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  • #16
    Originally posted by d2kx View Post
    Btw.: the best german game magazine has just tested the Razer Baracuda, Creative X-Fi and ASUS Xonar. The X-Fi is best, the ASUS Xonar is not as good as the X-Fi in games thanks to the closed EAX, but excellent in other tests and the Razer Baracuda was not only the worst in all tests, it also was the most expensive one.
    I think I've come across that review too, and of course the Creative stuff would come out on top, simply because the intention for most Creative cards are to give good sound while requiring the least amount of CPU time.
    Most poeple who buy the Razer and other alternative high-end sound cards are actually after sound quality over CPU utilization. They're after good ADC and DACs so that they can both have good quality sound coming out of headphoens, and possibly be able to record well from external sources. Most gamers won't particularly care how good the SNR or whatever specs the audiophiles care about; as long as the sound is not distorted, sounds good, and they can still have good frame rates, the gamers will usually be ok with it.

    I thought the original Sound Blaster Live was pretty good, only to find out that the backplate wasn't grounded properly, and the card was fried in an incident (and I've seen others who have testify to the same thing). I was using a Hercules Fortissimo II/III and Digifire, and frankly, I found the A3D in the Fortissimo sounded better than EAX 1.0 at the time, and had decent support in Linux using open source drivers - other than being unable to choose the headphone port. I've seen move back to Audigy2ZS, but I couldn't say I'm particularly a fan of Creative. They even release manuals exclusively in .chm files...

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    • #17
      Originally posted by calyth View Post
      I think I've come across that review too, and of course the Creative stuff would come out on top, simply because the intention for most Creative cards are to give good sound while requiring the least amount of CPU time.
      Most poeple who buy the Razer and other alternative high-end sound cards are actually after sound quality over CPU utilization. They're after good ADC and DACs so that they can both have good quality sound coming out of headphoens, and possibly be able to record well from external sources. Most gamers won't particularly care how good the SNR or whatever specs the audiophiles care about; as long as the sound is not distorted, sounds good, and they can still have good frame rates, the gamers will usually be ok with it.

      I thought the original Sound Blaster Live was pretty good, only to find out that the backplate wasn't grounded properly, and the card was fried in an incident (and I've seen others who have testify to the same thing). I was using a Hercules Fortissimo II/III and Digifire, and frankly, I found the A3D in the Fortissimo sounded better than EAX 1.0 at the time, and had decent support in Linux using open source drivers - other than being unable to choose the headphone port. I've seen move back to Audigy2ZS, but I couldn't say I'm particularly a fan of Creative. They even release manuals exclusively in .chm files...
      Even though I mostly agree with you here, in terms of following those manufacturers that are Linux friendly, I must confess that I tend to recommend Sound Blaster products, especially those based on the EMU10K* architecture, simply due to the awesome support from the Open Source drivers these cards have. Even though features like 24-bit audio and 96KHz sampling are not supported for the Audigy 2's; and that features likes Dolby Digital hardware decoding and DTS and what not are not even implementable, these cards DO offer a level of performance for audio applications in Linux rarely seen with any other IHV products. In fact none other has the level of supported features. Granted M-Audio does excellent cards, one key factor puts me personally off those: Lack of hardware mxing, since as you said it yourself, I'd rather have my CPU doing some more demanding tasks than mixing audio streams with softmix.

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      • #18
        Good point, and which makes me want to think what the heck's going on with the hardware mixing for non-EMU10k* chips. Had it not been the mixing problem (and actually having headphone outputs amplified), I would've stuck with my Digifire.

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        • #19
          The point is that Creative DID release some very good documentation for the EMU10K1 architecture, along with sample code, I recall they did so under NDAs and whatnot, but in the end the result has been a fantastic driver. I'm not sure how many other cards (apart from VIA's 8235/37, Cristal Sound and 4DWave) do offer hardware mixing. I know that, for instance, VIA's 8235/37s support up to 4 "hardware streams", making me recommend VIA motherboards with these chipsets for cheap integrated audio that will "Just Work" on Linux and applications such as Team Speak2 and your favorite games/media players (remember Team Speak 2 is OSS based and jams two channels, the capture and one playback exclusively for it, so on non HW mixing hardware, TS2 makes it impossible to mix any other sounds). Some models of Cristal Sound chips support HW mixing as well, I've seen up to two hardware steams (enough for some applications), but still very limited. And finally the 4DWave cards support as many as the EMU10K* driver, 32 hardware streams. If anything, the 4DWave was lack luster in the AMP department, where the sounds coming from the outlet are too soft (even at maximum volume) and as such you DO require either a preamp or powered speakers, which doesn't play nice for headphone users.

