Auzentech X-FI Prelude 7.1 Sound Card

Test Setup and Methodology

Test Setup and Methodology

I have chosen to test the Auzen X-Fi Prelude on two fronts because it is marketed as a sound card for both audiophiles and gamers alike. Analysing the Auzen X-Fi Prelude's performance from a gamers perspective will illustrate how well the sound card: provides immersive gaming environments and enhances the performance of the gaming system. Secondly I will be performing a series of audio tests, whilst incredibly subjective in nature, will assess the Auzen X-Fi Prelude's ability to reproduce audio from CD and DVD sources. I will make every effort to report my findings as 'objectively' as possible, bearing in mind that it is virtually impossible to cater for everyones particular preference in audio reproduction.

The system I will be using today should allow for some some credible performance results. I have included a list of the hardware used below:

AquAus

* ASUS Blitz Formula SE Motherboard
* Intel e6850 Core2 Duo
* 2GB OCZ FlexXLC PC2-6400 CL3 (3-3-3-12)
* 2 x Seagate Barracuda 250GB 7200.10 SATA2 3.0Gb/s HDD's (RAID 0)
* ASUS NX8800GTS Video Card
* Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card
* Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio sound card
* Silverstone TJ-07 Case
* Windows Vista Ultimate
* Logitech X-530 5.1 Speakers
* RAZER HP-1 5.1 headphones

Software

* RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test v 2.3
* QUAKE 4
* Unreal Tournament 3
* Fraps v 2.9.2 (build 6725)

You will notice that I have included the Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio card in my list of testing hardware. Whilst it isn't really within the league of the Auzen X-Fi Prelude, and is really only just an X-Fi sound card, never-the-less it will assist in allowing a performance comparison to be made. One that will hopefully be better than onboard sound anyway!

Creative X-Fi Xtreme Audio

Gaming Phase

For the gaming phase of the review I have chosen to use two relatively new games - QUAKE 4 and Unreal Tournament 3. Benchmarking will be undertaken using demo's of both games. The Auzen X-Fi Prelude will be run in both the Gaming Mode and Entertainment Mode to illustrate the impact that X-RAM has on system performance. CMSS 3D and EAX will be enabled during all of the benchmarks. I will be using Fraps to record the amount of frames per second during gaming.

Following on from the bout of gaming I will be running both of the cards under the RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test (Free version). The RightMark 3D Sound CPU Utilization Test measures CPU load depending on the device. It synthetically emulates the main cycle of a typical ingame sound engine, and provides diagnostics checks for supported EAX versions. Screenshots of RightMark 3D Sound graphs will be used to further illustrate the point at hand.

Subjective Audio Phase

During the subjective audio phase I will be listening to a plethora of music styles and genres, some of which I have included below:
* The Four Seasons (Vivaldi)
* The Great Southern Trendkill (Pantera)
* Back in Black (ACDC)
* Love, Pain & the whole crazy thing (Keith Urban)
* Dreams - The Ultimate Collection (The Corrs)
* With Teeth (Nine Inch Nails)
* Happy Hardcore Singles Collection (Various Artists)

I have chosen to listen to a few of my favourite DVD's out of my somewhat large collection. Again, they have been listed below:
* Apocolypto
* Van Halen Live
* Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith.

Now let's head over the page to see how the Auzen X-Fi Prelude copes with this swagger of testing...
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Most Recent Comments

28-10-2007, 06:59:18

PV5150
Can Auzentech build a better X-Fi?

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...105134771s.jpg

Will the Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 sound card make the grade?

If you'd like to find out the answers to these and many of life's other mysteries...check out the review.

Linkage

28-10-2007, 07:25:26

Toxcity
Wow, Nice review PV!

Looks to be a solid card.

28-10-2007, 07:51:15

FarFarAway
Looks like a decent card, if only they didn't have to use Creative drivers tbh

28-10-2007, 07:57:49

SuB
i can certainly vouch for it i have one and i love it everything about it just 'feels' better than the other x-fi i had

would love a THX console for calibrating my speakers though but that aside i absolutely love it

28-10-2007, 08:52:17

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='SuB'
i can certainly vouch for it i have one and i love it everything about it just 'feels' better than the other x-fi i had

would love a THX console for calibrating my speakers though but that aside i absolutely love it
Seeing as it`s software is creative hybrid, I wonder if u can use the THX console that creative have on their cds ?

