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Griffin Firewave Surround card for Mac

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There are very few surround sound cards compatible with a Mac. This one has the added bonus of being external, connected via Firewire-- it will work on anything, no PCI slot needed. It has 6 channels for 5.1 surround sound, and so far, I love it. The manual is, as most online reviews could tell you, practically nonexistant. However, if you are resourceful, you can figure out how it works. The idea is really simple-- Get a 5 channel receiver and a subwoofer, have surround sound using 3 $2-5 cables. I have not had a chance to actually use this with a proper surround sound system yet, but I have got to use it with a 4 channel system made from a bunch of high-quality computer speakers and an actual powerful 2-channel receiver with serious speakers for the front. The result? Amazing. Despite mixing it down to 4 channels instead of 6, the movies I watched with that setup sounded perfect, although lacking in bass. Soon I will be getting something to run 5 speakers and I already have a real independently powered subwoofer. Thsi works perfectly for movies. As for games, it doesn't. As in, doesn't work. At all. If you try to output sound from any game I have tried, it just comes out of the laptop's standard speakers or headphone jack. It does this with very old movies that lack surround sound at all, too. However, it works for music just fine, putting out 2 (left and right) channels of sound plus, an optional subwoofer track that is added (despite the fact that music has only 2 tracks) so that you fancy subwoofer does the bass, as you bought it for. The outputs themselves are much, much, higher quality than the built in headphone jack. It will cost you about $66 from Amazon (don't trust other places unless you have a good reason to). When you think about it, this enables you to use your Mac as a home theatre-- and that is a good thing. I have an iBook G4, a 1.5 year old computer, and the screen is better quality than anythign you can buy in a TV, in terms of resolution and quality. The size of the screen seems like an issue, but anyone who has watched a DVD on a laptop will agree that a 14" screen from a foot and a half away (sitting comfortably at the keyboard) is more than you will ever want. DVD's, at somewhere around 720 pixels by something else, will sometimes show up weird on the screen because of one physical pixel serving as two. However, how do you think an HDTV looks with an old DVD and no fancy conversion stuff? If you have a Mac laptop with Firewire and a sound system but want a better TV for movies, look into this. For $60, you could utilize the best quality screen in the house with your entire surround sound system.

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