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Table of Contents
Executive Summary
A Brief History of Soundcards: My Take
Bundle & Installation
Impressions & Software Bundle
Benchmarks & Conclusion


Videologic Sonic Fury
Page 1 of 7
Author: BK Toh
Date of review: 25-September-2000
Type Of Review: Soundcards

Executive Summary

The new Videologic Sonic Fury comes with a whole set of new features meant to gun down the current king-of-the-hill, the Sound Blaster Live. It is priced around the same level as the SoundBlaster Live Player 1024, while matching if not bettering the Live in the features stakes.

The Videologic Sonic Fury Soundcard

Using Sensaura’s 3D algorithms, including MacroFX and MultiDrive, the Sonic Fury is able to provide compatibility with A3D 1.0, EAX 1/2 and DirectSound3D. It also supports up to 96 DirectSound(3D) streams in hardware, and up to 64 voices for MIDI synthesis. The versatile VersaJack connector allows you to choose between a 5.1 analogue output for games and for watching Dolby Digital DVDs, or as a digital output (both AC3 and PCM streams).

It also comes with an impressive and usable software bundle, in particular Yamaha’s excellent software XG MIDI synthesiser and Voyetra’s latest Audiostation, which incorporates the ability to playback a whole host of media formats (MP3, MIDI, WAV, CD audio, AVI, MPGs etc) as well as the ability to encode MP3 from your CDs!

If your budget stretches to it, you can also buy the Digitheatre PC kit which includes the Sonic Fury soundcard, a Dolby-Digital ready speaker system and WinDVD. This will provide you with a complete home theatre built around your PC. Just add a PC with a DVD-ROM drive.

With a built in DSP, the benchmarks show that the tax on CPU utilisation is comparable to the SB Live, with very little penalty at all. The A3D 1.x emulation worked well, even in Quake 3 Arena (though it wasn’t selectable in the options page).

As for DirectSound3D, I found the Head Related Transfer Functions to work really well for me in placing sounds around me in the 4-speaker mode, and I found it better than the SB Live’s implementation.

The only downside is the Sonic Fury’s EAX emulation in games. With the current implementation, the effects are not identical to the ones found in Liveware 3.0 for my Sound Blaster Live, but it does work. EAX effects are more pronounced on the SB Live, but it is really up to individual tastes to say which is better. The only caveat is that if a programmer codes the EAX effects for the Sound Blaster Live (which is after all the industry standard), you may not be getting the ideal reproduction with the Sonic Fury. Thankfully, the Sonic Fury uses a DSP, which should allow it to be reprogrammed (in theory anyway) for closer Live EAX compatibility.

The Sonic Fury is a well-designed soundcard that offers a balanced set of features other soundcards would be hard-pressed to match, and should satisfy most gamers as well as home theatre enthusiasts.

For the full review, click here.

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