The Revolution Loaded
Viva La Revolucion (7.1)
After wrestling with Creative's Audigy drivers through 3 revisions, I'm nearly going bald from pulling my hair out. The Revolution 7.1 comes with very nice and easy drivers. While they don't do nearly as much as the Audigy, they are small (3.7MB while running), load quickly at startup, easy to use, and look great.
The control panel Applet is laid out in five tabs, Speaker Setup, Output Mixer, Surround Sound, Input/Other, and About. The About tab you don't need my examination of.
The first tab, Speaker Setup, allows you select your speaker setup. You have a QuickSwitch feature that allows you to quickly select your setup. There is also a much more comprehensive list under a drop-down menu that has about 50 sets of speaker setups by brand. For example, if you have Klipsch ProMedias then you'd select those from the drop-down menu. Since I don't have any of the included speaker sets, there is no way to verify if those selections have equalizations other than hard-wired subwoofer crossover selections. Oh, and it is kinda fun to select speaker sets as the little pictures of the speakers change in size. They're pretty accurate, too.
There also extra pictures of cube-type speakers and flat panels.
The Output Mixer tab lets you set individual volumes for individual speakers. It's a poor man's equalizer. I do like the fact that none of the tabs obscure the master volume or QuickSwitch icons.
The Surround Sound tab is much more feature packed. You've got radio buttons for all of the Revolution 7.1 surround modes, the Sensaura game mode and the two SRS modes. The SRS modes allow for Bass management and an intriguing Dialog Enhancement mode.
The last tab is the Input/Other. I'm not exactly sure what 'Other' is referring to. This tab allows for monitoring of recording, sample frequency, and ASIO buffer size. There isn't a bit-depth setting, but I think many people will use whatever recording software they have to do that.
Overall the Revolution 7.1 has a very nice and clutter-free applet. I like nice and clutter free applets. The drivers don't hog resources or install superfluous 'helper' programs. I haven't experienced a single problem with them. There aren't any glitches in playback, recording, or games. Judging on drivers alone, I'd give the Revolution 7.1 a very hearty recommendation!
But wait, there's more!