How do owners feel the Prelude stacks up against the Sound-Blaster X-FI and X-Meridian?
I had a XM but switched to the X-FI Moded with LM4562's.
The XM (also with LM4562's) sounded too digital on the high and and voices seemed a bit thin. The bass and dynamics were excellent.
The X-Treme Music modded with LM4562's has pleasing vocals but lacks bass definition and some detail in the high end. But overall, I felt was more natural.
Also, since I watch movies in a house with children sleeping, I am really fond of the X-FI Smart Volume Management.
I read the Prelude review on Guru3d and found it heartening. The XM was reviewed by G3D and I think they were sucked in by the upper end. They like the Prelude less, but I think for the wrong reasons. (I appreciate reviews with headpones, but I wonder about reviews with Logitech speakers
I suspect the Prelude may be a more neutral card, which I like.
Anyway, just looking for opinions. I wonder if the Xonar has a compressed mode for night viewing.
To add to the confusion, I was also leaning toward the Prelude for HDMI support. I have a Onkyo Pro 885 on order and would prefer sending HD DVD and BD digitally to my Preamp.