For once more, I will play with Crystalizer. I use Creative Xmod for this purpose. I have discussed Crystalizer on my previous article here. That times, I used RMAA. Now, I’m going to use the real world application, I mean, the real sound sample. Check this out. All screenshots in this page were reduced to minimum size. You can click the image to see the larger size.

Screenshot above was taken from a MP3 downloaded from the Internet.
The green is the original, without any effect activated.
The yellow is the Crystalizer at medium preset.
The red is the Crystalizer at maximum preset.

Screenshot above shows the zoomed low region. The more you set the Crystalizer, the lower region will be raised up. We can see gain around +6 to +8 dB on the low frequency below 100 Hz.

Screenshot above shows the zoomed mid region. The mid region show some extra “dynamics” and more “ripples” than the original (green). We can see some significant boost in the 4-9 kHz region. This region is well known to give ambience and sense of airy sound. So, this explains why you can hear significant difference when activating Crystalizer. Some people say that Crystalizer could give “live sensation” when activated. That screenshot explains why.

Screenshot above shows the zoomed high region. You can see some boost in this region. Quite aggresive, may reach up to +10 dB. The sense of “extended high” is caused by this. Crystalizer itself doesn’t really restore your old MP3 back to studio/mastering grade audio quality.

Some verdict based on my own conclusion:

– Crystalizer is not just an ordinary Equalizer or compressor. You can’t get Crystalizer by using your standard Equalizer.

– Somehow it is an algorithm to enhance your sound. I’m not going to say this is another version of DFX or such plug-ins. But basically, it has it’s own algorithm to enhance the sound, the result is different case by case, not like an Equalizer that will boost the region based on the preset used, no matter what kind of sound played. Maybe it’s a “smarter” equalizer that will analyze the sound played and make some adjustment based on its algorithm.

– It works on poor recording, especially with “dull” high extension. From the view of pure audiophile or musician, that most likely will use high quality recording, I see no use of it. No surprise here, Creative is well known for its consumer sound card. Most of them prefer MP3 off course, so Crystalizer should fit on this.

– Crystalizer is more likely to be software based. At the first time, I believe that Crystalizer is a feature from CA20K1 chip. CA20K1 is the X-Fi core with huge processing power. I though that this Crystalizer needs a huge processing power so only implemented on CA20K1. But now, we can find Crystalizer on Xmod and the “X-Fi” Xtreme Audio (it’s based on CA10K1 or the old Audigy chip, not the CA20K1).

– It will not restore your MP3 back to a higher level like the original CD-Audio or even studio grade quality. You can see on the screenshots above. The MP3 cut the high band around 17 kHz. Crystalizer will not add significant sonic information above it. So, I will not agree if Creative claims that this Crystalizer will bring back your MP3 into a higher level, even higher than the original CD-Audio. Simply this is not a “magic box” that will provide something that has been removed (MP3 compression will remove some of the frequency band considered not heared by human ears, and Crystalizer surely can’t bring back this removed information).

It’s getting interesting to see Crystalizer “behaviour”. But sadly I don’t have enough time right now to do more research. Will update this article later.