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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [07.15.04]
Manufactured by: Philips

MSRP: $69.99

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Audio Quality Tests

For objective audio quality tests, we used Rightmark's Audio Analyser 5.3. Tests are done using two cards, each in stereo mode. One plays various sound tests, while the other records the results, and measures the quality. You can loopback to a single card, but that sometimes breaks the results (such as on the Audigy 2, since the line in and front channel out use a common ground).

We used the M-Audio Revolution 7.1 for recording, and even looped back with it. To confirm the results of the loopback test, we set up the Ultimate Edge as the recording device for one round. Test results came out fine, so those are the numbers we used.

RMAA spits out word-based results to give an overall idea on audio quality. There are six levels of quality, ranging from poor to excellent. For the use of making charts, we converted these words to corresponding numbers on a scale of 1-6.

Playback and recording was all done in 24 bit, 96 kHz mode, to show off the highest performance available on each card.

After looking at the results above, we can come to the following conclusions:

  • The Audigy 2 performs VERY well, and is neck and neck with the Revo 7.1, which is commonly heralded as the best sounding consumer soundcard around
  • In 24/96 kHz, the Ultimate Edge is not very far behind either of these cards.
  • Intel HD might technically qualify as 'high definition' but the actual implementation of it so far stinks.

These results only tell half the story though. Technically, the Revo 7.1 and Audigy 2 should sound the same quality-wise, but how does that translate to our ears? Find out on the next page!

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