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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB Audio System with Phono Preamp by Review Summary ,  Aug 21, 2015

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Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi HD USB Audio System with Phono Preamp
Report Date: 08/20/2015
Based on 209 customer reviews
Overall satisfaction: 4.0
Returned or considering to return: 8.6%

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Frequently Mentioned by Customers:


Individual Feature Rating
Headphone4.7   above average
Playback4.6   average
Price4.5   average
Audio4.3   average
Music4.3   average
USB4.2   average
Quality4.1   below average
Sound4.1   average
Speaker4.0   average
Support3.8   average
Volume3.6   average
Control3.2   below average
Listening2.9   mediocre
Windows2.6   mediocre


Quotes from the Reviews - What People Say about:

Amazon

Amazon:
"As it was, I ordered a second unit--from Amazon, of course--and hope I will not have to deal with Creative's customer support in the future."
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"So, I am not happy with them and although I have generally been happy with Amazon in the past, they will be hearing from me."
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"The 5 star rating is based off of the product itself; Amazon really upset me on this one."
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"However, Amazon fulfills their orders...**UPDATE** Creative has finally responded, and is accepting the return refund."
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"This was run on:Dell Latitude E6540Intel Core i7-4810MQ @ 2.8ghz8Gb RAMWin7 64 bitSound card was purchased direct from the Creative website, not through Amazon."
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"Amazon five stars, Creative get a one since the unit at least powered up."
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"Sadly you cant return this but i was able to get a refund...thank you amazon."
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"After several e-mails to Amazon and Creative Labs, Amazon came through with a partial refund, much to their credit, without my having to return the unit."
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Audio

Audio:
"I was worried that the sound wound live up to the great audio I was getting before."
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"With better sound reproduction comes the realization that some albums were not mixed very well, especially audio quality downgrades by mp3s and portable devices."
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"Third, if you have any problems with audio hesitations, and your computer meets the requirements specified by Creative, the following link should enable you to resolve them."
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"A physical toggle switch to select between line- and phono-in would go a long way to reducing the problems people have reported with crappy audio through the line-in."
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"It also had to be USB, as this is replacing the crappy internal audio on my work computer and I like to be able to use it on multiple systems."
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"It also makes game playing herky jerky at times because of the audio problems."
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"I primarily use the USB input and the RCA output, and the audio fidelity is preserved extremely well."
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"The output is considerably better than any on board audio and it have some nice sound enhancement features."
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"I was worried that the sound wound live up to the great audio I was getting before."
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"Load up some of your favorite .flac files (a high-quality audio format)and I dare you to find a better sounding desktop audio experience for the price."
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"You can be so much more creative on the fly when you can record and play audio simultaneously through the same device."
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Control

Control:
"It could be a problem with my setup, but the windows volume control freezes from time to time."
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"The only problem is that I can not control the settings with my windows 8 laptop."
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"For the sound blasters price, control options, and hook ups, its hard to beat."
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"easy set up and controls on the desktop couldn't be easier, I use the analog inputs from a mixing board so I can play my bass and guitars along with my drum machine thru my computer and it works great!"
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"No need to unplug my speakers to plug in my headphones (I tried using the front I O panel that comes with the X-FI Platinum and the sound is just not very good) and I love having separate volume control for my speakers and my headphones."
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"It is well made and the volume control knob has a nice solid action."
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"Nice knob for easy volume control."
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"I have this velcroed to the back of my laptop screen where the volume knob is easy to reach, which gives finer volume control than the buttons above my keyboard."
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"I had a little trouble getting my computer recognize it's driver and Creative doesn't explain much about how it interacts with the Windows 7 Sound Controls, but once I figured it out, it's very easy to use."
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"The sound controls are very versatile, you are able to fine tune your sound for your specific system, speakers, or music."
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Headphone

Headphone:
"Only drawback is that the headphone jack is 1 4."
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"The complaint of the headphone jack being right channel heavy is true but only if you're using cheap earbuds."
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"No need to unplug my speakers to plug in my headphones (I tried using the front I O panel that comes with the X-FI Platinum and the sound is just not very good) and I love having separate volume control for my speakers and my headphones."
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"My computer listening experience has improved, my headphones are happy, I can run my turntable through it and rip the vinyls to WAV files."
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"IMO, it's the best usb soundcard headphone amp under $90."
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"Here are my favorite Pros:* Powered by USB, so no need for yet another wall-wart* 1 4 jack connectors are robust and allow for high-end headphones to be plugged straight in."
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"This unit has plenty of punch to handle all headphones as well my Labtec speakers."
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"It sounded that good -- and this is through budget headphones (I paid a mere $70 for the cans I use.)"
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Knob