For me, these cards are equivilant to how an nVidia reference card gets adopted by other manufs.

Talking about the population of a creative card in comparison to this one, it`s also fair to bare in mind that out of the 5 or 6 creative x-fi cards that have been/are available, ranging from the cheapest to the professional studio ones, the density of the surface mounting goes from sparce to crazy-mad-caps-per-inch.

I would have liked to have seen a "crackle-test" on this card too, creative cards get easily bogged down fighting for internal bus usage (so it would appear but not confirmed) which makes them crackle. It`s a mad test to emulate, and it`s conditions are not 100% duplicate-able. But if u have a pc thrash at something like fah on all cores, do some rar`ing, do some massive file transfers..... and play some music - u get crackle on a creative x-fi. Maybe this is more a blame of the mobo design, or windows design, but it would be interesting.

Also - I want pci-e in this crazy lacking pci slot world !

28-10-2007, 08:55:55

FarFarAway
Creative just dont support THX in Vista, they suck

Crackle test - would have been interesting you're right

And yep, lets hope some PCI-e versions get out real soon

28-10-2007, 09:00:04

PV5150
Thanks all for your feedback

@ Rast: For what it's worth mate this machine folds 24/7 (SMP units); music is on all the time that I'm at the machine, and I do transfer quite a bit on my network....not massive, but perhaps on the larger side than normal and I have yet to hear crackle from this card.

A lot of the crackle/pop issues came from Nvidia based motherboards from the reading I have done. My X-Fi Xtreme Audio did it from time to time though, giving out a considerable pop.

I'll throw a little more at it if you like to see if I can replicate the issue

28-10-2007, 09:04:20

Brooksie
Nice review PV

28-10-2007, 09:10:50

Rastalovich
There are so many threads and theories on how the crackle comes about. It`s been the baine of creative cards going all the way back to audigy2.1.

I`ve heard the nVidia chipset thing, but in the same instance, whilst I`ve read about them I`ve been using via chipset mobos, never had an nVidia tbh.

All I know for sure is that I can duplicate it on one of my setups 100% of the time. In fact I can use any of the 3 x-fis to get it, and swapping out for any of the old sblive cards I got too, which leans me more to thinking it`s how windows handles the tasks or the mobo shares the bus bandwidth. Different drivers can ~seem~ to help, but this `apparently` is down to where they establish themselves in memory. Switch out a card, and back it`ll come.

The only thing I personally think minimizes it, is to stick it in a slot that is either not paired with anything, or if u`r board relys on pairing, turn the other things off. I turn off parallel ports, serial, raid, anything that`s not required.

Bah, only creative labs could come out with a definative answer, but as we`re all aware - if it aint a brandspanking card for the latest os - they don`t want to know. To be fair, even then they show little interest.

28-10-2007, 10:04:55

Ham
Fantastic job there Pvs, very hard thing to review well, but you've pulled it off

28-10-2007, 11:40:33

!TIMMY!
Good review PV, its nice to see Creative allowing other manufacturers to use their technology.

28-10-2007, 16:22:18

Yeungster
Wow! I've heard about Auzen making a significant introduction into the x-fi market, but never really looked into it, as I'm still on onboard sound!!!

Reading this review has made me really want one of these! What a great review!

28-10-2007, 17:43:11

PV5150
Thanks all, I'm glad you found the review worthwhile as it is quite a hard thing to do.

29-10-2007, 06:50:23

maraschino
nice review,

i just recently purchased one and it is a very nice card

30-10-2007, 05:27:43

PV5150
Thank you mate

06-01-2008, 10:09:51

Yeungster
You have made me spend more money!!!!

Just ordered one of these, which should be here on Wednesday. Really hoping it makes the sound through my home theatre system come alive. Onboard sound via s/pdif to my home theatre system just sounded flat.

I have no doubt that this will have significant improvements on my computers overall sound!

