While we’re not quite finished with the full review of Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, here’s a preview for you dear readers. Rest assured there’s sufficient content to keep those privy eyes of yours delighted. Hit up the link if you’re still not very sure this sound card actually exists.
Back in 1981, Creative started as a computer repair shop, where founder Sim Wong Hoo developed add-on memory boards with enhanced audio capabilites. This design led to the production of Creative standalone sound cards by the late 1980s. The Sound Blaster, first released in 1989 went up the sales charts to become the top-selling audio expansion card within a year. Since then, Creative’s Sound Blaster family of sound cards have dominated the PC audio market.
While Creative and its Sound Blaster cards still remain unchallenged in terms of performance and features, they have been slowly but surely losing market share in the PC audio market to onboard sound solutions; almost all motherboards today come equipped with multi-channel audio chipsets. Furthermore, companies such as Auzentech and ASUS have been producing PC sound cards which offer comparatively better (subjective) sound, thanks to the generous usage of exotic audio components. Notable products from rival camps include Auzentech’s X-Fi Prelude 7.1 and ASUS’ Xonar Essence STX.
In January this year, Creative announced the Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD sporting the powerful E-MU 20K2 audio processor (commonly known as the ‘X-Fi chip’). Pumped up with ‘audiophile grade’ components, the Titanium HD is Creative’s perfect answer to competitors’ audiophile-oriented PC sound cards.
Before you conclude that this new card Creative has been touting is nothing but vaporware, lo and behold. Right here in VR-Zone’s labs, is the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD.
The packaging advertises ‘high fidelity audiophile grade components’ on the Titanium HD card – usage of a high quality digital-to-analog converter (DAC), capacitors, and swappable operational amplifiers (op-amps). There is also mention of THX TruStudio PC support, Dolby Digital Live support, and ASIO drivers.
And finally, there are two specification tables describing the measured performance of the card.
After dumping everything out of the box (sorry, we’re a little overly excited), this is what we have.
From left to right: Quick Start Guide, Installation CD, 3.5mm-to-RCA cable, and a pair of TOSLINK cables.
And of course, the X-Fi Titanium HD card right in front.
Do we stop here? Of course not! Bring up the next page for more good stuff.