MADDOG Entertainer 7.1 DSP

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MADDOG Entertainer 7.1 DSP - Page 4

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

By Tom Laverriere
February 17, 2004

For our next set of benchmarks we used a couple of older games, namely Quake 3 Arena and Serious Sam: The Second Encounter.  In any event, they will give us a feel for how our audio subsystems affected performance.

Quake 3
OpenGL Gaming Performance

In the Quake 3 time demo we're seeing barely any drop off in performance when audio is enabled.  This is more of what we'd like to see when it comes to performance from our audio subsystems. NVIDIA's SoundStorm integrated audio and MAD DOG's Entertainer 7.1 sound card both performed well here.

Serious Sam: TSE
More in-Game Action

Our last test was run with the Serious Sam: The Second Encounter Demo using the Little Trouble level.  This game takes a much bigger hit in performance with audio enabled.  The MAD DOG Entertainer card caused almost a 4% decrease in performance, but this is right in line with what we've been seeing all along.  The NVIDIA powered on-board sound again doesn't seem to effect the score quite as much as the MAD DOG Entertainer sound card. 


Subjective Listening
Ears Wide Open

GAMES: UT2003, Quake 3, NHL 2004

Gaming with both the SoundStorm on-board sound and the MAD DOG Entertainer was a very pleasing experience.  We give the edge to the MAD DOG Entertainer, however, since it better reproduced the little sounds that made the games feel more immersive.  Our on-board sound solution, was a bit flat and less impressive, in our opinion.  In UT2003 and Quake 3, the footsteps were strikingly clear with the MAD DOG Entertainer while the on-board sound made those types of sounds harder to discern.  Overall, we liked the MAD DOG Entertainer for our gaming needs.

WinAMP v3.0 & Windows Media Player 9:

For testing music quality on both of these sound cards we took our Metallica "Load" CD and ripped all the tracks from it into mp3 format at 192kbps bit rate.  We also listened to a wide variety of music CDs to see how diverse each card was in reproducing different music genres.  Again, in this testing we feel the MAD DOG Entertainer had an edge over the on-board sound.  The highs were crystal clear and the bass seemed to hit harder with the MAD DOG Entertainer.  It seemed that in order to get the same feeling from the music with the SoundStorm audio, higher volume levels were required.  This is not always a bad thing, but in our minds being able to produce accurate audio at any volume level is key. 

After running the MAD DOG Entertainer sound card through a round of benchmarks and listening to it subjectively, it's safe to say that we were fairly impressed with this card from a subjective standpoint.  Its paper specs and features were impressive as well,  since the card offers up to eight channels of digital sound and uses a reputable codec in the Envy24 series.  Additionally, this card definitely may delight you where it matters the most - your wallet.  The MAD DOG Entertainer can be found on various search engines for around $50.  However, while the Entertainer won't take a huge chunk out of your savings, it doesn't offer as much incentive to make the switch from a quality on-board sound solution.  When listened to subjectively, both the on-board sound and the MAD DOG Entertainer sounded very comparable, neither one really stood out that prominently.  Clearly however, we gave the Entertainer strong competition in our test scenarios, as nVidia's "Sound Storm" technology is better than the standard CODEC solutions you find on many Intel chipset based motherboards.  Performance wise, the benchmarks show that the MAD DOG card uses a bit more processing power when compared to NVIDIA's SoundStorm, which itself uses more CPU resources than cards like Creative Lab's Audigy or Hercules' Fortissimo III.  So it all boils down to what you really need.  If your motherboard currently doesn't have on-board sound then the MAD DOG Entertainer DSP 7.1 sound card is a great addition to any system.  If you're already satisfied with your on-board sound, then we find less reason to upgrade unless, of course, you have 8 speaker setup, which is obviously not commonplace .  We're giving the MAD DOG Entertainer DSP 7.1 sound card a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 7.5.

  • 8 discrete channels
  • Digital and analog ins & outs
  • VIA Envy24HT-S codec
  • 24-bit Digital Signal Processor
  • Affordable
  • Slightly higher CPU utilization when compared to the competition

Discuss this or any other Hot Hardware Review in the PC Hardware Forum!


Tags:  DS, 7.1, dsp, Dog, RT, TAI, AI

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