Terratec's Aureon 7.1 FireWire Attempts Plug-and-Play with Pro Sound Card Performance


The Aureon 7.1 FireWire comes in a plasticized fabric casing, which underscores its portability. Even if it can be attached permanently to a desktop computer, it is also particularly handy for use with a laptop, the sound capabilities of which are often less than a viable minimum. The Aureon is also delivered with a neat set of accessories including a variety of connectors (more about that later) and an infrared remote control. So at least on the surface, the equipment is complete.

The Aureon 7.1 FireWire is rather large in comparison to the competition, especially for a card likely to be used with a laptop. However its large size is compensated by an original style and look, especially when it's working. For example, the orange light surrounding its potentiometers is spectacular.

Terratec claims you can "impress your friends with this sexy lighting," although the sexiness of lighting, of course, is a matter of taste. The good thing is that the controls are not miniaturized and that the Aureon FireWire gives the impression of being tough and hard working, which are qualities in mass-market external sound cards. On the practical side, the Aureon FireWire can be powered either by the host computer - through the FireWire link - if it is capable of powering an external device, or by an external power supply bundled with the card. Unfortunately the power supply is not universal, especially as smart power supplies are pretty much in general use nowadays.

The Aureon FireWire interface comes with two six-pin sockets that make it possible to plug in other equipment, such as a video recorder to make videos. In principle, these six-pin FireWire sockets might not provide sufficient power to the card (though that is not always the case), but some laptops are fitted with four-pin FireWire sockets, so there is no power supply. A six-four pin adaptor is supplied with the card but it then becomes essential to use mains power with it. In any case, mains power is always recommended when it is available.

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Terratec Aureon 7.1 FireWire
InterfaceFireWire 1394a
ChipsetWolfson WM8770 & BridgeCo DM1000
Sample rate (max)192 kHz
Bit depth24 bits
ASIO16 bits / 48 kHz
MIDI/Game portsno
CardLine, mic, phono, S/PDIF optical
Card8 Cinch (7.1), 1 S/PDIF optical, 1 headphne
DVD & Movies
StandardDolby Digital EX, S/PDIF-out
Configurationup to 7.1
DVD Audioyes
3D Gaming Sound
StandardDS3D, A3D, EAX 2.0
Configuration2x 7.1
SynthesizerMicrosoft software