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  Philips Aurilium Soundcard review

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Philips made quite a splash in the soundcard market a few years ago when introduced PSC 70x family of soundcards, in particular the Acoustic Edge which I’m sure a lot of you may still use as your ‘primary’ soundcard. Among the memorable features of the Acoustic Edge we can recall true 6-channel positioning and QMSS audio enhancements, two features that certainly tell a lot about the product and Philips’ solid commitment to PC Audio enthusiasts given the age of such product.

The PSC805 Aurilium is Philips’ latest effort to take on the somewhat crowded soundcard market still dominated by Creative Labs. The Aurilium is a certified USB 2.0 external soundcard which doesn’t differ much in concept with the SoundBlaster Extigy that we have previously reviewed.

 

In the Box & Connectivity

Starting from the box looks, Philips tried to make a fine looking product with the Aurilium. Its bundle consisted of a printed guide and the Drivers/Software CD. As per the norm, this covers basic hardware and software installation, as well as an installation video in the CD. Installing the soundcard itself was simpler than with a traditional card given its ‘external’ nature and the wonders of USB: 1) Drivers installation, 2) Windows reboot, 3) Get plugged to the USB port and voila.

Important to note is that the USB port also provides the Aurilium with power, something that can not be said about the Extigy.

The Aurilium features 3 stereo Line Outputs, Optical/Coaxial S/PDIF Outputs (No S/PDIF Inputs however), Line In, Mic In and Headphone output. As with many recent soundcards, no game-port is available. Additionally, thanks to being an external solution much of the controls are located on the Aurilium itself (Along with the lovely blue LEDs).

Over the course of testing the Aurilium, I used Creative’s Inspire 6700 and Videologic’s ZXR 750 speakers systems using available Line-Out's as well as a pair of Philips headphones. For testing digital output the Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF Outputs were connected to a SoundBlaster Extigy.

 

Sound Agent 2

The Aurilium is the latest Philips Soundcard to feature Sound Agent 2 which according to the manual plays the following function:

Sound Agent 2 uses sophisticated algorithms to analyse sound along 2 dimensions: the source of the sound, which can be any source type, & the room or headphones where the sound is going to be played. Combining input & output with the sound card itself results in high-quality total holistic sound optimisation. Importantly, the end-user also has a means of easily identifying & manipulating variables that affect sound quality in context of their particular listening experience.

Sound Agent 2 has the ability of automatically detecting the audio system you have plugged to the Aurilium, no need to manually select whether are using a 5.1 system, headphones, etc., just connect whatever the system is and the program will figure it out for you. No doubt a great convenience for everyone and it functioned exactly as specified when I tested it, swapping at ease through several output configurations. More detailed information & demos of Sound Agent 2 can be found over at http://www.soundagent2.com.

If you want to skip on Technical Specifications (next page), click here instead.

 



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