Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 Sound Card

X-Fi CA20K - PCI - 24 bit - Internal - MPN: AZTXFPRELUDE
Product Details
Description
The Auzen X-FI Prelude 7.1 sound card marks the first time Creative has permitted a third-party sound card vendor to use the Creative X-FI chipset in its own sound card design. The Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card will fully support EAX 5.0 and have expandability similar to that of the Auzen X-Meridian 7.1.
Quick Glance
Supported Audio Channels 7.1
Slot Type PCI
Signal To Noise Ratio 120 dB - (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Weighted)
Expert Reviews
Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 PCI
4 Star Review  testseek.com - Nov 4, 2008

Testseek.com has collected 35 expert reviews for Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 PCI and the average expert rating is 85 of 100. The average score reflects the expert community’s view on this product. Click below and use Testseek.com to see all ratings, product awards and conclusions.

Read the full review »

User Reviews
A Sound Card That Ends Creative's Monopoly
5 Star Review   By member shin31 - Mar 26, 2008   

Strengths: X-Fi®, EAX® w/ Digital Out, Dolby® Digital Live, DTS® Interactive, Swappable OPAMPs, Audiophile-Grade Sound w/ High-Grade Components.

Weakness: Expensive, Expenive Upgraded OPAMPs, Creative ALchemy, Front L/R Swappable OPAMP only, No analog adaptors provided, Relatively slow driver updates, Too many future features to wait for.

Don't buy this card if you are not serious about sound and expect everything flows right after you plug and install this card. I am not saying this card sounds bad w/o tuning but this card requires quite a bit of tweaking in order to get the most out of it, but which one, like Creative’s, doesn’t? Upgraded OPAMPs will cost you $60 each not to mention the risk of destroying your card if you don’t know what are you doing. Don’t put this card with some cheap speakers set and expect it to sound $200 bucks worthy. I am running this card with Vista 64 Ultimate and I have no huge problems so far other than some of the Vista’s own audio bugs. Creative ALchemy works, but you have to wait for AuzenTech to release a Prelude supported setup file, which means you can’t just update your ALchemy directly from Creative’s site (even though there is a work-around). EAX support turns out to be not such a big deal since not many new games actually support the newest EAX HD. DDL and the upcoming DTS Interactive are great stuff to have even though analog sounds best. This card sounds just great with its high-grade components. Music, Movies, and Games sound wayyy better after I upgraded to this card. I was using onboard SPDIF out to an Onkyo entry-level AV receiver before. According to some forum quotes, this card DAC quality is equivalent to some med-high grade AV receivers (> $1000). So even with this card’s high price tag, you are actually getting more than its cost (unless you have a top-grade receiver). I managed to buy this card with $180 taxed & shipped ($175 after this review :D). *Try to do some research on this card and look for guides in audio decoder tweaking before you buy this card.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

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Excellent soundcard with EAX and Dolby Digital/DTS/Linux support !
4 Star Review   By member jayhall0315 - Feb 19, 2008   

Strengths: Crisp sound quality, easy to install, high quality components, replaceable OpAmps, DD/DTS/Linux support, improved headphone sound, progressive driver updates

Weakness: 64 MB X-RAM is gimmicky, no PCI-express version, no front panel IO box available as with the Creative Fatalty card, no snuggles at night

