BestBuy has the Creative Labs Sound Blaster MP3+ on sale for $30 with a $10 rebate -> final cost $20. It looks like you can get two rebates (buy two devices) per household.
Creative Labs MP3+ at www.bestbuy.com
This is a box that connects to your USB (1.1) port and has audio inputs and outputs. It has both analog and digital (S/PDIF optical) inputs and outputs. It looks like another sound card to Windows.
I use a similar device to add another sound card to my HomeSeer server. This machine is also running winamp and functions as my mp3 player. The motherboard sound card is used for HomeSeer announcements. The external USB device has an optical output (just like the Creative device) that I feed to my receiver. Winamp is told to use the external device for output.
I picked up one of these, but I haven't used it yet. Creative includes several utilities for things like equalization, acoustic effects, and noise reduction. I don't know if you need to install any of this stuff to have it work like a basic sound card. I hope not.
There is a switch on the box that you use to select whether you want digital outputs only or digital and analog. This creates a limitation for the way I'd like to use this, but I don't expect that to be a problem in general. When you are in digital only mode, the S/PDIF will output at 44.1kHz (CD) or 48kHz (DVD) - I assume based on the source. Most mp3s are at 44.1kHz. If you are in digital and analog mode, I presume that the audio comes out of both sets of outputs. However, the documentation states that the digital audio is only at 48kHz. This means that it will transcode mp3s before playing them. I'm not terribly pleased about that - I've heard many mp3s that pick up a "ringing" noise when transcoded. I haven't tested this device yet, so the problem may not be evident with it. I had hoped (and still do) to be able to use this to feed both digital and analog devices with the same audio.
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Creative MP3+ external "sound card"
2 replies to this topic
Posted 26 August 2004 - 10:09 AM
I bought that one a while ago and it would not work with my XPTablet. I think it had something to do with not having enough power on the USB to drive it. It's been a while so I don't remember the real issue other than I had to return it and buy a more expensive USB driven sound card.
Posted 27 August 2004 - 06:03 PM
The rebate expires 8/28/04. Picked up one at my local store today.
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