Creative SoundBlaster X Pro-Gaming H5 Headset Review

Introduction


Creative are on of the most iconic and instantly recognisable brands on the market when it comes to audio. Having created some of the most popular and best-performing consumer audio products for the PC market over the last few decades, I’m sure many of you, if not all of you, have owned or used a Creative product at one point or another. So when I heard that Creative felt they had one of the best gaming headsets on the market and that it would cost less than £100, I simply had to try it out.

CLEARER, LOUDER, HARDER, BETTER!

“The Sound BlasterX H5 radiates with comfort in every element of the design. It’s made up of reinforced steel headband and aluminium architecture. Sound BlasterX H5 features an ergonomically-tested design that guarantees comfort over long stretches of gaming sessions, and withstand the rigours of gameplay. Specifically designed for our pro-gaming teams, the H5 Special Edition is distinctly branded with a BlasterX label on both side-plates. Fans could use this chance to take their loyalty to a whole new level. Every time they put them on, it’s a way of showing their appreciation for great sound and comfort, and what they consider as the ultimate weapon for their gameplay!” – Creative

There are a few key design aspects that are going to be important with this headset, such as the fact it was designed for eSports. This means you can expect leather ear pads and a semi-closed back design, helping block out all that unwanted, game distracting, ambient crowd noise. We’ll also be expecting the detachable noise-reduction microphone to be pretty robust and focused on your voice, not the voices of the crowd.

 

“Experience your game the way it’s meant to be heard. The Sound BlasterX H5 is equipped with large, responsive 50mm FullSpectrum drivers that deliver astounding sound. Rated at 118dB/mW, the Sound BlasterX H5 is among the loudest gaming headsets of its class. Feel the tremor of every bone-shattering explosion and hear the rattle of gunfire in your gameplay, like no other.” – Creative

The packaging for the H5 is pretty stylish, with a clear bowl-shaped lid on the top showing us a fairly uncompromised view of the actual headset.

Around the back, there’s a little run down of some of the features, as well as the included accessories.

In the box, you’ll find the headset, obviously, as well as a detachable microphone, 3.5mm 4-pole to dual 3.5mm 3-pole extension cable and a 3.5mm 4-pole in-line controller cable.

Aerocool Dream Box Chassis Kit Review

Introduction


What will your next chassis be? I’m sure you’ve asked yourself a few times when you’re planning a build. Do you go for the big and expensive one that’s going to look great and offer lots of space, or do you save on costs and get something more reserved, allowing you more budget for that graphics card you like? How about the Aerocool Dream Box? I can assure you, you’ve likely never thought of having this chassis in your build list, but given that this can be virtually any  shape, size or configuration you desire, it’s certainly one of the most interesting chassis we’ve ever seen land here at eTeknix HQ.

From mini-ITX to E-ATX, the Dream Box can hold any of them. The idea is that you take this “chassis” and built it how you want it. I use the word “chassis” in quotes, because a chassis isn’t exactly what you’re buying here. What this really looks like to me is a several hundred piece Meccano set with a few screw holes to put on a motherboard and PSU, and well, that’s because that’s exactly what it is. Free from the box-like constraints of most chassis, you don’t even have to build a chassis from this, you can build whatever you want. We’ve seen people build helicopters, bridges and more. Today though, we’ll be building a PC case, that’s what we want to see.

“Dream Box” is a revolutionary DIY kit created by Aerocool to give you the flexibility to build a computer case like no other! Furthermore, you can make anything you want out of this DIY kit. The creation can be a table, a lamp, a cup holder, a coat hanger, a toy and the list goes on and on. There are NO LIMITATIONS!! THE ONLY LIMITATION IS YOUR IMAGINATION!! Have fun with “Dream Box” DIY kit!! Make your own creations and make your dreams come true. BE UNIQUE! BE COOL! BE AEROCOOL!

Aerocool provides a guide to building a tower from the parts, but that’s a little boring, so we’re just going to let you watch this video then we’ll move on and “try” make something of our own doing.

The box gives us a few examples on the front, such as a full-tower chassis, a helicopter style mini-ITX build and a headphone stand. I love the bright yellow box too, it certainly stands out.

On the back, another set of random examples of what you can do; a cup holder and a hat and coat stand!

There’s a run down of the components too and well, there are a LOT of components. We’ve got a grand total of 118 parts and around 500 screws; this build isn’t going to be quick, that’s for sure!

Opening the box, you’ll find that every single component is carefully packed in protective foam. This not only keeps the parts safe but also makes them incredibly easy to find while building your system, almost like a custom tool drawer.

