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Review: BlueGears/HDA Digital X Mystique 7.1 Gold
June 6, 2005
Author: Geno Manufacturer: Distributed by Blue Gears
Department: HTPC-SFF Model: X Mystique 7.1 Gold
Article Type: Review Time Spent: 1 month
 
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Introduction




Distributed in the US for HDA by Blue Gears, the X Mystique 7.1 Gold’s first claim to fame is support for real time Dolby Digital Live encoding in hardware. As avid HTPC users, we just had to see for ourselves if there might finally be some competition for Creative. We found the card at FrozenCPU for $99.00 US and placed an order here. Although we will also test this card in several games, our primary focus will be on HTPC usage. You can find the card at our favorite HTPC store, PCAlchemy for $99.00 US here.

To better emulate the performance and experience a typical HTPC user might have, I assigned this review to a “non-audiophile”. I needed a guy who looks at the task of hooking this stuff up and groan’s out loud-- in other words, a guy who has to read the directions. Selecting the least intelligent member of our staff (for audio) was easy. Me. Now before you beat me up in the forums, keep in mind I do NOT claim to be an expert with audio. I do, however, have excellent hearing, and I know what sounds good and what doesn’t.


Box Contents


HDA wanted to make sure a potential customer didn’t miss the fact that this card supports Dolby Digital Live, so they put it all over the box which should compete well in the retail shelf wars, and covers the features of the card quite well. Inside you will find the card, a manual, driver CD, DVD/CD digital cable and optical S/PDIF cable.


The Card


Not too hard on the eyes with all the green tinted caps. Looks like a sound card. A close visual inspection showed a well constructed card with no obvious problems. On the back panel connector, we see, starting from the left; Line in, MIC in, Front, Side Surround, Back Surround, Center/Woofer, Coaxial and Optical S/PDIF out. Boy, that’s a lot going on back there…I am already regretting assigning this review to myself. In the last picture, we have a shot of C-Media's 8CH+ DDL chip.


 
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