Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro hands-on
Chances are, if you are reading this at home you’re on a laptop. It’s where most computers at home have either gone or are heading too and while that’s great on portability, it’s not so great (9 times out of ten) on the sound front.
Creative, who’ve been making soundcards for decades, have come up with a solution it believes will allow you to have your cake and eat it.
The Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 Pro is a small black box that connects to a desktop or notebook PC via USB to upgrade it to a THX TruStudio Pro entertainment system with 5.1 surround sound.
That means plenty of noise and a sure fire way to enhance your current sound offering.
Connection options include gold-plated RCA stereo and optical digital out for 24-bit/96kHz playback performance when connected to the PC via USB 2, Mic in, line in, as well as headphone options.
In the box you’ll get Cyberlink PowerDVD software with DTS and Dolby Digital-EX decoding as a software download (ideal for netbook owners) and there is a remote to control it all in the box.
While the system does work with Macs, the software doesn’t and you won’t get full control over everything – the remote didn’t work for example.
Plugged in and around 30 seconds later you are ready to rock and roll with the system making a noticeable difference to the music we played. Because there is a soundcard included within the box of tricks any sound you output from your PC will be enhanced rather than just music.
For the pleasure of enhancing your music you’ll have to pay around £70 making it a touch on the expensive side, but if you really want to improve the music on your laptop, this looks like a good way to do it.