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Old 10-03-2007, 10:04 PM   #1
Rob Williams
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Default Auzentech X-Fi Prelude

Finally! We are beginning to see Creative's chipset offerings being used in other manufacturers sound cards. The first such product is Auzentech's X-Fi Prelude, which we have on the test bench today. Though it excels in some regards, we find out that it has a lot of room for improvement.

You can read Matt's full review here and discuss it here!
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:01 PM   #2
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What speakers/headphones and electronics were used in the listening tests?
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Old 10-04-2007, 06:48 AM   #3
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Logitech Z-560 4.1 speakers and Koss KEB24b noise isolation earbuds.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:46 AM   #4
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Very solid review. Good read.
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Old 10-04-2007, 08:56 AM   #5
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Thanks I'm just disappointed the card is still so green after all the time that it got pushed back. To me it still seems a bit beta which is why it garnered a 7, that and the cost compared to what the same money will net you in a Creative X-Fi.
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Old 10-04-2007, 09:42 AM   #6
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Creative's attempt at building a decent X-FI has failed. Auzentech did a much better job. The drivers have worked perfectly for me, even under 64 BIT Vista. It does have digital inputs, not sure why you say it does not. While you have to spend more $$$ to get it, the Auzentech extension board gives it MORE flexibility than ANY of Creatives top line cards. Once they get DDL/DTS working then this card fully trumps Creative. Can't say I agree much with your review.
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Old 10-04-2007, 10:58 AM   #7
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Well, I'm not running Vista (and I most likely never will) and the digital inputs aren't working in XP. Read Auzentech's list of upcoming fixes and you'll see where they detail that the digital inputs will be fixed sometime in Q4 2007.

Have you laid your hands upon the X-Fi Elite Pro? No? Well I've had the pleasure of playing with one and the functionality of it and the breakout box blows away the Prelude. It has full size mic inputs (which do not function on the add in card for the Prelude) along with RCA inputs and outputs that not only do normal line level chores but also feature RIAA equalization so you can hook a turntable directly to the box and rip your vinyl to high quality digital audio. A feature that the Prelude lacks, sadly. All this for a mere $10 more so, yeah, the Prelude is not a righteous card yet and for the price it's woefully under featured.

BTW, the passthru issue is outlined here as item 2 in their to-do list.
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Old 10-05-2007, 09:45 PM   #8
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Default no dts on analog outputs? hahaha

Wow it stunned me when i read the part about no dts on analog outputs, and no mention of the support now of eax 5 on the card, hmmm, this was a poorly written review, what card out there actually supports dts with analog outputs, lol if u look at all the previous cards you use a coaxial or an optical to encode dts, hellooooo. And the drivers are far better than the creative ones that are filled with bloatware, and you have to switch to 3 different things. Its almost as if techgage is being paid off by creative to talk poop about auzentech, techgages review is all very suspect, and all the more reason why i never come to this site.
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Old 10-05-2007, 10:29 PM   #9
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Before you try to rip apart our review and website, it might be wise to take the time to properly construct your arguments and write like an adult. It's hard to take someone seriously who cannot bother to use proper English.

That said, we are most certainly not being paid off by Creative and even the assumption of such for facts that were overlooked in the review are ridiculous. I think you are just trying to make an argument for the sake of making an argument. You will never come to this site? Good for you. We prefer visitors who offer some sort of intelligence to their posts, instead of jumping to conclusions and making outlandish accusations for such menial reasons.

Matt can offer up his own explanations. I'm not an audio guy, so I can't speak for him.
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Old 10-06-2007, 01:29 AM   #10
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If you are here now... you've visited...

also, Poop?
lol? Yes, much, thank you.
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Old 10-06-2007, 01:57 AM   #11
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Wow it stunned me when i read the part about no dts on analog outputs, and no mention of the support now of eax 5 on the card, hmmm, this was a poorly written review, what card out there actually supports dts with analog outputs, lol if u look at all the previous cards you use a coaxial or an optical to encode dts, hellooooo. And the drivers are far better than the creative ones that are filled with bloatware, and you have to switch to 3 different things. Its almost as if techgage is being paid off by creative to talk poop about auzentech, techgages review is all very suspect, and all the more reason why i never come to this site.
EAX 5 is available in Vista only. As for DTS all of the X-Fi's decode it to the analog outputs. That's part of what the hardware DSP is there for. I HAD a previous card, the Audigy Platinum and it decoded DTS on the fly.

As to me talking crap about the card, I was contacted by Stephan Bae (the president of Auzentech) personally about this card before it launched. This review has been in the works for months and months and I was honestly as excited as a kid at Christmas when I started the review. It was as things failed to work or worked oddly that I started becoming disillusioned with the card. In short I found out there was no Santa.

You say that Creatives driver are teh SuXoR, well no duh, we know this but sadly Auzentech is using those very drivers for the Prelude. As to the additional bloatware with Creative drivers, there is an express install option and a custom install option. I'm given to understand that you've never tried the custom option. Had you you'd know that you'd end up with exactly the same driver as I illustrated in my review.

Well, I hate to break it to you but no, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. I'm not smearing the card, it just didn't do well. Should I take a product that works well in one respect but misses the boat in others and give it a glowing recommendation? Should I cheat our readers by telling them a lie? Oh hell no. Is the card worth having? Yeah if you don't mind there being missing features that won't show up until the unspecified (well broadly hinted) future. My biggest gripe is the cost. It's a bare card that has many features that do not work and yet it costs more than cards that have all the features working and feature FRONT PANEL inputs (the X-Tension is rear panel and is an extra cost option plus not everything works on it) so no, I don't see it as being a card that offers much value. You've got the same flaky drivers as the Creative X-Fi's so you're not getting away from anything on that front and there's only one switchable OPAMP so you're going to have the same sound on 75% of the card (80% if you include the input) no matter what you do. I just can't see how this is really a breakthrough.