Knob:
"But the knob itself doesn't turn smoothly like an amplifier pot; it also turns continuously without boundary stops (some people like that, I don't).The knob face and sides are completely smooth which makes fine adjustment more of an effort than it should be."
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"This has one of the highest SNRs I could find at just the perfect price, and it has a handy volume knob."
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"It is well made and the volume control knob has a nice solid action."
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"Nice knob for easy volume control."
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"The PCI cards are equally great but I like having my headphone jack in front of me and repositionable, and having a physical volume knob works for me as well."
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"With this device you have ease of plugging in and a handly volume knob which drives the PC audio level."
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Listening

Listening:
"It worked with my last sound card, but it didn't sound as good, so overall, not a deal breaker, but if I'm listening to a album, I want that music to lock out all other windows sounds."
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"Since I use my W520 in-house for video production and music listening, I finally got frustrated enough to look at fixing the quality and logistical problems."
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"There are some caveats you'll have to weigh for yourself:While listening to an orchestral CD (Ravel) using the Royal Hall and Orchestra Pit settings I found the sound to be lush and warm."
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"So I decided to give this DAC a try as my sound card is not very good and would like to have a better-than-average music listening experience to tide me over when I need to keep the volume in check for my neighbors."
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"Honestly, with a 600ohm rated OPA627 dual chip amp rigged up with this, analytical listening may be a little more suited, but the experience may not be pleasing when listening casually."
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"My computer listening experience has improved, my headphones are happy, I can run my turntable through it and rip the vinyls to WAV files."
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"I can't figure out how to do that on my Scarlett and really need this feature to be able to record anything I'm listening to on the computer, you know what I mean."
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"The unit itself works great for my headphone listening and for my sound editing."
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"Depending on the quality of the station, the crystalizer and speaker options can give a little more punch, and the dialog option is nice for static-filled AM stations if you're listening to talk radio."
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"Even Pandora streaming audio sounds really good (I was afraid the K340s would reveal all the MP3 artifacts but at the HQ setting I generally don't notice anything, though I am working usually rather than critically listening).This has been an excellent bargain purchase and in truly an excellent addition to any audiophile's desktop arsenal."
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Music

Music:
"I am able to pick out all the nuances and glitches in my music with this, and the sound is really incredible."
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"I use this with my laptop since the sound card and onboard speakers aren't the best and produce a lot of noise in music."
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"The X-Fi HD has latency ~ 30 ms, which is not good enough for electronic music processing."
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"Since I use my W520 in-house for video production and music listening, I finally got frustrated enough to look at fixing the quality and logistical problems."
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"So I decided to give this DAC a try as my sound card is not very good and would like to have a better-than-average music listening experience to tide me over when I need to keep the volume in check for my neighbors."
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"I am able to pick out all the nuances and glitches in my music with this, and the sound is really incredible."
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"Every laptop owner needs this in order to create decent music system on a low budget."
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"Yeah the EAX reverb efffects are fun but nothing that any music software can give you anyways , the other effects to me really didnt add all that much."
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"Outstanding combo for gaming and movies and music! "
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"This has solved ALL of my audio issues and has brought unsurpassed clarity to the music I love."
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Playback

Playback:
"The playback fidelity is not very good; it wasn't terrible, but seemed about on a par with a standard laptop line output."
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"It is great for recording and playback using one's PC."
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"The playback fidelity is not very good; it wasn't terrible, but seemed about on a par with a standard laptop line output."
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"Playback is easy."
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"This is a great box for high quality playback and digitizing of LP's."
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"In contrast, my less powerful desktop machine using the E-MU PCIe card has never had comparable problems while adjusting playback volume."
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Price

