Creative X-Fi: A New World of Sound

For DivX

Upmixing a movie or video is even more spectacular. Do it with a DivX stereo movie that you're familiar with in Dolby Digital and you'll be blown away. Of course here again, the CMSS-3D can't figure out the spatial origin of a sound, but it comes close!

For our tests, we made a DivX stereo copy of a DVD of Toy Story 2 . The introduction to this movie is an especially good example of sound positioning in space. CMSS-3D managed to correctly locate most of the action with sounds at the left and right rear. Moving to Dolby Digital, the origin of the sound is more precise, in particular with an action that starts in the rear, and the motion effect from right rear to left front could be heard perfectly. But the Creative upmix was still very good, much better than Dolby Pro Logic II, which sometimes denatures the soundtrack and never manages to make a really precise move to a rear speaker. If you often watch DivX movies, and especially if you use your PC as a living-room video player, you won't get better spatialization from a stereo soundtrack than X-Fi's.

Naturally, Creative's MediaSource software is included. We used it to enjoy an opera recording with CMSS-3D.

Of course, there's no problem with an original multichannel recording, like a movie in Dolby Digital or DTS - at least so long as you stay with multichannel listening. CMSS-3D promises "surround" reproduction with only two speakers, but naturally we found it a lot less impressive. It did create a soundstage that was clearly beyond stereo, but obviously it wasn't comparable to what a 5.1 or 7.1 system can do. So the processing capability will be welcome if you have only two speakers, but moving to a multichannel kit is still by far the best solution for getting the most out of your movies.