06-01-2008, 15:53:25

PP Mguire
Yea if i dont recieve and X-Fi ill just go and buy one of these. Seems pretty promising.

06-01-2008, 16:46:37

Yeungster
PV - Do you still have this card to hand? If so, and you have some spare time, it'll be good to hear your views with the latest driver release which enables Dolby Digital Live

06-01-2008, 16:53:49

Pyr0
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Yeungster'
PV - Do you still have this card to hand? If so, and you have some spare time, it'll be good to hear your views with the latest driver release which enables Dolby Digital Live
it's DDL and the new upcoming features that are making me think about getting rid of my xtrememusic and getting a prelude instead

08-01-2008, 07:56:02

PV5150
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Yeungster'
PV - Do you still have this card to hand? If so, and you have some spare time, it'll be good to hear your views with the latest driver release which enables Dolby Digital Live
I'm downloading the latest driver as I type and in the next few days I'll let you know mate for sure

08-01-2008, 13:50:37

SuB
new drivers

/me goes to get!!

10-01-2008, 16:37:53

Yeungster
I hope I have set it up wrong or something, because when I enabled DDL and ran an optical feed to my home theatre system the sound coming out was really poor quality.

When I turn DDL off, the volume decreases dramatically, but the quality is much improved.

Any comments/pointers for me?

10-01-2008, 17:05:32

Rastalovich
Try playing about with the settings in... I think it`s Sound.. then the input/outputs are listed and in the optical thingy there`s a tab about what rates and quality the feed is.

One thing I don`t like about the newer driversets for creative/auzen is the way the settings aren`t all in one place.

EDIT: Actually it probably not the Sound menu, it`s more like Playback or Recording devices (right click on the speaker icon in the tray for a shortcut)

10-01-2008, 17:24:21

Yeungster
I'm not sure I'm following you 100%. Here's what I'm provided with within the menu you pointed me towards:

10-01-2008, 17:44:44

Rastalovich
Wow that`s weird, mine looks like this:

http://upload.overclock3d.net/dwn/10.../soundpref.jpg

I know it says X-fi, but my Auzen one is 100% the same. That`s from right clicking on the speaker in the tray.

11-01-2008, 17:26:40

Yeungster
I've been playing with the card a little bit more tonight. I'm far from an audiophile so was lost in the technical speak on some of the av forum threads.

I'm now beginning to wonder what the chances are that I have either:

a) a faulty card

b) a faulty home theatre amp/receiver

Is there any way to test either of these components?

14-07-2009, 15:19:42

Rastalovich
Verbatim...

X-Fi Prelude Driver for Windows 7

New X-Fi Prelude Driver Supports DTS Connect on Windows 7 and Vista

Santa Clara, CA: Auzentech, Inc.(www.auzentech.com) has announced today the release of a new "Multi-Driver" for the X-Fi Prelude sound card. The new driver is compatible with Microsoft Windows® 7, Windows® Vista, and Windows® XP.

For X-Fi Prelude owners, the new driver brings DTS Connect™ to Windows® 7 in addition to the previously supported Windows® Vista. Dolby™ Digital Live is available on all three platforms.

The driver must be a fresh install on a 32-bit or 64-bit edition of Windows® 7, Vista, or XP. For details and downloads, visit the Auzentech sound card drivers page:

http://www.auzentech.com/site/download/updates.php

The Auzen X-FI™ Prelude 7.1 soundcard marked the first time Creative had permitted a third-party soundcard vendor to use the Creative X-FI™ chipset in its own soundcard design. The X-Fi Prelude fully supports EAX 5.0, the premier technology for 3-D audio effects diring game play, Dolby® Digital Live and DTS™ Connect. For more information, visit the X-Fi Prelude product page online:

http://www.auzentech.com/site/products/x-fi_prelude.php

About Auzentech, Inc.

AUZENTECH, Inc. is a provider of quality consumer electronics products, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, CA. AUZENTECH developed the World's first Dolby Digital Live Sound card (X-Mystique 7.1 Gold) and the World's first DTS Connect Sound Card (X-Plosion 7.1 DTS Connect) and continues to bring the most innovative audio products to the market.

http://www.auzentech.com/

Contact:

pr@auzentech.com
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