Well known for its ATI-based graphics cards, Diamond Multimedia has expanded from sight to sound: The company has introduced two PCI audio cards with 7.1-channel surround sound and sophisticated recording/editing software. For $30, the Xtreme Sound 7.1 can be configured for anything from a single headset to 8-speaker output, with software presets for environments such as "living room" versus "auditorium." Microphone and stereo line input join front, rear, center/subwoofer, and surround L/R output as well as coaxial S/PDIF in/out and internal input connectors for CD and auxiliary audio.
The $60 Xtreme Sound 7.1 DDL adds Dolby Digital Live real-time encoding technology that converts any audio signal to a Dolby Digital bitstream for playback through a home theater system, with a single digital connection between the PC and an audio/video receiver or digital speaker system. Both cards come with Audacity, a full-featured recording/editing studio that lets users edit and mix an unlimited number of tracks while removing static, hiss, and other background noise.
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