CCrane WIFI2 Radio

Improving PC Sound...Without Opening the Box

Boot Camp feature for Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Improving your PC's sound... without opening up the box. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. A lot of the bargain priced computers being sold these days... are great for lots of things, but can fall flat when it comes to audio. Upgrading the sound card in a PC isn't all that difficult... .but not everyone likes to tinker around inside the computer. Creative Labs is solving that problem with the Sound Blaster Extigy...

"To summarize Extigy, this is the quickest and easiest way that a user could upgrade their PC to a complete, home theatre audio system simply by plugging an external box in."

Creative's George Thorn says it can work with either a notebook or desktop computer through a USB port. It creates Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound, includes optical connections and a remote control. Installation is surprisingly simple... .sometimes this USB stuff doesn't work as easily as it should. In addition, the built in digital signal processor allows it to be used away from a PC...

"So with your PC off you might want to use the Extigy as simply a little home theatre box. And in that mode it has onboard processing capability to be able to take any stereo source and actually up mix that to take advantage of the full 5.1 sound stage that can be connected to the Extigy. Another thing you might do in stand alone mode is... the latest generation of game consoles like the Xbox has the ability to pass out a Dolby Digital encoded signal."

And the Extigy can decode the signal and provide surround sound output. One drawback... .it is not equipped to send the Dolby Digital 5.1 signal to a home theatre system through the optical connection. The price... I've found it selling online for under 130 dollars. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.