Price:
"I've gone a couple of years without duplex recording capability which was sorely missed... this is worth the price just for that ability alone!"
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"For the sound blasters price, control options, and hook ups, its hard to beat."
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"For the price you can't go wrong, I originally bought the X-FI HD to convert my albums to digital medium."
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"A good solid product with a good price."
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"Most of my albums are 30-40 years old, and it seemed only fitting to play them on a turntable from that era (the build quality back then was much better than the schlock you can buy today at a reasonable price.)"
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"The reasonable price was a big plus, too."
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"This has one of the highest SNRs I could find at just the perfect price, and it has a handy volume knob."
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Quality

Quality:
"But not responding to additional inquiries regarding product quality and compatibility issues is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE."
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"Windows will do that automatically, but in my opinion the Windows resampler is not very good, so you lose sound quality."
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"I believe in diminished returns when spending more in audio and as far as sound quality goes, it's really good for under $100.One other complaint."
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"I noticed some other negative reviews commented on marginal sound quality: that could be related to the problem (#2) I'm having."
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"With better sound reproduction comes the realization that some albums were not mixed very well, especially audio quality downgrades by mp3s and portable devices."
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"Before I bought I tried with audacity, quality was not good, so I purchased this device."
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"The build quality seems pretty good."
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"We shouldn't have to rely on a 3rd party to get good quality out of the product."
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"I would say that sound quality is also very good, but not audiophile."
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"The quality is fantastic but forget the built in Phone stage - that is Garbage."
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"Sound quality is good."
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Setup

Setup:
"It could be a problem with my setup, but the windows volume control freezes from time to time."
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"Not as good as my dedicated hifi setup obviously but compares favorably considering the price."
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"If you've got a lot of albums to archive, the above setup: A vintage turntable, a good cartridge, the SoundBlaster X-FI HD, and Vinyl Studio will leave you smiling, and won't bust your wallet (comparatively speaking."
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"Great sound and easy to setup."
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"I didn't find it a pain to setup, the installation was actually pretty simple to me."
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"I was looking for something to power my Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones in addition to outputting sound to my 2.1 setup and this was the perfect product!"
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"Setup was very easy."
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Sound

Sound:
"I am able to pick out all the nuances and glitches in my music with this, and the sound is really incredible."
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"The level of the SPDIF out was weak compared to my previous sound card(s), and required more than twice the amplification."
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"I am reasonably satisfied because I still have a lot of old LPs and tapes lying around and the USB connection is a lot less hassle and expense than adding internal sound cards and connection ports to a desktop PC."
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"I use this with my laptop since the sound card and onboard speakers aren't the best and produce a lot of noise in music."
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"Windows will do that automatically, but in my opinion the Windows resampler is not very good, so you lose sound quality."
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"It worked with my last sound card, but it didn't sound as good, so overall, not a deal breaker, but if I'm listening to a album, I want that music to lock out all other windows sounds."
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"I am able to pick out all the nuances and glitches in my music with this, and the sound is really incredible."
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"This is a really nice sound card."
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"How does the Creative sound card model I am using have anything to do with transferring files to a CD?"
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"Great sound now on an older Dell laptop running Windows 7."
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"The output is considerably better than any on board audio and it have some nice sound enhancement features."
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Speaker

Speaker:
"I use this with my laptop since the sound card and onboard speakers aren't the best and produce a lot of noise in music."
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"Even my nasty computer speakers have been hitting notes and frequencies they never did before."
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"My daughter's boyfriend set this little device up to her computer and she loves the richer sound playing out of her crappy speakers."
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"No need to unplug my speakers to plug in my headphones (I tried using the front I O panel that comes with the X-FI Platinum and the sound is just not very good) and I love having separate volume control for my speakers and my headphones."
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"The sound is very good, especially when compared to my laptop speakers (which isn't much of a comparison)."
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"This unit has plenty of punch to handle all headphones as well my Labtec speakers."
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"Imagine what these songs would sound like through a good amplifier and a good set of speakers (or at least a good set of headphones)."
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"I highly recommend pairing the Creative GigaWorks T40 Speakers with this."
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"BTW, make sure your speaker are worthy of producing the quality sound that a good DAC like this can produce."
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Support