Feb 20th, 2008 - Basically Auzentech licensed the X-FI logic from Creative and then combined their own fine engineering experience from the X-Meridian and X-Plosion soundcards and produced a real winner. The benefits of this union are that the X-Fi Prelude can hardware accelerate Creative's EAX API (which gives realistic 3D sound positioning in hundreds of games and which the ASUS Xonar and many soundcards based on the C-Media processors lack (or only up to EAX 2.0)) along with many of the positives of C-Media's Oxygen processors. This includes not just decoding and passing along Dolby Digital/DTS signals (as the Creative X-FI cards do) that might come from say a DVD-ROM drive while watching a movie, but also the ability to real-time ENCODE any audio signals into a DD/DTS bitstream that can then be sent to a digital capable speaker setup (like the Logitech Z-5500). I am fortunate to own both the X-Fi Prelude along with Creative's two year old X-Fi Fatalty design, so a side by side comparison is easier. The X-Fi Prelude is easy to setup and should only take about 5-10 minutes. One of the few negatives of the card is that it does not come with the optional X-Tension add-on input/output circuit board, and therefore, there is no easy way to route your headphones to the front of your computer except with the front panel pins (pain), unlike the Creative Fatalty's handy IO box. On a postive note, Auzentech has made the driver install process more streamlined than with Creative products and you can easily download the latest package from their site (all you really need are the drivers, plus Alchemy if you use Vturd, I mean Vista). The software applications are also much easier to access and use, like the Console Launcher, which allows you to fiddle with settings to your heart's content and control DD encoding. The semi-gimmicky 64 MB of onboard X-RAM will only allow a 0-4% framerate in special optimized titles such as Battlefield 2, Quake 4, Prey and Bioshock. How does it sound? Well, sound impressions are so subjective and relate very much to what equipment you have already gotten used to in your own home. Without going into a great deal of engineering babble or Rightmark 3D sound tests, I will say that if you own or owned an Audigy 2ZS or X-FI card, then you WILL NOT note much difference except when using headphones. I used the Audigy 2ZS card for two years with first a Logitech Z-5300 5.1 speaker setup and later with the Creative Gigaworks 7.1 set and the largest difference with the X-Fi Fatal1ty comes from utilizing the CMSS-3D setting to make surround sounds more "envelope" you. This effect is equally applicable to headphones or 5.1 / 7.1 speaker systems when used for gaming, and really does make it feel like enemies are sneaking up behind you (provided you have placed your satellite speakers correctly). Likewise, I cannot tell any difference when comparing the Prelude to Creative's Fatalty card; they sound identical. If you are using a 2.1 speaker setup, then you will likely notice little change. Watching movies on my PC showed that the Prelude had no problems passing the DD signal thru the mini-optical jacks to my wife's Logitech Z-5500 setup. Also, I can confirm that 3D headphone sound (used Sennheier and Turtle models) is slightly improved but the effect is subtle when compared to say, the Audigy 2 ZS. Bottom line; It is better sound, but not by leaps and bounds. Auzentech has also taken the lead with its driver support and continues to push ahead where Creative often fails by releasing new features in each driver update, with DDL support in Feb 08 and Linux support coming in March or April. The Prelude is fully supported in Windows XP and Vista 32 bit (you will need to also install the Alchemy package for EAX games in Vista though), and compatible with Vista 64 bit. Needless to say, it will be nice to finally have a high end soundcard working in Ubuntu and PCLinux soon ! So, should you buy the Prelude, the Creative Fatalty or the Asus Xonar? My humble two bits says that if you want to connect your headphones or MIDI instruments to the front of your computer, then go for the Creative Fatalty vesion. If you mainly watch movies on your PC without much gaming, look to the ASUS. And if you dont mind plugging in your headphones in the back and want the best of both worlds, plus support for linux, look to the X-Fi Prelude. It is expensive at almost $200 and they have none to horrible customer support, but with progressive driver updates and DDL/DTS support, it is still worthy of a serious look.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

Was this review helpful to you?  Yes or No ( Report this as inappropriate )

