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on December 24, 2014
NOTE: I found the claimed sound software by Googling "XEAR 3D". It is downloadable along with manual under "C-Media Electronics, Inc".

In reading these reviews I believe this device has either gone through transformations over time or may be manufactured by different companies. I do not doubt claims that some are shoddily made or fall apart. I especially believe this is the case as I've seen several of these in this specific layout and design... but with different colored cases from different manufacturers. Designs are often replicated in China due to lack of copyright and patent laws there; it is obvious some of these are made more sturdy than others.

Mine however is excellent. It is sturdy, the buttons stable, the USB port solid. It installs easily via plug-n-play and does what it claims to do.

Since this device does have buttons on it, it is likely it will most often be used via USB extension cord. I doubt it would stand up to much use plugged directly into the computer. That is perhaps the area where many people find it falling apart: trying to press the buttons while it is hard-plugged directly into the computer. It's unlikely it would withstand much of such use. But if one plugs this at the end of an extension cord it not only should stand up to button-pressing, but allow the controls to be closer to the user. This is handy if one uses a TV for computer monitor and may be as far as 5 feet or more from their screen.

The ad states it has an advantage of bringing sound and mike ports to the front of the computer, and that is true. However that is likely to be a feature only valuable if the case itself doesn't already have such features-- and most do.

The volume is similar; most keyboards these days have volume controls built in. Because of this I don't see this device having much value over a strait-plug device without buttons. However, it's inexpensive enough to be worth the purchase even as such.

It does provide one feature not found on most computers or keyboards: the ability to remotely and instantly mute the mike. That's a handy function. In addition one can plug in one of the tiny direct-plug mikes to this and have a small, remote mike system that doesn't take up a lot of desktop space, with instant mute access.

By far though its most valuable feature is that it is a complete sound card in a small USB plug-in. If someone's motherboard sound port has ceased to function or their internal sound card blown, there isn't much less inexpensive method to replace it. Value for dollar in that aspect alone, it rocks.

As many point out the proclaimed "7.1 surround sound" software is not included with the system as advertised. That no one has changed this ad to reflect that indicates this ad is out of date. I have contacted Amazon in this regard; no product should be wrongfully presented. That's not Amazon's doing; that is the original seller for not updating the ad. I have no doubt Amazon will correct the matter as soon as they're notified.

EDIT: I found the software online (see top of this review). It is available for all versions of Windows, including Windows 8. It's surprising the manufacturer doesn't include this simple bit of info with the product, as all such would take is a small slip of paper as notice.

Overall this is a low-cost, well-made device that does exactly what it says. The claim of surround sound however, is bogus. If one purchases this without such expectation, the cost is very reasonable for what it does. A complete sound card with buttons for $2 is about as inexpensive as it gets.
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on April 24, 2015
I purchased this item for my laptop at work. Typically, I plug in my earpods and listen to Pandora all day. I was hoping this item would increase the sound. When it arrived, there were no instruction enclosed. This was not a plug-n-play item although it did install itself. I searched YouTube and found how to get it operational.

The sound generated completely changed from CD quality with earpods plugged directly into laptop to AM with the sound card. I don't get it. How is it that this device, designed for audio, makes the sound quality worse?

This is not the seller's fault. The seller shipped on time and accurately from China. The item was stupid cheap. You get what you pay for...
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on May 2, 2014
It is STEREO not true 7.1, just to be clear about that. No software shipped with it because Window will download a driver automatically and extend the Windows Sound control panel with a couple extra options: Bass Boost, Room Correction, Virtual Surround, Loudness Equalization. Using iTunes as a music player I think Virtual Surround and Room Correction suck. The lyrics drop in volume compared to the instruments and much of the music sounds under water/garbled. Just leave the enhancements off. It is good for being a completely separate audio device. So if you want to designate one microphone for most of the PC but your headset for Skype or a game it would let you do that. Maybe you want to be able to send audio from one room to another... You could just switch the playout device to the USB stick and have your music play on the patio instead of your desk speakers.
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on July 5, 2010
I purchased one for myself and recently one for my daughter for use on our Laptops - both of which use Windows Vista. You may have to go into your sound set up and make the USB Soundcard your DEFAULT and Save that option. Once you do that - if you fail to plug the USB soundcard in, it will revert to the original sound card set up so you wont be without sound. JUST DONT ManHandle it - and treat it right and it will treat you right :-)

The main reason I purchased this for myself was my HP Laptop's built in sound card did not deliver even reasonable quality microphone recording. This little jewel (USB soundcard) did the job!

