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First, let’s take a closer look at the declared characteristics of the card.

  • 24bit/192kHz audio playback;
  • 24bit/96kHz playback and recording;
  • Any speaker systems are supported (from stereo systems and headphones to 7.1);
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 (AC3), Dolby Pro Logic, DTS and other multi-channel formats support;
  • 3D sound implemented through SRS TruSound II and SRS Circle Surround II technologies from SRS Labs;
  • MME drivers supporting the following sample rates: 32, 44.1, 48, 88.2, 96, 176.4 and 192kHz;
  • Output formats: 24bit Linear PCM, 16bit Linear PCM, 16bit AC-3, Dolby Pro Logic or DTS (via the coaxial connector);
  • Support of all popular media players, including Windows Media 9;
  • Coaxial (RCA) S-PDIF output;
  • Analog connectors for active speaker systems;
  • Dynamic range of 106dB;
  • 107dB signal-to-noise ratio;
  • THD+N –90dB.

The package includes:

  • Revolution 7.1 PCI-card;
  • Installation CD with the driver and bundled software;
  • Extra CDs with bonus software;
  • User’s manual.

PCB Design

Revolution 7.1 is smaller than Audigy2. Its main difference from most consumer cards is that there are no internal auxiliary audio connectors for CD- or DVD-drives and the like. Its no big drawback, but some users may find it a deficiency.

All the connectors are smugly fitted into the card’s bracket. The first thing to catch the eye is that Revolution has a digital output, but no digital input. So, the recording capabilities of the card look a bit superfluous. Overall, the lack of a digital input seems to be a disadvantage – even some today’s mainboards feature both: digital input and output. Yes, the bracket is loaded to the full, there is no space for one more connector, but they could make it onboard and ship the card with a bracket carrying the appropriate connector. Besides other things, Revolution 7.1 lacks a MIDI port that must have found no place to land on the bracket, too (interesting, but the Envy24 controller does support MIDI, but M-Audio didn’t implement it in the card).

Absolutely all connectors are located on this bracket.

The bracket carries the following connectors:

  • Digital Out;
  • Mic In;
  • Line In;
  • Front Speakers (Headphones);
  • Center/Subwoofer;
  • Rear Speakers;
  • Surround Center.

Having used up all the length of the bracket, the manufacturer went further and united the front output with the headphones output. This doesn’t seem to be the top of user-friendliness. If you want to listen to music in your headphones, you will have to unplug the front speakers first, trying not to get entangled in the heap of cables sticking out of the card (there will be even more fun if the system case stands on the floor). But that’s not the end! Consider: Revolution 7.1 is positioned asa high-quality product that can tickle the eardrum of a most demanding music-lover. Many classy headphones come with a 6.3mm jack. To connect them to the mini-jack socket (3.5mm) of the card you will have to use a special adapter coming with it. This adapter is rather a big thing and won’t plug in if the neighboring connectors (next to the front output) are occupied. So, you will have to unplug these connectors, too…

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