External Sound: Creative Labs Extigy

Test Configuration

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ProcessorIntel Pentium 4, up to 2 GHz
Memory256 MB RDRAM
Hard diskQuantum Fireball AS60
CD drivesPioneer DVR103
LoudspeakersMegaWorks 510D
Graphics cardnVidia GeForce2 GTS
Drivers & Software
OSWindows XP Professional

The Extigy was tested both in a PC configuration and in stand-alone mode using a full-sized DVD player. The two sound cards serving as reference models were the Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum and Terratec's DMX 6Fire 24/96.

Converter Performance

We performed a series of tests using Right Mark Audio Analyser 3.1 and Penguin Audio Meter software. We then made analog to digital recordings, and ended with a subjective listening test to evaluate the quality of the converters. For the analog to digital recordings, we used Terratec's DMX 6Fire 24/96. The pre-amplified mike input test produced similar results to those of the Audigy Platinum, which is to say that the quality was accurate, although not without a certain amount of hiss and distortion.

Bandwidth Test

The frequency response curve for each card indicated whether it was capable of reproducing frequencies with balance for the whole sound spectrum. The test was measured from 20Hz through 20 kHz, these being the limits of normal human hearing. It can be seen that the Extigy did not produce perfect results, with performance ranging from -10.10 to +0.82 dB. There was a major peak at 1 kHz and very serious fluctuations from 5 kHz.

Noise And Interference Levels

The second test concerned the noise and interference levels. It measured the position of the card's background noise and indicated the sensitivity to various forms of interference in the computer environment, such as power supply, transformers and computer screens. The result obtained from the Extigy was more than acceptable, with a figure of -84.6 dB.