Though modern laptops come loaded with exceptional design and performance features, audio is an area that falls behind in most cases. The audio delivered by factory sound cards often doesn’t have satisfactory sound quality.
This is where external audio interfaces prove to be useful. Turtle Beach Micro 2 is a small device that works as a DAC and replaces the built-in audio on a laptop or desktop to allow you to connect to a wide range of audio devices and enjoy impressive sound quality in digital formats.
Turtle Beach Micro 2 Review – A Complete Guide
Introduced as one of the most inexpensive portable DAC models, the Turtle Beach Micro 2 is a USB-powered audio interface that adds a stereo analog output and an optical digital output to a laptop.
It is a small device that replaces the integrated audio on your desktop computer or laptop to let you plug in powered stereo speakers, headphones, and digital cable to connect a wide variety of audio receivers and other compatible devices.
Resembling a USB flash drive in appearance, the Turtle Beach Micro 2 measures 2.5×0.75×0.5 inches and features digital signal processing modes, an equalizer, and surround-sound simulation capability.
It is an affordably priced interface that adds a software preamp, digital audio port, and headphone jack to your computer. Moreover, it comes with a plug adapter that transforms the minijack port into a Toslink optical digital output to allow you to connect any compatible audio device to your setup.
Priced at just under $30, this is a budget audio interface. It also includes a USB extension cord understanding the fact that USB ports are not always easy to access. The unit also comes with a cap that can be used to protect the unit when traveling.
You also get a user manual and driver CD with the product. The interface is highly compact and contains no hardware controls. It doesn’t even have a volume knob which means you need to get into the software to make small adjustments to the audio in the middle of something.
Installing the Turtle Beach Micro 2 is simple and straightforward with the software that comes along in a CD. You can follow the instructions and plug in the device as asked. The Windows or Mac operating system detects the device automatically and indicates its status with a LED. The 3.5mm analog jack can be used to plug in powered speakers and headphones.
The software works as a configuration tool and offers everything from a 10-band equalizer with programmable presets to a virtual speaker shifter that allows changing the speaker positions of the virtual system. It also comes with over 25 DSP environments to choose from.
There are several demo applications aimed at letting you experience surround sound. You can find a home theatre simulation app, a helicopter game, and an Asteroids game to get a feel of what it sounds like. The CD even includes trial versions of music editing software like MusicWrite, AudioSurgeon, and Music Producer to allow you to compose, record, and edit music.
The Turtle Beach Micro 2 sound card does pretty well with computer speakers, headphones, and audio receivers. When connecting a set of headphones, it sounds crisp and clear with no additional noise or static you might experience with other sound cards.
Another impressive thing is the extra gain the unit adds to the signal which is useful if the integrated headphone jack on your laptop doesn’t play loud enough to power your headphones.
When listening to games, the surround sound is not so impressive but the algorithms make the game sound vast without diffusing them too much. The sound quality, however, cannot be compared to full-fledged audio adapter units.
- Excellent value for money
- Delivers optical digital output for those who don’t have SPDIF integrated into their laptop
- Compact and easy to transport
- USB bus-powered and easy to use
- Ideal for laptops with weak audio signals
- Includes a SPDIF adapter and USB extension cable
- Doesn’t meet the expectations of a surround-sound system
- Resamples all audio to 48kHz
- Included drivers can add some noise
Turtle Beach Micro 2 Driver
The Turtle Beach Micro 2 is a plug-and-play device that works on a Windows or Mac operating system automatically without any external installation required. The operating system detects the device instantly upon plugging in every time and drivers are automatically installed.
You can also install the new signed driver manually for additional functionality. The new signed driver gives you a pass-through for DTS and Dolby Digital. To install the driver, you can download the zip file containing the driver and unzip it to a new folder on the desktop or laptop. Next, you should connect the Micro 2 to a USB port on the computer.
Windows detects the device automatically and installs a generic USB sound device driver. To update this driver, go to the Control Panel – Hardware and Sound – Device Manager. Click on the option ‘Sound, video and game controllers’ and right-click on ‘USB sound device’. You will find an option for updating driver software. As you select this option, a window for USB Sound Device opens. You can choose to select and install the driver software manually after which you see the generic USB Sound Device.
As you want to update the driver, go with the option ‘Have Disk’ and browse the location where you saved the driver. You will see the contents of the folder and the file name. Open to install the driver using this file. The dialog box that opens next should show you the name ‘Audio Advantage Micro 2’. Click on ‘Next’ and ‘Allow’ to install the driver. When the installation completes, you should see your Micro 2 listed in the USB Sound Device and it is ready to use.
Turtle Beach USB To Optical Adapter
The Turtle Beach Micro 2 interface includes a TOSLINK USB to Optical adapter that converts the audio input to an optical digital output. The adapter works with an external fiber optic cable and allows connecting external digital devices to the sound card. To use the digital output of the unit, the SPDIF digital adapter should be inserted into the audio output jack and connected to a TOSLINK digital optical cable to transfer digital audio signal to external devices.
The digital audio output can be used to transfer multi-channel audio to an external device with the built-in 5.1 decoders for Dolby Digital or DTS formats. The unit can send these audio signals through the digital output to a decoder like an A/V receiver but you need software for DVD playback of these signals. If your DVD player on the computer supports the 5.1-channel output, you can play DTS and Dolby Digital formats easily.
However, as DVD players are available at inexpensive prices these days, it is rare that somebody gets this interface to use the laptop to play DVDs through a 5.1-channel system. Connecting the optical digital output to your A/V receiver, the Micro 2 should pass DTS and Dolby Digital sound and stereo tracks to the receiver without any problem. You can even use this unit to connect your computer to a self-powered multimedia speaker set supporting digital, 5.1-channel audio, to enjoy DVD movies in digital format.
Turtle Beach Video Advantage USB Driver
Turtle Beach also offers a small and affordable capture card to convert video files from analog to digital formats. It is a combination of software and hardware that allows transferring video from analog sources to CD, DVD, and other places. It also includes software that makes it easy to capture, edit and share videos, add effects and make other adjustments.
The Video Advantage features a Direct USB 2.0 connection to the laptop or PC and comes with all the required cables to capture stereo audio, S-video, and composite video for conversion. The USB driver for this unit can be manually installed or updated to add new features and fix existing ones. The manufacturer tries to make such releases easy to apply so that users can update their graphics cards on their own.
To update the driver for Turtle Beach Video Advantage, simply get the package, extract, run the setup and follow the on-screen instructions to complete installation and enjoy the latest features and functionality of the graphics card.
To sum up, those who are not satisfied with the sound on their laptop and want an inexpensive way to upgrade and improve the sound may find the Turtle Beach Micro 2 Audio Advantage a great choice. Looking at the low price, it is easy to say that it offers value for money with a digital optical adapter and support for a wide variety of headphones, powered speakers, and other audio devices.