Need some help decoding your audio codec?

Subject: General Tech | July 12, 2011 - 05:58 PM |
Tagged: audio, onboard audio, codecs

With the rise of onboard audio, the technical details that used to come with your sound card are often missing from your motherboard manual.  Hardware Secrets has compiled a set of tables that will help you sort out the mysterious chip found on your motherboard.  Covering Analog Devices, C-Media, Realtek, VIA and other manufacturers they list the major chips available and an overview of their capabilities.  Bookmark this one if you find yourself tracking down audio chip specifications frequently.

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"Audio codec is a small chip measuring 0.25 sq. in. (7 mm2) located on the motherboard in charge of the analog audio functions. Knowing the specs of a codec will permit you to compare the audio quality of different motherboards, allowing you to choose the right product for your needs."

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Tritton managed to stick 8 speakers in their PC 510 HDA 5.1 headset

Subject: General Tech | July 7, 2011 - 05:27 PM |
Tagged: tritton, audio, 5.1 headset

Some 5.1 surround sound headsets emulate extra speakers through software but you find the occasional set that actually have a hardware solution in the form of multiple speakers.  Tritton's PC 510 HDA's speakers range from 23mm in the centre to 30mm for front and back and a sub of 40mm.  It connects to your 5.1 sound card via the numerous RCA jacks present and a USB connector to handle power and the controller.  MektuMods had a great time gaming with these but felt that the audio quality was not up to snuff when it came to enjoying music.  Read the full review here.

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"This time we will take a closer look at a gaming headset from Tritton - an American manufacturer established in 2000. The new model they sent us for a review is PC 510 HDA, and it's a gaming headset of the 5.1-variety. Now lets see how it compares to the audio gear we've reviewed earlier."

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Source: MektuMods

If you are going to get a discreet sound card then go all out with the ASUS Xonar Xense kit

Subject: General Tech | June 27, 2011 - 03:55 PM |
Tagged: xonar, xense, audio, asus

The ASUS Xonar Xense Premium Gaming Audio Set is more than just a soundcard you pick up to take a bit of load off of your CPU, it is an audiophile class sound card with replacable op-amps.  The list of supported technology reads like a sound techs dream, Dolby Headphone, Dolby Prologic IIx, Dolby Digital Live, Xonar GX2.5 and ASIO 2.0. and it can process up to 192kHz/24bit bit stream.  There is nothing minimalist about the software controls that come with the card, you have significantly more control over your audio than with just about any other sound card and the screenshots that Think Computers posted show a fairly intuitive interface.  The only potential drawback is the Sennheiser PC350 Xense headset that the card ships with, which Think Computers was not overly impressed with. 

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"When you first see the ASUS Xonar Xense’s EMI shield, you get a sense that this isn’t anordinary soundcard. The non-ironic conclusion is, you’re right. ASUS has put together another great soundcard and bundled it with a great pair of headphones, the Sennheiser PC350 Xense Edition. The Xonar Xense offers a myriad of inputs and outputs, and can chug out high definition audio up to 192kHz/24bit without breaking a sweat. It easily is one of the coolest pieces of hardware you can add to your rig. Need more convincing? Continue reading to check out all of the details of the ASUS Xonar Xense."

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RAZER cuts the cord on their new Chimaera Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | June 21, 2011 - 11:59 AM |
Tagged: audio, wireless audio, headset, razer

RAZER's new headphones are wireless, with three rechargable AAA batteries which are easily accessible so that when they do finally stop holding a charge you can easily get at them to swap them for new ones.  The charging dock is quite well designed, actually giving you something more stylish than a nail to hang your headphones on when they are not in use as well as charging them.  When you are using them you will enjoy interference free quality audio, both sending and receiving, if the review at Mad Shrimps is anything to go by.  They liked this headset more than other wireless sets they have used in the past and compared them favourably to wired sets. 

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"The RAZER Chimaera Gaming Headset offers wireless connectivity for maximum liberty of movement, features large cups for confortable wear during long gaming sessions, a uni-directional microphone with a flexible mic boom and an easy to use charging dock."

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Source: Mad Shrimps

Razer thinks small with their new Ferox 2.1 speakers

Subject: General Tech | June 14, 2011 - 05:29 PM |
Tagged: audio, razer, ferox, 2.1

The Razer Ferox speakers are designed to be portable, a pair of satellites measuring 70x70x64mm (not even 3") which come in a handy carrying case.  They sport batteries that should last about 11 hours that are recharged over a USB connection but still require a 3.5mm jack to carry the audio, something that did not impress t-break in the least.  The sound quality was good for this type of speaker, which equates to unnoticeable bass and decent mid and high end when in use.  If you usually use headphones and simply need a way to share your audio, as opposed to needing new speakers then check out the Ferox, otherwise Razer has better choices as do Corsair and other manufacturers.