Support:
"Yeah, I probably should've read all the fine print before I bought this, but it also wouldn't kill Creative to have replied to my support ticket with a quick sorry, no refunds replacements for that product email."
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"As it was, I ordered a second unit--from Amazon, of course--and hope I will not have to deal with Creative's customer support in the future."
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"Some people commented about Creative having terrible driver support but the install went smooth for me and it is running on a Windows 8 machine."
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"I raised the stars to 2, just because it works, and I'm still angry at Creative and their crappy winxp and vista support for this card."
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"The error said to contact Creative tech support, but that is a joke, because there is very little information on their site (other than to stop all background apps and try loading it again) and no telephone number to call that I could find."
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"I have not tried to get tech support from Creative-- the product is listed as beyond its service life."
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"So, as any outraged customer would do, I went immediately to Creative's website to contact support."
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"Amazingly, Creative Labs customer support initially would not stand behind their product and insisted it was all up to Amazon!"
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"Thanks Creative for the help, good support."
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"Some people commented about Creative having terrible driver support but the install went smooth for me and it is running on a Windows 8 machine."
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USB

USB:
"I am reasonably satisfied because I still have a lot of old LPs and tapes lying around and the USB connection is a lot less hassle and expense than adding internal sound cards and connection ports to a desktop PC."
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"The first problem I had was finding out it cut off my powered USB hub and had to use one of the computer's built-in USB ports."
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"An unbuffered USB device such as this will encounter timing problems if your computer cannot properly handle a high-speed data stream without interruption."
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"Unfortunately, this unit is powered via the USB cable from the laptop, and ... you guessed it, the high pitched whine carries over into the analog side of the outboard DAC too."
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"I got it primarily as a headphone amp- replacing my old EMU 0404-USB because I didn't need most of the features of that and I wanted to clean up my workstation (and the 0404-usb was never fully compatible with Windows 7- got to be really annoying at times).The flat top surface of the X-Fi HD is also perfect for Velcro-ing it to the underside of my desk."
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"It also had to be USB, as this is replacing the crappy internal audio on my work computer and I like to be able to use it on multiple systems."
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"IMO, it's the best usb soundcard headphone amp under $90."
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"I bought the x-fi hd USB unit and am blown away by good it sounds!"
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"The quality is fabulous, records What U Hear (USB Sound Blaster from internet with accuracy indistinguishable from original."
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"The Lenovo with USB3 has no problem with any files thus far because of the added USB activity."
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"This USB sound card installs easily and works well with my older HP G70 laptop and my Lenovo Ideapad."
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Volume

Volume:
"It could be a problem with my setup, but the windows volume control freezes from time to time."
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"This sounds like a benefit (after all, why have two separate volume controls), until you find that often in games, the volume dial is unresponsive and does not do anything."
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"Inadequate hardware, low volume, bad drivers... clearly, audio is no longer a priority."
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"My internal volume was weak (even at 100%)."
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"One thing I found annoying is that the volume doesn't have a definite start point where you know the volume is lowest."
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"The biggest issue is when the volume is on mute, it then blinks, which I can see more, and seems to be more annoying."
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"* Discreet design fits in nicely and looks professionalAnd the down side:* The volume dial does not control the output - instead it adjusts the windows volume control (ie the digital input)."
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"This has one of the highest SNRs I could find at just the perfect price, and it has a handy volume knob."
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"It is well made and the volume control knob has a nice solid action."
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"Volume regulator on front side helps to select comfortable volume without switching between applications; it mutes unmutes sound if you press it."
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"Nice knob for easy volume control."
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Windows

Windows:
"Through trial and error I finally figured out the big secret for a Windows PC is to open up the Sound settings panel and select Line In, USB Sound Blaster HD as my default recording device."
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"Windows will do that automatically, but in my opinion the Windows resampler is not very good, so you lose sound quality."
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"It could be a problem with my setup, but the windows volume control freezes from time to time."
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"This product is Windows 8 compatible -- I downloaded the drivers for Windows 8.1 and had zero problems."
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"The only problem is that I can not control the settings with my windows 8 laptop."
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"I got it primarily as a headphone amp- replacing my old EMU 0404-USB because I didn't need most of the features of that and I wanted to clean up my workstation (and the 0404-usb was never fully compatible with Windows 7- got to be really annoying at times).The flat top surface of the X-Fi HD is also perfect for Velcro-ing it to the underside of my desk."
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"This product is Windows 8 compatible -- I downloaded the drivers for Windows 8.1 and had zero problems."
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"No problems with a single processor, 1.66 ghz, 2gb memory, 32-bit Windows 7, and no problems on a slower XP."
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"Creative has since come out w a new driver for windows 8."
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"I was told it was compatible w windows 8."
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