Product Details
Description
The Auzen X-FI Prelude 7.1 sound card marks the first time Creative has permitted a third-party sound card vendor to use the Creative X-FI chipset in its own sound card design. The Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card will fully support EAX 5.0 and have expandability similar to that of the Auzen X-Meridian 7.1.
Quick Glance
Supported Audio Channels 7.1
Slot Type PCI
Signal To Noise Ratio 120 dB - (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Weighted)
Summary
Product Title Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 Sound Card
Manufacturer Auzentech
Power Score 4.4 | 3 Reviews
General
Audio Technologies: Dolby Digital, DTS [Digital Theater Systems]
Digital Audio Depth: 24 bit
Type of Sound Card: Internal Sound Board
Warranty Information: 1 Year Limited Warranty
URL: Manufacturer Link
System Type: PC
Interface Connection: 1 x 3.5mm - Mic input, 1 x 3.5mm Audio Line In, 4 x 3.5mm Audio Line Out - For FL/FR/C/SW/RL/RR/RSL/RSR, 1 x 4-pin - AUX connector on board, 1 x 10-pin - Front panel connector for MIC input and headphone support on board, 1 x 40-pin - Digital extension header to support AD-Link and other digital functionality on board, 1 x S/PDIF - Combo input connector for receiving either coaxial or optical digital, 1 x S/PDIF - Combo output connector for transmitting either coaxial or optical digital
Additional Specifications
Max Sampling Rate: 96 kHz
Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP
Expert Reviews
Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 PCI
4 Star Review  testseek.com - Nov 4, 2008

Testseek.com has collected 35 expert reviews for Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 PCI and the average expert rating is 85 of 100. The average score reflects the expert community’s view on this product. Click below and use Testseek.com to see all ratings, product awards and conclusions.

Read the full review »

User Reviews
A Sound Card That Ends Creative's Monopoly
5 Star Review   By member shin31 - Mar 26, 2008   

Strengths: X-Fi®, EAX® w/ Digital Out, Dolby® Digital Live, DTS® Interactive, Swappable OPAMPs, Audiophile-Grade Sound w/ High-Grade Components.

Weakness: Expensive, Expenive Upgraded OPAMPs, Creative ALchemy, Front L/R Swappable OPAMP only, No analog adaptors provided, Relatively slow driver updates, Too many future features to wait for.

Don't buy this card if you are not serious about sound and expect everything flows right after you plug and install this card. I am not saying this card sounds bad w/o tuning but this card requires quite a bit of tweaking in order to get the most out of it, but which one, like Creative’s, doesn’t? Upgraded OPAMPs will cost you $60 each not to mention the risk of destroying your card if you don’t know what are you doing. Don’t put this card with some cheap speakers set and expect it to sound $200 bucks worthy. I am running this card with Vista 64 Ultimate and I have no huge problems so far other than some of the Vista’s own audio bugs. Creative ALchemy works, but you have to wait for AuzenTech to release a Prelude supported setup file, which means you can’t just update your ALchemy directly from Creative’s site (even though there is a work-around). EAX support turns out to be not such a big deal since not many new games actually support the newest EAX HD. DDL and the upcoming DTS Interactive are great stuff to have even though analog sounds best. This card sounds just great with its high-grade components. Music, Movies, and Games sound wayyy better after I upgraded to this card. I was using onboard SPDIF out to an Onkyo entry-level AV receiver before. According to some forum quotes, this card DAC quality is equivalent to some med-high grade AV receivers (> $1000). So even with this card’s high price tag, you are actually getting more than its cost (unless you have a top-grade receiver). I managed to buy this card with $180 taxed & shipped ($175 after this review :D). *Try to do some research on this card and look for guides in audio decoder tweaking before you buy this card.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

Was this review helpful to you?  Yes or No ( Report this as inappropriate )

Excellent soundcard with EAX and Dolby Digital/DTS/Linux support !
4 Star Review   By member jayhall0315 - Feb 19, 2008   

Strengths: Crisp sound quality, easy to install, high quality components, replaceable OpAmps, DD/DTS/Linux support, improved headphone sound, progressive driver updates

Weakness: 64 MB X-RAM is gimmicky, no PCI-express version, no front panel IO box available as with the Creative Fatalty card, no snuggles at night