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"Razer is no stranger to high quality audio equipment, what with the number of high-end stereo and surround headsets over the past years. Their breakthrough hit, the Razer Mako 2.1 THX speakers were one of the best desktop audio speakers at the time, and are still hard pressed to beat till this day. And now with the new Ferox speakers, Razer has entered the world of mobile speakers with a big bang."

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Source: t-break

Sub $100 sound from Corsair

Subject: General Tech | June 7, 2011 - 02:19 PM |
Tagged: audio, corsair sp2200, corsair

To match the higher end SP2500 2.1 speaker kit Corsair has released the SP2200 2.1 kit, with a much lower price and hopefully a similar quality of audio reproduction.  The size of the speakers have been significantly reduced, but the general usage remains the same as they are obviously intended for use by someone directly in front of the PC.  [H]ard|OCP found problems pairing these speakers with the Realtek ALC889 audio chip and could not get them to sound anything other than underpowered when using it.  They did sound better from a full soundcard but still fell short the expectiations [H] had after reviewing the SP2500s.

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"Corsair's new line of audio products have quickly made the company a worthy brand choice for consumers and a strong competitor for its rivals in the PC audio market. Can the company's first budget entry continue the trend?"

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

This Parrot doesn't need a million volts to Vooooom; wireless speakers for your iThing

Subject: General Tech | June 2, 2011 - 12:27 PM |
Tagged: audio, wireless audio, ithing, starck

The Parrot Zikmu by Starck (not affiliated with Stark Enterprises) is apparently for the serious audiophile as they seem to be 1600 of whatever your local dollar equivalent is.  You are probably asking yourself why you would possibly want to spend that much money on a pair of WiFi/Bluetooth speakers with a built in iThing/A2DP smartphone dock and that is perfectly understandable.  The design of the speakers allows for 360o sound, which results in the lack of a single sweet spot for these speakers.  Instead no matter where in a room you are in relation to the speakers, you will be in the sweet spot.  t-break describes them as being worth every penny, so head over to check them out even if you'd never spend that amount of money on a speaker system.

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"The Parrot Zikmu, or Parrot by Starck as they’re more commonly referred to as, are a pair of wireless stereo loudspeakers that you can connect to via Bluetooth and WiFi. Designed to be used primarily for your iPhone and iPods, the Zikmu can be connected to any Bluetooth capable smartphone using A2DP, as well as Macs and PCs through WiFi. Don’t get scared by the price yet, let me tell you why they’re actually worth it."

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Source: tbreak

Antec's 3D sound from 2.1 speakers with the Soundscience Rockus 3D kit

Subject: General Tech | May 26, 2011 - 02:12 PM |
Tagged: audio, antec, soundscience rockus

Antec's Soundscience Rockus 3D are a set of 2.1 speakers, a pair of small satellite speakers in a shape reminiscent of a hand held loud speaker and a subwoofer measuring 14" x 8" x 11".  On the back are analog and digital inputs, TOSLINK as opposed to SPDIF which makes sense on a 2.1 speaker system, as well as a switch to toggle between three bass modes.  As for the 3D button, which supposedly uses digital signal processing to enhance your listening experience;  The Tech Report were not quite sure how.

 

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"Much like Corsair, Antec has delved into the audio world with its first set of PC speakers. How did it fare?"

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ARCTIC drops the Cooling from its name and gets into audio

Subject: General Tech | May 19, 2011 - 11:54 AM |
Tagged: arctic, audio, headset, headphone

ARCTIC Cooling is no more, they've rebranded themselves and joined the rest of the industry in providing fragmented product lines.   They'll still make heatsinks for CPUs but are also going to be pushing a line of headsets for a wide variety of uses; they are currently peddling 20 different models.  [H]ard|OCP received three to review, ear can style headphones for listening to music, a Bluetooth set for those on the go and a 5.1 surround gaming headset with mic.  Only one received a recommendation from them, head on over to find out which.

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"ARCTIC is well known for its processor air coolers and its fans alike. In the last couple of years it has greatly diversified its product line to include products from remote control toy cars to computer audio headphones. Today we look at three of its headphone and headset products and let you know the value of those."

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Source: [H]ard|OCP

Beauty is in the ears of the beholder; a second opinion on Corsair's SP2500 2.1 speakers

Subject: General Tech | May 9, 2011 - 06:05 PM |
Tagged: tweeter, subwoofer, speakers, sp2500, satellite, corsair, bass, audio, 2.1

Not too long ago Josh reviewed Corsair's 2.1 speaker set which goes by the name of SP2500 and then later Ryan gave it away to a reader.  He was very happy with the way that they performed, but seeing as how judging audio quality can be quite subjective and as most of our readers did not get a set of speakers perhaps a second opinion is a good idea.  To that end you can read about the same set of speakers as they were reviewed over at The Tech Report

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"Corsair has supplemented its line of audio products with a premium 2.1 speaker set. Is it worth the $250 asking price?"

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