Copyright Michael Karbo, Denmark, Europe.
Chapter 14. Taking a look at a sound card
It is unbelievable how much there is to describe about sound cards and their technology. Let’s look now in more detail at a very well known and widespread type of sound card, or to be more specific Sound Blaster Audigy. This is a sound card, which I myself am very satisfied with. And which I am very familiar with.
The cards are found in several different versions, where the models Platinum and Platinum eX are the more professional and which cost about 2000 kr. This may seem expensive, but you get, in fact, an awful lot for your money, which I will demonstrate in the following section.
Audigy Platinum eX
This sound card is one of Creative’s top models. It is a rather complicated piece of hardware, which consists of three large components plus a lot of accessories. Firstly, there are two plug-in cards that have to be installed in the computer. One of them is the actual sound card, and the other is an extension card (a so-called daughterboard), which is installed at its side. A grey wide cable connects the two cards:
Figure 71. Audigy Platinum Ex main card and extension card.
The extension card is connected to the computer’s power supply. It has two plugs, which form a connection to the external drive. This is a black box, which is placed on your desktop. This position makes it much easier to use the sound card and, at the same time, reduces electrical noise considerably. The desktop box has the necessary ports on its front panel and it is, as usually is the case, much easier to put a plug in on the desk than have to get down and fumble at the back of the computer cabinet.
The box is designed for quick service. It is ”born” with power and signals via its connection to the main card but it also contains its own electronics. There are, for instance, built-in A/D and D/A converters both in the sound card in the computer and in the box.
At the same time, the box gives a much ”purer” connection to the external sound devices because it doesn’t receive noise from the computer’s electronics. Normal sound cards, which are installed in computers, receive a lot of electronic noise, which “pollutes” the analog circuits and connections. So it is a good idea with an external box, especially if you actively work with sound.
Figure 72. The external desktop box with a remote control, which comes with the sound card.
A really tremendous amount of software accompanies the card, when you acquire Audigy Platinum eX. There are no less than four CDs in the cardboard box and they contain one good program after the other, which we will look at in a moment.
Figure 73. Four CDs are stuffed with sound software.
Furthermore, there is a remote control. The idea being that the sound card is an entertainment centre. It can supply sound for DVD films, play mp3 files and much more. It is practical, therefore, with a remote control. The remote control can be used, for example, for regulating the volume in different programs. It activates a special computer program when you press on a button. This program can be configured to start several other programs, etc.
Figure 74. The remote control can automatically activate a computer program.
While I am writing this booklet, Creative is introducing their newest top mode, which is now called Audigy2 Platinum eX. This is also a sound card with an external desktop box, which ensures a noiseless environment for sound processing. The specifications for Audigy2 are a step better that the original Audigy cards (which are already outstanding). If you want to ensure that you get a noise free and satisfactorily professional sound card, then Audigy2 Platinum eX is a really good choice. It is accompanied by lots of software!
Figure 75. Audigy2 Platinum eX with desktop box.