Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series

Get better audio from your PC

Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series
  • Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series
  • Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series
  • Creative X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro Series
  • Expert Rating

    4.25 / 5

Pros

  • Very good sound quality, plenty of filters and settings to play with, ASIO 2.0 support, good 3-D effects for headphone users

Cons

  • Software takes a long time to install

Bottom Line

This card shines for gaming and entertainment, and it's also a good entry point for anyone who wants to start making music on their PC.

Would you buy this?

Special Offers

PC audio is often taken for granted. Because pretty much every motherboard has an audio chip built-in, most of us don't need to think about what type of sound card we need. However, for keen gamers who rely on sound effects to avoid getting killed, as well as for music connoisseurs who want to hear every frequency with great clarity, a well-rounded sound card is a must.

Creative's X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty is one of those well-rounded cards. It's a PCi Express x1-based card with support for up to eight speakers, and it has optical input and output ports. It's geared more towards gamers — it's the official sound card for the Gaming Championship Series — but it's also got some great features for everyday music playback. It's not cheap, however. At $279.95, it's about the same price as a decent graphics card. However, if you're a gamer then you're already used to spending much more than that on your graphics, so this card should just be the next product in your cutting list for a new system or upgrade.

It really is a great card that can be used effectively for gaming, and also for making music. Its sound quality compared to a high-end motherboard's Realtek High Definition audio codec, for example, is noticeable. You get a lot more warmth in the way the music is portrayed and better flexibility in the filters and volume levels you can employ. One of the card's filters is X-Fi Crystalizer, which is meant to make MP3s sound better and give them more of a dynamic sound. We found that it increased treble and made music sound a lot brighter overall.

Different modes that affect the overall sound of your audio can also be selected, depending on what you're doing. These modes include game, entertainment and audio creation. We found that entertainment mode made music sound hollow, whereas game mode provided a much warmer atmosphere. Audio creation mode offered sound in between these hollow and warm characteristics, and was our preferred mode.

In audio creation mode, you can also use the card's bit-matched playback feature. This ensures that music is played back at the original sample rate it was mastered at. So if you put in a CD, it will play it back at 44.1KHz, instead of up-converting it to 48KHz, for example. With this setting enabled, you'll get the best possible audio quality; music sounds much brighter and better defined.

Conveniently, these modes can be managed automatically, so that if you start a game, game mode will be activated, but once you exit it will go back to audio creation mode.

The card also has a normaliser feature, which gets rid of dramatic volume changes in music, but this isn't a setting we'd recommend using when listening to albums. It becomes more useful if you're playing a lot of old and new songs in the same playlist, which may have vastly different volume levels. But even so, the volume in the quiet areas of tracks will be increased and the volume in the loudest parts of the track will be decreased to maintain the volume level.

Music recorded in analog mode using the card's line input is captured clearly, without any distortion and without any latency issues. If you use a physical audio mixer with your PC (to record live mixes to your PC, for example), you won't notice any lag when you switch from one input on the mixer, to another. The card also has support for ASIO 2.0 programs, for more advanced music creation. There is a vast bank of sounds supplied with the card, including typical piano, guitar and drum samples.

For gaming, the X-Fi supports EAX 5.0, as well as 3-D positional audio through headphones. The latter feature works surprisingly well when you wear headphones for gaming; it'll come in useful for those late night sessions where you don't want to disturb your neighbours. Overall system performance will also benefit from the use of this card, as it will perform all the processing of gaming sounds itself, rather than letting the CPU handle them.

The only drawback of this card is the amount of time it takes to install all its software, which then also requires activation. Apart from that, this card shines for gaming and entertainment, and it's also a good entry point for anyone who wants to start making music on their PC.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?