MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.
Trends Audio UD10.1
A miniature DAC with plenty of functionality.
- Extra digital connectors for enthusiasts
- Strange connector placement, no power switch
Trends Audio’s UD10.1 is a digital audio converter that can do more than just connect to a PC. With its extra, professional-level outputs the UD10.1 might be the AV accessory you’ve been searching for.
Price$ 150.00 (AUD)
There's always a need for high-end digital audio converters — they eliminate the noisy interference that plagues internal computer sound cards. Whether you're an amateur audio enthusiast or a professional looking for something powerful, the UD10.1 has what you'll need.
Like its younger brother, the UD10.1 Lite, this DAC packs a lot of quality into a relatively small case. Instead of having the half-height form factor of the Lite, it is the same size as the TA10.1. This means it will stack perfectly, so you can have a miniature home entertainment rack on your desk.
Unfortunately, the UD10.1 misses out on the same creature comforts that the Lite did. The USB port is still on the front of the unit and this means that you had better get used to unsightly cables poking around the front of the unit. In addition, there's no power switch to disable the device's USB input so it will be constantly on until disconnected.
Like the Lite, the UD10.1 is plug-and-play. It installs a default USB audio codec driver when connected and it will work seamlessly with both Windows Vista and XP. We had no problems using it with Mac OSX Leopard or Tiger, either.
What the UD10.1 does offer over its smaller brother are a couple of extra digital connections, including a coaxial BNC connector and an AES/EBU XLR socket. The majority of consumers won't find a use for these, but they let you connect the UD10.1 to a second high-end DAC — essentially making it a USB-to-digital converter. This will only be of interest to high-end, audiophile users, however.
The UD10.1 outputs 16-bit sound at 44.1Khz. While this isn't up to the latest surround standards, the vast majority of high-quality stereo music is mixed to these standards, so it's more than enough.
The UD10.1 is chock-full of high-end components and offers plenty of external audio connections. Best of all, it delivers these features at a low price. At under $200 there's no reason you can't use one of these as the backbone of your computer audio system.
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