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Diamond XS 7.1 Sound Card

Makaveli    -   June 24, 2007
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Testing:

I’m going to be comparing this sound card against a Turtle Beach Montego 7.1 sound card (OCC Review). I will report how each card sounds with games, movies, and music. I'll also be checking for any sound clashes, wrong sounding notes, or crackling. Each sound card will be administered the same tests with Logitech's 5.1 X-540 speakers since I don’t have any S/PDIF cables around the house to test the 7.1 capability. There are going to be two different categories for each test, Diamond and Turtle Beach, with two subcategories, speakers and headphones. Every observation will be recorded.


Testing System:

  • Intel Core 2 Duo E6600 Processor
  • ASUS P5N32-SLi SE Deluxe Motherboard
  • Mushkin XP2-6400 (2 x 1GB) DDR2 800 Memory
  • eVGA 7950GT KO Video Card
  • Cooler Master 750watt Power Supply
  • Western Digital 250GB IDE Hard Drive    
  • Western Digital 160GB SATA 3.0GB/s Hard Drive
  • Seagate 80GB IDE Hard Drive
  • LG DVD-R DL Burner
  • Windows XP Media Center 2005
  • Diamond XS 7.1 Sound Card
  • Comparison Sound Card:  Turtle Beach Montego DDL Sound Card
  • Enermax Uber Chakra ATX Full Tower Case



Applications:

  • iTunes (Music)
  • Team Speak (Voice Application)
  • Counter-Strike: Source, Battlefield 2, and World of Warcraft (Gaming)
  • Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (DVD Movie)

 

 

iTunes (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:

  • Speakers:  The quality of sound produced from this sound card was very good. However, everything sounded like one big sound - not distinct. If I turned some sounds higher than others, it sounded as if that sound made the whole song stop for that note. I did get it to crackle at a high volume but it wasn't too noticeable. As far as volume goes, I could take this sound card relatively high, but it wasn't as loud as the Montego. The settings that the program had were absolutely wonderful because there were so many settings to put the mixer on. I especially liked the mixer setting of "Live" because it gave a real touch to the song making it sound as if I was at a concert listening to the band.

  • Headphones:  Headphones really made the task of picking out wrong notes or crackling noises was hard. I didn't feel like the card produced one big sound here; it sounded as if I was listening to my iPod and not my computer. Everything sounded great with the headphones and I can't complain about volume because if I turned it up any louder than what I had it at, I wouldn't have ear drums anymore.



Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers:  The Montego has to win in the speaker category simply because this card really plays all the different sounds distinctively. The volume was noticeably louder than with the Diamond card, but I still felt like this card could be a bit louder. I couldn't get any crackles out of the sound card even when I turned it full blast. The software was decent but had nowhere near as many mixer settings as the Diamond software.

 

  • Headphones: I can honestly say that I couldn't tell the difference between either card with headphones on. Each of them sounded perfect.

 

 

Team Speak (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:

  • Headset:  TeamSpeak RC2 is a program designed for teams or clans to use with microphones while they play video games together. My buddies and I got onto the OCC Counter-Strike: Source server and fragged for a few hours. During that time, I really got a feel for this sound card. Nothing sounded out of line at any time, no matter how loud everything was. I heard all my buddies as if they were sitting right next to me and they said I sounded crystal clear. Overall, it was a very good experience.



Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Headset: My friends couldn't even tell that I switched sound cards during this test, so I was obviously happy about that.

 

 

Gaming (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:

  • Speakers: This card is equipped with Dolby EX, which is for gaming scenarios. I could definitely tell the difference between this card and my on board sound and my old sound card. I was astonished at how much better it sounded with the Dolby EX enabled. I still felt like the sounds weren't too distinct, so that was pretty annoying.

  • Headphones: What? I had headphones on during this test? I couldn't even tell. Everything sounded very good and I felt like I was closer to the game since the sound was closer to me. No problems occurred during this test.



Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers:  I was very glad that this card played everything distinctively because it really gave me the upper hand while fragging my noob friends since I could clearly hear them running.

 

  • Headphones: I still couldn't tell that I swapped out cards during this test.

 

Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:

  • Speakers: This card certainly wiped the floor clean with on board sound. I could undoubtedly tell the difference between this card and on board sound and I was amazed at how many more sounds I could hear. I'm still sticking with my claim that this card makes all the sounds sound like one big sound. It wasn't too noticeable in the movie but I could still hear it.

  • Headphones: I like watching movies with speakers much better than with headphones because of the surround sound. The sound was good in the headphones and I have no complaints about it.



Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers:  This sound card has Dolby Digital Live and boy was it noticeable. I could tell a major difference in the movie with this sound card over the Diamond XS because of the DDL capability. Dolby Digital Live is the new way that I'm watching all my movies that support it because it really makes everything sound a lot better.

 

  • Headphones: Even in the headphones I could tell the difference that Dolby Digital Live made.

 

 

So what can we conclude with these results? I think it's safe to say that the Diamond sound card kept up with the Montego in all the testing, except when I was watching a movie. However, the Dolby EX capability with this card really propelled it ahead of the Montego while I was gaming. I think it was evident that this card doesn't play sounds very distinctly, but it is much better than onboard sound, without a doubt. In the picture below, you can see the Diamond card on the right and the Montego on the left.




  1. Introduction & Closer Look
  2. Installation & Configuration
  3. Configuration (Cont.) & Specifications
  4. Testing
  5. Conclusion
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