well it will be a huge difference. especially when you realize you have had no midrange whatsoever, and the bass is blurred into everything else that subwoofer of yours will just start poppin once you get the xfi.
one last note, once you get that creative card installed i strongly suggest to disable any audio enhancements you can find. creative like to put on a sludge of 'enhancements' that do nothing more then compress and distort the original signal. can be OK with crap speakers or crap soundcards, but the x-fi and those speakers you have are clear enough to be at their best with a clean signal. disable eax virutal positioning, disable 'audio enhancements' and adjust any graphic equalizer to flat.
now, in vista , creative's latest drivers seem to default the bass and treble at -10db for some reason. it sound very lame at this setting, the first thing you should do is set these tabs to 0db. then, use your speakers to bump up the bass if you need to (im pretty sure those speakers can adjust that). you want the cleanest, flattest signal you can coming out of the x-fi, the amplified speakers will take care of the rest.
flat. always start with flat, and you should never have to adjust it more then a couple ticks up or down on any given slider. believe me, with your onboard sound it was necessary to wildly adjust the EQ's just to get something decent sounding. with the new gear, it will sound best at default (as it should). i find the eq to be nice in low-volume situations, you can crank up bottom two to give some nice thump in movies or tv. but once you crank up the volume, you will want that flat eq setting back.
here is what my levels look like. i have the bass up a bit because my bookshelf speakers are weak. with what you have, i would adjust the bass on the speakers themselves, and leave the audio control panel's at 0. also, creative's drivers for vista are still terrible low in line volume, thats why my preamp is maxed.
btw, im reinstalling my cover art, that why they all look blank.
ahh yeah i saw your preamp level maxed before i read your comments and i was thinking what the?? alright then, note taken
also, what about the system volume settings? for as long as i've had external speakers (since my laptop before this build) i've always kept the system and media player volumes at their max, and used the speaker volume as the soul control for volume. is that recommended, or no?
also, what media player is that you're using?...itunes?...
should be fine. thats what i normally do too. just dont clip the signal (i explain more below) its jrmedia center, and its absolutely the best audio manager for the pc platform PERIOD. wrathchild67 led me onto this program years ago back when it was version 9, and i have bought every version since. its now at v12, and its simply amazing. the sound quailty is unmatched by any audio player, the handling of mp3's and their tags is spectacular. this is the only peice of software that i regularly pay for. also, the user support is fantastic, they have a whole forum with many dedicated posters always willing to help. also, its the only thing i use to manage my ipod, i have never used itunes at all. dont need to.
a key feature is the clip protection. this is crucial when youre dealing with very clean and loud signals. jr media center will never output a dirty signal, so you always know your speakers are getting the full spectrum undistorted. btw, with clip protection on, maxing out the preamp doesnt do anything for most audio because it was already producing the signal as loud as it can without messing it up. to get the extra boost you have to disable the clip protection, but be careful because it can possibly damage you speakers and ears for that matter...
Agreed Krupted my friend, a pci card is better than onboard. I whent to a sound and vision show the other day, and a few of the exhibitors were using media centre to show of thier kit, but most of the more expensive setups used either turntables or Dacs. I dont use the pc much for my music only when the other half wants the telly on downstairs. Its true to say keep the source as good as you can, I have been playing Flac files for a while now and WOW!!!! They might take up more room on me puter but are well worth it.
yeah that jr looks like a clean very well put together player...i'll definitely have to take a look. i already spent all this money on the hardware, so i might as well make sure i have the best software available for playback heh.
yeah i believe i've heard of clipping...i'm pretty big on car audio and i hear that if you have an amp that isnt powerful enough to power your sub at high volumes, then it begins to clip the signal, and this, over long periods of time, begins to damage your sub.
so you're saying that the "clip protection" keeps the signal from getting distorted, even if your eq settings would cause such a distortion (like a maxed preamp for instance )
jr media center has a 30 day trial, so you can use it for a good while before you buy. this is a media program that has been in development for many years now, and i can tell you espcially version 12 is really polished and fast. you can also set it to load the core in the processes at startup, so no matter when you open the media center it pops up instantly. its faster then windows media player this way.
yeah i downloaded it last night as soon as i read your post and i was very impressed. it gave clean sound even from my onboard setup. hopefully i have the 40 bucks to shell out by the time my trial is over!
i'm happy to report that i have the x-fi installed now and i must say that it is a step up as far as music right now. the sound is fuller and i'm actually able to turn down the subwoofer and surround levels from my speaker control unit because the sound coming from the card is handling its own! can't wait to apply the doom eax patch that came with it and freak myself out . also looking foward to bf2142.
as for my audigy2? OUT! my pc was litterally being brought to its knees for the past two days and i was baffled why. media center would lock up, and the entire pc would go into a continuous loop of pause, go, pause, go. it required full shutdowns to get it back right (and it took forever to shut down because the system was a a crawl). jr media center even stopped opening, its never done that before. i figured it had to be a virus or somehting, but every scan turned up nothing. finally, i remembered i installed the new creative drivers two days ago. off goes the pc, out comes the crapative card completely, and magically my system responds like a new install. i mean its flyin now, its a dramatic difference, and no more crackling sound.
so i enable my ac97 onboard sound, and to my surprise there are new beta vista drivers for that. they work AWESOME. media center is now faster then xp's. i always thought it was just slower, but its not. my soundcard was clearly slowing this entire system down. im beginning to think nero home was not actually my problem now...
anyway thanks creative, have a nice life with your awesome company because im done with it
Ok Guys lets try again, the original post was and I quote. Optical cables come in different types. Those with cheap plastic inside, those with glass inside. Yes Krupted you are right in saying they carry 5.1 signals but they are encoded signals, they do not carry 6 seperate audio signals which is why I said it makes no difference.
And as a matter of intrest when you state that a cmi8788 chipset card will rival most home theater stereos, if your talking about a £60 all in one unit from Asda then yeh, if you mean any half decent setup then I think not.
have you heard the cmi8788? or even then previous version on the montegoDDL? like i said too, the soundcard is just making the line signal, of course you still need a good reciever to amplify the sound for your speakers...
In all of this talk about audio positioning and PCI vs. onboard, I don't think anyone has mentioned that a decent home theater receiver $350 and up can already upmix into Dolby Digital or DTS using its onboard DSP. My four year old Yamaha receiver can already do a great job of taking a digital 2.0 channel signal from my PC's SPDIF output and converting it to 6.1 DTS or Dolby Digital on the fly. I'm still amazed how it knows where to position the surround sounds in a 2.0 channel source. So in my case, I haven't used a PCI soundcard for gaming in quite awhile.