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Graphics cards & PC upgrades Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Bluegears b-Enspirer

£70 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Bgears

Our Rating: We rate this 4 out of 5

If you value strong audio quality, this sound card is worthy of serious consideration.

Prospective sound-card upgraders tend to think of Creative - specifically its Sound Blaster models - before any other manufacturer. And why not? After all, Creative makes great hardware that's reasonably priced and widely available.

But Creative's market dominance means lesser-known brands are often overlooked - and this is a shame. Take Bluegears, the company behind the b-Enspirer tested here. If you value strong audio quality, this card is worthy of serious consideration.

The heart of the Bluegears is the C-Media Oxygen sound processor, which is capable of full 24bit audio and 192KHz output over eight channels. The b-Enspirer will feel right at home among home-theatre buffs' 5.1, 6.1 and even 7.1 speaker configurations, and it supports all manor of Dolby wizardry. If you have speakers that are compatible with DTS or Dolby Digital, you're in for a real treat. But you don't need full surround-sound speakers to get a fulfilling experience from this card, which can replicate surround sound on lesser speaker systems and headphones.

The C-Media processor supports most 3D industry standards, although it does lack the latest EAX support. It features Asio (audio stream input/output), which bypasses Windows' meddling audio mixing and ensures sound remains unspoilt.

Whether you're belting out an MP3 or film, or blasting through an online game, the b-Enspirer's sound quality is exceptional, with excellent positioning and clarity that really capitalises on a good surround setup. Even on a humble pair of stereo speakers, audio is remarkably crisp and clear.

Bluegears b-Enspirer Expert Verdict »

7.1-channel PCI sound card
110dB Oxygen 8788 processor
24bit/192KHz
DTS Interactive
DTS NeoPC
Dolby Digital Live (AC-3)
Dolby Pro-Logic IIx
Dolby Headphone technology
C-Media FlexBass
C-Media Magic Voice
C-Media Xear3D 7.1 Virtual Speaker Shifter technology
10-band EQ for each channel
supports EAX 1.0/2.0, A3D 1.0, DirectSound
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 9 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 8 of 10 overall

The price tag simply doesn't prepare you for the audio quality the b-Enspirer can produce. It's incredibly feature-rich, has excellent software and, in our opinion, is the best card around at this price. Creative may have the name, but if you rank results ahead of reputation, this really ought to be considered by anyone hunting for a new sound card.

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