          Of all the M-Audio solutions I've seen on Linux (albeit not many), none of them supported hardware mixing. They do, however support digital and analogue playback and recording, have some very nice shielding and are regarded by many audiophiles as the "BEST" audiophile sound cards available... If you don't mind messing around with softmixing and putting your CPU to higher strain for audio, it is indeed a good solution (not my cup of tea, though). I've had never had problems with EMU10K* hardware in terms of sound quality and recording. Granted the shielding on my Live! Value card is not the best, and it may on occasion pick up some electrical signals from within the case, but a friend's Audigy 2ZS card has much better shielding.

          For a piece of hardware as ancient as my Live! is (roughly dating from 1999/early 2000), it still has to let me down. And that's another reason I'm partial to Creative (at least EMU10K* hardware), their hardware do lasts.

          Positive thinking would be that they may end up doing exactly the same thing they did for the EMU10K* hardware and release specs and sample code for the X-Fi for the core functionality and not implement other "fancy" stuff (DD, DTS, etc), which might be patent encumbered... Alas, if DD did allow for such functionality to be implemented on an open driver (for a specific hardware), that would be swell... In the end, the users have already paid for such functionality, so DD ends up not losing, but gaining (IMO)

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          • #20
            Still waiting for the driver tests. Guess you guys are really busy right now and thats why it isnt on the site yet? I'd test it myself but I dont have a Xfi card, my friend has but he's in the army now so he isnt of much help.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by conholster View Post
              Guess you guys are really busy right now and thats why it isnt on the site yet?

              Yes, very busy and with limited resources, which is why the review hasn't been published yet. Hope to have it done soon.
              Michael Larabel
              http://www.michaellarabel.com/

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              • #22
                OK, thanks for your reply Michael

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                • #23
                  whatever. ac97 rules the market, and hardly anyone needs such a sophisticated (and overpriced too) sound card.

                  also, a sound card with binary drivers? it just doesn't sit with me.

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                  • #24
                    I'm also very interested to hear of the results of this. I've recently become a fan of Linux Mint 4.0 and have been curious who the preferred advanced sound card manufacturer might be. As a fan of the X-Fi i'm hoping this turns out well for Creative.

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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by orthetic View Post
                      ...very interested to hear of the results of this.
                      Me too, even though the article yesterday on the Razer got me patching my want-for-xmas list.

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                      • #26
                        Well I can tell you this much, I heard the driver is very very buggy. Not a surprise. Its beta, and its from Creative, meaning, it'll be hell. I don't know who the crackhead was that released these for 64-bit Linux only, but he deserves to be fired. You think AMD/ATI is bad? They are angels compared to Creative. Besides, AMD/ATI ain't that bad. Things are getting better and will continue to do so. Unlike Creative. Even their Windows drivers are buggy, they need to open source these drivers.

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                        • #27
                          Of note, Auzentech is releasing an X-Fi card, and they are also in the works of customizing their own drivers to work with the card for Linux and Windows. They will also have drivers for the Creative Labs X-Fi as well.

                          Should Auzentech release stable drivers for the platform in short time, how embarassing for Creative's very slow delay.

                          Here is a link to the company's product webpage.

                          http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php

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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Malikith View Post
                            Well I can tell you this much, I heard the driver is very very buggy.
                            That's what I heard too...but still havent seen one real test or anything, not even anyone asking for help on issues with it. So as I see it, either no one is using it or it works great on 64bit.

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                            • #29
                              Originally posted by orthetic View Post
                              Of note, Auzentech is releasing an X-Fi card, and they are also in the works of customizing their own drivers to work with the card for Linux and Windows. They will also have drivers for the Creative Labs X-Fi as well.

                              Should Auzentech release stable drivers for the platform in short time, how embarassing for Creative's very slow delay.

                              Here is a link to the company's product webpage.

                              http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php
                              Sounds intresting, the Razer is way over my budget but if this card is made available at more affordable prices...hmmm I still want the Razer

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                              • #30
                                Here's a review of the Auzentech X-Fi sound card.

                                Seems like Tech Arp likes it...

                                http://www.techarp.com/showarticle.a...tno=480&pgno=1

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