Sound Blaster X Fi Go

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Pros:- Solid hardware construction.- 1GB built-in thumb drive.- Tethered USB connector cap.- Includes 6" mini USB extender cable- X-Fi Crystalizer "restores" some audio quality (not sure if it's hardware or software based)Cons:- Software. Newest software from Creative's website did not recognize the X-Fi Go on my Win7 x64 laptop even after reboot.

Received error when launching the Creative Audio Control Panel something along the lines of "device not found". Had to reinstall using the softawre on the built-in thumb drive and update via Creative's software update app.- Portions of the installer look like it's from Windows 98.- Expensive compared to to similar products which obviously lack the proprietary Creative software.- Download data rates from Creative's online software repository are extreemly slow.Other Thoughts:I'm a laptop DJ using a Win7 x64 laptop and the Hercules DJ Control Steel .

I needed a second audio output device for song queueing via headphones and wanted something that would also restore some of the lost audio quality that results from using compressed audio files (MP3, MP4). Ideally I would use a BBE sonic maximizer or another type of professional aural exciter, but cost is an issue and I've had previous experience with the Creative X-Fi Crystalizer and like the way is sounds.Also, this product comes with a pair of cheap earbuds.

I haven't opened them as the earbuds are wrapped seperately and have a big "California Proposition 65 Warning" (see additional product images). Living in California, I'm accustomed to seeing these warnings everywhere, however, they're usually on things that could obviously be bad for you such as gas pumps, old buildings, hardware stores, etc.

I think it's strange that Creative sells something meant to go in your ears that can give you cancer.

Besides the device itself inside the box you will find a fold-out user manual, a set of headphones with mic, and an USB extension cable. The fold-out manual was a bit of a hassle as I felt like a lost tourist trying to consult a map when it was fully expanded. What is wrong with the traditional booklet style manual anyway?

Testing was conducted using my HP Pavilion TX1119 notebook with a 1.8 GHz Turion 64 X2 processor, 2GB of memory, 160GB hard drive, GeForce Go 6150 graphics and Realtek audio, all under Windows XP.

When you first plug the X-Fi Go! into your computer, you are greeted with a prompt which you can follow to install the unit. You can actually use the sound card right away without any driver installation, but to get the full effects of the card, driver and software installation is required.

Installation itself didn't take terribly long but after rebooting you will need to run the AutoUpdate software to get the most current versions of drivers and various software. I only elected to install the key software components which came out to around 160 MB. Download and installing all of this did take some time. I didn't measure the entire process from start to finish but if I had to venture a guess, I would estimate around 20-30 minutes total, which is very long.