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By Andrew Gould 1 October 2008

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Creative is renowned for advancing sound one step further than the rest.

Now the people at Creative say they can take your digital downloads and take that dull stereo and turn it into a surround sound experience.

The Sound Blaster X-Fi Surround 5.1 is an external sound card that you plug into your desktop or laptop via USB.

The “Xtreme Fidelity” software in the X-Fi puts back all the stuff that the compression of the sound files took out; the vibrancy and ­details. Using CMSS-3D, the X-Fi creates a surround sound experience that puts the bands vocals in front of you and the ambient sound all around you.

You don’t even need a set of surround speakers. You can listen on a pair of desktop speakers or even earphones.

Gameplay is also made that bit better as you can now hear enemies stalking up to you, just before you whip round and end things for them. RRP: R709.

PROS
Hi-fidelity sound, improves the sound on compressed files.
CONS
Installation and optimisation takes a bit long (20-30 min), it has some Vista compatibility issues.
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