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Old 07-24-2008, 06:54 PM
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Default Review Update: X-Fi Enhancemnt Quality Issue

The recent firmware updated fixed issues with the poor quality of the X-Fi sound enhancement features.

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Creative recently updated the firmware to improve X-Fi sound enhancement. With the update, I would no longer say that the X-Fi Crystallize and Expand sounds terrible. When I tested crystallize with my Shure SE530s and KRK RP5 monitors I'm not sure i would call the change better, but different- like someone tweaked the EQ in the higher end of the spectrum. I didn't really feel like it added or took anything away from the music. Now when I tested it again with the supplied headphones (EP-830) it was a slightly different story. I did hear some tracks marginally improved by X-Fi Crystallize. It was hit or miss and depended on the music. The X-Fi Expand was somewhat the same story, I don't feel like it added anything either set of headphones- it just kind of veiled and shifted some of the lower frequencies.

What it comes down to is, "Does the X-Fi Crystallize and Expand add to the Zen X-Fi?" To me its not. Even if I used the supplied headphones, the improvement is not enough for me to continually adjust the setting for each type of music / track i listen to. Other listeners may find otherwise, however, expect marginal to moderate improvements- don't expect to be blown away. My advice, leave it off, the Zen X-Fi sounds good without it. [Read the Full Zen X-Fi review]
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:58 PM
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Why don't they just license BBE enhancements? If Cowon can afford it, Creative can do it easily... I know, they're "proud" of their X-Fi stuff...

FWIW, even the Moonshell OS that runs on Nintendo DS homebrew cartridges uses BBE.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
Why don't they just license BBE enhancements? If Cowon can afford it, Creative can do it easily... I know, they're "proud" of their X-Fi stuff...

FWIW, even the Moonshell OS that runs on Nintendo DS homebrew cartridges uses BBE.
BBE troll- you and your preproduction headphones.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:04 PM
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Hardware X-Fi is actually quite phenomenal. The problem with the Zen X-Fi is that it is not hardware-based. If you recall, Creative has tried using hardware-based X-Fi on an earlier player in development, but had to scuttle the whole idea because they could not get battery life to an acceptable level using X-Fi hardware. The only way they could pull off X-Fi in this latest model was to give it a more robust processor and emulate X-Fi through software.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoTen View Post
BBE troll- you and your preproduction headphones.
Yeah, cause BBE is a serious pro audio company that knows what they're doing... contrary to Creative who don't even know how to make proper consumer stuff.

X-Fi is just a mediocre compressor/EQ while BBE works with phase aligned signals and other corrections that actually make a positive difference.

The headphones are just to help my self esteem... cause they're longer than yours!
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  #6  
Old 07-24-2008, 11:23 PM
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I think the new firmware helped a bit. With the crystalizer on, it makes the music sound a little better. Whether I'd name my product after the slight change in sound quality, I don't know.

The expander still sounds like crap, though (although it's a little better), and I honestly can't tell the difference between when the crystalizer is "ON" and "MAX".
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Old 07-25-2008, 11:14 AM
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Nah, I agree. If you can't do X-Fi correctly, then stick with BBE.

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Originally Posted by dfkt View Post
The headphones are just to help my self esteem... cause they're longer than yours!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:50 PM
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I've had my player for all of 10 hours. All I can say is, the intro to The Fifth Element is really cool with Expand on. I haven't installed the firmware update yet. I made the file using iriverter for my ZVM. (edit - and I'm learning that my iriverter files on the Zen have sound that gets more and more out of sync as the movie goes on. I was warned that it didn't play as nice as the ZVM. Oh well.)

Last edited by Amy; 07-28-2008 at 10:14 PM.
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