Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro USB Sound Card Review

turtle beach micro main Turtle Beach Audio Advantage Micro USB Sound Card Review

Most on board sound cards are not worth the PBC they are printed on. They are plagued with low quality chips and interference from other internal components. The best solution would be to go with an external fire wire solution. I and a lot of others in our forum use one of the Echo AudioFire series of sound cards. These primary application for this series is professional audio but they make an amazingly crisp sound experience, but for your desktop.

I guess it would be possible to tote around the AudioFire2 but it is not an elegant little device like the Turtle Beach Audio Micro USB sound card. It is small enough to almost be considered a dongle or even a larger headphone jack adapter that will rival the sound quality of the pro audio FireWire sound cards. Though there are a few caveats- read on for the full scoop.

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Inside the box you get the USB sound card with removable cap, an optical adapter for digital out, and a USB extension cable. The USB card has a nice soft rubber finish with a solid build.

The Turtle (this is what we affectionately nicked named this product in our IRC chat channel) will work out of the box loading generic sound drivers, but installing the software will open up a powerful global EQ and a few other nice features.

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The main speaker tab allows you to switch between headphones, speakers, or S/PDIF output. There is also pan and volume setting under this tab too. The next tab houses the 10-band EQ with presets and custom savable user EQ profiles. The last tab I don’t get too much mileage out of, it’s the “effects” settings. This allows you to simulate a plethora of listening environments like “padded cell”, “bath room”, “forest”, “carpeted hallway”, and probably about 20 others. I never have found a use for something like this, but if this is your thing it works as advertised.

The USB Caveat

All USB sound cards need to use host processes and are have a lower priority that can cause latency issues that manifest in clicks and pops in the audio playback. There are a hand full of other issues that make USB a bad platform for audio and anyone using audio as a critical application on a PC, it just won’t do. However, since the Turtle has some solid drivers and is much less susceptible to performance issues compared to several other USB sound cards I have tried. The only time I had performance issues is when I had the Turtle plugged though a USB hub- there I occasionally experienced clicks, pops, or hang ups. By contrast the Behringer UFO202 just didn’t work for me in any configuration without rather frequent sound issues.

Sound Quality

I’m very surprised that this $30 device can put out such clean and crisp audio that rivals my AudioFire4 paired with the global EQ I can’t ask for any more in such a small portable package.

Conclusion

USB audio may not be the most ideal but I found that the Turtle Beach Micro Advantage to be a more than acceptable portable sound card for my needs. At $30 it’s a steal for daily use or nice to have lying around for a backup sound card.

Purchase

You can pick the Turtle up from Amazon in the US for the best price and free shipping.




23 Comments

Martin Sägmüller on November 13, 2009 8:30 AM

Echo recently updated their line of laptop sound cards, Echo Indigo IO and DJ.They’re excellent for people who need a smaller solution than the AudioFire line, and they don’t hog an USB or 1394 port as well. The Echo Indigo cards are now available as PCMCIA and ExpressCard: http://www.echoaudio.com/Products/ExpressCard/index.php

SteveW on November 13, 2009 9:50 AM

Anyplace else to buy this product? Once more Amazon won’t ship to Canada, and amazon.ca does not carry the product.Steve

dzen on November 13, 2009 10:10 AM

Does it allow you to record “What you hear” or “Wave”?

eldino on November 13, 2009 12:09 PM

Hi, what’s the software running fullscreen in turtle-beach-micro-7.jpg? Last version of Windows Media Player? Thank you for reply!

Grahm on November 13, 2009 2:34 PM

eldino, thats the Zune Software.

eldino on November 13, 2009 3:17 PM

@Grahm: nice, thx, wanna try it out, it looks awesome for a touch jukebox i have in mind :) Googling for it! Peace!

Iain Cheyne on November 13, 2009 4:15 PM

Would work really well in Linux. USB soundcards are generally reliable, while pro-quality on-board soundcards can have driver problems.

jjrosaria on November 13, 2009 4:51 PM

Nice review, That’s a nice sound card considering its pretty cheap. I still don’t get why they used blue LED again, I get really annoyed with those

nice186 on November 14, 2009 12:09 AM

hey wat laptop is that. that looks sweet.

nice186 on November 14, 2009 12:13 AM

i mean tablet

doughts on November 14, 2009 8:04 AM

What about the drivers and SOs? Does it support Windows 7 natively (no Vista drivers – x86 and x64) and Linux? :)

beteks on November 14, 2009 8:47 AM

I have one of these on my laptop and yes it’s a steal, i got mines for $20, and it has great sound, not to mention the fact that it has a control panel to set the EQ and Surround sound. It also has s/pdif out too.sometimes i expirence some latency with Windows Media but other then that it plays smooth.For gaming it generally runs great but on some games I’ve played like Juiced 2, it makes the game lag

Big Bear on November 14, 2009 9:33 AM

Nice 186,That Tablet PC is the Lenovo X200 Tablet. My dream laptop. Sadly, at 1800$ in Canada, its a little bit out of my price range.

nice186 on November 14, 2009 1:53 PM

@big bear,Thanks and wow that alot of money haha. It does look like a sweet tablet. It beats my Archos tablet by a long run haha

Syndrome on November 14, 2009 6:29 PM

I’ve bought 3 of these so far. They sound great for the price, and are easy to pack around. Although be careful about bumping them while plugged in, as has happened to one of mine and it no longer works. I opened it up and got some internal pics if you want Enzo. Great review too.

invinciblegod on November 15, 2009 12:27 AM

How does this compare to the X-Fi Go!?

midimania on November 15, 2009 3:05 AM

hey anybody test it on any music making software? how’s the latency? i only need to improve the low latency on my notebook

zesounds on November 19, 2009 5:54 AM

On my laptop whenever I listen to music and volume is set at maximum things tend to get slower, like it was draining a lot of power from he cpu. Since I have a dualcore my thought is that the onboard soundcard is shit.Will this toy solve my problem?Do I have to connect external speakers to the usb soundcard or will it work from the laptop speakers?

adamson on November 21, 2009 3:48 PM

Thanks for the review. It just so happens that I need one of these. I broke the headphone plug in my laptop and I need to get a USB one.

Mike Davies on November 28, 2009 9:06 AM

Does this device allow you to have “2 sound cards”? Dell Inspiron, XP SP2.My girlfriend needs a solution that will allow her to play music to satellite speakers and use the onboard sound for Skype or Yahoo IM.ThanksMD

gudfooht on December 28, 2009 11:21 AM

Well, I just sent mine back to Amazon. I have a pair of Hippo VB ‘phones and they were revealing background machine noise on my laptop. This device fixed that problem, but audio quality degraded, especially with chime- and bell-like sounds. It sounded fine with Sennheiser HD280 Pro cans, but everything seems to sound fine with those. Bummer.

Pete on January 9, 2010 8:23 PM

Thanks Grahm. Just ordered one from JR via Amazon. GOTTA do something about this atrocious onboard sound on my Dell Latitude E6500. If I like it enough, I might pick up 1-2 more…one for dock USB @ work, and another for my custom rig @ home. Happy New Year! ;-)

Pete on January 14, 2010 9:45 AM

Grahm — really liking this little guy. Mosaik’s fantastic “Leandi” -> WinAmp 5.x (YEAH, I know) -> BBE DirectX -> Enhancer 0.17 -> TB Audio Advantage w/ Win 7 x64 drivers -> PenguinAmp Royal Deluxe -> UE Super.Fi 5 Pro -> My Skull Getting Pounded. SCHWING! So I might go deaf, but it only cost me 30 bucks, and is great fun while it lasts! ;-)

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