- The Card
As far as aesthetics go, the Audigy 2 is very similar to the original Audigy - featuring an identically sized sexy black PCB with gold connectors as well as a very similar chip layout. However, that is where the similarities end. Firstly, the below image pictures the heart of the Audigy 2 sound card, the CA0102-IAT audio processor.
The quality of sound produced highly depends on the type of converters used. On the Audigy 2, the Sigmatel STAC9460 controller provides DVD audio support, while the Crystal CS4382 chip provides 8-channel 24bit 192kHz playback. Both of these controllers are now widely used throughout the industry and are seen by many as among the best in their class.
From left to right, the ports available on the Audigy 2's backplate are: Digital Out, Line In, Mic In, Line Out 1, Line Out 2, Line Out 3 and an SB1394 port. The digital out port is used for connecting external digital devices or digital speaker systems and the first line out port is for front speakers, while the second line out port is for rear speakers and the third line out port is for centre, subwoofer and rear center speakers. Sound familiar? Well, this was the same layout used on the original Audigy.
As you may have guessed by now, the Audigy 2 card we have obtained for testing is the Platinum version, as the Platinum eX is not due for release until early 2003. Below is an image of the bundled 5 1/4" bay insert, which as you can see is very similar to that included with the original Audigy. This is very handy for audiophiles and musicians alike as it provides many extra ports not found on competing cards. That said, most gamers are likely to only use the headphone jacks and volume controls.
As mentioned earlier, the Platinum and Platinum eX versions of the Audigy 2 come bundled with a handy remote control. This remote is able to communicate with your PC through the infrared port located on the bundled breakout box. The remote has not changed much since the original Audigy, and simply put it allows you to control most aspects of audio playback without being physically at your PC.