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Creative Software Boosts On-Board Audio to Hi-Fi

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 29 comments

Creative's software suite enhances the sound of any on-board audio system.

Thursday Creative Technology Ltd. revealed a new version of its X-Fi MB software suite. Called Sound Blaster X-Fi MB2, the software is claimed to enhance the sound of any basic on-board sound system by combining THX TruStudio Pro and Creative's own EAX Advanced HD 5.0. The end result supposedly offers premium audio, whether it's during HD video playback or while fragging with the latest shooter.

According to the company, ASUS will be the first manufacturer to incorporate the suite, bundling it with the Republic of Gamers Rampage III Formula and Gene series of motherboards. "Our partnership will continue to push the boundaries of PC gaming audio, providing the much-needed realism and immersion in game-play that modern PC games demand," said Steve Erickson, Vice President and General Manager for Audio and Video at Creative.

The new suite will come with native OpenAL support, a tool called Creative ALchemy that restores EAX effects and 3D surround audio for legacy, DirectSound 3D game titles in Windows Vista and Windows 7, and VoiceFX technology for morphing user voices. EAX Advanced HD 5.0 will feature multi-environment rendering and reverb modeling, whereas TruStudio Pro will add punch to every gunshot, explosion and gaming sound.

Additionally, the TruStudio Pro suite features THX TruStudio Pro Surround, THX TruStudio Pro Crystalizer, THX TruStudio Pro Speaker, THX TruStudio Pro Dialog Plus and THX TruStudio Pro Smart Volume. Other features found in Creative's EAX Advanced HD 5.0 include EAX Voice, EAX PurePath and EAX MacroFX.

Despite this however, there's still no getting around the fact that most if not all onboard motherboard audio solutions are comprised of very low cost audio components. From cheap integrated DACs, to cheap DSPs, you just can't get aorund those things.

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  • 15 Hide
    Strider-Hiryu_79 , July 29, 2010 11:17 PM
    Quote:
    From cheap integrated DACs, to cheap DSPs, you just can't get aorund those things.


    This is true. There's only so much that software emulation and programming can do.
  • 13 Hide
    Greg_77 , July 29, 2010 11:14 PM
    Yea, you just can't get "aorund" some things ;) 
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , July 29, 2010 11:25 PM
    Creative has been providing this software to motherboard manufacturers for a while now. This is just the latest revision. Too bad it can't be purchased separately.

    However, given Creative's track record in regards to support and updates, you're probably better off purchasing a motherboard with a Realtek chipset and Dolby Home Theater. You get all the same features (minus EAX5,) but support is much better. Realtek releases new drivers approximately once a month. When I reported a bug, I received a prompt reply, and the bug was fixed in the next release.
Other Comments
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , July 29, 2010 11:10 PM
    Looking forward already to Daniel_K's version of this..
  • 13 Hide
    Greg_77 , July 29, 2010 11:14 PM
    Yea, you just can't get "aorund" some things ;) 
  • 15 Hide
    Strider-Hiryu_79 , July 29, 2010 11:17 PM
    Quote:
    From cheap integrated DACs, to cheap DSPs, you just can't get aorund those things.


    This is true. There's only so much that software emulation and programming can do.
  • 12 Hide
    grillz9909 , July 29, 2010 11:20 PM
    I wish EAX would just die already. There needs to be a non proprietary equivalent so we don't have to rely on their shoddy drivers. Just wishful thinking though.
  • 7 Hide
    jimmysmitty , July 29, 2010 11:21 PM
    I think I will stick with my X-Fi anyways. Betetr quality parts means better true HD audio.
  • 10 Hide
    dragonsqrrl , July 29, 2010 11:25 PM
    Creative... you can't produce "premium audio" through software. It's just another deceptive quick money grabbing scheme meant to prey on the ignorant and ill informed. Congratulations Creative, you can add this to your repertoire of terrible customer service, shady business model, and horrible driver support. It's just as Mr. Parrish stated, no matter how much you pretty it up, there's no getting around the cheap integrated audio components. Although something like this might do well in a laptop, merely enhancing the sub par audio performance of an integrated audio solution, it's still far from a "premium audio" experience.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , July 29, 2010 11:25 PM
    Creative has been providing this software to motherboard manufacturers for a while now. This is just the latest revision. Too bad it can't be purchased separately.

