the crystalizer simulates live sound somehow or another. it will take any audio source, even the mediocre 128Kb audio rate that most songs have, and it "livens" the sound so to speak. i'm musically talented and involved with that kind of thing, so i notice subtle details,
. it basically brings out the bass a little more. not boosting it persay, but it just comes through more clearly so you can hear/feel it a lot more. at the same time, it brightens the higher pitches so they do not get drowned out by the bass. this makes for great music quality, as you get nice bass AND nice mid/high end sound. after having it on for a while, once you turn it off your music just sounds friggin' flat and boring.
and actually, i would try to buy it retail. my computer was having problems with quicktime or flash, don't remember which. but for whatever reason i couldn't use the install disc. i downloaded the drivers from Creative's site, but it did not activate the full use of my card. it could have just been me missing something, but i don't think so. once i finally found what was up with my computer, i uninstalled the drivers and used the drivers from the CD along with their audio control center and what-not. then i got full use of the card. (e.g. BF2 didn't recognize that the card was an X-Fi, so it didn't let me select the ultra high quality sound until i used the CD drivers)