Feb 20th, 2008 - Basically Auzentech licensed the X-FI logic from Creative and then combined their own fine engineering experience from the X-Meridian and X-Plosion soundcards and produced a real winner. The benefits of this union are that the X-Fi Prelude can hardware accelerate Creative's EAX API (which gives realistic 3D sound positioning in hundreds of games and which the ASUS Xonar and many soundcards based on the C-Media processors lack (or only up to EAX 2.0)) along with many of the positives of C-Media's Oxygen processors. This includes not just decoding and passing along Dolby Digital/DTS signals (as the Creative X-FI cards do) that might come from say a DVD-ROM drive while watching a movie, but also the ability to real-time ENCODE any audio signals into a DD/DTS bitstream that can then be sent to a digital capable speaker setup (like the Logitech Z-5500). I am fortunate to own both the X-Fi Prelude along with Creative's two year old X-Fi Fatalty design, so a side by side comparison is easier. The X-Fi Prelude is easy to setup and should only take about 5-10 minutes. One of the few negatives of the card is that it does not come with the optional X-Tension add-on input/output circuit board, and therefore, there is no easy way to route your headphones to the front of your computer except with the front panel pins (pain), unlike the Creative Fatalty's handy IO box. On a postive note, Auzentech has made the driver install process more streamlined than with Creative products and you can easily download the latest package from their site (all you really need are the drivers, plus Alchemy if you use Vturd, I mean Vista). The software applications are also much easier to access and use, like the Console Launcher, which allows you to fiddle with settings to your heart's content and control DD encoding. The semi-gimmicky 64 MB of onboard X-RAM will only allow a 0-4% framerate in special optimized titles such as Battlefield 2, Quake 4, Prey and Bioshock. How does it sound? Well, sound impressions are so subjective and relate very much to what equipment you have already gotten used to in your own home. Without going into a great deal of engineering babble or Rightmark 3D sound tests, I will say that if you own or owned an Audigy 2ZS or X-FI card, then you WILL NOT note much difference except when using headphones. I used the Audigy 2ZS card for two years with first a Logitech Z-5300 5.1 speaker setup and later with the Creative Gigaworks 7.1 set and the largest difference with the X-Fi Fatal1ty comes from utilizing the CMSS-3D setting to make surround sounds more "envelope" you. This effect is equally applicable to headphones or 5.1 / 7.1 speaker systems when used for gaming, and really does make it feel like enemies are sneaking up behind you (provided you have placed your satellite speakers correctly). Likewise, I cannot tell any difference when comparing the Prelude to Creative's Fatalty card; they sound identical. If you are using a 2.1 speaker setup, then you will likely notice little change. Watching movies on my PC showed that the Prelude had no problems passing the DD signal thru the mini-optical jacks to my wife's Logitech Z-5500 setup. Also, I can confirm that 3D headphone sound (used Sennheier and Turtle models) is slightly improved but the effect is subtle when compared to say, the Audigy 2 ZS. Bottom line; It is better sound, but not by leaps and bounds. Auzentech has also taken the lead with its driver support and continues to push ahead where Creative often fails by releasing new features in each driver update, with DDL support in Feb 08 and Linux support coming in March or April. The Prelude is fully supported in Windows XP and Vista 32 bit (you will need to also install the Alchemy package for EAX games in Vista though), and compatible with Vista 64 bit. Needless to say, it will be nice to finally have a high end soundcard working in Ubuntu and PCLinux soon ! So, should you buy the Prelude, the Creative Fatalty or the Asus Xonar? My humble two bits says that if you want to connect your headphones or MIDI instruments to the front of your computer, then go for the Creative Fatalty vesion. If you mainly watch movies on your PC without much gaming, look to the ASUS. And if you dont mind plugging in your headphones in the back and want the best of both worlds, plus support for linux, look to the X-Fi Prelude. It is expensive at almost $200 and they have none to horrible customer support, but with progressive driver updates and DDL/DTS support, it is still worthy of a serious look.

100% of readers found this review helpful.

Was this review helpful to you?  Yes or No ( Report this as inappropriate )





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