All the components come in four of these trays and as you can see, there’s really not much in terms of a chassis here, at least not yet.

All of the components are of a fantastic quality, all aluminium tubing and a gorgeous matte black paint job that gives everything a premium look and feel. Here you can see the longest and shortest poles, as well as the two sizes of mounting plates (used for motherboards and other hardware).

The two mid-size poles, as well as some joint caps and the angle bracket.

More joint adaptors here, offering a wide range of installation options, as well as the ATX PSU support bracket.

Extra fittings allow you to extended poles, angle brackets are self-explanatory, and those C rings are used for mounting virtually anything to the poles; hard drives, fans, motherboards, radiators, you name it.

Finally, we have the I/O panel, a frighteningly empty instruction book and about five hundred screws!

The I/O panel is quite nicely designed, with a thick braided cable keeping all the important stuff neat and tidy, there are four USB ports, HD audio jacks and a nicely designed power and reset button arrangement. so that’s all the basics covered, let’s try to build something!

Super Mario Cluttered Chaos-Calculator Level Anyone?

Creativity is never more alive than when the gaming community decides to invent whole levels based on various creative influences. The Super Mario Maker title has been an exciting and imaginative vehicle that aims to open up a range of possibilities for all kinds of creative mischief, one such level involves a working calculator within the super Mario Universe.

Want to know more? Of course  you do, the project is coined “The Cluttered Chaos Calculator” and has been created by Mario Level Maker  “Giant”, it works out a maths equation (6+6) and is demonstrated by the video below, luckily, there is a reddit guide to explain exactly what is going on.

To put it simply, “this Super Mario Maker level lets you select two numbers between 0 and 7, it lets the player choose their way up and then computes and displays their sum automatically”.

There is also an image via sharing site imgur which reveals the logic behind this fantastic project. It has been noted that similar adding machines have been created in the past using Super Mario Maker, but, this looks to be the “first one with a decimal conversion and proper display of the result”.

It’s an incredibly complex yet educational tool all rolled into one, just reading the extremely detailed breakdown is fascinating, hopefully, we will see many more creative examples as in this case within the future.

New Creative Audio Products Demonstrated @ CES 2016

CES 2016: Creative are one of the most recognisable audio brands in the PC market, and their latest products at CES 2016 prove exactly why that is.

First up, their new Blaster X headset, which looks a little like the Cloud 2 headset from Kingston, but thanks to a powerful amp module, it sounds far superior to virtually anything else in its class. The build quality is exceptional, it’s super comfortable and better yet, it’s multi-format ready.

Their new in-ear P5 headset is another winner, with titanium-coated diaphragms, FullSpectrum drivers, noise isolation, this is some seriously audiophile grade tech that will simply blow you away. And once again, they’re multi-format ready.

We didn’t get chance to test these, but as you can see, the Live!2, Aurvana Gold and the Aurvana Platinum are some of their latest premium grade headsets, and we’re really looking forward to testing them later in the year.

A range of mobile speakers, featuring premium build quality and promising great sound. We didn’t get to test them, but if they’re on par with the other products we’ve seen from them recently, they’re going to be pretty special.

Need something that can really kickstart the party? The Roar Pro has all the extra grunt you’re likely to need.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have time to explore all the new products or demo everything, but we’ve reached out to Creative to bring you some great product reviews in the coming weeks and months, so stay tuned for more info on these products are they hit the market.

Fantastic Individual Builds Football Stadiums out of Lego

This just looks fantastic! a creative and talented individual by the name of Chris Smith builds and sells Football Stadiums that have been built out of Lego.

The project in question goes by the name of Brickstand, below is a few images to convey his mini constructions, first up, Upton Park, which is home to long ball team West Ham, ok ok, Slaven Bilic has improved things after Sam Allardyce departed. The detail within the ground is quite something considering this is constructed out of Lego, even the club wording embedded within the seats has been incorporated. The price tag is £299.99 which sounds expensive, but it does come ready built and not just a box of bricks with instructions.

Next up Vicarage Road which is home to newly promoted Watford, I wonder how robust these models are? Just imagine spending £279.99 for the below stadium and then dropping it on the floor. The measurements are 50x50x15cm and is built-in parts which according to the site “is easy to store when not on display”

The last image arrives courtesy of “your going home in an ambulance” Millwall, this model has roughly 1500 bricks within it and measures 65x50x15cm. If you’re worried about shipping in the UK, then don’t as Chris Smith will deliver them to you himself, he does this because there is no adhesive within the bricks and it would be also difficult to trust Royal Mail with these stadiums.

