Creative’s new sound cards and headphones – a stage for grand comeback?
After its roughest times in years, Creative seems to be coming back to what created it, pun intended – the most advanced sound cards around. The already powerful X-Fi chippery is now supplanted by their Sound Core3D multicore audio processor under the new Sound Blaster Recon3D line, and yes there are matching headphones – all mostly focused on gamers and movie watchers tis time
Creative went ahead with just two new cards this time, one a Fatal1ty branded gamer model with metal shield, another the base feature card – the HD Audio versions, a follow on to X-Fi Titanium HD, will wait for a later release I guess. The new audio processor has THX hardware acceleration plus a host of voice enhancement (CrystalVoice) and noise reduction technoligies implemented. Interestingly, the card's raw signal to noise ratio is 102 dB, more than good enough for gamers and movies, but a little less than the music oriented 109 dB on the X-Fi Titanium cards.
Another interesting observation, looking at the cards themselves, is far higher level of integration in the audio processor itself. There are noticeably less ICs and other electronic circuitry on the board. This may lend the new chip even more attractive to mainboard vendors for integration on the top-end boards as the choice sound chip, directly on the chipset's PCIe links. This could in a way be another grand comeback for Creative, providing the company an alternative lifeline as high end IC provider for PC system boards.
The headphones in this range are also seemingly focused on the ultimate gaming and video experience, with noise cancellation, bass amplification and other enhancements usually reserved for this user base. More on the new hardware as we get our hands on it soon…