External Sound: Creative Labs Extigy

Inputs And Outputs

The Extigy consists of a fairly wide, flattish, gray and black box. This rather conservative look gives it an air of quality. On the front, there is a power switch and all the main controls, as well as the sort of connections that are normally found at the back of the sound card (main input, mike input and headphone output). There is a potentiometer for adjusting the microphone input gain and another for the overall volume. On the far left, there are optical digital inputs and outputs protected by hoods. Between the power switch and the volume control there is a CMSS (Creative Multi-Speaker Surround) activation knob. This makes it possible to simulate a sound on six channels using only the front two analog inputs. Finally, there are four LED lights to indicate the status of playback, CMSS or Dolby Digital mode and transmission via the infrared remote control.

The loudspeaker connections are on the back of the Extigy. There are three mini-jack analog outputs for 5.1 sound and a digital mini-jack output for connecting loudspeakers such as the MegaWorks 510D, for example. Creative Labs has also considered people who have a full-sized DVD player with the addition of a coaxial digital input. The midi inputs and outputs are on the right, as are the USB port and the power socket. It is a pity that Creative did not think of completing the Extigy by adding a small USB hub, which would have come in very handy, but overall, this is a very complete set-up that is not lacking in any type of audio connection.

The Extigy is delivered with an infrared remote control similar to those supplied with the Audigy Platinum and Platinum eX. It not only incorporates the controls needed to operate the external rack, but is also associated with Remote Center software. The latter displays information on the screen in overlay form, regardless of what software is being used at the time. The Extigy is supplied with PlayCenter 3.0 software that can convert your PC into a virtual jukebox. This offers armchair listening for MP3 files or audio CDs, thanks to the remote control.