VideoLogic® SonicVortex2™ Blasts PC Gamers With 3D Sound

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VideoLogic - the international company which develops, designs and supplies market-leading 2D/3D graphics accelerator, video and audio products for PCs, games consoles and arcade entertainment machines - has launched the SonicVortex2, a high performance, advanced audio add-in card for gamers. The card is available now from VideoLogic's network of resellers and dealers with a max RRP of just £64.99 (inc. VAT).

SonicVortex2's 3D positional audio, using the acclaimed Aureal A3D 2.0 standard, brings game environments to life. Now the level of acoustic realism matches the immersive 3D worlds of the latest, greatest games.

Key features of the SonicVortex2 include: the latest Aureal Vortex2 technology for realistic 3D audio; four speaker support for an enhanced 3D audio experience; high performance audio for games, including full hardware acceleration which frees the CPU and speeds up gameplay; legacy audio support for compatibility with A3D 1.0 and DOS based PC games; high quality audio for music/entertainment; PCI audio performance and S/PDIF output for digital recording.

Kevin Dale, marketing and sales director, VideoLogic Systems, says: "It's time for gamers to demand 3D sound that's on a par with the immersive 3D graphics found in new games such as Half-Life. With support for the latest Aureal 2.0 API, SonicVortex2 delivers the ultimate in features and performance for gaming along with stunning 3D positional audio, all with low CPU usage to keep gameplay fast.

"When SonicVortex2 is connected to one, or even two, sets of our award winning Sirocco speaker system you really do have the ultimate in PC audio."Amazing Game Sound

Whether using four speakers, headphones, or even stereo speakers, SonicVortex2 gives the gamer excellent 3D audio effects. SonicVortex2 realistically models the acoustics of the game world to provide the gamer with the experience of 'being there'. 'Wavetracing' acoustic modeling ensures that the game's sound effectively replicates the sound properties of the real world.

Thus, a gun shot in a cavern will sound different from a gun shot in an open-space, or a rocket engine in front of a player will sound different from a rocket located off-screen behind the player.

A3D 2.0 takes into account the position of the listener, the sound source and environment geometry, using reflections, occlusions and the acoustic properties of different surfaces, so that the game world - whatever it is - can now be realistically modeled to enhance the player's immersion in the game. Different algorithms are deployed for headphone, two speaker and four speaker configurations.

SonicVortex2 uses the advanced Aureal Vortex2 AU8830 audio processor for high performance, high quality audio with 92 stream DirectSound acceleration. A3D 2.0 provides amazing sound effects for the next generation of 3D games. Microsoft DirectSound and DirectSound3D support is provided for all DirectX games too. EAX support will be provided in a future driver release. (Target date is early Q2 1999). SonicVortex2 is PC 99 and AC 97 compliant.

SonicVortex2 also provides legacy API support for SoundBlaster Pro (for compatibility with the majority of DOS games) and A3D 1.0.

Games using Aureal A3D Positional Audio technology include: Unreal, Heretic II, SiN, Myth II, Wargasm, Thief: Dark Project, StarSiege: Tribes and Half-Life, with many more to come.

Studio Quality Audio

The SonicVortex2 is not just for gamers. Also excelling at music, the SonicVortex2 provides a 320-voice wavetable synthesizer (64-voices in hardware), with a superb 4MB sample set, for high quality MIDI and in-game music scores. Two independent channels are supplied for effects including Delay, Reverb, Flange, Distortion and Wah-Wah.

For users seeking even more musical power, expansion capability is included for hardware wavetable daughter-cards and Downloadable Samples (DLS) support allows custom MIDI sample sets to be downloaded in place of the supplied sample set for maximum versatility.

Digital Recording

An optical S/PDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format) output is provided for digital output at 32, 44.1 or 48 kHz sample rates. Digital output allows direct digital stereo recording to DAT or miniDisc.

Software Provided

SonicVortex2 is provided with an excellent selection of computer audio software including Yamaha XG soft synthesiser and Yamaha XG Studio for professional quality MIDI playback and Jet-Audio for media playback.

Yamaha XG soft synthesiser runs at 44.1KHz 16bit resolution with full effects processing on MMX PCs, or standard PCs with CPU speeds in excess of 166MHz. The software offers 676 fully programmable voices, 21 fully programmable drum kits and a staggering three parallel 24 bit resolution effects busses. Yamaha XG STUDIO is a compact MIDI file player with support for up to 100 songs loaded at any one time.

Jet-Audio is a comprehensive home audio system interface from COWON Systems, Inc. Jet-Audio features independent A/V components for Digital Signal Processor, Audio CD Player, Digital Audio (WAV, MP3, RealAudio), MIDI (MID, MOD, XM, S3M, etc.) and Digital Video (AVI, QTW, MPG, RealMovie), along with a Mixer and on-screen Remote Controller. Jet-Audio is simply the only media player users will need, whatever their playback requirements.

A graphic equaliser for all audio output (from MIDI, wave, MP3 and CD audio sources), with a range of presets for common music types is accessible via SonicVortex2's audio control panel.

SonicVortex2's midi/joystick port enables the use of an additional keyboard for music or joystick for games. When used for joystick connection the port's low latency via the PCI bus gives significant improvements in game responsiveness.

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