Saturday, March 5, 2011

Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro II USB Sound Card Review

 

So in my SONY VPCF13UFX/B Laptop Review, I was disappointed with the on-board Realtek chip. There are two USB audio devices I would like to try so far, and this turtle beach is one of them.

The reason I choose this one is because of its small form factor which I can carry it around without any effort. Also this audio device comes with an optical digital adaptor, which I can use either on the digital output from the on-board chip or this device. So yes, aside from the analog output, this device also supports digital audio output via SPDIF. Turtle Beach has also another product with similar shape but grey color, it’s called amigo II, this one doesn’t have SPDIF out, but does have mic in. It’s just something not to be confused of.

So here is my review.
 

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Initial setup was easy enough. I choose to install the driver since I want the full control. A reboot was required after driver installation. Also without driver, there’s some issue with volume controlling.

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If you change USB ports, a new installation is required, but afterwards, both ports will have the driver. The only issue I have so far is that the device has some problem on my USB 3.0 ports where the volume control malfunctioning. But on the USB 2.0 port, it works fine.

I’m not sure what chipset solution this one uses, but for the audio performance, I think this device is little “bright”, but overall it does have some slight improvement over the on-board Realtek chip.

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Unfortunately when connecting this device with SONY MDR-V6 monitor, I cannot get rid of noise! This was the priority issue I would want to solve from the deficiency of the on-board audio chip, but too bad…

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Onto the digital output side, this device uses the headphone/digital output sharing design. So a digital output adaptor is needed, thankfully it’s already included. I have no issue with the adapter unlike some of the reviews on Amazon said. It snapped onto the digital cable beautifully, and aligned the light correctly.

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This device does output ac3/DTS bitstreaming. It supports 44.1Khz and 48Khz. But in the turtle beach’s control panel, it seems always default to 48Khz.

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While as in win7’s control panel, I could enable 44.1Khz output.

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Summary:

So basically I want something small, not so expensive audio device. I want to connect an SONY MDR-V6 to the analog port for audio monitoring without NOISE. Unfortunately this device fails at this task. I also want to be able to bitstream ac3/DTS as I won’t be replacing my legacy AVR soon. This device works beautifully for this task unlike the analog output. So I think this one is NOT a keeper for me, it’ll go back to Amazon.

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