Trust 514DX Sound Card

Trust 514DX Sound Card


Introduction

The last few years of Personal Computing have seen a huge rise in not only the speeds of computers, but also the features of the peripherals that come with them. This sound card is absolutely packed full of features, and enables you to get digital and optical inputs/outputs - allowing for some excellent 5.1 surround sound for DVDs.

This is the latest sound card from Trust, and features some impressive specifications... at least on paper.

Trust514DX_Main.jpg

Trust 514DX Sound Card + Optical Cable


The card is one main PCI card with a secondary bracket for the digital inputs/outputs (which takes up a second expansion slot plate). All of the standard outputs are provided, enabling all combinations of analogue speakers to be used.


Specifications
  • Dolby (R) Digital 5.1 PCI sound card with digital and optical audio in and outputs
  • Perfect for the best DVD movie sound experience
  • Copy high quality digital sound from audio devices like Mini discs and CD players without any loss of quality
  • Full EAX and DirectX compatible, for the ultimate gaming sensation
  • Advanced digital Audio Rack software included with extra digital options like MP3 conversion, sample rate adjustment and many more
  • QualityShield ® gold plated bracket
  • Optical Toslink cable included for best digital audio transfer
Trust push the point that this card features digital outs, which more and more sound cards are starting to do. The optical output is particularly handy for those users who have a MiniDisc and would like to record MP3s/CDs at the highest quality. Some high quality separate amps can also be connected this way.

The card now also ships with a "QualityShield" gold plated bracket, although our early review sample did not. In real life situations this will serve no purpose other than pleasing aesthetics. I personally would have preferred the standard bracket, as it will match the other expansion cards.

Included Items
  • Sound card
  • Extra bracket for digital and optical in/outputs
  • SPDIF Optical (Toslink) cable 1.5m
  • CD Rom with drivers and software
  • Multi language user's manual
  • Sound card
  • Extra bracket for digital and optical in/outputs
  • SPDIF Optical (Toslink) cable 1.5m
  • CD Rom with drivers and software
  • Multi language user's manual
Trust514DX_Included.jpg

The contents of the box

WinDVD is bundled with the package, which is a decent DVD playback package for the PC. Trust also include a Toslink optical cable, mainly for connecting to a MiniDisc player or other such device.

The manual is basic, but this card is a simple plug in and boot up piece of hardware, which requires the minimal of hardware knowledge to install.

Features

The card features some 3D sound API's, such as EAX and D3D - these of course will use up more CPU power, but this should not be a problem on any recent systems (500mhz+). These are common on almost all sound cards now, but they are widely used with most games and with some software DVD players.

5.1 Dolby Digital is available via the optical outputs, but only if you have a separate Dolby Digital Decoder. Most high spec speakers and amps will accept this as a valid input. If you do not have a separate decoder, you are only able to get 2 channel sound (stereo) from the digital outputs - which is suitable for music tracks.

Performance

The soundcard is powered by C-Media's CMI8738 chipset, and is fairly common on other soundcards. After using this sound card in my main system for 2 weeks, I feel I can give a fair representation of the sound quality of the card. I used this card in conjunction with the Trust 5000P 5.1 analogue speakers that have been previously reviewed.

DVD playback using the WinDVD player bundled with the card was of a high quality when using the 5.1 Analogue options in both the player and the mixer. I noticed no difference in sound quality or surround sound compared to that of my previous Game Theatre XP sound card.

Playback during games was equally satisfying with the surround sound, and game the same level of audio quality the Game Theatre XP once again. "Medal of Honor - Allied Assault" and "Battlefield 1942" were used for testing, as they both feature complex audio engines that work in surround sound.

As you would expect from an optical output, the audio quality was very high, and would record to a MiniDisc in stereo flawlessly. There was no distortion from the S/PDIF signal from a CD-ROM drive. However, stereo is the best you can get with the optical output, unless you have a separate Dolby Digital Surround Sound decoder. When using the separate Sony STRDE485 Decoder with the optical out, the 5.1 Digital capabilities could be seen - and the quality was ideal for gameplay and DVDs.

Conclusion

The Trust 514DX sound card is no doubt one of the best mid range sound cards in this price range at present. This card retails for less than £30, but features a complete range of digital interfaces, as well as reasonable 6 channel analogue support.

As a DVD/Gamer solution, this can't be faulted - although this would only be suited with other 5.1 mid range speakers, otherwise there is no point in using this card. 2 Speaker solutions would be well under what this card is capable of, and it would not take advantage of all the cards selling points. The included optical cable is a welcome addition for those users with a MiniDisc player.

Author
Ian Cunningham
First release
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