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I intended to use this usb sound card in linux but needed 48khz sampling, after re-reading the spec its a 44.1khz device, argh! But I found in windows it seems to work perfectly at 48khz and is the best by far of many usb cards I have tried. I don't know whether it is the driver software that is converting between 44.1 and 48 or if the card does really support it but what ever I tried in linux it just would play ball at 48khz. It packs some really amazing punch for such a small device, when I think how big sound cards used to be its amazing how they crammed such great tech into such a small package. I have also tried some cheap no name usb cards and there really is a big difference in sound quality, would definitely stick with the Soundblaster card rather than an unbranded one.
- Introduction -
There are many USB sound cards available to purchase on today's market with a huge margin difference between certain makes and models. The SoundBlaster from Creative is one external card which could be seen as a more premium option as alternative usb cards can be bought from as cheap as £1.00!
- Installation -
The device is compatible with Microsoft Windows and comes with a software/driver CD. The installation process is straight forward and simple like any other hardware installation. Drivers can be obtained online aswell as using the disc which is included.
- Appearance -
The device itself has a black casing, and is aprox the size of two usb ports in width, it has a mic (line-in) and a speaker (headphone out) both of which are 3.5mm slots.
- Features -
The device features Creative's Xtreme Fidelity audio technology for restoring the detail and clarity of compressed audio files. The X-Fi Go offers the Creative EAX ADVANCED HD sound effects and ALchemy surround sound for Windows Vista. The Sound Blaster X-Fi Go has also 1GB storage capacity for users to store custom gaming profiles, plug-ins, add-ons, as well as Creative's bonus applications such as "WaveStudio" and "Karaoke".
- Quality of Sound -
In terms of USB soundcard's the quality of sound is very varied and is significantly poorer on cheaper makes and models, with the Creative SoundBlaster you can always expect to receive the highest level and quality of sound even though the unit is operated by USB rather than the integrated card found in your Laptop or PC, however its noticeable that you will never receive the exact same quality of audio in comparison to whats been sent directly through your internal sound card however for an additional line, whether it be for recording or monitoring purposes the device works just how you would expect it.
There is no delay in the processing of sound and although the bass isn't quite as good as an integrated card it still delivers a good sound for voice recordings, movies etc.
- Conclusion -
If you are really fussy with the type of sound you receive from your card then you may need to look at spending slightly more with a product from M Audio or Behringer for example or maybe even just a card featuring split lines or surround sound setup.
Overall though considering the price, convenience and design I would really recommend this to anyone who is after an external sound card for average use without breaking the bank!!
Thanks for reading. =)
So today I was given a new item to test out for the big people that I work for, this item was not only a new item but it was unique in that I had never used one of these types of devices before. I am talking of course about the Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi GO PRO external sound card.
In case you are wondering why you would need an external sound card let me take a minute to explain. If you're on board sound isn't great or it breaks then you need not worry there are alternatives to getting it fixed at the manufacturer which can be costly. The sound blaster for instance is quite cheap at only £29.99 on the creative site and I'm sure you may find it cheaper elsewhere.
This came in a small box with a USB extender, the software, and the manuals and of course the sound card itself. The packaging was nice the box wasn't too crammed with much information and overall it did the job in keeping everything inside the box secure.
This little stick looks like a wireless adapter but it is of course in disguise as it's an external sound card. This is a nice looking device all black with a black cap, it's got a glossy look to it and on the cap is a place to slot in on your keying. This gives this device great portability overall and I would feel comfortable carrying this around with me. The size of the sound card is surprisingly small but it is quite wide and it blocked up a second USB on the back of my computer, this is where the USB extender that is provided comes in handy though.
Installing this should seem simple, however you have to install the software that is provided with the box or you can download the latest software from the creative website which is just what I did. Downloading the software was quick it was easy to find on the website, but installing the actual software seemed to be a bit of a hassle. It took quite a while for it to actually go onto the computer and it didn't seem to take up too much space so I couldn't quite understand why this was the case. When the software was eventually installed though all I had to do was plug the device into an available USB slot and the little on light lit up blue which is always a good sign.
I was sceptical about an external sound card at first I really didn't think that they could provide the sound quality that we as people deem acceptable. I couldn't have been any more wrong if I had tried, the sound quality of this device was great. It was far from perfect and it did seem to distort when turned up quite high though which let this device down.
The microphone port performed well with my friends that I spoke to online not being able to notice any difference between the sound card and my on board 7.1 audio. So if you do happen to break your microphone slot this is a great replacement.
Overall this was a handy little device, I could only see the need in purchasing one if your on board is broke or isn't very good. It does work especially well with microphones and does ok with sound. Recommended if you need a cheap replacement.
More and more we are starting to stream films and music through the lap top but the onboard sound quality is not very great; when it is on high it seems quite distorted and poor. I was told about USB plug in sound cards and although slightly dubious, decided to buy one and give it a go.
==Price and availability==
The Creative Labs sound card costs £33.00 and is widely available. I bought this one from Amazon.co.uk.
The sound card looks like a flash drive, it has a lid with a key ring fastener and underneath this is a USB stick. The pack comes with a USB extension lead; in case your USB ports are really close together you can use this for better access. Despite being quite a small little thing, it is a bit wide so may block access to other ports. Also contained in the kit is a installation CD and a leaflet with the instructions on. The soundcard is available to use with Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows Vista.
To get the soundcard to work you need to insert the installation CD and follow the instructions; this is relatively simple but takes quite a while to complete. The plus side to this though is that once loaded it does not appear to make too much a dent on the memory.
I love the ease of having a plug in external soundcard. When not in use, I can just slip it into the lap top back and get it out when I next need it.
I would like to say that the soundcard is easy to use; which it is, however it takes a while to get the best out of the soundcard. The installation takes ages and it crashed in the middle and caused me to have to restart it!
Once loaded, the Creative Audio control panel is easy to navigate round and you can spend hours fiddling with the different levels trying to get the best potential sound out of the device. Obviously if you are not a perfectionist you will find it much easier and quicker to do, as there is nothing wrong with the default setting really and you will notice a significant improvement in sound relatively quickly. The device makes a significant difference and sounds are much clearer, deeper and richer. Music has depth and clarity and movies have a surround sound feel. I sometimes lie in bed and watch a film and really enjoy the much improved sound quality. Even with earphones, the quality is much improved.
For full access to the X-Fi effects you need to buy an extension pack to the installed material. It downloads some software that needs a registration key; this seems a bit cheeky really as cannot remember seeing anything about this on the box! Do not be disheartened by this information though as the installed material is just fine on its own and the quality of the device is superb.
I am really pleased with the soundcard and would definitely recommend it!