Wednesday, March 9, 2011

DIAMOND Xtreme Sound 7.1 USB Audio Device Review


So this Diamond Xtreme Sound 7.1 USB audio device came in yesterday. I was able to play around it for a while. First impression is positive to say the best.

This is a pretty new product, it was released at the end of last year. It’s based on c-media cm106 solution. It’s USB 1.1/2.0 powered, and capable of 16bit, 48Khz audio input/output (digital and analog).


The device is smaller than I thought. It’s about the size of a medium sized mouse. Actual dimension is 5x2.5x1”. The construction is made of plastic, it feels ok. It came with a USB cable, one English manual, one French manual, and an installation CD. There are four buttons on the device, recording, muting/un-muting (the play/pause logo is misleading), volume down, and volume up. These are perfect addition to the SONY since the multimedia keys didn’t have these keys!


Installation was easy. Although the device is drive-less, I still opted-in to install the on CD driver which provides a control panel, where you can do some bass management, channel swapping, xear 3D DSP, and equalizer. The driver is mostly stable, but sometimes the control panel will quit, which I haven’t found a way to bring it back unless rebooting… But again, the control panel isn’t really needed, I wouldn’t recommend installing it unless you are intending to use the analog 7.1 HD feature. I haven’t found a way to uninstall the drive and control panel. The driver on the CD is actually an older version (, win 7 was able to update to a newer version (

Onto the main subject, I bought this device mainly to suppress the noise from the AC power. My initial testing is positive, while it didn’t eliminate the noise totally, it did keep them down at a reasonable level. I’m actually somewhat satisfied at this aspect. Audio quality wise, there’s no real improvement over the on-board Realtek. It’s a cheap c-media chip, what can you expect after all. And it doesn’t do crazy high resolution, high bit depth like Realtek, just simple 16bit, 48Khz.


There are lots of connectors including headphone, 7.1ch analog output, line in, mic in, digital-in/out. I have tested all the output. The 7.1ch analog output works, but I’m still not able to get good bass response, I’m starting to guess that it’s actually a problem with my AVR? The headphone provides enough amplification, I only need 30% of the volume. If I go beyond 50%, the noise starts becoming noticeable.


The digital output passes through AC3 and DTS without problem. It only supports 48Khz though while most devices I’ve tried supports at least 44.1Khz and 48Khz.

Considering I got the device cheap enough (after the $20 rebate on Amazon), I think this device is a keeper. But I’ll keep an eye on other solutions.

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