vacancies advertise contact news tip The Vault
facebook rss twitter

PowerColor launches Devil HDX PCI Express sound card

by Mark Tyson on 5 June 2015, 13:06

Tags: PowerColor (6150.TWO)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacry5

Add to My Vault: x

PowerColor has launched a soundcard at Computex this week, as part of its Devil range of components. This is the first foray of this well known graphics card maker into the world of PC audio. That doesn't mean that PowerColor is making a tentative step, it rather looks like the firm has dived into audio both feet forward with the PowerColor Devil HDX PCI Express sound card.

This first attempt at a soundcard from PowerColor is designed to be a high-end component aimed at the type of customer who would be interested in the rest of the PowerColor Devil range. That means high-end for gaming enthusiasts rather than Hi-Fi music aficionados or sound engineers.

PowerColor boasts that its new sound card features "crystal clear Hi-Fi audio," and is built using "supreme quality components." It has also put thought into the card layout and covered the board with an electromagnetic interference shield to minimise any background noise. PowerColor says that as a result of its component choices and design the Devil HDX benefits from an SNR of 124dB.

Key components of the PowerColor Devil HDX include a Cmedia CM8888 audio processor and a Wolfson WM8741 DAC. Like a growing number of premium sound cards (and even some motherboards) it is simple to change the core audio characteristics by swapping the OP-AMP installed on the board. Fresh from the box you will have a TI LM4562 OP-AMP installed.

Plenty of audio ports are present on this soundcard. There are two backplates, one on the main card, complemented by a daughterboard, both are shown below. PowerColor highlights the provision of a 6.3mm headphone jack on the main board which can drive 600 ohm impedance headphones. Users can enjoy full 7.1 sound via the daughterboard outputs.

Software support includes Xear surround sound, 3D sound and Karaoke modes plus FlexBass II. In your PC audio software you will be able to take advantage of the low latency this card offers via an ASIO 2.2 driver.

Bus Standard

PCI Express

SNR

124dB (RCA out), 120dB (6.3 Phone out)

THD+N

0.00039% (-108dB)

Frequency Response

20Hz-20KHz

Sample Rate & Resolution

44.1K/48K/88.2K/96K/192KHz @ 16bit/24bit

Connectivity

Main Board:
1 x 6.3mm Phone Out with Amplifier
2 x RCA (L/R) Jack Out
1 x Coaxial Out
1x Optical Out
1x Multi-Channel connector to Daughter Board
1x HDA (HD Audio) connector to Daughter Board or Front panel audio header
Daughter Board:
1x 3.5mm Mic-in
4x 3.5mm analog out
(front/rear/center-subwoofer/side)

Output channel

Stereo & up to 7.1 Channel

Headphone Amplifier

up to 600 ohms

Chipset

Audio Processor: High performance Cmedia CM8888 audio processor
Digital to Analog Converter : Wolfson WM8741

Dimensions (WxL)

Main board: 106 x 157 mm
Daughter board: 100 x 50 mm

 



HEXUS Forums :: 9 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
So the actual audio processing chip is half outside the pointless shroud anyway. Way to go marketing departments.
What I find more concerning than that is analogue audio is sent over to the daughterboard via probably unshielded ribbon cable i.e. the same stuff which so frequently picks up interference on front panel connectors.
Lack of digital in seems a fairly glaring oversight, but common on most of these kinds of products, sadly. Makes it a hard sell to anyone using it for non-gaming/movie purposes :( One of the common reasons that folks request sound cards in new PC builds (bearing in mind that most people are happy with mobo audio or HDMI audio) is for recording purposes from other equipment.

As for the shroud, I suppose they'd say it is designed to shield the analogue stuff (DACs etc) rather than the purely digital elements (audio processor), but still. Likely of little benefit either way, but they seem to be the “in thing” in mid-range sound cards with gaming aspirations.
Surely these days anyone who cares about their audio is just sending the pure digital bitstream to an external device, i.e. an AV receiver or speakers with the analogue stuff built in? Most people are happy with some reasonable speakers and the (usually OK) motherboard audio, the days of a dedicated sound card actually making a difference to frame rates or “Soundblaster required” are long gone.
The price will pretty much make or break it in terms of desirability, in all honesty. And curiously, there seems to be quite some similarities between this card and the Asus Xonar Essence cards, from both hardware and software standpoints. Also, would've been nice for the Devil HDX to support ASIO 2.3 rather than 2.2.

With that said, I'm pretty satisfied with my Essence STX II and, while implementation makes a difference, I prefer my PCM1792A DAC over the WM8741 DAC (it's still great, mind you), only really lacking gaming audio support for the huge library of older games that use and benefit from it, as well as its stock processing features being somewhat unpleasant to my hears, whereas I prefer Creative's solution for that, but that's very much a matter of personal opinion.