they said it is the best soundcard creative has ever released.
and my x-fi elite pro with my sony mbr-xb500 headphones is good.
signal to noise ratio is not necessarily the same thing as getting into the realm of black nothingness that makes the audio sound more realistic.
with enough harmonic distortion.. the amplification is high, resulting in a very loud representation of the audio.. but the screaming needs to be tamed to a point of not distorting in any way.
otherwise it sounds like you have all of these extra watts making the same crap sound.. except this time it is only louder.
the difference between the soundcards is pretty simple.
there is going to be some that are very dark and clear, and they dont sound good without some audiophile speakers that can actually do something with the darkness.
then there are other soundcards that brighten the realm of the darkness.. because some people like it that way because their speakers havent taught them any better.
there are probably some that try to mix the two together in a way to get a better slew rate.
basically, these sound better because there is more detail coming out.. it isnt being withheld.
the audio in the dark realm does sound really good when it can hiss at you with accuracy.
going to the faster slew rate with less darkness is really a childish joke.
kinda like this comparison..
you have a television that represents the lesser form of darkness with a higher slew rate.
for more slew rate, you have to give the television more pixels.
for the lack of darkness, you have to give the television some bad colors.
the other version with better darkness and perhaps a lesser slew rate..
much more accurate colors that look realistic (perhaps even MORE colors available) and deeper blacks and brighter whites.
basically the perfect color palatte, but with less pixels.
so if you zoom out of the situation and really stretch it out to show the difference.
it is like a black and white movie in 1080p with non-perfect focus.
compared to a color movie with picture perfect color realism in 800x600 with perfect focus.
people get too carried away with the extra pixels.. because they think 'somehow' the extra pixels are going to magically make the picture look better.
some will say the lesser slew rate is too over-hyped, because people expect the extra darkness to magically make the distortion look better.
well i have some news for people..
the distortion isnt in the soundcard if the numbers are there.
the distortion is in the speakers or the crappy receiver connected to it.
i have used some speakers that are much better than average, but not completely able to take full advantage of the darkness.
i must say..
when i calibrated the equalizer, they sounded much better on the extra dark system than they do on the lesser dark system.
because there are two different things to be listening to.
the vocals is one thing.. but all of the audio mastering is another thing.
the stereo fades from left to right are much better with the darkness.
the laying one sound on top of another sound is much better with the darkness.
much better.. to the point where the two sounds on top of eachother sound seperated and easy to listen to.
without the darkness, the two sounds lay directly on top of eachother and you cant hear the one sound without listening to the other.. and basically the two sounds will never ever be heard as only one.
it is like going into a room full of people talking.
the only way you can hear what people are saying is if those people are close to you.
so without the darkness..
the only way you are going to hear one sound that lays on top of another sound is if one of those two sounds are louder than the other.
a very childish approach.. considering with the extra darkness, you could hear both sounds at the same volume and your brain can pick which one it wants to listen to.
your speakers can make it harder or easier.
if anybody wants to care.. there is a studio technique that is an art within the audio industry.
it is called 'scoring'
and basically it involves any effect other than a microphone directly in front of the persons mouth recording.
less darkness means more mumbling when the sounds are very soft.
i think the vast majority of people with speakers dont know what scoring is or what it sounds like.
putting in a movie will really make those effects much much louder so you are forced to hear it.
when those same effects exist in almost every single song.. they are much softer and go without being heard until audio upgrades happen.
the price tag is not going to equal a guaranteed upgrade.
so if you spent a lot of money on the speakers.. the results vary from no improvement at all to something that clearly shows what i am talking about.
sometimes the difference is clearly a change.. but it might not be the change needed to hear what i am talking about.