Diamond XtremeSound 7.1/24 bit Sound Card25 Aug 2006 0
The performance demand from a soundcard is pretty much a wildcard when it comes to gaming. With a wide variety of genres and, therefore, processing requirements, the regular turn-based wargamer can easily be content with a soundcard integrated on one?s motherboard and mid-grade speakers. However, gamers with a thirst for faster paced or more graphically intensive games like shooters, real-time strategy, and role-playing games may seek to upgrade their sound processing power through purchasing a nifty PCI sound card. A better sound card can not only increase the sound quality and provide a bevy of neat features (like Karaoke support for particularly rambunctious nights), but also alleviate some of the load one?s processor is weighted with when the sound environment is particularly complicated. Sound processing on the main CPU is an often overlooked task of a processor, but in certain instances it can translate to noticeable drops in frames per second (FPS) which translate to a slower running, choppier gaming experience.
To answer the call of gamers who want a boost in overall performance and some intense 7.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, Diamond Multimedia has struck a balance between performance and affordability to bring us the Diamond XtremeSound 7.1/24 bit Sound Card which comes complete with Dolby Digital Live support. Priced at a modest $60, the XtremeSound 7.1 is yet another example of the maxim that ?You get what you pay for.?
Installation and Software Support
Installation for the XtremeSound card went smoothly, as it should given the simple nature of installing almost any PCI-based card. After easily slipping the petite card into a free PCI slot on my motherboard I booted my machine and installed the driver on the CD that came with the card. Diamond very graciously asked my permission before installing any other peripheral bells and whistles like an audio rack and additional software.
Speaking of bells and whistles, Diamond has included an abbreviated, albeit sufficient, piece of recording software called Audacity for any amateur Karaoke fans out there. Using the Line In or less robust Microphone input on the back of the soundcard one can record from a variety of instruments, adjust audio tracks afterwards, and even attempt some modest multi-track recording. Audacity isn?t going to appear in a professional recording studio any time soon, but it is certainly a nice gesture to see that Diamond wasn?t going to skimp on the input side of their sound card which is an often overlooked aspect of a card?s function.
The XtremeSound card also has substantial troubleshooting and diagnostic tools to aid gamers in setting up a simple 2-speaker configuration or a 7.1 aural powerhouse. From the included audio rack one can install along with the card?s driver, users can choose from a variety of speaker configurations (2-speakers with a subwoofer, 5.1 surround sound, headphones) and click on the speakers portrayed in a 2D map of a computer speaker setup to have each individual speaker sound off. For a neat surround sound experience there is also a helicopter diagnostic feature where users can listen as a helicopter sound effect rotates around a surround sound speaker setup. Additionally, the XtremeSound card supports a fairly substantial equalizer for sticklers who have to hear their favorite classical (or death metal) song with just the right amount of treble and bass. To further facilitate the equalization process, Diamond also allows for users to save presets for easy switching between genres of music or one?s favorite RPG. Diamond also included a handful of amusingly artificial microphone effects for gamers who want to sound like Darth Vader when chatting it up over the internet or in-game.