First portable USB Sound Blaster

By on May 2, 2003, 5:48 AM
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:

[center][url=http://www.techspot.com/newspics/05-sb-big.jpg][IMG]http://www.techspot.com/newspics/05-sb.jpg[/IMG][/url]        [url=http://www.techspot.com/newspics/05-sbbox-big.jpg][IMG]http://www.techspot.com/newspics/05-sbbox.jpg[/IMG][/url][/center]

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.




User Comments: 8

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TS | Thomas said:
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.
Shawn said:
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.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by Shawn [/i]Isn't USB too slow for things like this?[/quote] 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?
TS | Thomas said:
The main problem was USBs CPU reliance, bandwidth less so. Course USB 2 support would be nice too.
acidosmosis said:
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.
TS | Julio said:
I believe it's more of a "stereo", 2 speaker solution, I could be wrong though.
Mictlantecuhtli said:
[quote][i]Originally posted by TS | Thomas [/i]The main problem was USBs CPU reliance, bandwidth less so. Course USB 2 support would be nice too. [/quote] 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..
young&wild said:
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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