Chris Smith aims to build all 92 grounds in the football league out of Lego, he must have Lego falling out in every direction in his house, by all means check out his website for a complete overview of his work, it’s certainly unique. Lego might be keeping an eye on how far this project will go, if it is successful in the long run then expect Football league kits to be marketed by the company in the near future, I wonder how Chris will feel if Lego make millions out of his concept?

Thank you brickstand for providing us with this information.

Gorgeous New GTA Mod In The Pipeline Offers Fantastic Visuals

GTA Mods are fantastic in offering players a creative, dynamic and detailed adventures with which to explore using the full powerful potential of PC gaming. This time around a new work in progress mod by the name of the Toddyhancer by Martin Bergman conveys stunning visuals which will certainly please fans of the series.

Below is a video which illustrates the very much rough test mod in action, as you can see, it’s still needs tweaking and improving considering there looks to be lighting issues which have been picked up by users.  The detail within the scenery and vehicles looks fantastic, it certainly pushes the feeling of immersion to a whole new level.

Below is another viewpoint of the mod in the form of a screenshot, Mods are known for taking a while to fine tune and creator Martin Bergman recommends that players “not go crazy” with this mod, yep, good luck with that.  He has also noted that “Its just Reshade Shaders, ENB series, simple tweaks and some tonemapping with class!”  The Mod will also in all probability won’t be compatible with GTA V Online, this is due to developer Rockstar who have taken a hard-line with modding where online use is concerned.  This is a shame as creativity should be encouraged not demonized.  

Mods are a fantastic way for fans and creative minds to recreate visuals that glossy company promotions fail to deliver.  We as gamers are told within the latest advert that these graphics will blow your shocks off, only to notice in the bottom right hand corner a sentence in size 2 font which states “these visuals are not representative of in-game footage” Do you know what really grinds my gears? the let down when you carefully place the disc into the drive only to be disappointed, I have never been let down with any title in the GTA series, but some games turn out be, well, just awful.

Hopefully this project will develop into something with even more visual eye candy.

Thank you extremetech for providing us with this information.

Hitchhiking Robot Is Vandalised After Just Two Weeks in the US

You did indeed read this correctly, a hitchhiking robot which was created by a team of intelligent minds with the aim of experimenting with artificial intelligence and human interaction, has become unstuck after entering and travelling through the US.

Below is a full length image of Hitchbot, which sounds like a futuristic Will Smith dating movie, was vandalised in Philadelphia after having spent a little over two weeks visiting sites in Boston, Salem, Gloucester, Marblehead, and New York City.   Ironically all went well for the robot when it previously travelled through Canada; the US, on the other hand, was less kind.

The team behind this experiment has vowed to continue this innovative project and will also analyse the very nature of human and AI interaction, more details of any future plans will be detailed on the 5th August 2015.

The design of the robot may look slightly malevolent, but I do think this experiment has so far allowed for research to be undertaken within the effects of a machine has on the general public. The website for Hitchbot is written in first person as if the robot is narrating his story; this includes “Family” for the team which created it. As humans we have become accustomed to interacting with technology on a more human level, from Apple’s Siri to battle warzone robots which are being developed with the aim of “thinking” for themselves.

It will be thought-provoking moving forward when the day arrives for both calling a robot “Him or Her” rather than it and also how we interact with a non-human entity.

Thank You to both Hitchbot and Instagram account for providing us with this information.

Creative Introduces Draco HS880 Gaming Headset

Creative announced this afternoon that its latest Gaming Headset will debut at the Singapore PC Show held at Singapore Expo this year.

The headset has been designed by a team of acoustic engineers with a vast experience in gaming headphones, the Creative Draco HS880 Gaming Headset packs a punch with some seriously cool specs.

Creative state:

[The headset] is ruggedly constructed and sports a pair of finely-tuned large Neodymium driver that is capable of producing such realistic gaming sounds and explosive bass that will blow users away, while its full-size circumaural earcups in soft leatherette provide superb comfort for prolong usage.”

“The Creative Draco HS880 Gaming Headset features a detachable noise-canceling microphone that allows commands to be heard loud and clear. The highly effective noise-canceling function significantly reduces background noises for clear and precise speech delivery. Simply detach the microphone, the headset is instantly turned into a pair of street-styled headphones that delivers exceptional digital music playback from portable media devices. The flexible swivel earcups allow users to fold and store the headset easily, making it an ideal companion for travel and for an active lifestyle.”

