Philips' Ultimate Edge sound card

Envy on the edge
— 12:00 AM on July 12, 2004

IN WHAT SEEMS LIKE no time at all, VIA's Envy24 audio controller has successfully infiltrated every level of the consumer PC sound card market. The Envy24 isn't a single audio controller per se but an entire family of chips targeted at different applications and market segments. At the high end, the Envy24HT can be found in sound cards like M-Audio's Revolution 7.1. For mid-range markets, the Envy24HT-S is available in cards like Mad Dog Multimedia's Entertainer 7.1. Not to be left out, motherboards from Chaintech, Albatron, and others offer integrated Envy audio with the Envy24PT.

Although I've been impressed with every Envy24 implementation to grace the Benchmarking Sweatshop, there's no getting around the fact that M-Audio, Mad Dog Multimedia, Chaintech, and Albatron aren't exactly household names among mainstream consumers. However, Philips is, and they've jumped onto the Envy bandwagon with the Ultimate Edge sound card. The Ultimate Edge also marks the arrival of a new addition to the Envy family, the Envy24GT.

Targeted at high-end sound cards, the Envy24GT brings true 24-bit, 96kHz audio to six output channels for only $70. Philips has also stirred in some special sauce of its own, giving the Ultimate Edge a little more spice than your average Envy24. How does the Ultimate Edge perform, and more importantly, how does it sound? Read on to find out.

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