TechSpot

First portable USB Sound Blaster

By Julio Franco
May 2, 2003
  1. Creative sent us some information on their latest soundcard development. Built on the Extigy success, Creative has plans for developing a range of USB Sound Blaster products to target entry level and advanced users, the Sound Blaster MP3+ is the first product that will make it to the market, here are a couple of pics for you to check out:

    [​IMG]        [​IMG]

    The device looks quite nice and is about the size of cigarette packet, is powered via the USB port, so requires no power cord. The SB MP3+ provides stereo playback, recording and "music management" according to Creative and will be touted as a solution for notebook and desktop users looking for an easy to install and feature-packed stereo upgrade, in fact, a bundled removable clip will enable the SB MP3+ to be mounted on the back of a notebook display.
    Creative seems to be pushing connectivity as another of the SB MP3+ strong features, add to that CMSS 3D virtual 5.1 mixing software capabilities we tested in our Audigy2 review not so long ago.

    Audio Inputs:
    • Line In
    • (Gold-plated, RCA pair)
    • Mic In (Gold-plated, 1/8”)
    • Optical S/PDIF In

    Audio Outputs:
    • Line Out (Gold-plated, RCA pair)
    • Line/Headphone Out (Gold-plated, 1/8”)
    • Optical S/PDIF Out

    Sounds like an interesting little device that we hope will have in our testing labs soon for a more detailed evaluation. The Sound Blaster MP3+ will be available from the end of May and will cost £39.99inc VAT in Europe, that's about US$65, less than half of the more feature-rich Extigy.
     
  2. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    I wonder will it be 24/96 as well. If so, 24/96 like the Audigy 2 or 24/96 like the Audigy/Extigy are.
     
  3. Isn't USB too slow for things like this? Anyway, I'm still using the original SoundBlaster Live! in my system; the one that cost $200 when it came out. After watching them screw me over on driver support over the years they are certainly not getting any more money from me. If I ever need a new card I'll go with someone else like Philips.
     
  4. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Well, if I can count properly, having 32 channels of 48 kHz, 16-bit sound results in 3 Mbps stream. USB 1.1 can handle 12 Mbps if I remember correctly.

    Edit:
    Looks like I can't count properly - it's 3 Mb/s, not Mbps - so 3 Mb/s means 24 Mbps, doesn't it?
     
  5. TS | Thomas

    TS | Thomas TS Rookie Posts: 1,319

    The main problem was USBs CPU reliance, bandwidth less so. Course USB 2 support would be nice too.
     
  6. acidosmosis

    acidosmosis TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,350

    It is neat looking, but how will this perform in other applications such as gaming? I know a lot of us may want something like this but also may want to play games with decent sound too. Kind of like my situation where I need a high quality soundcard for recording that can handle a lot of input without "peaking" out the sound when recording but also need to be able to play games with decent sound also.
     
  7. Julio Franco

    Julio Franco TechSpot Editor Topic Starter Posts: 7,059   +645

    I believe it's more of a "stereo", 2 speaker solution, I could be wrong though.
     
  8. Mictlantecuhtli

    Mictlantecuhtli TS Evangelist Posts: 4,345   +11

    Right. A while ago, I had USB hard disk plugged to my computer's USB 1.1 port. When moving files to / from it, CPU usage went to 60-80% ! And I have a P4 1.8 GHz.. Granted, a soundcard won't use the bus like that but still..
     
  9. young&wild

    young&wild TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 993

    I agree with Mict, I doubt that gaming usage is possible. A classic example is SB Extigy, even while in stereo the external soundcard hogs much of the CPU. Imagining using Estigy for intense gaming, much of the CPU resources(maybe 80% or more) will betaken off by just processing of sound, leaving a few more percentage for other uses.
     
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