The tech specs are:

Headphones

  • Drivers: 40mm Neodymium magnet
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz ~ 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 ohms
  • Sensitivity (1kHz): 106dB/mW

Microphone

  • Type: Noise-canceling condenser
  • Frequency Response: 100Hz ~ 18kHz
  • Impedance: <2.2k ohms
  • Sensitivity (1kHz): -39dBV/Pa
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm gold-plated plug x 2
  • Cable length: 2.5m Oxygen-Free Copper
  • Product weight: 268g

Looks good! the headset will be priced at $49.99 too.

Thank you to creative for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of creative

Creative Sound Blaster Tactic 3D V2.0 Rage Wireless Headset Review

Introduction


Creative were once the king of the desktop audio market, but in recent years, there have been so many new names come and go, that it’s been getting harder and harder for even the most established brands to maintain a larger part of the market. That’s not to say Creative fell into obscurity, if anything, they’ve always been making a lot of great products, from their impressive soundcards, to desktop speakers; I myself have a set of Creative speakers on my desk! We review a lot of great audio products here at eTeknix HQ, so I’m very happy to welcome Creative into the mix, as it’s one of the first products I’ve reviewed , so it’ll be great to see how they hold up against the rest of the market.

A great gaming headset isn’t exactly hard to find these days, there’s just so many amazing ones to choose from right now, but Creative have gone all out with their new model, packing it full of features that certainly caught my attention. We’ve got powerful 50mm FullSpectrum drivers, wireless technology via a USB dongle, with 16 hours battery life, SBX Pro Studio audio processing for fully customisable audio, 16m colour customisable LED lighting, 3D surround processing for virtual 7.1, VoiceFX, Scout Mode and more. The headset will support PC, Mac and PlayStation 4.

In the box, you’ll find the headset, obviously, a very nice quality sleeved cable for charging the headset, a detachable boom microphone and the USB dongle.

The dongle is simple enough, with a small LED indicator on the top and a pairing button on the side.

The headset is really nicely designed and while there are a lot of plastics on show, they’re of a very high quality, have a nice premium feel to them and also feel pretty tough too.

The black plastics are broken up by some glossy red highlights, which I think look really nice, although I must admit I’m not overly fond of the shape of the ear cups. However, I will point out that so long as a headset is comfortable and sounds great, I don’t care too much what it looks like.

As with most headsets, the ear cups are rotatable, which means it’ll sit comfortably around your neck between games and will also help with providing a clean fit over your ears.

The ear cups are very well padded and coated with a soft leather, so they should provide a very close fit and there’s a soft cloth backing on the drivers.

All the major controls are located on the headset, with a volume dial and microphone mute switch all being within easy reach. There’s also the USB charging socket on the bottom as well as a port for the detachable boom microphone.

The headband is incredibly robust, with a thick metal headband that locks firmly into place and adds extra durability to the whole headset.

The top of the headband is plastered in logos, should you forget which brand you’re wearing.

The padding on the interior of the headband doesn’t look much in the picture, but it’s actually pretty generously packed with memory foam and covered with soft leather to provide you with a comfortable fit and enough support to prevent the headset from slipping.

The microphone has a fully flexible and position boom, meaning you’ll have no issue finding an optical speaking position.

Overall, I think this is a very nice headset, with excellent build quality. I’m not completely taken with the design overall, I think it’s a little fat and rounded looking, but aesthetics is a very subjective matter, so let’s get on to what really matters; the performance.

Creative Sound Blaster X7 Deskop DAC & Amplifier Review

Introduction


A lot of attention gets put on high-end displays and graphics, but while technology has made great advances in pushing graphics to 4K monitors, 3D displays, and all kinds of other cool stuff, I see a lot of people neglecting their audio experience, be that as part of their home cinema setup, or their desktop audio. While I must admit that motherboard technology has made huge advances, with many brands such as MSI and Gigabyte for example, putting high-end audio hardware directly onto their motherboards, I have yet to hear one that was comparable to a standalone unit.