It does NOT have special FX or anything like that, but its good for the money. And of course it delivers better sound than my Laptop too.
My daughter is still not sure how to set hers up - I will have to install it for her. While I have not tried this on XP - I would imagine, XP will install with little to no hassle.

I have not tried it or know of anyone who has But I do not think it will work on Windows 7.
Windows 7 is a hard animal to please when finding the right SoundCard used for Recording/Singing and have quality FX too. If anyone finds such a sound card for Windows 7, let me know.
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on April 10, 2014
This product does exactly what it says it does, and is the perfect fix for our computer whose audio jack went out. Rather than spend big bucks to fix the computer, this does the same thing as the audio jack for practically nothing. It is sturdy and of good quality, and looks much more expensive than it is. We've used it for a month now with no problems.

I took off a star because it was suppose to get here in two days and took almost two months. It shipped from Hong Kong and almost immediately the tracking option was unusable and the approximate shipping date changed to a month out. If you don't mind the wait, it's a great product, but don't order it if you need it right away.
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on January 24, 2012
Just got mine today, took like 4 days to get here so am pretty impressed with that. The 3.5 headphone jack on my netbook has some issues you have to wiggle the cord to get sound to come out of headphones so rather than spend $100+ to get it repaired at a shop I bought this little gizmo... and its great... no disk installiation nessesary just simple plug and play. It has great sound quality and I love the fact that it has the volume buttons right on the device... Highly reccomend to anyone having issues with the stock headphone jack on their laptop/netbook it is a great fix for under $5 im thinking about getting another one so i have a spare... Great Buy!!! Oh and as a side note the specs on the little card that came with it said it would work with xp and vista.. I am currently running win7 ultimate and still had no issues with installiation!!!! Like I said just plug it in reboot your computer and you are in buisness!!! :)
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on December 2, 2015
I purchased this card in 2012 and used it twice then never used it again until now, Currently I hear pop's hisses and other noises with my Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones (I highly recommend buying as they are the best headphones for the price with a good build quality). I would look at other options before getting this or spend a few extra bucks on a better external sound card.
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on October 17, 2014
works like a champ. I have a headset that is used for gaming. I use it for rosetta stone language software, and it requires that you plug them into the microphone and headphone jack. Unfortunately, my new expensive laptop, (UNBELIEVABLY) does not have a mic jack. SO---what to do? I got this and I'm glad I did. It converts my headset into USB and everything works as advertised. I can use it on any computer now, and not worry about finding the various jacks. Great product!
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on August 4, 2016
It's a good product and I would 've given it five stars but, it is a little fragile and should be handled with care! Other than that I like it, the sound is really cool, the volume is loud and the indicator light is appropriate and works fine and it worked right out the box. I would purchase again!
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on January 22, 2011
I got this for online FPS gaming on a headset. I didn't pay much attention to sound quality -- it was decent enough. I'm happy if the voice is clear and there's no significant distortion. I found three problems on the one I got:

1) The jacks are reversed -- the microphone jack is black and the headphone jack is pink. Pink mic jack is standard. This is just somebody not paying attention during assembly, and a minor issue, the markings on the case are correct.

2) Some sound was leaking from the mic to the headphones all the time. Not a disaster for me but annoying.

3) This is the dealbreaker for me: the left and right headphone channels were reversed! Not a problem for voice comms, which are monaural, but direction is important in a game. You hear something to your right, turn to attack and get shot in the back of the head... that's bad. I'm a bad enough player as it is, I don't need help from my headphones! O_o

Depending on your needs it's not a total disaster -- if a reversed sound field isn't a problem, it's a decent little adapter.

My only other complaint is that it's very bulky and can block adjacent USB ports when they're stacked vertically, a price you pay for all those features. A short USB extension cable solves that.
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