Introduction - What's a Prelude?
Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1
Price: $199 USD
This is the Auzentech X-Fi Prelude 7.1. After writing off the sound card market again after Vista got rid of DirectSound, I get another email. Its Hilbert. Coming to California again ? Nope. Auzentechs got another sound card, this time theyre using X-Fi parts. My torpor faded rather fast.
A show of hands, please. How many people here have heard of Creative? Hm? Ah, the dude from Norways making a joke. Dude. Right, everybody knows by now that Creative is the company that makes the X-Fi. What you probably dont know is that Creative has never licensed any of its chips to 3rd parties, until now. This is quite an occasion, really (Hilbert: actually some Live! silicon was embedded on some mainboards, but soundcards I agree).
I hear it took some doing, though. Since business deals are rarely pretty, and the people at Auzentech are really nice, I had to wonder about this one. How did they do it? Whatever the events, in the end Auzentech convinced Creative that they should let them use their chips. Based on their last sound card, the X-Meridian (basically the best sound card Ive ever tested, even if it did hog CPU), I had faith that Auzentech would do well.
For their next card Auzentech took the heart of the X-Fi and created a super-bionic X-Fi, the X-Fi Prelude. They have replaced almost every part of the original X-Fi and fitted it with upgraded parts all around the Creatives CA20K APU. The digital-to-analog converters (DAC) are now high-quality AKM parts. The op-amp on the front channels are now upgradable. This is no ordinary sound card.
One thing is perfectly clear: this thing promises to be a karaoke monster.
Next page please.