Audio Performance
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (DAC): 127dB
  • Signal-to-Noise Ratio (ADC): 123dB
  • 24-bit recording sampling rates: 44.1, 48, 96, 192 kHz
  • 24-bit playback sampling rates: 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Stereo Direct Playback at 24-bit / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4, 192 kHz
  • Surround Playback at 24-bit / 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96 kHz
  • Dolby Digital Decoding
Frequency Response
  • 20 Hz – 90 kHz (24-bit/192kHz)
Maximum Power Output
  • 50W + 50W (4Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)¹
  • 38W + 38W (4Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)²
  • 27W + 27W (8Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)¹
  • 27W + 27W (8Ω, 1kHz, 10% THD)²
Rated Power Output
  • 37W + 37W (4Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)¹
  • 35W + 35W (4Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)²
  • 22W + 22W (8Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)¹
  • 20W + 20W (8Ω, 1kHz, 1% THD)²
Total Harmonic Distortion
  • 0.05% (1kHz, 4Ω, 33W)¹
  • 0.05% (1kHz, 4Ω, 30W)²
¹ Requires upgrade to high power AC-DC adapter (24V 6A)
² Using bundled AC-DC adapter (24V 2.91A)

Creative and their Sound Blaster range have a lot of years experience in the audio business, unless you’ve been lost on a desert island for the last couple of decades, you will have heard of them and many of you have either owned or used their products in some context at least once. I’m seeing more and more desktop AMP and DAC hardware in recent years and as the music industry continues to push away from crude quality MP3’s that plagued early MP3 players years ago, higher bitrate audio files, high-quality audio streaming services and a whole lot more are now offering up audio in up to 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution formats.

If you’re investing £300+ into a 4K monitor and god knows how much more in graphics cards, a CPU and other components, is it really too much to set aside another £329.99 to get your audio on par with the rest of your setup? That’s what I hope to find out today.

First, let’s take a quick look at a full walkthrough with Ryan Schliepier of Creative, at the level of features included in this setup, because if I were to put them into writing, I’ll be doubling the size of this review; prepare to be blown away by the feature set on this unit!

This is a premium grade product, so as you would expect, it comes with virtually every kind of connection you could possibly need. One thing that did really surprise me is that the unit comes with five power cables, FIVE! No matter where you are in the world, you shouldn’t have a problem plugging this thing in.

All the cables that are included are of a high quality and will help you get this thing plugged in and setup from day one.

This funny looking thing is a headphone stand and we’ll take a close look at how that works in a few minutes.

The unit is very nicely designed and while it is quite big, it’s not so big that it would be imposing on your desktop. The shape of it also means it takes up less cubic space on your desktop and aesthetically speaking, it’s a lovely looking bit of kit.

As you saw in the video above, the unit has a great range of connections. On the front panel you’ve got a gorgeous volume dial, which was infinite rotation in either direction, rather than a lock to lock volume dial. There’s headphone jacks for both 3.5mm and 1/4″ and a microphone line-in for those who like to use a dedicated mic. Then you’ve got the power/Bluetooth and SBX control switches. In the middle there’s some ventilation, behind which you’ll find two beam-forming microphones.

On the right side, you’ll see a small NFC logo, you can tap your phone or any other NFC compatible device and immediately sync up the audio through the unit. This is great for playing songs from your phone or tablet, but it can also be used to make hands-free calls via the built-in microphones and your own speakers or headphones.

Around the back, we see a plethora of connections. You’ve got options for 4ohm and 9ohm impedance for two bare wire terminals and RCA/Jack outputs for 5.1 setups. There’s stereo line in, optical passthrough and USB, not forgetting the built-in Bluetooth support; if you’ve got anything audio related, you can connect it!

All the fittings are of a premium quality, with gold-plated ports and high-quality screw fittings for the wire terminals.

At the top, there’s some passive cooling holes and two small holes for mounting the headphone stand.

The headphone stand is optional and is perfect for keeping your favourite set within easy reach.

Down the left side, you’ll find a USB Host port, perfect for charging your phone or even your headset.

On the underside, there’s a removable cover, behind which you can see some of the workings of the AMP/DAC. Here you can see the removable op-amps, which you can replace yourself if you have the money and the desire to do so.

Overall, this is one stunning looking setup and no, the headset in the picture isn’t included in the bundle, but I figured a Creative brand headset would look nice on the stand.

Adobe Celebrates 25 Years of Photoshop With Spectacular Ad

It’s been 25 years since a little Mac application was first released that allowed you to edit photos. Yes, 25 years since Adobe Photoshop was born as a slightly more advanced version of your standard Paint application. However, across that 25 years, the word Photoshop has become a synonym for editing images on a computer and enabled millions of creative minds to come up with some of the most spectacular pieces of digital art we’ve ever seen. That and it has allowed countless photographers to make models look thinner.

To celebrate this, Adobe has come up with a spectacular TV ad to be shown during The Oscars this weekend, that goes someway to show what can be done with Photoshop. It covers many famous pieces of graphic design that were made possible by Adobe’s app, including famous ads, artworks and animated films including Shrek.

