Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro

Product Page
Support and drivers

- Small external USB sound card with SPDIF optical out. This is about the cheapest and easiest way to get spdif passthrough for ac3/dts if you have a pc without any sort of digital audio output.
- I picked it for $30 from amazon.
- This sound card only has 1/8 mini analog stereo headphone out or with the included adapter optical out. There are no other connections like 5.1 analog, mic, etc. So this device fills a pretty specific need. USB extension cable is included but you'll need to supply your own optical cable.
- I ignored the included cd and grabbed the latest vista 32bit drivers from their website (mic_vista.exe). Vista 64bit isn't supported yet though they say drivers should be available by the end of summer 2008.
- Run the exe and insert the usb device when asked, reboot. That's about it. I went into vista sound control panel, set turtle beach spdif as the default sound device (the turtle beach works fine alongside any built in motherboard audio drivers you already have installed). You'll also see a turtle beach tray icon. Click on that and switch to spdif.
- I tested with VLC (to enable - preferences, audio, check advanced options, check use spdif, output modules, win32 waveout), and ffdshow tryouts for directshow playback (windows medial player, etc). I tested both dolby digital 5.1 and DTS. It all worked fine. VLC still has some stutter issues under vista but that is a VLC-Vista specific issue. Directshow worked just fine. I'm sure ac3filter would work fine too but ffdshow was already working so I didn't bother installing ac3filter.
UPDATE: tested ac3filter and powerdvd8 - both worked fine.
- There is a single pretty bright blue LED that is always on when plugged in.

This is a great little device if you find you need digital optical out on say an older pc, small form factor pc, or a laptop. It's cheap, easy to install, and just works. Highly recommended!