I now sound great!

Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi breakout box installed on my PC
The Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi breakout box now installed on my PC.

Following Morning Prayer, earlier this morning, I installed my new Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Platinum soundcard and it sounds GREAT!

I thought it was about time, as I’d had this piece of £100 kit sitting in its box beside my prayer desk for the best part of three weeks. What’s the point of having a great gift if you’re not going to use it? (I’m sure there’s a sermon in there somewhere!)

From previous experience of opening up one of my machines, replacing hardware and installing new drivers I was a little nervous. But this whole experience was a dream. The hardware was installed: PCI card slotted snuggly into the vacating slot left by my old Audigy2 and connected by a cable to the ‘break-out’ box which slid neatly into a vacant 5.25″ drive bay. I booted up and installed the software, which caused my ZoneAlarm Pro firewall to offer me more pop-ups than a jack-in-the-box convention. But it all installed fine, and on rebooting I now have an amazing sounding system. It’s quite remarkable just how much clearer the audio now sounds. Just wait until I try it out in Games mode with Battlefield 2, which has been optimized for the X-Fi hardware.

One great thing was that when it came to setting up my speakers configuration it offered 6.1 (6 = front and back: left, right and centre speakers; 1 = subwoofer bass speaker) which is what I have, and not just the 5.1 and 7.1 offered by my previous Audigy2 setup.

The only odd thing was during product registration. Once I’d told the ‘registration wizard’ that I lived in the UK it asked for which city and region I lived in. I live in Edinburgh, and technically, my region is The City of Edinburgh, which replaced Lothian Council in 1996 when Lothian region was split into West Lothian, City of Edinburgh, Midlothian and East Lothian.

A lot of software and websites still only offer ‘Lothian’ offer ‘Midlothian’ as the closest options for Edinburgh’s region. But not the Creative registration wizard. It offers: Midlothian/Edinburghshire:

Screenshot of the X-Fi registration screen

Edinburghshire?! What kind of made-up-nonsense is that?! I’ve just emailed Creative to inform them. You can’t accuse me of not being helpful!

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Gareth J M Saunders

Hi, I'm Gareth J M Saunders, 43 years old, 6' 4", married to Jane, father to twins Reuben and Joshua, and their younger brother Isaac. I'm a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church and worship at All Saints' Church, St Andrews. I am employed as the web architect at the University of St Andrews.

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