Creative X-Mod Wireless Dissected!
The insides of the wireless transmitter. The piece of PCB elevated is the wireless transmitter, isolated from the main PCB to minimize electrical noise. We were glad to see extensive use of ground planes, considering the nature of the XMod Wireless.
The Reciever’s insides with slightly different components. You’d find a rotary encoder on each, acting as the volume control interface. The knob is illuminated by a ring of blue glow when the unit is powered up, a cool touch reminiscent of the Griffin PowerMate.
The Texas Instrument TMS320 DA255ZHH Digital Signal Processor that comes with an ARM processor and C55 core, and comes with USB slave control and security features. For those who are interested, more information is available at the DSP’s wikipedia link here. This Chip is only found in the transmitter as you can see from the pictures above.
High Quality Wolfson WM8728 stereo DAC with a sampling frequency of up to 192kHz and a SNR of 106dB. The AKM 5357 ADC is a 24bit/96kHz capable stereo low-powered ADC. The AKM ADC can be found on the transmitter device only, as it is Analogue to Digital Conversion is not needed on the slave device.
You can find a pair of these Wolfson DACs on the Transmitter and only one on the receiving end. What we found coupling the outputs to these DACs were mass-produced electrolytic capacitors, not the more linear film/foil types (applying CMSS and/or the Crystalliser fuction defeats linearity anyway).
The 2.4Ghz wireless transmitter.
We tested the XMod wireless with a pair of Altec Lansing VS2221 Speakers, and all went well! The XMod works as advertised, deilvering better sound quality as compared to my onboard HD sound that’s available in my laptop. Wireless streaming is flawless and connects almost instantaneously upon switching the reciever on.
The XMod wireless is definitely an update in terms of looks and functionality compared to Creative’s previous solutions. Sleek, black, with a weighted knob on the rotary encoder as the volume control for a "Hi-Fi" feel, I wouldn’t say that the sound the XMod wireless produces supersedes any of it’s predecessors. For those who are looking for an external sound solution, you might want to consider giving this XMod Wireless a go.
The wireless functionality is definitely novel, but nothing that many will use. Overall, a good attempt by Creative at innovation, but many would have expected that they did better…
**Many thanks to yantronic for his inputs in this article!**