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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Kansas City, MO
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Okay, so I played a few hours of games with the SXFI tonight. My initial meh opinion has improved some.
First using my HD6XX (massdrop's ~ HD650) headphones and setting the Creative App's output to use HD650 was a tremendous improvement over the Creative headphones that came bundled with. Night and Day difference. Creative why bundle a cheap set of headphones unless they bring something to the table? They don't.
The SXFI has plenty of power to drive the HD6XX - so if that was a question - put it aside.
I played a couple hours of Star Wars Battlefront II. It sounded good, and you could imagine you were listening to a cheap set of 5.1 speakers rather than a highend set of earphones. (but FWIW that game sounds great in just standard stereo too). Did I like it better than simple old stereo mode? Nah, not really. Is it different yes. Better? …… ???
Maybe it's still that my head is fat and it doesn't map well for me. I still haven't tried the re-mapping yet, but I don't know what would be wrong with my capture the first time.
After that gaming session, I compared Windows Sonic for headphones, and Dolby Atmos app sound that are the default two options built into the Windows OS (Atmost app costs $15) to this hardware SXFI on some mkv bluray clips with Dolby Digital audio and the SXFI is definitely better at placing objects behind you and around you in space than the software options --- that's subjectively without question - playing back and forth multiple times. Playing the Dolby Digital Ball Bounce clip for instance with Dolby Atmos Headphones or Windows Sonic for Headphones really just gives you a small hint of sound behind you in comparison, but most of the sound still sounds like it's from the left and right. The SXFI REALLY places the sound behind you when appropriate, and I'm very familiar with these clips from my $25k home theater setup (7.8.4) - so I know how they should sound with spatial placement. The Creative SXFI does a great job with that.
The SXFI is most impressive when fed a true 5.1 or 7.1 signal, vs. a stereo signal. It's still no Smyth Realizer A16, but it's interesting enough for me not to pack it up to resell, which was my original though after my first listening session with the Creative headphones.
Also note -- perhaps a small hassle for gamers -- Hunt Showdown which uses binaural audio, which needs to have the Windows speaker output to stereo - or it just sounds all kinds of bad with this SXFI and 7.1 speaker output selected. So not too many games use binaural audio, but when they do you'll have to switch the sound settings in your control panel. Just turning off SXFI processing on the amp didn't fix the binaural audio, only changing the windows speaker setting back to stereo does. Binaural requires stereo output. As I play with it more I'll update more.
Last edited by Archaea; 12-21-2018 at 11:27 PM.