Improve notebook audio

Although notebooks lack quality audio, this new release from Creative is about the best external sound solution currently available. It’s a worthwhile buy for anyone who wants the best possible output for home entertainment audio applications.

Utilising Creative’s excellent Audigy2 chip, the NX adds 7.1 channel support and DVD-Audio quality 24-bit/96KHz playback and recording. Creative is playing catch-up with external sound card standards set by M-Audio’s Sonica Theatre, but the NX has a better selection of ports, slightly higher audio fidelity and a more comprehensive bundle, for about the same price.

The NX has a USB connection, but it also needs a mains adapter. While it’s a pain having yet another device to add to your already-overloaded plug sockets, Creative’s Audigy2 NX is at least an out-of-the-box solution — you get all the necessary leads plus a remote control.

It’s worth noting that DVD-Audio quality is only currently available through 2.1 or 5.1 channels. For 7.1 channel support you need Windows XP and USB 2.0 support, and you have to wait for soon-to-be-released software updates from Microsoft and SoundBlaster. Making up for this, Creative impresses with the amount of connectivity housed on the sides of the NX. There’s a line-in, mic-in, three line-outs, headphone, optical-in/-out, and S/PDIF for digital content. In other words, you can hook up almost any audio device for recording or playback, making the NX a seriously versatile piece of kit.

Creative SoundBlaster Audigy2 NX
Price: $299
Vendor: Creative
Phone: (02) 9021 9800

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Spencer Dalziel

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