Creative SB X-Fi

Konstantin Dimitrov kosio.dimitrov at
Thu Jan 18 10:27:59 UTC 2007

almost a year and a half after introduction of the X-Fi series, there
is still nothing, according to

"May 18, 2006 -- Creative plans to make proprietary (closed source)
drivers available for the X-Fi series of sound cards in the second
quarter of 2007. These drivers will have full support for ALSA
(playback, recording, mixer, MIDI, synthesis) and OpenAL 1.1 (with EAX

and according to

"Creative actively preventing support due to no datasheets being
released to ALSA developers."

which means, that Creative will never release documentation for X-Fi
series, but at least they will make blob for Linux.

if you want to use high-end audio card under open-source OS and that
is the reason to buy X-Fi Fatal1ty, better go for Envy24-based audio
card. for half the price of X-Fi Fatal1ty, you will have real high-end
audio card, that doesn't resample and thus provides the so called
bit-perfect playback.

even the new Creative DSP - CA20K1, used in X-Fi series, do resampling
or more accurate - software sample-rate conversion (SSRC)(only when
sample-rate is 44.1KHz, 48KHz or 96KHz, CA20K1 can do bit-perfect
output). although, CA20K1 provides SSRC with much better quality than
Creative previous DSPs, like EMU10K1, it is still resampling.

Envy24 family of chips don't resample at all, they support bit-perfect
output with every sample-rate and Envy24-based audio cards has better
(or at least not worst) DACs and ADCs than Creative cards.

for example, Fatal1ty uses CS4382 for DAC and WM8775 for ADC, which is
nothing impressive. actually even the first Envy24-based cards, that
are maybe 6-7 years old, use better DACs and ADCs than CS4382 +
WM8775. the current Envy24-based cards go even further than just
providing very high-quality DACs and ADCs - for example "Audiotrak
Prodigy HD2":
not only use the AKM flagship DAC - AK4396, but also use very high-end
OPAMPs and Audiotrak even place them into sockets, so you can easily
change them even with more high quality OPAMPs.

sorry to move the topic from X-Fi series to Envy24-based cards in the
last several paragraphs, but i think most people still buying Creative
cards, because don't know for Envy24. personally i have been in this
situation, when i was searching for replacement of my SBLive and then
by pure accident i found out about Envy24-based cards. because before
that all my sound cards were made by Creative - SB16, SB AWE32, SB
AWE64, SBLive and i was like blind about alternatives.

On 1/18/07, Yuriy Tsibizov <Yuriy.Tsibizov at> wrote:
> > Any chance of a Soundblaster X-Fi driver appearing soon?
> > I bought a SB X-Fi fatal1ty but now I have no sound on my
> > workstation.
> > Seeing all the new cards Creative makes uses this chipset, I
> > believe it
> > would be wise to create a driver for it. I don't need anything fancy,
> > just plain 2 speaker sound would be fine. I'd be happy to test if
> > someone is working on it.
> Unfortunately there is no public documentation / datasheets for all(?)
> Creative PCI sound cards, including X-Fi series.
> Yuriy.
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