IMG Archives
Archives  Reviews  Revolution 7.1  

Manufacturer: M-Audio
Min OS X: Any Version    Requires: Free PCI Slot

Revolution 7.1
May 23, 2003 | Greg Gant

Click to enlarge
Don't mistake M-Audio as a newcomer to the Macintosh market. M-Audio has been around for years under its old moniker, Midiman - maker of professional and prosumer audio solutions. In July of 2002, to fit Midiman's expanding product lines, they changed their name to M-Audio, maker and distributor of professional,prosumer, and consumer audio solutions.

It is quite fitting that M-Audio has dubbed its inagural consumer sound card the "Revolution" because it is truly a revolution for Mac users. The Revolution 7.1 is the first consumer audio card that can output surround sound in Mac OS X.

The Card
The M-Audio Revolution 7.1 boasts several eyebrow-raising features, including:

  • 192-kHz, 24-bit sound output
  • eight analog line outputs through four stereo 1/8 mini-jacks
  • one stereo 1/8 line input at 96-kHz 24- bit,
  • one mono 1/8 microphone input with electret microphone power
  • S/PDIF coaxial output and Circle Surround II decoding.

    While massive sample rates and an overabundance of outputs are impressive, beauty lies within the cards technical statistics. The Revolution features a digital-to-analog S/N (Signal to noise ratio) of 107 dB. This means if the card is paired with a quality setup then the speaker hiss (noise floor) will be inaudible, even when the volume is cranked up. The Revolution packs a very low total harmonic distortion (THD) of 0.003% to match high S/N ratio. THD measures the amount distortion that occurs when producing a sound. To put it simply as possible, it's the amount of sound added that isn't present the source signal. So if an item has THD of 1%, then all of the sound it outputs will be altered roughly by 1%. The line input even sports a S/N of 100 dB. This is sure to make even the prosumer crowd happy.

    The Revolution also comes with several bundled applications for the PC and Mac: Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (full version), VJ Lite (full version), WinDVD 4 (Dolby Digital EX version), Propellerhead Reason (trial version), Ableton Live (trial version) and M-Powered Artists CD sampler. However, don't get too excited, there's a small asterisk that denotes Tony Hawk Pro Skater 3 (as well as WinDVD) as "PC Only". It'd been nice to think that M-Audio could have included a Mac-compatible game, but the last time I received a free game with a Mac hardware upgrade was, ironically, with Creative's Sound Blaster Live.


  • Archives  Reviews  Revolution 7.1