Got a RocketFish 7.1 audio card today, basically a clone of the Sound Blaster X-Fi Xtreme Audio. Yeah, I know, Best Buy’s house brand what ARE you thinking? Well A) it was relatively cheap and B) See below.
It has an optical port which is a big plus to me. I can tell a big difference between the old Audigy 2 SE that I had to hack all over the place to make work and the newer card. Front channel is clearer, audio’s about 10db louder in general. I credit the fiber optic cable for that. The old card you were forced to take a mono mini-jack to RCA converter and use an RCA cable to your receiver’s COAX audio port. I’m honestly amazed that ever worked really.
As for the drivers, the ones RF include with the card are shit and as mentioned on some reviews and forums Vista will not auto find the drivers for you. Apparently Windows 7 will but it will also do your laundry and find your keys for you. I digress. I went with some working hacked drivers, or more accurately proper Creative drivers updated to work with the older cards that often work better than what Creative puts out. I used them with the Audigy until Creative actually came out with a somewhat-decent driver I’m sure coincidentally with the Win7 drivers.
For those interested, DanielK’s drivers are located here. He updates the post when he does a new release. Very, very handy since Creative will (probably)never update the older stuff again and RocketFish appears to lean on third-parties to update their stuff.
I can’t really complain about the Audigy finally giving out. I had it for about 3 years, it did pretty much what it was supposed to and now it’s time to move on. I need to feed some high-bitrate audio through this guy to see what I get but for now, it’s done some pretty good work on my music collection.
The good thing that came out of this is I found a really decent DLNA server to stream things to my PS3. In a nutshell, it lets me take things on my Media Center PC and watch or listen to them on my Playstation 3, It’s called PS3 Media Server oddly enough. Its GUI is Java-based, seems more lightweight than TVersity which I was using previously. Makes sense since TVersity is a bit more bloated cause it handles a bunch of streaming setups. Saved my ass last night when I wanted to watch the new episode of Doctor Who.
The GUI seems a little broken in the Beta version I’m using and you will definitely want your PS3 and PC on a wired connection unless you’re on Wireless-N or something depending on what you want to stream. It’s a little backward in my opinion though. I watched the Doctor Who episode which was x264/DD5.1 in a MKV. Program transcoded with no glitches. I watch episodes of Bleach and Naruto Shippuuden in formats the PS3 can handle natively, both MP4 I believe, and I had to change to a wired connection so the PS3 could handle it.
Now to play some more. Makes me happy!