Please enlighten me as to how the massive price difference between the Prelude and the Extreme gamer ($90'ish) is justified when the sound difference is going to be marginal.
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Old 10-06-2007, 08:33 AM   #12
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Its almost as if techgage is being paid off by creative to talk poop about auzentech, techgages review is all very suspect, and all the more reason why i never come to this site.
Except for the fact that we have a grand total of, uh, ZERO product reviews of Creative products. You'd think if we were buddy-buddy, they could at least pony up a few samples.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:06 AM   #13
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EAX 5 is available in Vista only. As for DTS all of the X-Fi's decode it to the analog outputs. That's part of what the hardware DSP is there for. I HAD a previous card, the Audigy Platinum and it decoded DTS on the fly.
wow your dumb, dude this card encodes 5.1 dts with one digital cable, THE CREATIVE XFI DOES NOT DO THIS, it only out puts 2 channels, you really need to do ur homework.
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Old 10-07-2007, 05:41 AM   #14
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oh wait before you guys get all proper on me, It does support it but the drivers arent ready yet. What you fail to realize is that dts to analog was only 2 channels. With the previous cards like the xmeridian, you can play games, mp3s, and movies all in 5.1 dts and dolby digital live, the audigy did not do this, nor did the xfi.

What you have to realize is that this is a huge step forward for the audio card industry. Everyone has been wanting creative to license out their eax 5 to other companies and finally it happens. You have a card now that can play eax5, encode dts, encode dolby digital live (waiting for the drivers to incorporate it), and upgradeable opamps. I have an Razer Barracuda AC-1, my card can encode in dts 5.1 by transcoding eax 2, that is awesome. Now it supports eax 5, can you imagine how happy gamers will be when they find out that encoding dts 5.1 and eax 5 coexist all one card. On top of that this card has excellent sound quality, and the ability to just play everything in 5.1 dts through a receiver on ONE cable, is sooo incredibly convenient. For guys like me that have a yamaha receiver, furman power conditioner, 32" lcd tv, 5.1 sound system, and rotel amp. Home theater enthusiasts like me are sure to love this card. My friend has one of these cards and i love it. These drivers that come with the card are bare bones compared to the ones that come with creative xfi. If you bother reading user reviews or forums from other websites you'd always notice users mentioning the same thing over and over: EAX 5 with encoding dts, striped down drivers with no bloatware, stable drivers, etc... Now you have it. To me this card is future proof, what else do you need? Except for the drivers that allow encoding of DTS.
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Old 10-07-2007, 06:10 AM   #15
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wow your dumb, dude this card encodes 5.1 dts with one digital cable, THE CREATIVE XFI DOES NOT DO THIS, it only out puts 2 channels, you really need to do ur homework.
It doesn't encode DTS yet and it does not decode DTS MOVIES (I suggest that you re-read the review) to the analog outputs AT ALL. The Creative versions decode DTS from movies to the analog outputs. So, in short you're the one left looking like the jackass you are.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
oh wait before you guys get all proper on me, It does support it but the drivers arent ready yet. What you fail to realize is that dts to analog was only 2 channels. With the previous cards like the xmeridian, you can play games, mp3s, and movies all in 5.1 dts and dolby digital live, the audigy did not do this, nor did the xfi.

What you have to realize is that this is a huge step forward for the audio card industry. Everyone has been wanting creative to license out their eax 5 to other companies and finally it happens. You have a card now that can play eax5, encode dts, encode dolby digital live (waiting for the drivers to incorporate it), and upgradeable opamps. I have an Razer Barracuda AC-1, my card can encode in dts 5.1 by transcoding eax 2, that is awesome. Now it supports eax 5, can you imagine how happy gamers will be when they find out that encoding dts 5.1 and eax 5 coexist all one card. On top of that this card has excellent sound quality, and the ability to just play everything in 5.1 dts through a receiver on ONE cable, is sooo incredibly convenient. For guys like me that have a yamaha receiver, furman power conditioner, 32" lcd tv, 5.1 sound system, and rotel amp. Home theater enthusiasts like me are sure to love this card. My friend has one of these cards and i love it. These drivers that come with the card are bare bones compared to the ones that come with creative xfi. If you bother reading user reviews or forums from other websites you'd always notice users mentioning the same thing over and over: EAX 5 with encoding dts, striped down drivers with no bloatware, stable drivers, etc... Now you have it. To me this card is future proof, what else do you need? Except for the drivers that allow encoding of DTS.
Um, I hate to break the news to you sunshine but it's swappable OPAMP, no "s" there. You can only swap the one for the front L-R channels unlike the X-Meridian which allows swapping them all out for the outputs.

Now, for someone like you that runs their card through their HT audio rig then yeah, it's nice but sadly you're the minority. Most guys run their PC's through computer speakers with many running cards in machines for LAN gaming. For those doing such there's zero benefit aside from a slightly improved signal chain. Now, if paying $130+ more for a card that offers around 10db greater s/nr and about the same in dynamic range makes a lot of sense to you then go for it but I can't really see the benefit versus the X-Fi Fatal1ty Extreme Gamer which is the card the Prelude competes against directly.
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Last edited by madmat; 10-07-2007 at 07:06 AM.
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