Sun, Jan 12, 2020 – 4:48 PM
CREATIVE Technology has snagged six awards from various tech review sites after launching new additions to its suite of Super X-Fi products at the annual CES consumer technology show in Las Vegas last week.
On display for the first time was the SXFI Carrier, a home theatre soundbar jointly developed with Dolby Laboratories. It is also the first soundbar to include Creative’s Super X-Fi headphone technology that enables listeners to experience personalised audio through the headphone output.
Product review sites AVS Forum and New Gizmo Blog both put SXFI Carrier on their list of favourite gadgets from the show.
Creative’s chief executive Sim Wong Hoo told The Business Times (BT): “(We’ve seen) a lot of interest from TV guys. This was quite a big project, in some ways tougher than Sonic Carrier, but it rides on the successful engineering of Sonic Carrier.”
Mr Sim described the SXFI Carrier as the “little brother” of Creative’s high-end Sonic Carrier.
“The SXFI Carrier has the same sound signature as the Sonic Carrier but at half the size and a fraction of the price.
“We’ve taken the cost all the way down so it’s a lot easier to sell, he said, adding: “China is buying big screens like crazy, in very big volumes. Every big screen will need something like this, and the price is right… Last time, a Sonic Carrier would be many times more expensive than a big-screen TV, so it was a bit out of balance. Now, the sound is right, price is right.”
Creative set up an office in Shenzhen at the end of last year and said it plans to start selling its Super X-Fi products in China through its online channel, but Mr Sim is keeping details light for now.
“We plan to launch very soon… We still have to figure out how to do it the China way,” he said.
Last year, Creative returned from CES with a record haul of 15 “best of CES” awards from various reviewers as it showcased its Super X-Fi headphone technology for the first time.
At the time, Creative spoke of forging partnerships with original equipment manufacturers to take Super X-Fi to market.
Mr Sim told BT on Thursday: “We got a lot of follow-ups but the partnerships are slow… The headphone guys are not active, and we sense that they are more worried than excited. They know that we are very good but we are a disruptor to their business. So we’ve decided not to focus on them. We’ll just go and do our own headphones until they feel really threatened. In the meantime, we are talking to other partners.”
Over the past year, Creative’s engineers have also been working to improve Super X-Fi’s audio-profiling capabilities. The result is a software update that has been released to all users, called Super X-Fi Gen2.
Lee Teck Chee, vice-president of technology at Creative, said: “The whole purpose of Gen 2 was to fix some of the issues we observed in Gen 1.
“For instance, some users complained that Gen 1 can sound hollow at times.”
He said: “The net effect (of Gen 2) is that it gives you more accurate positioning, clearer sound, and works across a broader range of content.”
Creative is currently also working on a Super X-Fi gaming profile to satisfy those who play first-person shooter games. Once ready, the gaming profile will be released to all users in Super X-Fi Gen3.
Mr Lee said: “For gaming, you want to exaggerate things. You’re supposedly able to tell that this bullet came from here and that bullet came from there, whereas we were trying to replicate real life. In real life, when the bullet flies, you don’t know where on earth it comes from.
“So we got feedback from some young people, (and we’ll) give you a new gaming profile that will work very well for gaming and it’s proven because we got one award from (US tech site) Overclock. Following this, we’re going to do Gen 3 for music and movies.”
Creative shares closed at S$3.36 last Friday, down two Singapore cents or 0.59 per cent.