PROS / It has API support for the two most common gaming APIs, EAX and OpenAL.
CONS / Unfortunately, there is not much API support for home theater systems.
VERDICT / The APIs and I/O ports make this card ideal for gaming.
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Auzentech currently offers three major sound cards in their line of PCI Express sound cards. The Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Bravura is a hybrid sound card in that it focuses on both home theater surround sound and gaming. It's a bit of an odd mix, but it's a good card if you're planning to use the card for multiple purposes down the road or if you simply want an all-around card. Since it is a PCI Express card, you should have no trouble connecting it to your motherboard. However, keep in mind that even sound cards need some room to breathe.
The Bravura sits right around the industry-standard signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Bravura's SNR is just a hair higher than average. With a ratio at 110 dB, it will have excellent sound in most situations. The slightly lower output harmonic distortion of 0.0001 percent also gives this card an advantage over much of the competition. The lower harmonic distortion and better-than-average SNR are sure to enhance your gaming experience or give you that slightly better sound while watching movies.
The Bravura has four 3.5mm output ports, a 10-pin audio port and a coaxial/optical combination output port. The Bravura also has a single 3.5mm input port and a 6.3mm output for headphones that comes with an adaptor for the more common 3.5mm headphone jack. The combinations of I/O ports are ideal for gaming or home theater use.
The Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Bravura is a PCI Express sound card that will output 7.1-channel sound, and it comes with its own 10-band equalizer so you can adjust that output how you want. The X-Fi in the name of the card represents its processor chip. Being an X-Fi card has its advantages. One such advantage is the X-Fi Crystalizer technology. Sound files like MP3 tend to lose some of their quality when compressed. The X-Fi Crystalizer will enhance both the low and high frequencies, which should give you a little cleaner audio file, free of any distortion and noise due to compression.
Another addition that comes with X-Fi is the CMSS 3D technology, which is designed to give multichannel speakers and even stereo speakers accurate positioning for gamers. This is similar to what OpenAL and DirectSound provide, both of which are found on this sound card. Between the three, you should be covered, as far as 3D audio positioning goes.
The last thing we wanted to point out is the EAX support. The EAX support is for v4.0, rather than the newer v5.0. There doesn’t seem to be any way to upgrade the card to the latest version, but that could very well change. EAX enhances audio and allows for different effects. Each version upgrade simply adds more.
The Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Bravura is a double threat card that will provide decent sound for either gaming or home theater use. The I/O ports give you the freedom for both uses, but the layout focuses on gaming. We were pleased to see the use of X-Fi technology, which provides the quality needed on mid-range sound cards. We would like to have seen EAX support for v5.0 and to have seen some of the more common features like karaoke and DTS APIs. However, even without these features, the Auzentech Auzen X-Fi Bravura is a good sound card for casual users.