Biostar Hi-Fi Z77X gives audiophiles 7.1-channel analog sound, overpriced cables thankfully optional
There haven’t been many choices in PC motherboards for audiophiles — the ‘real’ kind that might see even a good dedicated sound card as slumming it. Biostar wants to fill that untapped niche with the Hi-Fi Z77X. Along with run-of-the-mill expansion for an Ivy Bridge- or Sandy Bridge-based desktop, the board’s built-in 7.1-channel audio flaunts six 3.5mm analog jacks, an amp and the kind of exotic-sounding language that leads audio addicts to buy $2,000 cables they don’t need. We’re talking “metal-oxide film resistors” and “non-polarized electrolysis electric audio capacitors,” here. Whether or not the changes have an appreciable impact on sound quality, listeners are ironically left out of S/PDIF audio, which exists only as a header on the board unless buyers spend a little more on parts. That said, if we assume the as yet unknown price isn’t stereotypically high — and that audiophiles don’t mind a big, potentially noisy desktop as a home theater PC — the Hi-Fi Z77x could be a treat for those who want to wring every nuance out of music and movie soundtracks.
Razer just put a piece of coal in gamers’ Christmas stockings with news that its hotly-anticipated Tiamat 7.1 surround sound headset has been delayed. Originally expected in Q4, its new release date is sometime in January. To recap, $180 will get you an unusual five drivers in each ear, including three dedicated left and right ones, along with a subwoofer and “center” channel on each side. There’s the obligatory mic, along with an inline control that lets you adjust volume levels for each channel. So, will the extra drivers make much of a difference during your next Modern Warfare 3 firefight? Let us know.
Cult of Razer
We’ve seen some rather homely cans in our time — wireless and otherwise — which is why we were delighted to see that Sony’s latest set of 7.1 channel headphones doesn’t sacrifice form for function — at least not on paper. The MDR-DS6500 setup offers up a slew of surround sound modes, including Dolby Digital, Sony’s Virtualphones Technology, a 100-meter (330-foot) operating range, and automatic tuning. Sony’s also promising 20 hours of listening for every three hours the things spend on their charging dock. We’re not sure how much they’ll set you back, but they are set for release sometime this May. Of course, we’ll hold our judgment until we actually hear how they stack up. Full PR after the break.