Diamond Xtreme External 7.1 USB Sound Card Reviewairman - April 13, 2011
Category: Sound Cards
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While many of the hardware enthusiast community enjoy storing their ultimate power inside of a self-contained, powerhouse of a computer, those who wish to have similar features and functionality in smaller PCs or laptops really only have the option of running external peripherals. This need by many different individuals opens up the market for external devices, mainly peripherals such as audio hardware. For audiophiles who want the best of sound quality along with portability, an external USB sound card is a great option. It will allow a user to run their precious listening gear at home on their desktop, then to the HTPC, and the out on the laptop. Sure, a 7.1 output may seem excessive for a laptop, but what about playing movies and music with crisp digital surround sound through just about any run-of-the-mill home theater system? For that need, a manufacturer by the name of Diamond has its Xtreme External 7.1 USB sound card. Recently reviewed, Diamond also has a neat USB to HDMI Adapter to accomplish a similar task, but with video as well! The ability to make high quality components in smaller and smaller packages makes this possible, and I am excited to see how this little box compares to my limited onboard sound. Let's get started.
The packaging for the Diamond Xtreme External 7.1 USB sound card is made from cardboard that has a high quality finish along with attractive graphics. The front of the box features a photograph of the device, with a laptop, a flat screen TV, and two large floor speakers. A badge in the top right corner states that it is compatible with both Mac and PC, continuing to cater to as many folks as possible. Underneath the main picture is a list of benefits that this card has to offer, from dramatically improving sound quality to the Dolby Digital certified S/PDIF output. The rear of the box lists the functions of each port on the device and what each can connect to. For example, a home theater system could connect through the S/PDIF connection, and simple 2.1 headphones through the 3.5mm jack next to the USB port.
Included in the box is the external sound card unit itself, along with two user guides — one English and one French. Also included in a USB cable and a driver installation disk for Windows XP, Vista, and 7. It is not immediately obvious what Mac users would do for their drivers, however before looking inside the manual I have a pretty good feeling that it can be found on Diamond's website.
All in all, the Diamond Xtreme External 7.1 USB sound card is a simple box with some buttons and some holes in it, but it's what is inside of this box that will make or break the product. Fortunately, we have already seen several good reviews here at OCC with Diamond's name on them! Let's see if this name continues to hold up this time.