Creative Technology CEO Sim bullish as new Super X-Fi audio product launches

Creative Technology CEO Sim bullish as new Super X-Fi audio product launches

Creative's SXFI Amp is a dongle that promises to bring the listening experience of a high-end multi-speaker system in a theatre into one's headphones. (Photo: Creative)

SINGAPORE: Singapore company Creative Technology on Monday (Sep 24) announced the launch of its first Super X-Fi product - the SXFI Amp dongle - and CEO Sim Wong Hoo is optimistic the product will sell as there is “lots of pent-up demand”.

Explaining what Super X-Fi was in March, Mr Sim said it is a technology that can be used in headphones and dongles for mobile devices to recreate the listening experience of a multi-speaker surround sound system. 

The SXFI Amp dongle connects to mobile phones, laptops and computers via USB-C, allowing users to enjoy 5.1 and 7.1 cinematic audio content from movies and games downloaded or streamed online.

It costs S$219 (US$149.99) and will only be available online at Creative’s website from 6.34pm on Monday. 

Mr Sim explained during a pre-launch interview with Channel NewsAsia that this is because it wants to make sure the “word of mouth (reviews from early adopters) are as good as possible”. 

It is only when there is mainstream awareness of its technology and how it works - “People will ask: ‘What’s head mapping’”, Mr Sim said - will Creative involve the bigger retailers. In previous product launches there were “negative, painful experiences” with channel partners, he explained.

The dongle and a standalone mobile app will initially be available only in Singapore and for Android mobile devices. Worldwide delivery begins in November, the company said in a separate press release on Monday. 

A second product will come down the pipeline in November with Apple's iOS users in mind as the dongle is not yet compatible with these devices, Creative said.

That product, the SXFI Air, is a Bluetooth headphone with the Super X-Fi technology built into it.

More details will be released later, the company said.

Creative Super X-Fi ear mapping
Scans of one's ears and face are captured and fed into Creative's artificial intelligence algorithm for a personalised profile to deliver sound optimally, the company says. (Photo: Creative)

There is also another reason why Creative is limiting sales to its website, the CEO said.

Some would find the set up to create their audio profile daunting (it requires scans of the ear and face). They have the option of heading down to Creative's headquarters in Jurong where staff will “hand-hold them” through the process and answer any questions they may have.

“We have spent more than S$100 million on this and we’re still burning (cash),” Mr Sim said of the investment that had gone into developing the technology and product.

“I don’t want to run all the way, then fall down at the last 100m.”

Source: CNA/kk(ms)