When Creative and Dolby get together, you can expect audio magic to happen. The Creative SXFI Soundbar is the first soundbar to be jointly developed by the two — Creative brings to the table its Super X-Fi technology and combines it with the immersive Dolby Atmos.
SXFI is all about head-mapping technology for setting up a headphone. This does need an SXFI-certified pair of headphones, but you can connect regular wired headphones and somewhat experience the effects.
The SXFI carrier is a compact design with a huge sub-woofer. Weighing in at close to 23 kg for both items, I did need help carrying, unboxing, and setting the, up.
The main soundbar has quite a few speakers in it. There are three front speakers for the left, right, and centre; two for the sides; and two upward-firing. The sound signature concentrates on the mids and highs, leaving the heavy work of the bass to the subwoofer, a very good way to implement it.
Dialogue is crisp and clear and surprisingly, music is also very well rendered. While a soundbar usually works great for video content but not always for music, in the case of SXFI, it handles both very well.
The top of the soundbar has the standard controls for power on and off, volume control, source, mode and SXFi. There are multiple modes available for sound presets. We used Movie for most Dolby Atmos content and it sounded great.
The upward-firing speakers certainly gave a sense of height, not completely overhead but atleast from a little beyond the top of the screen. Music mode worked well for Music, but I also liked Neutral; it depends on your personal sound preferences.
Super-wide Surround worked quite well for Dolby Atmos music, stored tracks with a vast sound stage, and video content that was not mastered or recorded as surround sound.
Setting up the SXFI Carrier is easy, especially if you use the HDMI eARC port and connect it to your TV. Both the HDMI ports are 2.1 so you can expect to get the best sound for most content, including 8K videos. The soundbar offers enough ports for various types of devices — optical IN, USB-C for Audio, Sub Out and Aux In. Pretty much anything you need.
The subwoofer came factory paired with the soundbar, so setting that up just required switching it on. What is lacking is connectivity via Wi-Fi; it doesn’t support Chromecast or Airplay, and doesn’t show up as a connected speaker for apps like Spotify or Tidal. Connectivity is only via the TV.
The SXFI has an app that helps in the calibration of the speaker. However, while many newer speakers send out test tones to measure distances during set up, in the case of SXFI, these measurements need to be made manually.
It is a good idea to run through that process because it makes enough of a difference to the sound. Every room is different and the placement of furniture, rugs, and other things that may enhance or dampen sound needs to be taken into consideration.
Overall, if you have space constraints or a smallish room, the SXFI is a very good soundbar to have. It is not quite the full immersive experience but it does draw you into the content adequately.
It is on the pricier side, coming in at ₹99,999, but the sound is great and worth it.