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  PURE Digital SonicXplosion DVD review

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The SonicXplosion DVD touts itself as being the “world’s first complete home cinema sound card”, a fairly bold claim. On a basic level the SonicXplosion DVD is a repackaged TerraTec SiXPack 5.1 bundled with WinDVD 4. This is by no means a bad thing as the SonicFury was a repackaged Santa Cruz – highly regarded by many.

 

Out of the box, the SonicXplosion DVD comes with a printed quick install guide and an html manual which is available from the bundled CD, something we are getting used to see more often nowadays, so for beginners this should do just fine as most troubleshooting topics are covered: hardware installation, updating drivers, using the Control Panel, etc.

Installation of the Soundcard itself went along smoothly; among the extra stuff that came in the package we have the optional MIDI/Gameport bracket, the length of cable for this bracket is enough to allow you some flexibility with where you want to place this bracket should you need it. Both CD’s that came with the card offered a plethora of 3rd party software, several being full versions, e.g. Jet Audio & the others being demos. The main attraction is of course WinDVD; if you are mostly interested in how the card performed in gaming or DVD playback you might want to jump to those sections directly.

The SonicXplosion includes WDM Drivers for Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 & XP and although I didn’t test this, the card should also support Drivers for the TerraTec SiXPack 5.1 in much the same way the SonicFury could use Turtle Beach Santa Cruz Drivers. This didn’t matter however, as the current PURE Digital build was the same as the latest from TerraTec.

Shown beneath is the Playback tab of the Control Panel, which allows you to adjust the volume level for various channels.

Much like TerraTec’s Control Panel no Help File is included as regards the options available here, though PURE Digital do have an article entitled “Using the SonicXplosion Control Panel” which explains the options available, personally I’d have preferred this integrated into the Control Panel for sake of convenience, but anyway. The Sources & Record tabs offers the expected usual options as regards controlling volume levels for numerous sources, as well as left/right balance & Acoustic Echo Cancellation configuration (Or AEC as the Control Panel somewhat unhelpfully labels it).

As regards the Digital Out configuration the Digital In Source (Direct) option is a pass-through mode, allowing you to send a digital signal to the S/PDIF In & out the S/PDIF Output. An example of where this could be used would be, say, to connect your DVD Players Optical S/PDIF Output to the SonicXplosion’s S/PDIF Input & have the SonicXplosion’s S/PDIF Output connected to a Dolby Digital/DTS decoder. In this way you could have both devices connected to the decoder without requiring cable swapping.

For performance sake both digital in/output can be disabled by selecting Off. The EQ tab features a 10-band hardware equaliser, while the MIDI tab allows you to adjust various MIDI playback options. I will cover more in detail the 3D Settings later on.

Overall while the Drivers did offer great stability the Control Panel will likely be somewhat confusing to the less experienced due to no built-in help feature. As explained next the Drivers could well do with an update to 2 to add certain features/functionality for gaming as well.

You can read full system specifications on next page, if you want to skip that, click here.



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