Creative tweaks X-Fi frequency response for Vista

Earlier this week we contacted Creative with the hope of getting to the bottom of the bizarre frequency response behavior we observed with RightMark Audio Analyzer and Windows Vista when testing for our Xonar DX review. We had been following driver control panel settings Creative provided when it first released the X-Fi audio processor, but additional tweaking is required when running the X-Fi in Microsoft’s latest operating system. These Vista-specific tweaks aren’t so much new as they are a subset of the Creative Audio Console settings that must also be applied to Vista’s own audio control panel. This additional audio control panel didn’t exist in Windows XP, and it appears that settings defined in the X-Fi’s driver control panel don’t necessarily override what’s set in Vista’s control panel.

We’ve re-tested the X-Fi XtremeMusic with the Vista audio settings defined by Creative, and frequency response is much improved in RightMark Audio Analyzer. The updated results have been added to the Xonar DX review, although they don’t change our overall impressions of the card.

Comments closed
    • Dissonance
    • 12 years ago

    The setting that seems to make the difference, at least in RMAA, is a separate “Sound Blaster” tab in Vista’s speaker properties panel that contains a switch to disable “Sound Blaster enhancements.” Regardless of what you set in the Creative Audio Console, Vista appears to default to enabling CMSS-3D, so you have to turn it off.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 12 years ago

      So this still only applies to the loopback recording test on the same card? What situation would that correspond in real life – playing back an audio track and recording it at the same time, say you’re mixing audio tracks together?

      Also I have to re-ask this:
      Hmm what was added to the review? Was it the numerical scores which were updated but not the detailed results graphs?

        • Dissonance
        • 12 years ago

        I retested the X-Fi with Creative’s suggested settings with both loopback and playback, and those results are now in the review. Numerical and detailed graphs.

        As for when one might use the playback and recording capabilities at the same time, some have already mentioned mixing. However, just think of any time you might be using a headset. Skype and voice-enabled gaming come to mind, and although neither may demand pristine fidelity, both should tap a sound card’s input and output channels simultaneously (or at least in Skype, as often as you interrupt someone).

          • MadManOriginal
          • 12 years ago

          Right, voice recording was mentioned in one of the other related threads. But when you’re using those apps are you really looping back, recording and playing the same thing? I’ve never used Skype but with mic for gaming or other chat I don’t recall hearing my own voice coming out of the speakers.

          And if you updated the detailed graphs the frequency response for loopback still looks bad.

            • Dissonance
            • 12 years ago

            Loopback isn’t necessarily about playing and recording the same thing (although that’s what the RMAA test does), but probing input and output lines simultaneously.

            And the detailed graphs have been updated. The X-Fi still doesn’t look as good as the Xonar, but it’s better than before.

            • MadManOriginal
            • 12 years ago

            I see. Is it possibly some quirk of looping the same thing then? Because the frequency response curve changes so much I’d have thought someone who uses a mic would notice it.

            The curve looks a lot better than they did before that’s for sure.

    • Jigar
    • 12 years ago

    What settings ?

    • sigher
    • 12 years ago

    It’s a bit curious why you don’t mention what settings you speak of, but I guess there’s only so much that’s reflected in the vista control panel, so I’m guessing volume or broad adjustment of the equalizer, or perhaps setting the input to line rather than microphone?
    I avoid vista so I don’t know what that extended vista control offers.

    • SimpleNick
    • 12 years ago

    — edited, double post —

    • SimpleNick
    • 12 years ago

    i’d love to know what particular settings were in question,
    and if they impact the day to day use or not.

    a “follow-up” without the critical information is not helpful nor meaningful.
    let’s hope this is not another Creative conspiracy in the cooking..

    • MadManOriginal
    • 12 years ago

    So does this apply specifically to the RMAA test or is it generally a good idea to keep those settings?

    *edit Hmm what was added to the review? Was it the numerical scores which were updated but not the detailed results?

    I’d be interested in a write-up by TR about RMAA. I know they have their own documentation but a write-up by TR from a user perspective might be nice read.

    • Usacomp2k3
    • 12 years ago

    What exactly were the settings, if you don’t mind my asking.

    • FireGryphon
    • 12 years ago

    This is why we come back for more.

    • JustAnEngineer
    • 12 years ago

    Great work, Dissonance!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This