Any information or opinions on its "audiophile" quality or lack of. A buddy just gave me one along with a Blu-Ray burner.
As far as Windows based computer sound cards go it's not bad but.....
1) It comes with tons and tons of bloatware - only install the items you absolutely need to use the card for your intentions, e.g. don't install the multichannel stuff if you're only going to be using the card in stereo.
2) Disable any and all effects or sound "enhancement" features.
3) Use the digital out going into an external DAC if at all possible. The digital out is NOT USB and completely bypasses the usual problems associated with USB digital audio.
4) The card works very well when used as an analog to digital converter for digitizing analog material such as LPs and tapes. Again when used as an analog to digital converter make sure to disable any and all effects or sound "enhancement" features.
5) One really cool feature is that these cards support high resolution DVD-Audio and other 24 bit sources, if you're inclined to use your computer for high resolution playback.
6) For free it's a damn good sound card.
7) If you're serious about computer based audio get a SqueezeBox!! (but you knew that was coming)
Frankly computer based audio leaves me cold. I am a network engineer. (MCSI, A-Plus, Net-Plus etc) Although I use an Access database (I wrote) to keep track of my recordings I have no intention of transferring my music collection to a server of any type. I don't believe that HDD's are reliable enough. I haven't tried using a RAID 5 with music although that may help with my reliability concerns.I should mention that the Audigy Pro has the external interface box and remote. The card itself came inside a case with 6GB RAM a 2.5GHz Xenon and 3 Ultra SCSI's with a Terra byte of storage between them. The display card is an ATI 1950XTX with .5Gb of V-DDR2 RAM.
I have used a computer for a music source for 5 years now. No issues. My office sytem is based around an esi juli>Mytek Stereo 96 DAC>>>>bryston 2b>>>link audio k50
Love it. The Juli@ is great, no frills, no bloat, bit perfect..asio with foobar=heaven
I see folks talking about reliability issues, and I scratch my head. Ive never had a single problem, and im not even a computer engineer!
I have experienced numerous HDD failures over the years. That's why RAID array's were invented. Even the big brains in the industry know that HDD's are not reliable. That's also why data backup to disk or tape is so strongly recommended. I may give RAID 5 a try as soon as I get this new box sorted out. I don't know how or if the data striping will effect audio data during playback.
I guess ive just been lucky, then. Ive had computers in my home since 86 or so, and (starting with VIC20 and Commodore 64) and since then, ive only had one "failure" , which was due to a bad army packing job(my computer was destroyed), but never any lost data, virus issues, etc. the conventional wisdom says that data isnt backed up unless it is in 3 places, so as a matter of habit I backup my music to DVD(flac data discs) and to some external drives, but never had to call on any of my backups!
Been routinely backing up my data to optical storage since CD-R's became available. Still do so every other day. Have been considering going to a RAID 5 with hot swap on the house server. Will still back up my data every other day. Currently I use a couple of DVD-ROM R/W's as my primary backup. I suppose backup to Blu-Ray is the next step. I have a large and extensive collection of LP's. I had not considered transferring them to digital format. With this new card I may do some experimenting on A to D conversion at 24/96. Getting acceptable transfers of my vinyl may be what prompts me to digitize my music collection. I have no intention of ever selling my vinyl, CD's or SACD's. I am actively buying all three formats.
I have a correction. I had the wrong model. It is an X-Fi Elite Pro. So my question still remains.
Creative cards are primarily marketed to the domestic market (comprising principally gamers and home theater users) so they are generally pooh-poohed by audiophiles who tend to gravitate to the pro-audio brands (Lynx, RME, ESI, et al). However this card looks pretty good on paper, supporting DAC up to 24/192 and ASIO 2.0 output up to 24/96. It may not be the best card for the money for high-end audio, but it is undoubtedly one of the best for no money! I would expect you to be able to get very good sound out of this card, please let us know how you get on.
I keep noticing your comments about the poor reliability of hard disks and wanting to test RAID with audio etc. With respect, I think you are pursuing a bit of a red herring here. RAID has no more effect on audio samples than it does on Word documents. The read-speed of modern disks is such that even a in RAID 5 array, even with a drive down, your NIC is likely to be more of a bottleneck than the speed or configuration of your storage. And Gigabit ethernet offers more than two orders of magnitude more bandwidth than you need to stream even uncompressed 24/192 stereo PCM programme.
The biggest SQ problem in digital audio is jitter. Period.
Thank you. I was trying to get some input about this SB card. Obviously I'm going to mess around with it and see what kind of results I get. Although I work with RAID's on a daily basis I'm a Luddite when it comes to storing my music on a server.