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KT266A Mini Tweak Guide


Posted: January 15th, 2002
Written by: Tuan Huynh

Phillips Seismic Edge 5.1

Pros: Simple installation, superb sound quality, great features.
Cons: No CD S/PIDF input.
Verdict: Great sound, relatively low price, great alternative solution to the Santa Cruz.


Last year, Philips enjoyed success with their Acoustic Edge 5.1 soundcard in the sub-$100 market. When they were enjoying their success, Turtle Beach dropped the price on their Santa Cruz down to $69 and could be found OEM for $59. What was Philips to do when their only worthy competitor was $40 cheaper?

Their answer was simple, remove features from the Acoustic Edge and release it as a revised version of an existing product model. While many people have had problems with the 4-Channel Seismic Edge, which was based on the older VLSI Thunderbird 128 DSP, their new Seismic Edge 5.1 features the same DSP that the Acoustic Edge 5.1 and Rhythmic Edge 4.1 are based upon.

The Bundle

The Seismic Edge 5.1 doesnít really have much of a bundle. It comes with a driver CD, quick reference guide, manual, and a few applications on the driver CD. The Seismic Edge 5.1 comes in the same style box as the Acoustic Edge with the screaming guy/girl on it, but rather being silver, the box is red.

It comes with the exact same applications as the Acoustic Edge except Power DVD 3.0; those applications are Audiopix and Siren Jukebox. It also comes with Yamahaís Soft Synthesizer, which is the best software


The Product
Unlike its 4 channel predecessor, the new Seismic Edge 5.1 is based around VLSIís superb Thunderbird Avenger DSP. The DSP is able to produce 96 distinct 3D voices, 256 distinct DirectSound Voices 576 distinct synthesized Wavetable voices.

Using the same DSP would also mean the SE5.1 will sport features of similar nature correct? The answer is correct! The SE5.1 can produce a virtual 5.1 sound field out of any 2 channel or 4 channel audio sources like the Acoustic Edge can. This feature is great listening to MP3 audio or watching TV via a TV tuner.

One thing that the Seismic Edge 5.1 is missing compared to the Acoustic Edge is S/PIDF Inputs. Philips removed them to lower the cost of the card down to $79. So essentially this card is just an Acoustic Edge stripped of the S/PIDF inputs hardware-wise.



On the connector side of things, the SE5.1 has a similar layout as the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. From top to bottom, the connectors are: Line In, Mic In, Front Speaker, Rear Speakers, Center/LFE Channel and S/PIDF, and Game port. Like the Santa Cruz, the Seismic Edge 5.1 has a shared S/PIDF and Center/LFE channel connector.

Installation

What much can I say? Open up your computer, throw it in, screw it in, turn it on, install drivers, restart, and youíre set!

The Sound

Iím not going to say much about the sound this time, since it sounds exactly like the Acoustic Edge. Iíll take out a section from my previous Acoustic Edge Review.

ďAfter watching through the Cast Away, I was amazed by the sound quality. During the scene where the plane was crashing, the Acoustic Edge brought theatre realism to the room. Not only could I feel the effects, but the sound coming from the speakers were clear and had no distortion whatsoever. In DVD performance the Acoustic Edge definitely sounds better then the SB Live 5.1, you have to hear it to believe it.Ē

Like stated above, if youíre upgrading from an SB Live or Live 5.1, youíll notice and enjoy the difference in sound quality.

Conclusion

The Seismic Edge 5.1 is another awesome product made by Philips. There might be a problem with obtaining it; it appears that there are no retailers or OEMís that carry it quite yet in the US. It is available in Europe as I recall the original Seismic Edge wasnít available in that market. For those who are able to obtain one or have a chance of obtaining one, donít pass it up, the Seismic Edge 5.1 is a great product if you donít need the S/PIDF input that the Acoustic Edge has.

Overall [8.5/10]

The Seismic Edge 5.1 offers great performance for a relatively low price; the card is aimed towards gamers and does a very good job at it.


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