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Tests

The two models – Audigy2 and Audigy2 Platinum eX – are both based on the same sound processor, CA0102-IAT, but, although their names differ only by a short index they are based on different element base. That’s why we tried to compare the cards against one another. Moreover, we also considered the data for TerraTec Aureon 7.1 Space, just not to limit ourselves with Creative products only.

We tested Audigy2 Platinum eX in SpectraLAB (v.4.32.17) utility following the methodology described in our previous reviews as well as the recommendations of Creative Labs to tests like that. The results shown refer to the LineOut 1 – LineIn 3 circuit.

Creative Audigy2 Platinum eX Spectrograms:


44,100Hz / 16bit


IMD at 44,100Hz / 16bit


48,000Hz / 16bit


IMD at 48,000Hz / 16bit

 

Creative Audigy2

TerraTec Aureon 7.1 Space

Creative Audigy2 Platinum eX

 

44,100Hz / 16bit

48,000Hz / 16bit

44,100Hz / 16bit

48,000Hz / 16bit

44,100Hz / 16bit

48,000Hz / 16bit

SNR, dB

90.114

90.322

93.13

93.071

90.589

91.858

THD, %

0.00203

0.00422

0.00157

0.00194

0.00182

0.00268

THD+N, %

0.00312

0.00384

0.00221

0.00222

0.00295

0.00255

IMD, %

0.0202

0.0078

0.0044

0.0039

0.0049

0.0048

The results suggest that the top-end Audigy2 Platinum eX has a certain advantage over the ordinary Audigy2. At the same time, we see a notable lag behind the recently-tested TerraTec Aureon 7.1 Space.

If we visually compare the spectrograms of the standard Audigy2 and Audigy2 Platinum eX, we will notice some reduction of the overall noise level by the new card, although it is not a very significant reduction. The signal-to-noise ratio has improved just a little due to the high peaks in the third and fifth harmonics. On the whole, the new card from Creative showed (or sounded) nothing exceptional.

Conclusion

So, we have just taken a look at the new sound card from Creative. We saw that this product has a high-quality hardware part that helped it pass our tests with honor. As for the software, it is up to the mark, too (I guess many users will appreciate the professional Cubasis VST program). The sound card with an external communication module is the top-end product from the company and is mainly targeted, quoting Creative, at users that are seriously into music. Nevertheless, Audigy2 seems to be a thing for enthusiasts rather than professionals. In my opinion, people who work with music won’t take this card seriously. It will only serve to connect musical instruments to the computer. The point is that Audigy2 Platinum eX, unlike truly professional cards, doesn’t have balanced ins and outs, and the output signal level is only –10dB.

Of course, we can also harangue about the main disadvantage of this card – its price. We can continue complaining about the permanent lack of finances and think of those many useful things we could buy for $200. But we can take another point of view: an Audigy2 buyer gets a huge software bundle and a kind of external FireWire controller to connect a DV camcorder or scanner, an external hard disk drive or memory card reader, or anything else.

Those who don’t need all these accessories can just buy the card in the simple version (without the communication module). Audigy2, as it is, costs about $100. Thus, it’s quite affordable for anyone who wants to have a really high-quality sound card. By the way, for the most economic (or money-tight) users Creative makes a special offer: you can buy Audigy2 with Creative Inspire 6.1 6700 speaker system and it will cost you less than purchasing them separately.

Highs:

  • Good sound quality;
  • DVD-Audio support;
  • 24bit/96kHz recording;
  • 24bit/192kHz playback;
  • Seven-channel audio (6.1);
  • ASIO 2.0 (24bit/96kHz) support;
  • Six analog inputs;
  • Large software bundle.

Lows:

  • High price;
  • Non-balanced ins and outs;
  • Insufficient signal level: –10dB;
  • No internal connectors on the card.
 
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