|Bgears b-Enspirer 7.1 Channel 24-Bit Sound Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Audio|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 15 September 2006|
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Closer Look: b-Enspirer
To say that the Bgears b-Enspirer looks as good as it sounds is an understatement. The colorful array of I/O plugs and race-car red PCB all make this sound card stand out. Even the expansion blade at the end of the card catches the light with a polished anodized gold finish. You notice that there are dozens of capacitors on the b-Enspirer, which indicates that this card means business. Nestled in the lower center of the PCB is the renowned Oxygen audio processor, with a true 24-bit logic. Finishing it out in modern day fashion, the Bgears b-Enspirer is fully RoHS compliant; which means that when it is finally retired it won’t pollute the ground water supply with lead or other harmful byproducts.
C-Media manufactures the Oxygen High-Definition sound processor using the CMI 8788 processor on the Bgears b-Enspirer. What does this really mean to you? Well, to begin with it produced a true 24-bit audio stream, delivered at up to 192KHz on eight channels (7.1). The Oxygen sound processor is one of the best in the business, if it isn’t the best. Encoding and converting functions are enhanced by the power of this processor.
Look at that I/O panel! Talk about a rainbow of plugs! There are enough mini-audio jacks to support any of today’s 7.1 sound systems, but still very impressive on other systems (like my Logitech X-530 5.1). There are input and output TOSLINK Fiber Optic Digital Cable receptacles, which will ensure that this card is as future-proof as they get by today’s standard. About the only thing that this card lacks on the I/O panel is an RCA-Digital output connector, which is not going to be missed by many users due to its aging application.
Turning the Bgears b-Enspirer over to the underside reveals a long list of approved audio standards supported on this card. Also notice the build date stamped in the upper-left corner of the PCB. Overall the b-Enspirer maintains a very clean and symetrical finish.