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  • Price: $99.99

    Website: Philips USA

    After more than a year of relative stagnation on the sound card market, several manufacturers have recently made moves into the “high-end” market. Last month, we looked at the 6-channel solution from Turtle Beach, which provided top-notch sound quality with a myriad of features. Creative Labs also refreshed their Sound Blaster Live! series with support for 5.1 analog channels, making 6-channel sound a reality for those without expensive decoders. Most recently, Philips Electronics has introduced an entire line of PCI sound cards based on their ThunderBird Avenger audio accelerator.

    Philips' presence in the PC industry has been low-key for the most part, but their command over the semiconductor and consumer electronics space is rivaled only by a few of other large manufacturers. Eager to make a positive impression on the PC enthusiast, Philips' has packed their flagship sound card, the Acoustic Edge, with loads of features that promise to make the gaming and theater experience more immersive than ever. The Acoustic Edge offers the same 5.1 digital and analog support as its new competitors, but also makes the bold promise of expanding stereo sources into distinct 5.1 surround channels. If Philips' flagship product is able to indeed "turn something into nothing" and effectively deliver an impressive feature-set, then there may be a new high-end sound card champ.

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