Yours for just 99p with free international shipping. I ordered this as i needed something for my work pc which has no on-board sound card whatsoever (Dell Optiplex 760), which unfortunately means i was unable to watch any Youtube videos (for research purposes naturally). My first thought was a DragonFly for €99 on amazon, and then i found this little gem on eBay for 99p, worth the gamble?
One month later it arrived, peering through the semi translucent plastic i can see a black blob from a "die on board" IC construction similar to that found on calculators, digital watches etc. Read cheap. The origin of the chip is a mystery however i cant help be impressed with how a USB controller and Audio device have been placed inside this single wafer design. Surrounding it are a dozen or so SMD capacitors and resistors, a crystal, and a red LED. The LED constantly blinks, and when sound is being played it blinks even faster to signify it is doing something just like a memory key. Marvelous.
Installation was as simple as plugging it in and waiting for Windows to automatically detect and install it. Device is listed as a "USB PNP Audio Device", with a max sample rate of 16bit, 48khz. It also supports the Windows enhancements so you can enable "Bass Boost, Virtual Surround, Room Correction, and Loudness Equalization" if you feel inclined to do so.
So how does it work? like a champ. While not exactly the last word in HiFi its perfectly usable for watching youtube videos and listening to other people speak. Its clear, clean and has no noticeable background noise to speak of while using a cheap pair of ear buds that came free with something i bought from China some time ago.
For a total investment of £0.99, i give this a 9.9/10
Next up is the more expensive version from the same seller, going for a premium price of £1.18. So what does that extra 19p buy you, well on top of the functionality you get with the above model this one adds buttons. Two for volume up/down to control the Windows mixer, a mute button for playback, and a mute for recording with an LED indication. The claim of Virtual 7.1 is however a complete mystery to me.
For a total investment of £1.18, i have to give this one a 10/10
In all seriousness, if i was to source any one component from a UK supplier be it a USB socket, 3.5mm socket or an LED i would bet it would cost me more than £1 for the part + shipping. How they can manufacture these things and ship them half way around the world for so little amazes me, i honestly cannot fault them. They are so cheap everyone should have one in their toolkit. I'm going to say it, best audio bargain ever!, and it really does sound as good as a device costing 10 times as much
Edited by mcandmar - 12/4/13 at 7:20am