Diamond XS 7.1 Sound Card

Makaveli - 2007-06-10 16:37:08 in Sound Cards
Category: Sound Cards
Reviewed by: Makaveli   
Reviewed on: June 24, 2007
Diamond
Diamond
Price: $29.99 USD

Introduction:

One of the most popular gems in the world is the diamond. It is pure, clean, and extremely eye catching. Today we have Diamond’s XS 7.1 sound card and we’re going to see if its product can captivate the ears much like a diamond does the eyes. We're going to find everything out about this card to see if the Dolby EX gives the extra edge in any tests. Will this card sound crisp and pure consistently throughout the vigorous tests? Will it be able to pump out quality sound when placed under high demand? And finally, how will it do against a card that is in its division? Let’s open it up and find out!

Diamond Multimedia has been around for two decades producing some of the best graphics, sound, and communications products on the market. The company has pulled together many different aspects of computing to create a company that stretches across many different markets in order to reach out and captivate as many customers as possible.


Closer Look:

While you can buy this sound card, I didn't get any packaging for the sound card because of how new it is. So let’s go ahead and look at what you get when you purchase this card. You’ll get the sound card, which is shipped in an anti-static bag, and a bag that contains an instruction booklet and a software CD.


The sound card has ten ports on it. Starting with the green port and going down you have: Front-Out, Rear-Out, Center-Out, Bass, Microphone In, Line-In, S/PDIF-In and S/PDIF Out. The black ports on the top right side of the card are the Aux-In and CD-In ports. Notice how the card is as long as the PCI slot connector, which is good because you know it won’t take up too much room inside your case.

 

Installation:

When you install a new sound card, it’s always a good idea to go and uninstall all of the old drivers so that complications won’t arise. If you use something like “Driver Cleaner Pro” to remove the drivers, you should be good to go.

Turn off your computer and push the new sound card firmly into an open PCI slot, plug in your sound system’s cables into their designated ports, and then turn on your computer.


 


Now you can insert the included CD into your optical drive to begin installation.


Configuration:

There are 5 tabs in the program that is included with the Diamond XS 7.1 sound card. I’ll be giving a brief description of each so that you can get a feel for what this program enables you to do with your sound card.

The first tab is “Main Settings”, which is where the user can modify the basics of their setup, such as room layout and the number of speakers. For the room layout, the user can view it in 2 different formats; one is virtual layout, where you can change the virtual position of the speakers, and the other is for the real layout.

 


Next, we have “Mixer”, which is the exact same as the Windows mixer. This allows the user to have all the options consolidated into one program.

Configuration:

The “Effect” tab is my favorite tab of all, simply because this is where the user is given all the options to use predefined mixer settings to accommodate the sounds of different genres of sound. I was especially surprised to see “Live” as a setting because I have a ton of songs which were recorded live, so this setting gives me the feeling that I am standing in the crowd listening to the band play.




With Karaoke being more popular than ever, Diamond has created a tab in the program to make Karaoke a much more enjoyable experience and to get rid of the hassle of setting up the sound.  The last tab is where the user can find all of the information for their card, see what drivers they are currently using, and more.

 


Specifications:

 

Model
Brand Diamond
Model XS71
Audio core
Channels 7.1
Sample Rate 96KHz
Digital Audio 24-bit
Hardware Decode Dolby EX, DTS
Ports
Line In Yes
SPDIF In Coaxial
SPDIF Out Coaxial
MIC In Yes
Spec
Interface PCI
Operating Systems Supported Windows 2000 / Windows XP / Windows XP Media Center
Features
Features Front Out, Surround Out, Sub/Center Out, Rear Out, Line In, Mic In, S/PDRIF Digital Out, S/PDIF Digital In
Packaging
Package Contents XS71 XtremeSound Sound Card
Driver Disk

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:



Applications:

 

 

iTunes (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:



Turtle Beach Montego:

 

 

 

Team Speak (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:



Turtle Beach Montego:

 

 

Gaming (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:



Turtle Beach Montego:

 

 

Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  (Test):


Diamond XS 7.1:



Turtle Beach Montego:

 

 

 

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.

Conclusion:

After thoroughly testing both sound cards, I think I have a really good grasp on how they work and what their abilities are. I’m going to have to say that the Diamond card wasn’t as good as the Turtle Beach card for a few reasons. The main reason was that the card made everything sound as if it was just one sound coming out of the speakers – not very distinct. I also heard some crackling when the volume was turned up as high as it could go. The volume couldn’t go nearly as high as the Montego’s volume could, so volume has to be a con. There were some things that I liked with this card though. I was really impressed with the software and how many options I was able to choose from. Getting everything set up and installing the card was a breeze. The main thing that saves this card is its price. It retails for thirty dollars, which is half the price of the Turtle Beach card. So if you’re looking for something that certainly sounds better than on-board sound but don’t want to spend too much, look into this card.


Pros:



Cons: