Pro audio maker M-Audio has put in a bid to enter the consumer CE market with the introduction of the Sonica digital audio upgrade kit.
The Sonica is a 24-bit external sound card that will be marketed toward the power PC-gamer market and has started shipping this week with a $79 suggested retail price.
The sound card delivers Dolby Digital 5.1 DTS encoded sound through any PC or notebook computer, and has digital and analog output connectors.
The company, which sold professional level audio products under the Midiman name, believes the audio segment of the PC category is poised to experience the same type of growth as the graphics card industry has had during the past several years.
The Sonica is the first in what will be a family of consumer products from M-Audio. The company declined to give any details on these products.
The company plans to sell the Sonica through the CE and computer channels, said Jason Ivan, M-Audio's marketing director for its consumer products group.
This should not pose a problem for either consumers or the store's sales associates, Ivan said, because people already understand home theater and the device itself is relatively self explanatory.