AudioTrak Prodigy 7.1 - The Board
The Prodigy 7.1 is a good looking card. Its bright red PCB will look great in a windowed case. Yeah, it's kinda weird that I've gotta make an opinion on aesthetics. Or about windowed computer cases.
You get a lot of input-output love on the backplane:
- Coaxial Digital
- 1/2 front speakers, headphone out
- 3/4 rear speaker
- 5/6 subwoofer, center
- 7/8 'background' surround
- Coaxial Digital
Mic In, Line In, Four stereo outputs, Coaxial in and out.
I would have much preferred optical digital inputs and outputs, even though coaxial is more prevalent in home theatre. I think optical connectors are a little more useful in connecting CD players, A/V receivers, and the musician's true friend: the Minidisc. Nonetheless, the Prodigy is geared towards a HTPC, for sure.
The little SigmaTel handles the four internal inputs.
There are four internal connectors as well:
- CD-in 1
- CD-in 2
Going a little bit more in-depth with the chips and whatnot, the Prodigy 7.1 uses the Envy24HT audio controller. The Envy24HT is a true 24bit audio processor, just like the high-end Envy24, but has support for 192kHz sampling rates and 8-channel output. The original Envy24 had hardware acceleration for DS3D, but was not used by many manufacturers. For that reason, the hardware acceleration was taken out of the rest of the Envy24 line, including the Envy24HT. This does cause a lean on the CPU for games.
This is the business end.
To handle 8-channels of output, AudioTrak chose a WM8770 DAC from Wolfson. This is a high-performance (106dB SNR @48kHz), multi-channel 24 bit 192kHz audio codec. Each one of these bad boys costs about $15. I seriously doubt AudioTrak pays that much for each DAC, but it is an indication of the component quality of the Prodigy. First-class, all the way, baby.
Caffeine+sugar+macro focus-tripod=shaky cam.
Other highlights include a SigmaTel STAC9744 to handle the onboard connectors, a gold plated backplane, gold plated inputs and outputs, and the shhh, headphone amp.
The relay switches in the heaphone amp. Bare pins smell of mod.