Watch it below, and I think you’ll agree that it’s probably the best way to celebrate the past 25 years.

Source: The Verge

Creative Launches Ultra-light Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth Headset

Creative released their latest mobile wireless headset, the JAM. The connection to them is created by Bluetooth 4.1 while NFC technology allows for quick and easy one-touch pairing. The headset also doubles up as a pair of Sound Blaster audio-enhanced headphones when connected to a PC via the included USB charging cable.

The headphones provide up to 12 hours wireless audio per battery charge, more than enough for a long day of music blasting from the 32mm Neodynamic drivers. The ergonomic fit of the soft ear cushions is said to ensure comfort even for long periods of times and the headset is overall built from lightweight materials that totals at 83g.

The headset features controls on ear cup, including one-tap bass enhancement. It has built-in noise reduction and an acoustic echo cancellation microphone for voice calls.

The Creative Sound Blaster JAM Bluetooth headset should be available now and is priced at £39.99/$49.99.

Thanks to Creative for providing us with this information

Creative Unveils Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition

As if the original Sound Blaster X7 wasn’t impressive enough, Creative had to knock it up one more nudge with the limited edition pearl white version. It was already teased in the presentation video, but it looked like just a limited edition colour choice.

During CES 2015, Creative presented the new limited edition and revealed that it comes bundled with a 144W power adapter that is capable of delivering up to 100W output to passive speakers and has a very low headphone amplifier output impedance of 1 ohm to effortlessly drive even the more sensitive in-ear monitors on the market.

“The Sound Blaster X7 is the most technologically advanced Sound Blaster we have ever created. We combined our decades of expertise in audio with the finest of the finest audiophile-grade components to deliver the most powerful high-resolution audio experience for games, music and movies. The original black edition of the Sound Blaster X7 comes with a headphone amplifier output impedance of 2.2 ohms which is good enough for most IEMs in the market. Now, our engineers have pushed the boundaries further by specially engineering the headphone amplifier circuit with an even lower output impedance of 1 ohm,” says Low Long Chye, General Manager of Sound Blaster. “The limited edition Sound Blaster X7 can accommodate both extreme ends of headphones in the market – from the most demanding high-impedance studio headphones to the most sensitive low-impedance in-ear monitors – with minimal distortion to audio content caused by variance in frequency response.”

The 144W (24V 6A) power adapter bundled with this limited edition is capable of harnessing the full potential of the built-in Texas Instruments TPA3116D2 Class-D amplifier to efficiently deliver up to 100W (2 x 50W RMS @ 4Ω) to passive bookshelf and tower speakers.

The normal version is available for $399.99 now while the new Pearl White Limited Edition will be available at the end of January for $499.99 at Creative’s online store.

Thanks to Creative for providing us with this information

Creative Launches Sound Blaster X7

Creative Technology is launching the Sound Blaster X7, their most powerful and technology advanced sound solution to date. The Sound Blaster X7 is designed to deliver great sound for gaming as well as entertainment and has a wide variety of connection options for different setups. It has a 24-bit/192 KHz sound resolution, a 127dB digital-to-analog converter (DAC), and an amplifier of 100W. The result is the best, clearest and most powerful sound experience for games, movies and music from Creative and the Sound Blaster X7 is already nominated in two categories for CES 2015.

Specification Highlights:

  • Burr-Brown (PCM1794) 127dB digital-to-analog converter (DAC) supports high-resolution audio playback of HD audio tracks up to 24-bit/192kHz when connected to PC/Mac, including 24-bit/88.2kHz and 24-bit/176.4kHz
  • Texas Instruments (TPA6120A2) 600Ω headphone amplifier is capable of driving audiophile-grade headphones, with full and detailed clarity
  • High power, high efficiency Texas Instruments Class D amplifier (TPA3116D2) delivers up to 100W power (2 x 50W @ 4Ω)* to passive bookshelf and tower speakers
  • Burr-Brown (PCM4220) 123dB analog-to-digital converter (ADC) delivers high quality, low noise analog line-in audio playback and audio recording of up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • Nichicon “Fine Gold” capacitors offer rich sound in the bass register and clearer highs
  • USB 2.0 Host connectivity allows direct streaming of high quality, lossless audio from Android and iOS devices
  • Asynchronous Mode USB Audio greatly reduces jitter and allows accurate high-resolution audio data transfer from the computer
  • Swappable op-amps for customizable tonality
  • ASIO support allows for reduced latency for a higher resolution audio experience
  • Gold-plated audio connectors create precise contact for low signal loss
  • *100W speaker output requires upgrade to high power adapter (24V 6A).
  • Supplied power adapter provides up to 2 X 38W @ 4Ω.

