Mad Dog Entertainer 7.1 Sound Card

Soundcards and Speakers 106 Page 9 of 9 Published by




There are currently three versions of this particular sound card, one from Mad Dog, the other from Gainward (@home schtick) and the new Turtle Beach Catalina. If someone had asked a few weeks ago, when the Entertainer was all alone in the market, I would have said yes. But now it's a tough call.  I might lean towards a Catalina just for the software bundle. But at $80, I would just pop for a Revo at $20 more. It's well worth the extra dough.


The Entertainer on its own is not terribly impressive. It got our 'slowest' award in every game we tested it with. It is in the middle of the pack in terms of immersion with its Sensaura3D algorithms, which actually do sound very good. But with the Audigy2 ZS lurking around, everything else is middle of the pack. The Entertainer also measured 'very good' in RMAA 5.3, with the slightly high IMD. With music and the odd WinXP beep, the Entertainer did pretty well. It does sound better than the nVidia SoundStorm, but ony marginally.


Technically speaking the Entertainer uses the Envy24HT, but handicaps its 24 bit/192kHz capabilities by using VIA's SixTRAC DAC which is limited to 16 bit/48kHz. Then there is the Wolfson DAC which does go all the way to 24 bit/192kHz, but sadly it is only on 2 channels. I do suppose at this price point you can't get everything!


Any perspective buyer should be aware of the Entertainer's limitations. The upside is that unless you are a very hard core gamer or audiophile, you won't notice.  It does sound good for music, and if you don't mind the performance hit, it does sound good in games. It also has 24 bit capabilities, and it is fairly inexpensive.


This earns the Entertainer a score of...


Above Average


But not by much.


Closing Links

Special thanks to VIA, Keith Kowal (you still owe us an interview, buddy), and the Godfather, Hilbert Hagedoorn.  And to the four or five audio dudes out there *cough Slayer cough* who keep sending me email.  Thanks, guys, keep 'em coming.  Ya'll rock!


This review brought to you by the, "hair of the dog."


Our moment of zen.


Golden receiver?




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