Tag Archive for 'Creative'

Zen XFI Announced

So, it has arrived. About a year too late if you ask me. Creative had some awesome MP3 players a couple of years ago with the Zen Vision:M leading the pack, and then things went all pear shaped around the time when the Apple Touch arrived. For some daft reason Creative chose to begin producing peripherals for the Apple iPod range thus ignoring their own Zen range. This caused much confusion amongst Zen fans and many pondered where the company was going as they began to shut down one of their larger production facilities.

A Costly Mistak

Incoming Babble/Rant/Whine

I rarely make mistakes when purchasing gadgets and gizmos. I do my research as much as possible, then scour forums for opinions and feedback from owners. I then do some research into the company and learn about their past products and how much attention those products had (e.g firmware/software updates). Finally I make my purchase based on information from the above analysis.
However I think I’m getting old, because I have made a balls up, a rather large one at that. I am mad about music, in fact the ladies at work often comment that I had been born with earphones already in my ears. So it is with some irony that I work in the field of audio too. I love portable audio players (except crummy ipods to you teenyboppers). I have heaps of them, however at present I own an iPod Touch…not the best sounding player like every other iPod in existance but the touch is a unique exception compared to a normal iPod – it has potential. More on that later anyway.

Creative Vs Daniel_K

Silence from Creative after customer revolt

Picture the following scenario. Imagine if you had gone out and purchased a Creative Labs Soundblaster of some kind, there’s loads of them around but the most popular ones would be their Audigy and XFI series cards. Now imagine smiling when you saw that ‘Vista Compatible’ logo on the box, meaning that the card would work on Microsoft Vista. So you purchase it, take it home and install it into your PC. You would then either:

  • Install the drivers from the included CD
  • OR simply get and install the latest drivers from the Creative website

You would now have a fully working card right? You should be able to use all its capabilities given that it is ‘Vista Compatible’. What would you do if you found out that it wasn’t really ‘Vista Compatible’ ? This is what thousands of creative soundcard owners have been asking themselves for years now. Creative’s soundcard drivers have always been laughably poor, even back when I used them on my Audigy 2 in Windows XP, but it turns out that their new XFI drivers are just as bad. There are no decent working drivers in Vista at present I am led to believe. Because the Creative ‘Soundblaster’ moniker is such a powerful one – your average joe public just assumes that the product adds high quality sound to your PC, and will then go out and purchase one without knowing all this.

Creative – Where do they go from here?

Good things come to those who wait

I have had quite a few emails over the past week mostly asking where Creative’s answer to the new iPod’s are. Truth be told, there isn’t one – yet.

On August 30th 2007, Creative leaked out images of their next generation replacement for their flagship MP3/Video player – the Zen Vision:M. The new Creative Zen was a flash based player coming in three capacities of 4, 8 and 16GB. The player was almost identical to the ZVM, aside from having SD storage expansion, a superior screen and er, well that’s all sadly. For most users it was a downgrade because Creative, like most MP3 manufacturer’s seemed to be following the trend in moving away from hard disk based players onto Flash based players, which are cheaper to manufacture and more reliable.

The ZVM was one of the best DAP’s (Digial Audio Players) to come out of the portable music industry. In terms of sales it never could match the iPod, but specification wise it was a lot superior and for those owners who had one, they knew how powerful it was within minutes of using the player. It offered heaps of features, was solid and robust albeit a bit of a fatty. It could play almost any video format you could throw at it and it’s screen was far superior over the iPod and the rest of the competition.

Bioshock, Pizza’s, and iTunes

Would you kindly bend over…

It’s been a hectic weekend! I wasted money, and then some. Oh, there’s a Bioshock review that has been added to the reviews section. Not the best I might add, but I had to let loose my opinions on such a heavily rated game, especially after seeing it’s rating on Metacritic.com.

After finishing work on Friday, I was in a spending mood. I had about £350 saved up to blow on either clothes, pc/console bits, a low end DSLR Camera or a new MP3 player. The past week saw the release of the next generation of MP3/Video devices from the likes of Creative, Apple, Cowon, Microsoft, Archos and a few other manufacturers. I was already looking for a replacement for my Vision:M despite it being regarded as the best MP3 player on the market. I’ve had the thing for ages now and would like something a bit thinner – an excuse I recently used for buying a new mobile phone, the Sony Ericsson w880i.