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Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP Sound Card Review

Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP Sound Card Review - PCSTATS
Price Check: $/£/€
Abstract: A 7.1-channel surround sound audio chip seems to be the current solution, though there are few matching speaker packages on the market for consumer to even take advantage of.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Audio / Sound Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: MAD Dog May 24 2004   Mike Dowler  
Home > Reviews > Audio / Sound > MAD Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP

Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP Sound Card Review


Unlike the processor and video card markets, where competing companies are virtually chained to a six month or less product release schedule in order to remain competitive, progress in other areas of computer technology keeps to a fairly sedate pace. That is to say, technological progress is slower.

The pressures of marketing weigh equally heavy on every sector. This can force companies into some innovative marketing and packaging techniques, adding features onto a technological platform that has not really changed in the hope of creating a 'new generation' of product on the shoulders of the previous line. The soundcard market is a good example, especially since a lot of the technology they are drawing on is common to the home audio market, which has been stagnant for a long time.

The most recent breakthrough in the computer audio market that anyone really noticed was Creative's introduction of a (mostly) 24-bit audio product in the Audigy. Even in this case, the company felt obliged to spice things up with firewire connectors and other features, because 24-bit sound alone was not likely to convince most users to upgrade.

Before that, the various 3D sound standards (EAX, Directsound3D, A3D) were the 'killer apps' that convinced gamers to upgrade, since they offered a tangible improvement over previous audio technology. There haven't been any major breakthroughs in computer audio technology since then, so companies like VIA , who make audio chips for computer applications have been forced to look elsewhere for innovations they can use to sell their products.

A 7.1-channel surround sound audio chip seems to be the current solution, though there are few matching speaker packages on the market for consumer to even take advantage of.

Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP

Includes:
Optical Audio cable, drivers, instructions.

In this review, PCstats will test out the Mad Dog Multimedia's Entertainer 7.1 soundcard. This $60USD card looks to compete directly with Creative's Audigy line, offering many of the same features at an attractive price. It uses VIA's new Envy 24HT-S sound chip which boasts full 24-bit 192Khz capabilities.

The Entertainer 7.1 ships in a large-ish box containing the card, driver CD, a single folded sheet of instructions covering installation and the use of the VIA Envy audio control panel, an analog audio cable to connect to a CD drive, and a six-foot SPDIF optical cable.

The card itself is pleasantly small (about the size of one of the old SB live cards) and bristling with inputs, eight in all. From the top of the card we have: Front Out, Rear Out, Center/LFE, alt center, Mic in, Line in, S/PDIF out and S/PDIF in. Phew.

The body of the card sports a rather impressive array of capacitors and one large IC. Peeling the label of this reveals the VIA ENVY24HT-S sound processor chip. This is VIA's consumer level 7.1 capable part.

The included instruction sheet is brief but precise, and gives the necessary instructions and photographs to enable beginners to confidently install the card. The driver CD contains the drivers themselves, a quick setup and eight-page PDF 'user guide' (well illustrated, but little more informative than the included instruction sheet) as well as registration links and Direct X.

© 2014 PCSTATS.com Next Page >

 

Contents of Article: MAD Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP
 Pg 1.  — Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 DSP Sound Card Review
 Pg 2.  The Envy24HT-S Audio Chip
 Pg 3.  Speaker Configuration
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks 3DMark03, Rightmark
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: X2, Subjective Tests

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