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USB 2.0 Sound: Creative Labs Audigy 2 NX

Dolby Digital EX And DVD Audio - True Surround Sound, Continued

The Audigy 2 NX can also read audio DVDs, which is good news considering the inability of its previous cards to offer this function. It is limited, however, to a sampling speed of 96 kHz, while it can still read 24-bit/192 kHz stereo tracks with sub-sampling at 96 kHz. Naturally, reading 5.1 tracks at 24 bits/96 kHz is something that the Audigy 2 NX is capable of. However, the card is limited to 16 bits/48 kHz . It will only be able to give full measure when upgraded USB management through Windows XP becomes available from Microsoft and when Creative upgrades its system accordingly to enable 24-bit/96 kHz data-streams to pass through the USB connection. Hopefully, this should happen before the end of the year.

As for the rest, it should be noted that this card is not really designed for composing music, so you won't find ASIO drivers that can be used with composing software. You will have to make do with WDM drivers. In any case, even though the card carries a synthesizer, is has no MIDI connection. The Sound fonts of which musicians are so fond, are managed, but only in the software. While the Audigy 2 NX is not designed with musicians in mind, it can still be used for some types of music-making.

Test Configuration And Audio Measurements

System
ProcessorPentium 4 2.4 GHz
Storage1 GB DDR
Graphics cardNVIDIA GeForce Ti 4200
Hard Disk80 GB 7200 tr/min
DVDDVD LG16/48X
OSWindows XP Pro SP1
Version DirectX9.0
Sound System
SpeakersCreative MegaWorks 510D, Creative Inspire T7700, Logitech Z2200
Measurements
Right Audio Mark Analyser 5.
Right Audio Mark 3Dsound 1.0
Audio measurement system DAAS
Audio measurement system Neutrik 333

Since it is equipped with 24-bit converters and capable of operating at 96 kHz, the Audigy 2 NX is clearly a top-of-the-range sound card. Yet it is known that miniaturization and its constraints often have negative consequences for pure performance. And that's something that we noted in general when taking measurements. The Audigy 2 NX cannot be said to be the market leader; while none of its performances put it in last place, it is not a first place contender either. L It also goes without saying that the Audigy 2 ZS is clearly superior to the Audigy 2 NX. Yet the performances cannot be considered to have everything required to satisfy users of this type of card. Note that the Audigy 2 NX, like the other Creative cards, operates at 48 kHz for EAX effects. Operation at 44.1 kHz thus uses a resampling method that has a negative effect - while less noticeable than in previous versions - on performance.