An Advantage: Stand-alone Operation
Apart from the classical and less classical functions of a sound card, the Aureon FireWire stands out from most of the competition by its stand-alone operating abilities. It can actually be used as an analog/digital converter and can be linked to a PC.
Input is selected by means of a remote control device, as the card has no control to do this. Don't labor under any illusion, however. FireWire has no way of decoding Surround Sound (Dolby Digital or DTS). This means that when using the digital/analog conversion you can only use a PCM stereo signal, since an AC3 signal would not be recognized. On the other hand, the use of the phono input with RIAA preamplified and corrected sound is interesting if you don't already have that kind of equipment, because it will give you both digital and analog output. The same applies to mic input. So FireWire can, on occasion, transform itself into a preamp, both for digital and analog connections.
The Aureon FireWire is well-designed and is one of the best multimedia sound cards available with audio performances that fulfill its ambitions. It can also be used just as well with a desktop PC as with a laptop - and that's by no means the best thing about it.
The software bundle, with its DVD-reading software, will please fans of multimedia, but musicians will have to invest in a whole range of software to meet their needs. In this price range, it would have been desirable to find at least something for this activity, even at entry level and, even for multimedia, an audio editor would have been much appreciated.