Philips Aurilium

Philips Aurilium

Philips’ Aurilium is a sleek-looking external sound “card” that lets you add 5.1 audio to any PC equipped with a high-speed USB 2.0 port. Amazingly, the Aurilium is completely bus-powered, which means there’s no need for an external power brick. Like some other soundcards, the Aurilium promises to recognize and configure your speakers on the fly. Unlike other sound solutions we’ve played with, this one works. Plug in a set of headphones and they’re instantly recognized as headphones. On the downside, we detected faint static and crackle during booting. Perhaps this is the price of a bus-powered audio device?

To test sound quality, we listened to 24-bit source material using both the Aurilium and the onboard AC97 CODEC built into the test notebook. It reinforced what we’ve been saying for years: Notebook vendors need to improve the audio quality of their laptops! When compared with the Aurilium, our onboard audio sounded like an eight-track tape. The Aurilium’s 24-bit audio is easily head and shoulders above what you can find in the majority of notebooks on the market.

At 104dB, the Aurilium is spec’d higher than Creative’s Audigy 2 NX (102dB), but we thought the Audigy sounded slightly fuller. In gaming performance, we found the Aurilium has the advantage in 3DMark2003’s sound test. In other benchmarks, both performed adequately. Unfortunately, Philips dropped the ball in designing the Aurilium’s feature set. Not only does the card lack a remote control, it’s unable to record in 24-bit audio. Also, folks with 6.1 and 7.1 speakers should take note: The Aurilium tops out at 5.1 audio. --Gordon Mah Ung

+ DVD Audio: Bus powered and QSound 3D effects are very pleasing.

- 8-track tape: Must reconfigure audio in order to get sound back when it’s unplugged from a notebook.


Month Reviewed: April 2004




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