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Turtle Beach Montego DDL Sound Card

Makaveli    -   June 10, 2007


Testing:

To test the sound card, I’m going to be comparing it against a Diamond XS 7.1 sound card. I’m going to critique on how each card sounds with music, games, and movies. I'll be checking for any sound clashes or wrong sounding notes. Both units are being tested with Logitech 5.1 X-540 speakers since I don’t have any S/PDIF cables around the house to test the 7.1 capability. Each application is going to have 2 different categories, Turtle Beach and Diamond, with two subcategories, which will be speakers and headphones. I will report any findings of mine throughout the testing.


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
  • Turtle Beach Montego DDL Sound Card
  • Comparison Sound Card:  Diamond XS 7.1
  • 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):


Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers:  Music is a huge part of my life, so it was no question that I was going to be a very harsh critic on these sound cards. I thought the Montego definitely sounded much better because each note was very distinct and it was this way for each genre of music I played. I can't tell you how many times my parents yelled at me to turn it down during this test. Even though it's loud, I felt like I needed it to be turned up even more.

  • Headphones:  With headphones on, the sound definitely felt more direct. When I closed my eyes, I could see myself in a recording studio. The volume for the headphones was more than enough and I wouldn't want to turn it up too loud unless I hated my ear drums.


Diamond XS 7.1:


  • Speakers:  While the music certainly sounded good with the speakers with this card, it did seem as if I was in a bathroom and everything sounded like one big sound - not distinct. It did go loud, but not as loud as the Montego. In the control panel of this sound card, it definitely had more preset genres for you to set the mixer to, which is a big plus. I was especially fond of the "Live" mixer setting.

  • Headphones: I honestly could not tell the difference between this card and the Montego. Both of them sounded great.

 

Team Speak (Test):


Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Headset:  Team Speak a program designed to allow users with a microphone to talk to each other on the server. In this case, I was playing Counter-Strike: Source with my friends who all had microphones. They all said I sounded great and I heard them perfectly. This sound card definitely passes this test.


Diamond XS 7.1:


  • Headset: With this sound card I had the same experience. My buddies didn't even know that I changed sound cards, so this card also passes the test because my friends said I was crystal clear and I definitely heard them perfectly when they spoke.

 

Gaming (Test):


Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers:  In order to administer this test, I played Counter-Strike: Source, Battlefield 2, and World of Warcraft for hours on end so that I could get a good feel for how everything sounded. I was very impressed at how I could pick out where each sound was coming from because it was so distinct. This card definitely put me in the game. For example, in Battlefield 2 a grenade exploded right in my face and I jumped about ten feet out of my chair because it sounded so real. During my airborne flight out of the chair, I could distinguish my team mates avenging my death behind me.

  • Headphones: During this test I didn't get the surround sound effect as I did with the speakers but the headphones did sound much better than I was used to because I used to use on-board sound when I gamed.


Diamond XS 7.1:


  • Speakers:  The sound was different when I was gaming with this card. I kept wanting to pop the Montego into my computer again because I missed how distinct the sounds were. While I could still hear my shadow bolt hitting the enemy in World of Warcraft and my friend firing his wand behind me, I just felt like I was in a bubble of sound.

  • Headphones: I still couldn't really distinguish the differences from the other sound card and this one with headphones on.

Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift  (Test):


Turtle Beach Montego:

  • Speakers: This was the part where I clearly noticed what sets this card above the Diamond sound card. I could tell just how much better the movie sounded with Dolby Digital Live enabled. It was like a whole new movie experience because everything sounded very enhanced compared to the Diamond card, which doesn't have the DDL feature. I know now that I'll never watch a movie again without Dolby Digital Live enabled. 

  • Headphones:  I could still tell the difference in the headphones with Dolby Digital Live enabled, but the movie with speakers was much better.


Diamond XS 7.1:


  • Speakers:  This card does have Dolby Digital EX (enables 6th and 7th channel in Dolby Digital) which I felt really couldn't compete with the Montego when I watched Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift the second time around.

  • Headphones: The Diamond sound card lost here because of the card not being Dolby Digital Live enabled.

 

The Diamond sound card isn’t that bad, but I felt like it played all the sounds almost as one whole sound. In other words, it wasn’t too distinctive with the notes.  The Montego was absolutely wonderful in distinctively playing each individual sound to make it all sound crisp. I could definitely tell with both sound cards that the categories in the mixer were roughly the same and sounded nearly identical. So overall, the Montego got better marks because of how it distinguished each note instead of sounding like one big sound as with the Diamond card. Also, the Dolby Digital Live capability of this card definitely made a noticeable difference in the movie.  Below is a picture of the two cards next to each other. The Montego is on the left; notice how the cards are almost identical with few differences.




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