Creative X-Fi: A New World of Sound

Crystalizer: Truer Sound

Among the modules offered by X-Fi is the Crystalizer, available in all three operating modes. We described the principle behind it in a previous article about X-Fi .

The Crystalizer has a single adjustment graduated in percentage. With the Elite Pro, you can adjust the level of the effect either with the remote control or directly on the rack. We might have hoped for more complete controls, but the goal is undoubtedly to give amateurs a tool that's easy to use.

In actual listening, the Crystalizer's processing truly does result in more realistic sound, closer to what you hear in an actual performance. In general, dynamics are greatly improved, and you get the impression that the frequency response has been extended - it hasn't really, but the impression comes from the relief added to the bass and the processing on the upper part of the spectrum. Naturally, the effect is very dependent on the type of sound being processed. It can become imperceptible with sound whose level doesn't vary much. But a recording with a lot of percussive sounds and transients will be altered much more audibly. With many types of music, it'll be hard to go back to the way it sounded before once you've heard what it sounds like with the Crystalizer. Without it, you get the impression that you're listening to your music from behind a thick curtain.

Naturally, to get the full benefit of the Crystalizer, your playback system (amplifier and speakers) needs to be up to the task. The speakers have to handle the increased dynamic range without tiring or creating distortion. Also, the adjustment of the Crystalizer's level has to suit the music - you won't use the same adjustment for techno as for opera! And the adjustment depends not only on the type of music but also on the characteristics of the original recording.