Date: January 7th, 2003
Article by: Mat (Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: MADDOG MULTIMEDIA
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PRODUCT COMPOSITION & WALKTHROUGH (cont'd)
There are six 3.5mm jacks on the board which are labeled: Front-out, Rear-out, Center/Subwoofer out, Headset Out/Alternate, Microphone, and Line In. These jacks should fulfill the needs of any user's audio requirements.
The jacks and plugs on this card are unbelievable; allowing a full surround sound system, a headset, microphone and digital connection all at the same time. It also has two inputs for CD drives so you can plug in two CD ROMs directly into the soundcard. With such a wide array of output and input available, the soundcard can fulfill any possible audio requirement.
The card went in without problems and driver installation was a joke. There were two options in the driver setup: install and uninstall. I read the manual before installation to make sure I did not mess up drivers or something because of some insignificant little detail. The manual is included on the CD and is a very brief read at 8 pages, explaining the basic functions of the audio management program included, and a guide through installation and setup. The Entertainer is an inexperienced computer user's dream; it installs fast and error free, with complete functionality after plugging it in and running the CD.
I plugged a single audio cable from my Koss Digital 5.1 Receiver/DVD player's line in to the soundcard's line out, only to be pleasantly surprised with full surround sound support. I was relieved that I would not have to run any other wires around the room for optimal sound and performance. It was nice to see that the product has full functionality without driver upgrades or any kind of user configuration.
I fooled around with the audio program that is included; it is called the "Audio Deck". It allows you to change from 2 speakers to 4 to 6 to 8 with the click of a mouse. It also allows you to adjust the sound of each speaker separately or all at once, to make up with potential differences in distance and size of speakers. The card has the option of Digital sound which is just as easy to select and configure. This is only useful if you have Digital In or Out on your audio equipment, however.
The Audio Deck also allows you to adjust the volume with advanced options. The program includes recording settings so you can adjust the master volume and kHz at which sound will be recorded. The Audio Deck is very straight forward and everything is labeled so even an inexperienced user with some common sense could successfully use advanced sound options. The program makes it very easy to set up sound levels and speaker positions, taking all of the frustration and difficulty out of perfecting your surround sound.