MADDOG Entertainer 7.1 DSP

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MAD DOG Entertainer 7.1 DSP Sound Card
8 Channels of Chest Pounding Sound

By Tom Laverriere
February 17, 2004

Many of today's motherboards are equipped with more than ample integrated sound solutions, which has made aftermarket sound cards a bit of an afterthought for some users.  While some will correctly argue that add-in sound cards offer much better sound quality, this "improved" sound quality does come at a price.  Thanks to companies like MAD DOG Multimedia, that price can be a very reasonable one.  Today in the HotHardware labs, we have the MAD DOG Entertainer 7.1 DSP sound card.  The Entertainer 7.1 incorporates VIA's Envy24HT-S audio controller, which offers up to eight channels of digital sound with Sampling rates up to 192 kHz.  Yes, this card "sounds" promising, but the big question still remains - Is an add-in card worth the upgrade over today's high-end integrated sound solutions?  After testing the MAD DOG Entertainer sound card in a variety of situations, we drew our own conclusion.  Read on to see what we found...

Specifications
We Hope you have some good speakers!

Features
24-bit Digital Signal Processor (DSP)

Sampling rates up to 192 kHz

PCI 2.2 Interface with Bus Mastering and Burst Modes

3 Synchronous I2S/AC-link Output Data Stream Pairs

2 Synchronous I2S/AC-link Input Data Stream Pairs

Multi-channel AC-Link supported

Integrated S/PDIF Transmitter with IEC958 Line Driver

Digital Loop-back and Stream Routing Mechanism

ACPI and PCI PMI Support

I2C Subset Interface Peripherals Control

Windows® WDM drivers

3.3V Operating Supply (5V Tolerant I/O)
 

On-Board Connectors
Front Speakers (L/R)

Rear Speakers (L/R)

Center Speaker / Subwoofer (C/Sub)

Headset Out / Alternate (L/R)

Microphone

Line In

S/PDIF Out (Optical cable)

S/PDIF In (Optical cable)


 

Speaker Recommendations

In order to experience immersive and heart-pounding 8-channel sound, you must use an 8-channel (7.1) capable speaker system.  To experience 6-channel sound you must use a 6-channel (5.1) speaker system.  This card also supports 2-channel and 4-channel speaker configurations.

Compatibility

Windows XP, 2000, ME, 98, 95, and NT 4.0

Windows NT 4.0 functionality may differ from box specifications due to

limitations in Windows NT

 

Minimum System Requirements

Intel Pentium® II class processor or higher

AMD K6-2® 266MHz processor or higher
PCI 2.1 or higher expansion slot
64 MB system RAM
CD-ROM / DVD-ROM / CD-RW Drive
10 MB available disk space
Windows
® 98 / ME / NT / 2000 / XP
To experience surround sound, you must use 4, 6, or 8-channel speakers
 

Box Contents

ENTERTAINER 7.1 DSP Sound Card

Quick Setup Guide

Installation and Information CD

One (1) Optical S/PDIF Cable

 


     

        

  

 
At first glance, the MAD DOG Entertainer DSP 7.1 is an impressive looking card.  The myriad of connectors on the rear gold plated bracket hint at the 7.1 surround capabilities of this card, which means it can drive up to 8 distinct audio channels.  Don't worry if you don't own 8 speakers, however, because the MAD DOG Entertainer also supports 2, 4, and 6 speaker configurations as well.  The software / accessory bundle included with MAD DOG Entertainer DSP 7.1 was bit slim, which is part of the reason why this card is positioned at a lower price point.  Inside the box we found an optical S/PDIF cable for digital sound, along with a driver CD and a quick installation guide.  Not the most inspiring bundle, but all of the essentials were included.

Setup, Installation and  Software

 

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