The driver saves speakers configuration for each of the three operation modes of the card. For three of those configurations (2/2.1/4.1, Headphones, 5.1 or 7.1) the CMSS-3D state is saved while the volume level is memorized independently for the speakers and headphones and does not change when you switch from one operation mode to another. Unfortunately, this handy feature fails in the Audio Creation mode.
The volume control on the monstrous panel that only fits into the screen at a resolution of 1024x768 or higher remains indifferent to the change of sound volume when you switch from headphones to speakers and back again. Besides, the console doesn’t react if you change the basic frequency of the clock generator with the Settings button in the bottom left corner. The actual frequency will only be displayed when you close and reopen the application.
All sounds reproduced through Windows will be converted to the basic sampling frequency you select in the Settings window. Automatic switching of the frequency is implemented only for ASIO. Upon enabling Dolby Digital Live, the clock generator is switched to a frequency of 48kHz and any attempt to change it leads to a blue screen of death, so be careful. I want to note that the card does not support a sampling frequency of 192kHz at all. The sound is reproduced in 96kHz format even in the Entertainment mode with stereo speakers.
The screenshot below shows the available recording sources. Per-bit recording accuracy can be enabled for digital sources. The option of choosing the file format disappears after your doing so. If you then switch to another source, this option still remains hidden. The signal level is set at zero for every input by default, and it sometimes doesn’t work correctly when you try to increase it. If you find that silence is being recorded in one of the channels, just move the control to zero and then set the desired level again.
As opposed to the Creative X-Fi Elite Pro, which has a few additional line inputs, all the analog inputs of the Auzen X-Fi Prelude 7.1 are combined under the Analog mix item – you can disable the signal from the Aux and Mic inputs in its additional settings. In the Entertainment and Game mode this is done from the console, but here you have to use Windows’ mixer. You can also adjust the volume of each of the eight reproduction channels there.
The preferred difference between each channel volumes is maintained when the Master Volume is adjusted. By the way, the maximum volume of the line outputs of the X-Fi Prelude 7.1 is some 8dB above the commonly accepted level of 2V RMS and is as high as 5V, according to the manufacturer.
I cannot but tell you about a curious glitch. When the card was taken out of the system case for photographing, the console changed dramatically: there appeared strange inputs and the Bit-Matched checkbox became available for each recording source.
The Audio Creation mode allows turning off all processing of the sound outputted by applications. To do so, you should Enable Bit-Matched Playback in the window that opens up after you click the Settings button. This option is also available on the respective tab of the audio console.
I guess the lack of the equalizer, crystalizer and SVM is perfectly made up for by the improved music playback quality I made sure of in following tests.