The Creative Sound Blaster X7 should become available sometime in December at an MSRP of $499.

Thanks to Creative for providing us with this information

Images courtesy of Creative

 

Sony Xperia Creative Director Leaves, Sony in Turmoil

Creative leader Kirchiro Kurozumi has called it quits, leaving large-name tech Company Sony to pursue a slightly different career in Japanese telecommunications and Internet corporation SoftBank.

This is especially bad timing for Sony, as they’re currently transitioning through a current re-design of their whole smartphone strategy. Kurozumi was responsible for overseeing the product planning for Sony’s Xperia phone series and is said to be carrying out a similar role now in SoftBank’s Mobile department. After his departure one month ago, reports began to immediately surface of Sony’s current turmoil in the form of sales figures.

The Financial Times has reported that Sony’s market performance was already suffering before this loss, as they’re expected to lower their annual smartphone sales target again at the end of October; this will mark the second time they’ve done so this year. We’ve also learned that Sony will be removing their line of low to mid range phones in the Chinese market, but they will not confirm this statement.

Suppliers aren’t too happy either – Sony has reportedly held a meeting with them with no said plans to cut back production, but then announcing a roll-back in production a few hours later. A Japanese supplier has added “We’ve set a sales forecast for Sony phones that is more conservative than what the company told us,”.

All in all, this news isn’t looking too good for Sony’s mobile branch – here’s hoping they can get someone on board to steer them in the right direction. We’ve seen plenty of good products out of them in the past, it’s only a matter of time before something new comes out to tackle the large beasts such as Apple, HTC and Samsung.

Image courtesy of Poder pda

Functional Hard Drive and CPU Created In Minecraft!

I’ve seen some pretty impressive stuff created in Minecraft, but the level some people are willing to go to for the sake of showing off is beyond my level of understanding. I’m not 100% sure these creations are new, or if they’ve been shown off before, but that doesn’t make them any less impressive.

What we have here is a working 4kb hard drive platter created in Vanilla Minecraft. There are 256 platter positions, each cable of storing up to 16 bits of data and are capable of rotating in both directions, each featuring read and write heads on the right side.

The data is run through a I/O to the CPU bus.

The I/O buffer and selector.

Then the HDD controller.

Automatically seeks to desired position, with multiple speeds also selects shortest path for rotation direction.

Then there is the addressing platter (8 bit).

This section queries the current address.

Query a bit state, 1 result.

query a bit state, 0 result.

Read / Write head.

Read / Write head side view.

Zoom out and you can see an overview of the 16 bit CPU, as well as some Nyan cats and other madness going on. One thing is for certain, this is a gargantuan series of gates, switches and read and write blocks capable of replicating a basic CPU and hard drive which can calculate basic data, store it and read back the results… absolutely, freaking, bonkers! Yet none the less impressive!

This isn’t even the only hard drive created in Minecraft, check out this similar concept, albeit one with different construction style which can store 1kb of data. This one even comes with .gif on how the thing works, and you can check out the full gallery here.

Thank you The0jj for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of The0jj

Ubisoft Developers Real Live Watch Goat Sacrifice for Far Cry 4 Research

It looks like the Far Cry 4 title aims to be fitted with as much real-life experience as possible. Two Ubisoft developers are said to have journeyed to Nepal in order to get inspiration for Kyrat, the fictional Himalayan setting for the game.

Mark Thompson, the game’s narrative director, and Phil Fournier, the associate producer, made the journey with Vice Media’s Krishna Andavolu to Kathmadu. Once there, they apparently heard a rumor that there was an animal sacrifice about to happen and went to find the ‘event’. The sacrifice is said to have been made by a man who was performing it on behalf of his family to Kali, the Hindu goddess of change and destruction.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTDlX52WxgU[/youtube]

The video is said to be the first of a three-part series aimed at gathering source material and inspiration for Far Cry 4. Alex Hutchinson, the creative director, said that another Vice documentary entitled “The Vice Guide to Liberia” acted as another inspiration, this one for the game’s deranged villain, Pagan Min. In it, “General Butt Naked”‘s (Liberia’s Joshua Milton Blahyi) name was constantly present in the African nation torn apart by civil war in the ’90s. The name given to Blahyi came from making his army fight nude.

