Today we have the Guillemot Maxi Sound Muse soundcard in the house. Not necessarily a new sound card. Not even a great sound card. But more of a budget type soundcard that just might fit the bill for the casual or hardcore overclockers building system. Or even a possible upgrade for those store bought pc's. (shudder the thought).
Product: Maxi Sound Muse soundcard
Price: $29.00 retail
Availability: Online and in stores such as Best Buy
Introduction: Today we have the Guillemot Maxi Sound Muse soundcard in the house. Not necessarily a new sound card. Not even a great sound card. But more of a budget type soundcard that just might fit the bill for the casual or hardcore overclockers building system. Or even a possible upgrade for those store bought pc's. (shudder the thought).
The first thing that caught my eye about this sound card was of course the low price. I had recently installed my new Abit KT7A RAID mobo, and have been having problems with my (formerly) Diamond MX-300. I'll admit, she was a good card for the 2yrs I kept her, but it was high time to change. Especially when the company that originally made the MX-300 was out of business and no longer supported the card. Trying to find drivers for that thing was possible, but sure as hell took some searching. Even further, the original chip manufacturer is ALSO out of business. Both A3D.com and Aureal.com are no longer. Talk about frustrating. Anyways, I wanted a decent sound card with the full support and backing of it's manufacturer. Would I find happiness with the Guillemot Maxi Sound Muse? Read on to find out.
Lets take a few pics of the sound card in question.
I think I've seen a few peeps mention how ugly the box is on this. Ugly you say? Some hot little french chickie on the front of my box? Sure, why not? Now if it was a video card I think I'd have to be pissed. But for something as uneventful as a soundcard, I like it. Enough on that. Lets see what the card looks like out of the box?
Not a bad looking card. A little light in the arse, but it looks as if it could get the job done. I was under the impression that this was a yamaha chipset on this card. Nowhere on it did I see the word Yamaha. O'well, no biggie. After all, it WAS only $29.95 Retail right? Lets head on over to page 2 and checkout some more.
Ok. So what gave me the impression this would be a Yamaha chip on the card? Check it out.
I would imagine Yamaha Corp. had their hands in the manufacturing process here somewhere. It's just not easily visible. Again, no biggie.
One thing I'm NOT going to do here is list the specs for you folks? Why not? Well, I doubt anyone interested in this budget card is really interested in the hardcore specs of the card. However, if you want to checkout the official Guillemot website, head on over.
I will tell you that this card is EAX 1.0, A3D 1.0, DirectSound, DirectMusic and DirectAudio compliant. That pretty much covers all the bases. Yes, A3D 2.0 is out there, as well as EAX 2.0, but cards that support those are gonna cost ya. Again, if your really eye-balling this card, I kinda doubt your concerned with trivial shortcomings such as that.
Installation: Installation was a relative snap. But do NOT pull a bonehead move like I did. Before you power down your system to install any new sound card, uninstall the old one first. Otherwise you'll power up, and your system will be looking for the old card, yet the new one will be there needing attention. I had a few problems and when I finally got around to checking my Device Manager, I saw both MX-300 drivers and Maxi Sound drivers installed. Win9x handled it with relative ease, but Win2k sure didn't like it! However, once I properly ditched the residual MX-300 stuff. The card was good to go.
Lets point out something that I did not like with the card. The speaker hookup in the back sits VERY close to the edge of my mobo tray. Now I will admit, this could be a shortcoming with my AOpen HX-08 tower, however, I have had 3 soundcards in this case, and never had this problem. So for this review, I am going to blame it on the card. Lets see what I'm talkin' about.
Back of card with Altec Lansing ADA-305's plugged in.
Back of card with Polk cheapies almost plugged in.
The Altec Lansing's plug in decently. Yes, they do scrub the side of the tray, but with a slight push, they go in, although just slightly crooked. However, the Polk's are a different story. Notice the jack is much larger than the Altec Lansing's, making them VERY difficult to plug in. I can get them in, but it takes a bit of pressure to do it. More than I feel comfortable with. Something worth noting if you are going to purchase this sound card.
And finally, lets see a pic of the actual card installed in my system.
The card itself is MUCH smaller than the MX-300 it replaced. But personally I like this. As you can see, I'm a BIGTIME Airflow advocate, and the less crap blocking my excellent airflow, the better I say.
Now one of the highpoints of this card was actually the software bundle that was included. Lets check it out on the next page.
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