Creative SB X-Fi

Pyun YongHyeon pyunyh at
Thu Jan 18 13:04:39 UTC 2007

On Thu, Jan 18, 2007 at 12:27:56PM +0200, Konstantin Dimitrov wrote:
 > 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
 > effects)."
 > 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.

Generally I agree with your opinion. But I think the publicly
available datasheet for envy24 is very primitive to program the
hardware. Of course it's much better than nothing but driver writers
need more information than this. 
I have no experience on Creative X-Fi series but the sound quality
of envy24 is really great. The only drawback of envy24 I know is
its 256MB DMA address limitation. This address limitation prevent me
from running it on architectures with IOMMU(e.g. sparc64). Since low
DMA address space for hardware are very precious resources it could
fail to attach the hardware if other hardwares already occupied the
requried address ranges. I don't know why VIA does not remove such
DMA address limitation in such a nice PCI audio hardware.

 > 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.
 > >

Pyun YongHyeon

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