Sound Blaster X-Fi Music Review


Ex Member
Ok I bought the sound blaster X-fi music edition a few days ago, compared the the audidiy 2 zs it lacks a firewire port, and also a dedicated microphone, digital out and line out port, instead it combines them into a single port, which you can select the funtion from within the software, it does not come with the joystick bracket, but the interrnal ports are virtualy identical to the audigy 2 zs, so any add on components you had for that should work with this. Anyway software wise it comes with a load of useless junk like the audigy 2 zs, I tested it for a bit and audio wise not much difference from the prevoious audigy card, in fact i liked the audigy 2 zs better as it has CMS Stereo X 2 option which clones a stereo signal to the front and rear speakers, sadly this lacks that feature, good thing though is that the inbuilt dolby/dts decoders actually function correctly, I tried them in Win DVD 7, set it to digital out, and switched the onboard decoders on and and hey presto the audio and video were perfectly synced, even in media player and media center. Anyway I turned on the 24 bit crystalizer and yes you get a bit of improvement if you can call it that...but not much, anyway I had problems with the card when playing back .wmv files with 5.1 audio the center channel was so low, could barely hear anyone speaking, I went the creative/THX speaker test to test each of my speakers individully and what do you know, it's not outputting the right signal to the right speaker, and yes my speaker cables were connected properly, spent hours plugging in each cable one by one but no luck, the center channel and subwoofer channel come out of the front right speaker, as did the front right and rear right channel, four channels through one speaker, now that's insane, and the funny thing was I unplugged the subwoofer and center channel cable from the soundcard, and was still getting them through the one speaker, the front left speaker was outputting the front left and rear left channel, it was so messed up, anway enough of that, audio does play fine, but you only notice the problem when playing back 5.1 wma audio..also note that you get random crackles, especially in media center, you usually get one when you launch it, anyway enough is enough, I have now removed the card from my systme and putting in my Audigy 2 ZS....anyway that's my experience with it...I don't know if it's buggy software or hardware....but i'm staying well clear of it...


Outstanding Member
If it follows the normal pattern of Creative hardware it will be the software that's buggy. I've never had a creative product that works straight out of the box until they've done a couple of software/driver updates. I will never buy another new Creative product until it's been out in the field for a few months at least.


Prominent Member
Sorry to hear about your experiences Meansizzler. I couldn't be happier with my X-Fi. The 24 bit crystalizer makes my mp3s sound much better and the new cmss gives my music a larger soundscape. I haven't tried wma files yet - I don't have any - and my speakers worked fine straight off when connected via analogue.

As I have a HDA mystique still in my machine I can hear the difference when I swap between the cards. I put the HDA mystique on a par with the Audigy 2 ZS so I think the X-fi is a definite improvement over both cards.

Maybe when the drivers get upgraded, you'll be able to dust off your X-fi card and it will work fine with no problems.


Ex Member
Well I found out the X-Fi card was not the problem, in fact it was a Logitech Fusion Web Camera I recently installed which was screwing up my audio, sure enough I uninstalled it and the card worked fine, shame really, it was one of Logitechs top cameras, I phoned them today but they never heard of the problem so I took the camera back for a refund, also took the X-fi back for a refund to, as i like my audigy better, because of firewire option on it...anyway maybe i'll upgrade to the X-Fi again later..


Established Member
I've always found Creative stuff to be pretty good - I've used their gear since 1994 or so (first product was a SoundBlaster 16 and 2X CD-ROM drive with a Panasonic interface), right through to the SoundBlaster Audigy 2 that is in my system (and pumping some Genesis into my ears as I type (via a NAD C320BEE amp and Sony MDR-CD480 cans). Creative gear I've owned:

- SoundBlaster 16 with a Panasonic 2X CD-ROM drive
- SoundBlaster 16 PnP
- SoundBlaster 32AWE PnP
- SoundBlaster 128
- SoundBlaster Live!
- SoundBlaster Live! Platinum
- Nomad II - my first ever MP3 player - this was a bit flaky towards the end
- SoundBlaster Audigy
- SoundBlaster Audidy 2

The only product I have had problems with was a SoundBlaster Live! Platinum - a pity, as I really liked the card, but it didn't play too nice with the VIA chipset that my motherboard had at the time. There is a long, documented history if you search the web about how the SoundBlaster Live! did not play ball with the VIA KT133 chipset. Having used my Audigy 2 on VIA KT266A, NVidia NForce 2, SiS 661 and NVidia NForce 4 chipsets, I can honestly say, it has been a trouble-free experience. As a rule, I tend to avoid anything but Intel/NVidia chipsets these days. Specced some music PCs for our music department at the school a few months ago and they have P4/3.0Ghz CPUs with MSI boards based on Intel i865G chipsets. For home/performance rigs, I prefer/use AMD Althon 64 CPUs on NForce 4 chipsets, using Asus boards.

I may well get an X-Fi card at some point, as I do a fair bit of listening to music using my PC as a source (iTunes/AAC @ 128kbps), through a NAD C320BEE amp and either Mission m70 speakers or Sony MDR-CD480 cans.

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