August 6th, 2009


Audio quality

I've definitely become far, far too used to having a high-quality audio card. I had gotten very frustrated trying to listen to Pandora at work because the cheap audio chip in my dev computer fundamentally sucks. So as much as I like Pandora's selection (and it's identified my preferences quite well!), it's been frustrating to listen to, because the damage caused by my audio card is immediately apparent.

Well, thanks to prismaticsilver, it's fixed! The Creative X-Mod is a surprisingly useful piece of hardware to people too used to Creative-quality audio most of the rest of the time. (With this, the only computers I regularly use that don't have Creative audio are my Toshiba tablet and my Acer Aspire One. The former has a fairly good audio chip- it's not at the quality of this, but it's not obnoxiously bad either once I turn up Windows' audio quality settings. As for the Acer- well, it's a netbook. Sound isn't bad on it, honestly- better than the dev machine, not up to Toshiba's level.)

Another perk of the thing is that it has physical switches for Creative's audio enhancements. I'm not likely to be turning CMSS-3D on and off on a regular basis (it's not like Pandora is streaming in 5.1), but I'm definitely likely to use the X-Fi Crystalizer a lot more with the switch there. It really hurts audio fidelity for songs that are not casualties of the Loudness War, but it dramatically improves quality by repairing a lot of the damage to songs that are.

It's kind of sad that I've gotten so used to overly high-quality sound I find online radio unpleasant to listen to without a high-quality sound card. Although it's probably worth noting that I subscribed to Pandora One to bump up the stream quality to 192K (from 128K).

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