Anyone who knows me can tell you that I love nerdy little gadgets. I’ve gone through my period of USB-powered missile launchers and night vision webcams. I moved on to bigger toys, audio and video hardware that seem to take up tons of room. So much so that I have a shelf next to my desk specifically for my toys and tools. Seriously, this crap takes up a lot of room. So when I came across this website called BudgetGadgets.com, I was immediately enthralled. You know the expression about the kid in the candy store? A geek on a gadget website is the same damned thing. And that is where today’s toy comes from.
It’s a little like the Dollar Tree, if you’ve ever shopped there. Things are inexpensive and fun, but if you’re not careful you’ll wind up with a cart full of stuff you don’t need and a nice little chunk taken out of your bank account. So I settled for one single gadget. It’s called USB Sound. It’s a 6 channel USB powered audio controller. It supports 32KHz, 44.1KHz, and 48KHz sampling in digital and analog recording as well as in digital/analog playback.
In digital playback mode, it receives the audio stream from your PC via the USB cable and then sends the data to your 5.1 speaker setup. And it goes for the full 6 channel codec when playing back in analog mode. Plug in your microphone, and record audio to your PC through USB in digital or analog sound. Sounds like a pretty nifty little thing to throw in your laptop case for long trips. Compliment this thing with a compact set of 5.1 speakers and you have the makings of a home theater on the go. Why watch the crap on motel cable when you can watch your Hi-Def DVDs on your laptop with surround sound?
And I can get excited and yammer about this thing all day, but it’s all in theory. The quality of this thing is going to show through during actual use. So I guess I had better get on with it. In the package was the product itself, a little aluminum box painted blue and black. It seemed to be of sound quality, no pun intended there of course, and looked pretty strong. So I stood on the sucker. No, that part wasn’t a joke. I just thought of it, so I stood on it. If it held a 250 pound man without cracking, your luggage isn’t going to do much to it.
There was a standard USB cable and a mini CDROM with drivers on it. So I plugged it in, popped the disc in, and let Windows do its thing. After a few minutes I get the confirmation that install was a success and I plugged my speakers into it. I have a couple sets of powered speakers that plug into my wall outlet, so I proceeded to plug one set into the front port and one set into the rear port.