Creative Xmod external X-Fi device reviewed

While we're always down with products that make our tunes sound better, claims such as "making your compressed audio files sound better than the original CD" (rightfully) provoke a certain level of skepticism. After glancing over the external X-Fi module, our worries of being duped on yet another product not worth its weight in gold have been surprisingly eased, as the folks over at CNET have taken Creative's Xmod through its paces and now want one of their own. While reviewers shared our same concerns initially, those doubts were quickly squashed as they listened to both MP3s and CDs through the device, and found that the "CMSS 3D and Crystalizer" enhancers actually did make music sound "substantially" better. It was noted that instead of just boosting levels, the unit "fills in the data that was originally trashed during compression" with deeper lows and cleaner highs -- an impressive feat indeed. The only digs were its lack of an included AC adapter (you're forced to use USB power) and subsequently, its honest inability to be used as a mobile solution. Overall, it was deemed an "impressive" device at $79, but we suppose it's just one of those things you have to hear to believe.