“It was this idea that there were these extreme characters who, in their universe, they seem sane,” Hutchinson said, “but if you take them out of context, and put them in our world, they seem very insane.”

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information
Video courtesy of YouTube

Adobe Has Fun At The Bus Stop #CreativeDays

Yesterday Hypervocal published an article about Adobe – Creative Days. A group of people that have plotted a 14 day event to express creativity and expressiveness across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. There are only a few days left to check out this event. For more information on the next fun, and creative event, check out “Adobe Creative Day Nordics” an online event!

May

  • 21 Johannesburg
  • 23 Milan
  • 24 Istanbul
  • 28 Warsaw
  • 30 Moscow

June

  • 4 London
  • 7 Barcelona
  • 11 Paris
  • 11 Stockholm
  • 12 Berlin
  • 13 Amsterdam
  • 14 Zurich
  • 18 Cologne
  • 20 Munich

#CreativeDays from May 20 through June 20, might seem like a bit of a prank if you check out this video, but really it is much more than that. Artist Erik Johansson worked with Adobe to feature colorful advertisements on a sign at a bus stop. Johansson waited in a van close by while photographs were snapped of the unsuspecting, working his magic very quickly he was able to transform simple photos into works of art in just a matter of minutes.

Johansson showed off some amazing talent being able to bring us some great fun showing us some fun at “The Bus Stop”. Adobe is doing some amazing things, this is primarily to show off Adobe Creative Cloud, where with one membership you have access to every Adobe tool when you need it, using it with any device or anyone you chose!

If you’re an artist, creative professional, designer, developer, video professional, photographer feel free to join them to exchange ideas & inspiration.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRAM8MpqIeA[/youtube]

Computex: Gigabyte Shows Off G1. Sniper 5 and M5 Z87 Motherboards

So far at a pre-Computex event Gigabyte have shown us their G1.Sniper FM2/A85X and B85/LGA1150 motherboards. Now they are showing us the more “enthusiast” orientated motherboards that we would more typically associate with the Computex event. These are the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper M5 motherboards both of which reviewed, here and here respectively. As a result I won’t go into too much detail about each motherboard as you can read our reviews on them written by Andy.

The G1.Sniper 5 is one of Gigabyte’s top Z87 motherboards that is designed with Haswell CPU overclocking and multi-GPU configurations in mind. You get support for overclocking with Gigabyte Ultra Durable 5 components and their is support four 4 way graphics.  In addition their is an improved Gigabyte audio package, with a Creative Sound Core3D quad-core audio processor, which you can read about here and Gigabyte have implemented an improved USB charging capability to this motherboard that allows for faster device charging. Gigabyte have added a Bluetooth 4.0 and Wi-Fi module as well as dual LAN (one is Killer E2201) with high ESD protection.

The G1.Sniper M5 on the other hand is a more compact version of the G1.Sniper 5. It features all the same good stuff as the Gigabyte G1 Sniper 5 except comes in a more compact micro-ATX form factor. As a result you’ll only really be able to run two GPUs on this motherboard but it still has all the high quality components, dual BIOS, improved sound, the gold plated CPU socket and improved USB charging.

Stay tuned to eTeknix for more Computex coverage in our Computex section.

Images courtesy of eTeknix at Computex 2013

 

Gigabyte Reveal Improved Sound On Upcoming Z87 G1 Killer Series Motherboards

Gigabyte have been showing off their latest high end Z87 motherboards at a press event at their Taipei headquarters this week. Gigabyte demonstrated two motherboards both from the G1 Killer series with one in Micro-ATX and the other in full sized ATX. These are the G1.Sniper 5 and G1.Sniper 5M respectively.

The main focus of the event was the new sound implementation that Gigabyte have opted for. This includes a built in Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi (20k2) sound chip, Sound Core 3D and upgradeable Op-Amp (optional amplifier) sockets. In addition to that the audio will also be supplemented with high end Nichicon capacitors, gold plated connections for input/output sockets and a built in gaming headset amplifier.

The upgradeable OP-AMPs are an interesting addition because it means users can change out the operational amplifiers for something that is more suited to their preferences.

Gigabyte will include a replacement alternative OP-AMP and a removal tool for users with the G1 Sniper 5 and 5M motherboards.

Even though Gigabyte have previewed this new audio feature with the G1 Sniper 5 and M5 motherboards only, it is expected there will be more models to come later on this year but on launch the Sniper 5 and M5 will be the only models.

Source: TweakTown, HardwareHeaven