Feeds
70%

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi ExpressCard and Wireless Receiver

Film fans and game buffs, rejoice

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Whether or not all this user choice is worth the effort depends on how you like your music. For instance, the CMSS-3D software allows you to move a singer's voice either more to the front or more to the rear, but we quickly came to the conclusion that the best place for Seth Lakeman's vocals was just where the producer had put them to start with. Ditto the differences between the loud and quiet bits of La Traviata. Verdi scored it that way for a reason.

Creative X-Fi

Tweak the sound like you're in the Royal Albert Hall

For film and games buffs, the card makes far more sense. You can download a free copy CyberLink's PowerDVD application complete with Dolby Digital and DTS decoding. Allied to CMSS-3D, it makes watching a DVD on your laptop with headphones quite a bit more entertaining from a purely audio point of view.

CMSS-3D also makes for great positional sound effects during gameplay, while Creative's EAX Advanced HD makes things that go bang go with a bigger bang if a quick romp around Red Faction 2 was anything to go by.

Of course, all these modifiers work better with headphones than speakers – though you can set the X-Fi control panel to favour either, and it has a handy set up feature for standalone surround sound speaker systems. Creative reckons a pair of its Aurvana X-Fi cans are what's needed to really blow your socks off, though at £150 a pair we would hope for nothing less.

The PC card's integral wireless transmitter allows you to stream music to Creative's Wireless Receiver, a 95 x 60 x 25mm black box with RCA and 3.5mm audio out jacks at the back. The receiver comes with a handy little remote that allows you to alter the volume, change track, and enable or disable the various X-Fi sound modifiers. There are also a few wholly useless buttons as it's the same remote that ships with other Creative products, such as the Xdock.

Creative X-Fi

Stream music to four zones

Set up of the Wireless Receiver couldn't be more simple. Plug it in, connect it up, switch on and wait for it to pick up the signal from the Sound Blaster X-Fi Notebook. Sound quality is not at all bad. We hooked our unit up to the Edifier speakers and to an LG 5.1 home cinema system and the resulting sound from both showed little if anything in the way of distortion or degradation.

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Next page: Verdict

More from The Register

next story
4K video on terrestrial TV? Not if the WRC shares frequencies to mobiles
Have your say with Ofcom now, before Freeview becomes Feeview
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
You didn't get the MeMO? Asus Pad 7 Android tab is ... not bad
Really, er, stands out among cheapie 7-inchers
Apple winks at parents: C'mon, get your kid a tweaked Macbook Pro
Cheapest models given new processors, more RAM
YES, iPhones ARE getting slower with each new release of iOS
Old hardware doesn't get any faster with new software
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Microsoft stands on shore as tablet-laden boat sails away
Brit buyers still not falling for Windows' charms
Nintend-OH NO! Sorry, Mario – your profits are in another castle
Red-hatted mascot, red-colored logo, red-stained finance books
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.