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3D Spotlight : Hardware : Xitel Storm Platinum review

Xitel Storm Platinum review
Posted by Julio Franco - Page 3/3

Now, I'm sure that if you're going to buy a sound card in the next few weeks/months to get 3D positional audio, you'll want to know which is better for you, a card based on the Aureal Vortex 2 processor (Storm Platinum) or maybe a card based in the EMU10K1 controller (SB Live!). The features of both cards are pretty similar, they all support true quad CODEC for 4 speaker support so that the card can control volume levels and positional effects on each channel depending where the sound source is actually located in relation to the listener.

Since I own both cards, I was able to test them with exactly the same system, I ran lots of games with both cards, most of them supporting positional audio and even better I could compare the EAX API (SB Live!) with A3D 2.0 (Storm Platinum) API in games that supported both, it's important to notice that although EAX is being developed by Creative, it's an open API and Aureal claims that all Vortex 2 cards will also support EAX in a future driver revision.

In my opinion, when using 4 speakers there was almost no difference between the cards, while some effects were cooler in one some other were better with the other card. Now, when using 2 speakers, positional audio in the Storm Platinum was better. In the other hand, music and MIDI playback and that kind of stuff was better in the SB Live!.

Which should you buy then?

If you're a real gamer, don't look further, go for the Xitel Storm Platinum Gamers pack and kick some ass with the Force Feedback headphones, but if you're a music enthusiast, my recommendation goes to the SB Live!

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