The X-Meridian 2G is also compatible with Auzentech’s £35 X-Tension DIN daughterboard, which provides an extra 1/4in TRS microphone input, more digital connections and 5-pin DIN connectors for MIDI instruments. It isn’t everything we’d desire for audio production – we’d prefer additional TRS ports for recording live instruments, for instance – but it’s a handy and inexpensive upgrade if you want a multipurpose sound card. Whether or not you add a daughterboard, the X-Meridian 2G includes low-latency ASIO drivers suitable for use in audio production.

Audio quality was everything we’ve come to expect from Auzentech’s finely tuned hardware, and is easily among the best we’ve heard from any sound card. Music was a pleasure to listen to, with outstanding clarity and detail. Thanks to the dedicated DACs and op-amps for each channel, movie surround sound was just as finely reproduced too.

Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Review Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Performance
Click to enlarge

We were also impressed by the X-Meridian 2G’s convincing virtual surround sound through headphones. Gamers might be concerned by the lack of support for EAX environmental audio above version 2, but modern games no longer use the standard.

Your only options for gaming surround sound are standard DirectSound or the old EAX and Aureal 3D (A3D) standards; Auzentech doesn’t plan on implementing OpenAL support in the future either. We weren’t impressed by the card’s software control panel either. While all the features you’re likely to need are there – virtual surround sound, stereo upmixing, speaker layout configuration and a mixer – the interface was clumsy to use.

Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Review Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Performance
Click to enlarge

Conclusion

The X-Meridian 7.1 2G is around the same price as Asus’ Xonar Essence STX, but the former card has full analogue surround sound and is generally more versatile. However, we also preferred the X-Meridian 2G’s sound quality.

There are plenty of expensive sound cards with excellent audio quality, but few have the flexibility of the X-Meridian 2G, with its individual DACs for every channel, S/PDIF in and out, and upgradability through a daughterboard. Auzentech is holding its own against the latest premium audio hardware from Creative and Asus, and doing so in great style: the X-Meridian 2G is the best card we’ve heard for analogue audio for music and films.

However, if you want a high-quality sound card that’s optimised for gaming audio, the Asus Xonar Xense Bundle for around £180 is worth a look, although we thought the Sennheiser PC 350 headset was lacking in treble. Alternatively, a £55 Asus Xonar DX is sufficient for most people’s gaming needs.

  • Sound Quality
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • 10/10
  • Features
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
  • Value
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • 7/10
  • Overall
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • x
  • -
  • -
  • 8/10
Score Guide

Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Review Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G Performance

Auzentech X-Meridian 7.1 2G


Discuss this in the forums

QUICK COMMENT

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER

WEEK IN REVIEW

TOP STORIES

SUGGESTED FOR YOU