Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy review: Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Lots of clean-sounding inputs and outputs; remote control; supports Dolby Digital 5.1; serious software suite.

The Bad Doesn't output Dolby 5.1 digitally (through an optical digital output) to home-theater systems.

The Bottom Line This external sound card works great for watching DVDs, listening to tunes, or recording audio on your computer.

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With the Sound Blaster Extigy, Creative Labs gives computer music fans seven outputs and five audio inputs of pretty much every stripe. With this external sound card attached via USB, your computer can send and receive audio to and from MiniDisc players, DVD players, home-theater systems, surround-sound speakers, microphones, guitars, MIDI drum machines, and almost any other audio device you can think of, in digital, analog, or Dolby Digital surround sound. Plus, you get clean sound on all ports and a remote control, all for the price of about 10 CDs. With the Sound Blaster Extigy, Creative Labs gives computer music fans seven outputs and five audio inputs of pretty much every stripe. With this external sound card attached via USB, your computer can send and receive audio to and from MiniDisc players, DVD players, home-theater systems, surround-sound speakers, microphones, guitars, MIDI drum machines, and almost any other audio device you can think of, in digital, analog, or Dolby Digital surround sound. Plus, you get clean sound on all ports and a remote control, all for the price of about 10 CDs.

Clean going in, clean coming out
The Extigy adds a laundry list of input and output jacks to your desktop. On the front, you'll find an optical (TOSLINK) in, an optical out, a line in, a mike in with hardware-level control, and a line/headphones out with hardware-volume control. The back panel houses a USB jack, a MIDI in, a MIDI out, an S/PDIF in, an S/PDIF out, and three jacks for outputting Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound (front, rear, and center/subwoofer). With all of these ins and outs, you can connect pretty much any audio device to the Extigy--and we did.

Installation was ridiculously easy, a refreshing change from the audio-hardware headaches we've encountered with PCI-card-based solutions. You can put the Extigy on your desk either horizontally or vertically using two rubber feet. When it's connected, the Extigy replaces your sound card. But to prevent configuration issues, your system reverts seamlessly back to your internal sound card when the Extigy is disconnected or powered down.

Since the Extigy sits outside of your PC, attaching cords is much, much easier than having to reach around to the back of your computer every time. The fact that it is an external device also renders your audio free from the PC's internal electrical noise. The digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital converters are of a very high quality--more than a 100dB signal-to-noise ratio and up to 24-bit 96KHz in and out--so whether you're listening to PC-based MP3s on your headphones or recording onto your hard drive from an LP, the Extigy delivers remarkably hiss-free sound. Analog stereo input and output volume levels can be adjusted using knobs on the front of the Extigy, via the taskbar mixer, or with the Creative Audio Mixer.

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Where to Buy

Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy

Part Number: 70SB013000000

MSRP: $149.99

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Sound Output Mode 5.1 channel surround
  • Interface Type USB
  • OS Required Microsoft Windows XP