When we all thought Creative had thrown in the towel with their sound card line-up and admitted defeat to the likes of Asus and Auzentech, they are back with a whole new line-up and branding. The X-Fi generation is long gone and Creative have decided not to continue with this brand name and I really don’t blame them for doing so. While there was nothing wrong with the X-Fi cards, they didn’t exactly offer bang for buck when compared to offerings from Asus, plus their driver support was horrendous with no timely updates or bug fixes given to end users. Starting afresh, Creative is moving away from hardware audio processing and shifting their focus towards DSPs (Digital Signal Processors). These could be hardware-based or even software. The new cards are based around ‘SoundCore 3D’ technology, which constitute the use of four DSPs.
The SoundCore 3D base model
The first is CrystalVoice,which improves in-game voice chatter. Other functions include acoustic echo cancellation, noise reduction to suppress background noise. The second DSP is THX TruStudio Pro, which is seen on some high-end motherboards, as well. It features a Crystalizer, which works to improve the clarity of compressed audio while TruStudio Pro Surround gives you a virtual 360 degree surround sound experience. The third is Smart Volume, which is basically a volume stabilizer and lastly we have Pro Bass, which is used to restore bass.
Some fancy EMI sheilding for the high-end models
Creative will introduce three models at launch, the Sound Blaster SoundCore 3D, Sound Blaster Recon 3D Fatal1ty Professional and Recon 3D Fatal1ty Champion. The first one is the base model that uses a simple PCIE audio processor and no EMI shielding for the card. The Fatal1ty Professional comes with full EMI shielding and red LED lighting. It also comes bundled with beam microphone that helps with CrystalVoice technology. The Fatal1ty Champion card, on the other hand, includes all the features of the latter along with a front panel unit for easy access to headphone-out, volume control and DSP control. No word on the pricing or availability, as of now.