Terractec Aureon 7.1 test and review

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Terratec Aureon 7.1

With interest in surround-sound increasing, a suitable multi-channel audio device is becoming an essential PC add-on for creating DVD Video discs. We put one of the latest breed of FireWire-based units to the test

With the rise and rise of DVD authoring, surround-sound hardware is quickly becoming a routine part of desktop video editing. Multi-channel PCI sound cards have been around for a considerable while but, for ease of use and the ability to move between a desktop and mobile laptop solution, an external audio interface can have considerable advantages.
Many video editors are used to, and confident in, the reliability of the IEEE 1394a FireWire standard. As multi-channel FireWire-based units are becoming more widely available, we thought it was about time to look at an example, and alighted on Terratec Aureon 7.1 FireWire package. So how good is this mid-priced arrangement for surround-sound monitoring within a desktop video editing setup?

It is certainly possible to get multi-channel output at a lower price point than the Aureon, particularly in PCI and USB formats. While the Terratec worked very much as advertised, it does face some serious FireWire competition. Top of our alternatives-list would be M-Audio's 410 FireWire. Musicians, in particular, might feel that the 410 is a more appropriate solution for their needs, as it not only provides all the required multi-channel output for surround but also features four-channel recording, Midi in/out and phantom power - at a street price of around £290.
This said, multi-channel audio via FireWire certainly inspires us with more confidence than some USB-based multi-channel audio devices. Throughout our testing, Terratec's Aureon performed well. It doesn't go out at a bargain price but, as an external multi-channel interface for a surround-sound monitoring system (either on the desktop or on a laptop), the Terratec Aureon is a functional solution that does its job with minimum of fuss.

John Walden

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Terratec Aureon 7.1
Sony Sound Forge 7 v Steinberg Wavelab 5

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