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The Bit88 can be connected directly to the line/speaker output of any PC sound card, PC CD-ROM sound output, portable CD/VCD/DVD players, home CD/VCD/DVD players, audio components, and all types of game stations.
Located on the rear of the Bit88 are two groups of parallel-connected line level inputs and outputs, where from one input source, you can output to a set of power speakers and headphones simultaneously. Also noted is that amplification is required of the speakers it connects to.
Uncomplicated connectivity options
Designed from ground up to be an easy to install device, the thin-nish user manual was a good indication of what to expect. Nevertheless, the large and clear illustrations provided the necessary connectivity hints for common setups.
Thin user guide in both English and Chinese
Clear illustrations of setup procedure
While the test PC is quite a beast of a machine in terms of daily processing needs, it is not very much of an audiophile setup. Listed are not everything found within, but possibly all that matters to our testing.
The pair of Sony MDR-G52 is a budget headset borrowed from my oldish portable FM tuner.
- 2x Intel Pentium 3 933MHz processors
- 1x Iwill DVD266-R VIA Apollo Pro 266 Dual mainboard
- 2x Maxtor 30GB ATA100 HDDs in RAID0 setup + 1x Seagate 20GB ATA66 HDD
- 512MB PC2100 DDR SDRAM
- Creative SoundBlaster Live! + daughterboard
- Creative Annihilator GeForce 32MB SDRAM
- LifeView Studio PCI TV/FM Tuner
- Sony 6X DDU220E DVDROM drive
- Intel Pro/100+ Management NIC + 3Com EtherLink XL 10/100 NIC
- Creative/Cambridge SoundWorks DTT2500 5.1 speakers
- Sony MDR-G52 headphones
- Windows 2000 Professional SP2
- DirectX 8.0
- Creative Live!Ware 3
- SoundBlaster Live! 5.12.01.3219 WDM drivers
- VIA 4-in-1 4.30 drivers
Previously, the DTT2500 5.1 speakers were connected digitally via the S/PDIF out of the SBLive! daughterboard, so after investing so much to be on the 'digital forefront', I have to correct my mindset of digital being better. In fact, if you will read Dr Jon Wong's presentation at the launch of the Bit88, digital is only more convenient but not necessary better sounding.
Alright, abandon that thought! Next came the problem - there are no instructions on how the Bit88 would be interfaced to a multi-speakers setup such as the DTT2500. A search on the product website's Feedback corner produced this:
Hello Dr Jon,
Currently my speaker setup is Cambridge Soundworks FPS 1000. It's a 4 speaker setup for PC and it has 2 stereo jack to plug into my Creative SoundBlaster Live! soundcard for the front and back speakers. How can I use the Bit88 with my current audio setup?
Jon Wong responded:
Please kindly connect the sound card "MAIN OUT" to the Bit88. The output of the Bit88 then go to the 'MAIN IN' of the Cambridge sound works speaker connection.
As for the 'REAR' speaker connections, please kindly connect directly between the sound card and the speakers.
Of course, the REAR speakers can be processed as well, but a separate Bit88 is required. One Bit88 only handles two channels only.
If you need further clarifications, please kindly contact me again.
Well, that means that unless one invests in a pair of Bit88(s), he cannot enjoy similarly processed front and rear channel audio. Also, for those who have 5.1 systems like the DTT2500, DTT2200 and DTT3500s, the digital connection, which is mandatory for Dolby Digital sound, will have to be scraped.
For evaluation purposes, the DTT2500 was setup as described above. Additionally, all sound processors on the Sound Blaster Live! was turned off.