Creative Sound Blaster Recon3D USB sound card review
Oddly enough, many spend tonnes of money on peripherals and graphics, but audio gets a back seat in the budget. ‘Barely there’ is the best way to describe the general consensus when it comes to sound. A good set of speakers or headphones, and the onboard sound card can handle everything else for you, right? The Recon3D from Creative Sound Blaster wants to prove you wrong.
There are a few reasons why we still go watch movies in the cinema. The big screen and the massive surround sound system make for a much richer experience than watching it at home. That might be because most of us ignore our phones for the whole length of the movie and there is no way to pause. Or it could be because we are stimulating our senses, the bass creating tremors to punctuate the explosions. We become engaged.
So why not enjoy high quality audio at home? Sure your motherboard might have a serviceable sound card. But doesn’t it also have a ‘serviceable’ built-in GPU? When you think of it that way it becomes easier to understand why an upgrade is necessary. This is like buying a new graphics card, but for your ears. I can’t show you pretty pictures of the sound card working its magic, or a video that showcases the before and after effect. The best way to explain how dramatic the change is? Using the Recon3D’s THX TruStudio Pro for a while, and then switching it off again, makes music sound broken to me. It will make you feel like you have a brand new headset as richer, clearer notes bounce into your ears, escorted by sonorous bass. All of these extra enhancements can be adjusted or disabled separately, allowing for complete customisation of the experience, thanks to the quad-core processor inside the sound card.
So why not open the PC and slide a sound card into a PCI slot? Well, you might have a few reasons for not wanting to do that, or not knowing how. That is where this USB sound card comes in handy. As an added bonus, you can use it to improve your sound while playing PS3 or Xbox 360.
Not just 3D
Many sound cards focus on adding virtual surround sound and well, pretty much nothing else. The Recon3D adds virtual surround, but its focus seems to be more interested in the quality of your experience instead of if you can be fooled into thinking a fly is buzzing around your head.
Sound Blaster also uses crystal voice to clean out acoustic echo and ambient noises, and can run your voice through a variety of emulators to make you sound like someone else. Cue confusing people in Team Speak when you change the gender of your voice mid-conversation.
Scout mode can also be used to quickly set your sound for listening to fine sound effects, such as footfalls or reloading weapons, in those situations where any piece of information may save you from death or earn you a free kill.
In the box
If you want the quality of a sound card, with the flexibility to move platform as you please, the Recon 3D USB sound card should be carefully considered. Or you could stay unenlightened, missing so much of the awesome sound that you should be enjoying.