Posted by Thomas
McGuire on October 03, 2001
Manufacturer: Hercules Product:
Find soundcard prices here.
Gamesurround Fortissimo 2 ($59.99) is Hercules latest foray
into the Mid/Budget-range Soundcard market with the Game
Theater XP ($149.99) serving the Higher (Non-professional)
-end market & the Gamesurround Muse XL ($29.99) being
the Soundcard for those on a tight budget. Using the Cirrus
Logic CS4624 DSP & Sensaura 3D Environmental technology
it boasts some good features for a relatively low price. In
this review I’ll examine whether or not to on-paper specs
can hold up to much in reality.
Installation of the
Gamesurround Fortissimo 2 was a fairly standard affair
compared with, well, basically every other Soundcards you
can think of. Simply insert it into a free PCI slot &
connect the 9-pin Analog Out cable, which splits into 4
further Jacks, to the respective peripheral – Front &
Rear speakers, Microphone & Headphones. The Soundcard
itself features 2 Analog Inputs available - CD-Audio &
Auxiliary In, with the Optical Digital In/Output being
located on the Bracket of the Soundcard. There’s a
as well of course.
Manual for the Fortissimo 2 was basic enough, containing how
to install the Soundcard correctly in Windows Operating
Systems, to enable DMA for DVD playback & … well
that’s pretty much it. As a nice addition the Users Manual
for Power DVD 3 did come with the Fortissimo 2, something
that was lacking with the Game Theater XP.
Gamesurround Fortissimo 2 supports all Microsoft Operating
Systems from Windows 95 (Except NT4 though it seems) &
we can also assume Windows XP support will be available in
the future also. Moving onto the Gamesurround Fortissimo
2 applet in the Control Panel you’ll find a nice
amount of options to configure the Soundcard with. First up
being the initial Main tab.
left to right, first have the semi-usual Record Source &
Recording volume level controls followed by the Master
Volume level control & an option to select the Audio
Output mode – Headphones, 2 or 4 Speakers. Best of all is
the ability to independently adjust the volume level for
each Channel available. Finally you also have the ability to
check the Output mode has been configured correctly using
the Test & Sound Rotation buttons, which
will play Audio through each Channel so you can verify
it’s coming from the correct one.
Mixer tab lets you adjust the volume level for
different Audio sources & the ability to enable a 20dB
boost to Microphone input, nothing out of the ordinary. The EQ
tab contains a nice 10-Band Equaliser with 8 preset settings
available for it, although you can adjust this as you see
fit yourself. Next up there’s the
you can adjust a variety of
settings for the Soundcard. The Fortissimo 2 supports
playback of up to 64 notes in Hardware, with any further
notes being generated by the CPU (Up to a maximum of
what’s set for the Maximum Software Notes).
specifies the scheme used to silence a previous note &
play a new one when the limits for hardware & software
synthesized voices have been reached. For best system
performance this should be set to Dynamic (default)
rather than DLS.
Midi support if quite sufficient (The high quality Yamaha XG
Player is also bundled too), although it won’t really be
too important to most of you at all, although as detailed in
the API Support section the Fortissimo 2 does also offer
Hardware DirectMusic Support for Games that use it.