A Prima Donna on PC: Creative Labs Audigy 2

Audigy 2: Input/ Output Quality

The section on subjective and objective tests of converters and inputs/ outputs is usually at the end of our articles. But the quality of the Audigy 2 is so outstanding, especially of its digital-to-analog conversion, it deserves to be pointed out before all the other good features of this card.

In the subjective tests, whether of DVD, CD Audio or DVD Audio, the quality of the sound restored was the best we have ever heard from a multimedia sound card. We can even state that, when combined with high-class speakers, the Audigy 2 is better than most basic hi-fi systems and is, in some respects, nearly as good as professional-range sound cards. The sound from the digital-to-analog converter, and so from the analog mini-jack outputs, has unprecedented clarity and precision. Creative Labs had already taken a step in this direction with the first Audigy and again with the Extigy, but the Audigy 2 is way ahead in the quality of restored sound. We particularly noted how good it was in 24 bit/ 96 kHz and 24 bit/ 192 kHz playback.

The objective tests with Right Mark Audio Analyser proved this unquestionable quality. Just look at the results for playback in 24 bits/ 96 kHz with the Audigy 2 Rear Out - DMX 6Fire 24/ 96 Line in Rear test line:

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Results Right Mark Audio Analyser
Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:+0.01, -0.05Excellent
Noise level, dB (A):-98.1Excellent
Dynamic range, dB (A):95.1Excellent
THD, %:0.0015Excellent
IMD, %:0.0069Very good
Stereo crosstalk, dB:-89.8Excellent

Here is an overall table that speaks for itself, giving excellent marks at practically all levels.

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Frequency rangeResponse
From 20 Hz to 20 kHz, dB-0.15, +0.01
From 40 Hz to 15 kHz, dB-0.05, +0.01

The card's bandwidth curve shows whether its frequency reproduction over the entire sound spectrum is balanced. The test is measured from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, the usually accepted limits of human hearing.

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RMS power, dB:-89.8-88.5
RMS power (A-weighted), dB:-98.1-97.4
Peak level, dB FS:-76.3-76.5
DC offset, %:00