The Sound Agent
control panel can be run automatically at start-up for ease
of access or by loading it via the Start Menu.
One nice feature of
the Sound Agent 2 in the Aurilium was its ability to
auto-detect the audio system you were connected to and
configure as needed, be it Headphones, 2, 4 or 5.1 speakers,
this is absent in the Ultimate Edge.
The Advanced section
allows you to enable/disable various features
like S/PDIF Output and the Analog inputs (Line-In/Mic-In)
and apply QMSS if desired. As mentioned earlier, clicking on
HI-SR (96 KHz) should enable/disable
resampling of all input/output to 96 kHz. When unclicked all
input/output sources are resampled to 48 kHz.
Several Presets are
also available to be loaded for different musical tastes –
though you can also create and save your own. The Effects
tab allows you to view the status of available effects and
adjust QSizzle, QRumble & QXpander levels.
Reverb adds the ability to change the playback environment
to one of the fifteen choices available. If you’ve
previously used a Creative soundcard you are probably
familiar with this concept, suffice to say it’s not
something you’d normally want to use.
QSizzle and QRumble
are Ultimate Edge’s dynamic treble and bass controls.
Whereas other Soundcards provide you with static treble and
bass adjustments (if at all), Sound Agent 2 uses dynamic
filters which are adjusted based on the audio stream being
played. 3D Effects option enables/disables the
use of QMSS to provide multi-channel (up-mixed) playback of
stereo sources in 4/5.1 output mode, or use QSurround/QXpander
to provide virtual 3D playback and better stereo separation
in 2 Speaker/Headphone output modes. Additionally a 10-band
EQ (Equaliser) is available, something that Creative only
made readily available with the
Audigy 2 ZS).
Missing from the
drivers however is ASIO support, something which is provided
with both the Revolution 7.1 and Audigy 2 ZS. That said this
might not be too important for most users so it’s not
entirely a big deal.
The only problem
which I did encounter was when trying to run
RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.3, whereby I couldn’t get the
Input levels to the recommended levels, a similar thing
occurred with the Aurilium. As it happens the Ultimate Edge
included a setup guide for RMAA 5.3 (in a reviewers CD)
which I followed with no final luck, the right input level
was correct but the left input level wasn’t. As such I
couldn’t run tests with it, though the reference results
Philips provided indicated performance near that of the
Revolution 7.1 which is what you would be expecting
given the similar specifications.
Throughout the review
the Ultimate Edge drivers performed essentially flawlessly,
there were no problems applying any of the effects available
or any playback weirdness in general, music playback with
Foobar 2000 or 3D audio in games.
Next page details
results output by RightMark Audio and Technical
Specifications, click here
if you would like to skip those.