    However, given Creative's track record in regards to support and updates, you're probably better off purchasing a motherboard with a Realtek chipset and Dolby Home Theater. You get all the same features (minus EAX5,) but support is much better. Realtek releases new drivers approximately once a month. When I reported a bug, I received a prompt reply, and the bug was fixed in the next release.
  • -5 Hide
    matt87_50 , July 29, 2010 11:29 PM
    creative drivers and support sucks!

    but it is nice of them to restore old game's sound. wtf MS?? why did you break everything with vista? audio? openGL? wtf?
  • 5 Hide
    kinggraves , July 29, 2010 11:34 PM
    Nothing more than a mobo bullet point. Software emulation is nothing with a lousy DAC or cheap speakers, it's not like the Realteks don't come with "sound boosting" technology as well. Computers just can't replace a decent receiver, especially not with the "protected path" garbage.
  • 0 Hide
    reconspartan , July 29, 2010 11:41 PM
    I have laptop with no dedicated sound card + windows 7 + surround sound headset (that uses directsound) and all I play is BF2. Too bad they aren't selling the software IMO. Seems like it would improve my experience.
  • 1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , July 30, 2010 2:58 AM
    using more software emulation you would expect cpu and ram useage to jump somewhat....I dont want that
  • 0 Hide
    dEAne , July 30, 2010 3:38 AM
    I have a XFi Fatality, but I have seen lots of boards with cheap sound solutions and it's quite acceptable to most users.
  • -1 Hide
    JonathanDeane , July 30, 2010 4:18 AM
    reconspartanI have laptop with no dedicated sound card + windows 7 + surround sound headset (that uses directsound) and all I play is BF2. Too bad they aren't selling the software IMO. Seems like it would improve my experience.


    Somehow I doubt your using Windows 7 AND Direct Sound. Or did Microsoft add that back in after they did not put it in Vista? I remember thats where the drivers for my Audigy and my X-Fi really took a nose dive (thankfully they have gotten a lot better over time now)
  • 3 Hide
    Cons29 , July 30, 2010 5:23 AM
    buggy drivers, lots of issues. and i wont forget what you did to Daniel_K, not just that, but doing that just to make consumers buy you newer products? that is just plain wrong creative, shame on you
  • 1 Hide
    shin0bi272 , July 30, 2010 6:01 AM
    Too bad they cant fix the issue with their audigy/x-fi cards and vista/win7 first. No mic is no fun when you play online with a gaming clan.
  • 0 Hide
    ljbade , July 30, 2010 6:35 AM
    Where can you buy this software?
  • 0 Hide
    ohim , July 30, 2010 9:38 AM
    shin0bi272Too bad they cant fix the issue with their audigy/x-fi cards and vista/win7 first. No mic is no fun when you play online with a gaming clan.

    I had the same problem then i realised that the driver itself is missing one important component which you`ll have to download separately from their site. It`s called Creative Console Launcher and it looks like this:

    http://img27.imageshack.us/img27/2971/consolee.jpg

    The only problem i see with realtek`s integrated solution is the lack of amplification on their soundcards ... i have a Logitech sound system and it doesn`t offer amplification for headphones and my Pioneer SE-M390 are too much for my realtek onboard so here i am on a Creative x-fi sound card. And yes driver support blows.
  • 0 Hide
    JonnyDough , July 30, 2010 9:45 AM
    My question is, how much does it tax the CPU? It seems like with the ever increasing abundance of CPU power that it makes sense to rewrite software to take advantage of the extra cores, etc. I mean, if my game or music isn't using all my system resources then I might as well have better refined and re-sampled audio.
  • 3 Hide
    7amood , July 30, 2010 10:02 AM
    interesting to see Creative and ASUS as partners... i thought they were rivals in the sound card field...
  • 2 Hide
    omac1a , July 30, 2010 11:31 AM
    7amoodinteresting to see Creative and ASUS as partners... i thought they were rivals in the sound card field...


    Yeah, but the computer business is incestuous. Sony and MS are rivals in the console market, but every Vaio PC has a copy of Windows, and Samsung makes their own line of MP3 players, but still sells memory to other manufacturers.
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