'd end up stuck in the air and have to reload. This was before any of the patches, too. Not sure if it's been addressed but it wasn't a huge problem, especially with how ME2 auto-saves for every "mission."


The new 1.03 patch has tons of people crashing every 15-30 minutes, and the DLC items that people pay for either don't show up at all, or occasionally show up. What a mess.
March 26, 2010 1:34:55 AM

well then what is the best board that has onboard sound, is there such a thing or do all onboard sound drivers and cards sound the same?
March 26, 2010 2:45:30 AM

What speakers are you running? This will depend LARGELY on what you are trying to use as a speaker system.

You want to put corvette wheels on a corvette, not chevette wheels on a corvette or visa versa...
March 27, 2010 1:27:23 AM

How do y'all get around a lack of CMS? Granted most music is only stereo mixed, but listening to it when its forced-surround is pretty sick.
April 6, 2010 1:33:55 AM

MEgamer said:
man why does bose even try....
u see reviews by tiger direct, saying that the only company out there with the best LOOKING speaker is bose.... they clearly parid him to say that...

bose makes one of teh most ugliest speaker in the world.

Bose speakers are good looking and have decent sound quality, they are not focused on the PC gaming market however...

Their speakers are good looking because simplicity is their game...
April 6, 2010 1:37:45 AM

Lets say if you connect your PC via the sound card to your Mixerfor vinyl, would a creative xi-fi be good enough to let out crisp sound?
April 6, 2010 7:39:37 AM

Frankly my... 5ish year old sony 2.0 250w stereo system still going sweet (whenever eminems curtain call album came out) and is completly sweet just hooking up to my dell laptop, everything sounds good.
My opinion bout soundcards/speakers, is always this, always better investing in speakers than a sound card, whats the point of 300$ sound card if you dont have decent speakers?
April 6, 2010 8:07:40 AM

Bose is good because they are simple. That is correct. That's why women love them. They are called WAF speakers (wife acceptance factor). I don't think anyone whose ever listened to a competing brand is going to claim Bose speakers SOUND any good, however.
April 6, 2010 8:12:09 AM

haha nice point astra, as for the bose quality, one set i heard of them sounded orgasmic... no i havent compared them to equivalent home theatre setups however
April 6, 2010 10:04:13 AM

The Acoustimass systems I heard in Best Buy sounded like clock radios. The Magnolia room was like 15 feet away. Best Buy definitely didn't do their homework. The Bose system was too close to the home theater speakers, some of which were cheaper than Bose. Suffice to say, not many people stayed long at the Bose booth.
April 6, 2010 5:51:50 PM

so bose sucks???

answer: yes

dont even bother argueing you know it is. :p 
April 8, 2010 2:19:50 AM

p1n3apqlexpr3ss said:
Frankly my... 5ish year old sony 2.0 250w stereo system still going sweet (whenever eminems curtain call album came out) and is completly sweet just hooking up to my dell laptop, everything sounds good.
My opinion bout soundcards/speakers, is always this, always better investing in speakers than a sound card, whats the point of 300$ sound card if you dont have decent speakers?

Absolutley, I used to connect my panasonic cd player with 1000watts via my old pentium 4 PC 7 years ago and it had crazy aounds and my old sound card was useful, a bit overkill but warcraft, age of mythology, half life 2 and doom were great on that, not to mention far cry
April 29, 2010 5:39:10 AM

Best answer selected by liquidsnake718.
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