Pros: Audiophile Sound
I am an older PC Gaming and Music enthusiast, so the PC platform has become a passion for me. My goal was to enjoy both high performance PC gaming and mixing high quality music MP3 files on one rig, Most PC gamers, as with myself used Creative soundcard products or integrated sound in their PC's. I discovered that Auzentech was approaching PC sound from the audiophile perspective and that's what led me to the Meridian. The first time I listened to it was through my Klipsch ProMedia 5.1 Computer Speaker System and I was blown away. The sound was so clean and lively I just sat there and listened. The neat thing about the Auzen Meridian is that you can swap out the OpAmps. Looking for even better sound, I found and put in 3 LM4562NA OpAmps (for 5.1; Front L+R, Center, Sub-woofer and Surround L+R) and the sound was even more warmer and bright. As for headphone enthusiasts, the card features Dolby® Headphone technology, conveying 5.1 surround and 3D gaming audio over stereo headphones. I used my Audio Technica ATH-A700 headphones through the Klipsch ProMedia Control Tower's headphone output and listened in various sound environments. It was outstanding how well it surround, I found aural nirvana with the Meridian as the heart of my sound processing.
The Meridian gained a reputation as being the best audiophile sound card (not a bad gaming card, either) for it's generation. Now, Auzentech has produced in 2011 the Meridian 2G (2nd Gen.) which now features a separate Headphone Amp, too cool. This is an incredible card and the specs speak for themself:
Sound Card Specifications
•Additional inputs available using the Auzen X-Tension DIN, sold separately
•The C-Media Oxygen HD CMI8788 Audio Processor is the heart of the AUZEN X-MERIDIAN 7.1.
•4 pcs 24-bit/192kHz AK4396VF (120dB-part spec.) DACs for 7.1channel output. (24-bit/192kHz in 7.1channel playback)
•1 pc 24-bit/192kHz AK5385VF(114dB-part spec.) ADC input (24-bit/192kHz recording)
•1 pc CMI9780 AC'97 2.3 CODEC for AUX input, CD input, MIC input (16bit/48kHz playback/recording)
•Integrated up to 192k/24-bit S/PDIF transmitter for 44.1kHz,48kHz, 96kHz, 192kHz SPDIF output.
•Supports onboard high grade special COAX+OPTIC combo type transmitter module for up to 192kHz SPDIF out.
•Integrated up to 192k/24-bit S/PDIF receiver for 44.1kHz,48kHz, 96kHz, 192kHz SPDIF input.
•Supports onboard high grade special COAX+OPTIC combo type receiver module for up to 192kHz SPDIF input.
•Standard 10PIN Front Panel Audio supports connectivity for stereo audio output and a microphone input from most new chassis. (All 7.1channel analog output muted by jack connection sense of front panel headphone out / Dual MIC input available by back panel mic input and front panel mic input)
•DTS® Interactive - A real-time 5.1 channel encoder.
•DTS® Neo:PC - An upmix matrix technology.
•Dolby® Digital Live (DDL) - A real-time 5.1 channel encoding.
•Dolby® ProLogic IIx surround processor spreading stereo audio into 7.1 channel surround sound.
•Dolby® Headphone technology, conveying 5.1 surround and 3D gaming audio over stereo headphones.
•Dolby® Virtual Speaker solution, bringing amazing virtual surround sound fields via general two speakers.
•C-Media FlexBass™ - LFE channel crossover frequency setable from range 50 to 250Hz in Small speaker mode and Small/Large speaker selectable.
•C-Media Magic Voice™, popular feature for disguising your tone in online chatting.
•C-Media Xear 3D™ 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter technology.
•C-Media’s unique Karaoke functions: Microphone Echo, Key-shifting.
•Individual 10-band EQ for each channel,.27 global reverberation environments.
•Supports most industrial standards of 3D sound for PC gaming, including EAX™ 1.0 & 2.0, A3D™ 1.0, and DirectSound™.
•Swappable DIP type OPAMP controlled preamp out circuit (4pcs output control OPAMP IC with DIY socket)
•Surface mount type OPAMP controlled preamp input circuit (2pcs input control OPAMP for ADC and 1pc MIC input gain control)
•5Vrms (Differential DAC output with gain adjustment / approximately full swing from +/- 8V dual power supply)
•Proper OPAMP control circuit (large capacity 1A +8V, -8V, dual power supply circuit) for high quality audio quality, prevent audio distortion at high volume level.
•Upgrade Extension available (Extra 6.35mm MIC / Extra Digital I/O sold separately)
•Supported operating systems:
Microsoft Windows® 98SE / ME / 2000 Service Pack 3(SP3) / XP Service Pack 1(SP1) / Server 2003 SP1/ XP Media Center Edition 2005 (MCE) / XP x64 Edition.
•Swappable OPAMPs: All Auzen soundcards support swappable OPAMP sockets for OPAMP upgrades.