Has anyone been watching the Super X-Fi?
This is a hasty preview in order to get some opinions from the community. I've already ordered one of these, but still want to hear your thoughts and praise for my impulsive purchase.
Photo credit: CNET
While I'm not a True Believer™ audiophile, I do enjoy great sound (and get a smug satisfaction from getting close without breaking the bank). To that end I have been a pretty consistent fan of Creative Sound-Blaster headphone amps: E5, G5 and X7 all get regular use. Lo-and-behold, this morning I get an e-mail from to announce the start of US sales for the Super X-Fi headphone amp. It was chock full of glowing reviews and a claim of 99% customer satisfaction from the Singapore launch. Creative claims that they have cracked some mythic wall between our expensive headphones and natural surround sound, the word "magic" appears seventeen times on us.sxfi.com between quoted review and Creative's own copy. ("Holy Grail" appears six) . Their approach, according to them, involves personally calibrating your device to your ears using an app and letting the device create a custom sound map, according to them AI plays a major role. The end state seems to be a transparent experience that makes your headphones disappear and allow for a truly immersive experience.
CNET's reviews of the technology are very positive and I won't restate their words:
My one reservation (right now) is that Creative's calibration app relies on a list of "certified" headphones, and their business model seems to revolve around manufacturers paying for such an accolade. I'm not a huge fan of controlled ecosystems, and it would bother the hell out of me if a Beats branded PoS got better support than my Oppo PM-3s, but I have a feeling that I'm overstating a problem that may not exist.