Hardware Review: Turtle Beach Roadie
I hated my SoundBlaster Live! USB soundcard, and decided to give the Audio Advantage Turtle Beach Roadie USB. Link
I couldn't find a true review of it anywhere on here (pertaining specifically to CarPC use) so I figured I'd document my thoughts so far. For non-CarPC reviews check this out.
First, my system specs are in my sig for reference.
I am by no means an SQ competitor, but I am picky about my sound. I have high quality components and know what they should sound like. I also don't want/need surround sound. I want 4 speaker quadraphonic sound, like a standard deck outputs. So, take this review with that grain of salt.
What it is/does: USB External Soundcard
Reviewed by: PootsworthIII
Manufacturer : Audio Advantage
Model: Roadie USB
Specs: 5.1 or 7.1 Output, Analog and Digital Outputs, Built-in Stereo Microphones, 10 Band EQ, Ambience Effects, Optical Digital Adapters
Manufacturer website: http://www.turtlebeach.com/site/prod...dioadv/roadie/
Purchased at: CompUSA
-Hibernates with no problems
-There is no discernable "pop" when the computer finally engages the soundcard. (SoundBlaster’s was terrible)
-The sound quality seems a lot more powerful than the SoundBlaster. I needed alot less gain on my amps with the unit at full volume to acheive the power I was looking for. And less gain is a good thing.
- The Roadie, when in 4 speaker mode sends equal signal to all four speakers. There is no simulated surround sound. It seems to do less processing of the signal. I had a problem where the SoundBlaster made it's rear output muddy and clipped in the low range. This does not exist in the Roadie. You get 4 channels of the same signal and volume.
-The size is significantly smaller than the SoundBlaster.
-The control panel has, for the most part, all of the options contained in one application. The SoundBlaster had multiple application windows that would pop up.
-"Per Speaker" equalizer and volume. I have the rear channel feeding my subwoofer, so this means I can change the EQ and volume of my sub indepenent of my front speakers.
-The unit seems to be USB bandwidth hungry. I had random popping and clicking, like rice krispies in my music. After some reading, I figured out it was because the unit was starved for bandwidth. I added a PCI USB card and dedicated it the Roadie, problem solved. (Note: I switched motherboards at the same time I switched soundcards. The new motherboard could have USB bus management issues. )
-Some of the sliders within the application are too small to change by hand using the touchscreen.
-The sliders in "per speaker" EQ screen do not lock to each other for front and rear. I'm not sure of any application when you would want your front/left to have a different EQ than you front/right, so they should be able to be locked together. It's tedious to match them up manually.
Overall, I would highly recommend the Roadie over the SoundBlaster Live! I have never tried a PCI soundcard b/c of space uses, nor have I used the Audigy, but you can read the woes people have had with that by searching.
Hope this helps someone.
No quadraphonic joy for me
Actually, I'm not seeing this. In 4 speaker mode, the rear speakers have no bass, just the fronts. In 5.1 and 7.1 modes, no speakers have bass, except the sub channel. The speaker equalizer makes it look like you can control this crossover for each speaker, but boosting the bass on the rear channels has no effect. This may be OK for a car environment, but I would prefer getting full frequency response from each speaker.
- The Roadie, when in 4 speaker mode sends equal signal to all four speakers.
Also, WAV's (windows sounds) and synthesized voice play on the front channels only. This might be a nice feature, actually, but it would be nice to have control.
Also, WinAmp 2.9.5 (the recommended one for RR) only plays music out the front channels, when in 4 speaker mode. Windows Media Player, iTunes, and the latest version of WinAmp make use of all 4 channels, but without bass to the rear.
This is in contrast to my ALC650 AC97 onboard sound which does play full range out of each speaker. However, the onboard sound system has weak mic inbput. A powered mic would be needed. And this leads me to the reason why I'm still keeping the roadie... it has a +20db booster for the mic input, and passive mics work great.
I'm also keeping it for the S/PDIF input for use with the Sirius tuner.
Note the Roadie doesn't come with any kind of AC3 encoding software, so the S/PDIF output is only 2-channel.