Control and Playback Features
The software included with the Prelude is quite intuitive and features three different control skins, depending on your needs. The user either selects the mode for gaming and entertainment, or music production. The decision to make individual operation modes for the control centre greatly cuts down on clutter and allows for a slick and easy to learn interface.
One of the more interesting features is the X-Fi Crystallizer which is a native feature of the chip implemented to give greater dynamic range to audio that might be victim to heavy compression. I found this to enhance bass response very well and to also give a smoother warmer midrange to the audio. I cannot speak highly enough of this handy little tool.
We also get a compressor built in to the entertainment mode which is called smart volume management, and this limits dynamic range to allow for greater playback volumes on tracks which may be lacking in gain; really handy to have.
Naturally we are also given the latest EAX algorithms for a vast selection of surround FX and environments to play with; more of a gamers feature than anything, but can be fun to play with too.
We are also given CMSS-3D surround which can up-mix any two channel signal to match the surround system being used. So, even with 7.1 and only a two channel signal, CMSS will make sure every last speaker comes to life.
I really like this control center, more than any other I have used before in fact. Although it hogs RAM, it does a great job at displaying all of the many capabilities of this board.