Creative X-Mod

X-Fi goes external

TODO alt text

Our Verdict

A convenient and affordable way to crank up your PC's digital sound abilities


  • Really does boost digital music

    Small price premium for being external


  • Strange distortion at high surround sound levels

We love Creative's X-Fi soundcards, so we were best pleased to hear about this external device.

The X-Mod is an external audio resampling device designed to tart your MP3s up to a higher quality. It connects via USB to your PC, needs no drivers, and works by digitally remastering MP3s on the fly to reach higher highs and lower lows.

The device has two enhancement options: CMSS 3D (surround sound), and the Crystalizer - a series of audio-enhancement algorithms which X-Fi users will be familiar with.

It has switches for both, and the result is a rich, full sound which MP3s aren't normally capable of achieving. This little doohickey really does enliven digital music, and at £60, it's not a lot more pricey than an internal X-Fi PCI card.

What's more, because it's a USB device, it can work to enhance sounds from laptops too, which traditionally feature minimal onboard audio hardware.

The only downside we've found is that with virtual surround sound cranked right up, certain music types (especially metal) create a curious, just audible ringing sound.

It's irksome, but as full surround sounds a bit too bright anyway, you generally won't want the feature turned right up. In all, it's a great little device, version two of which will be the bee's knees.