Vortex2 SuperQuad Digital review
Klein on July 27, 1999
all the success of Aureal Vortex 1/2 based sound cards from
3rd party manufacturers such as Diamond, Turtle
Beach and Xitel, it wasnít too strange to see Aureal
making available a Vortex 2 card manufactured by them. The
Vortex SuperQuad is based on the standard Vortex 2 chipset
and as expected it produces exceptional 3D sound.
I said, other companies also make a fine Vortex 2 based
sound card, but being able to use a sound card provided
directly from the manufacturers of the chip is without doubt
something special. You can expect direct support from
Aureal; if you choose this card over other cards, pretty
much like Creative Labs has done with their Sound Blaster
Live! Card. However there is one catch. The Aureal SuperQuad
will be made available in pre-built computer systems.
has done something special to make their SuperQuad sound
board to stand out from the rest of the pack though. The
SuperQuad has a digital sound output rather than the
traditional Analog sound output. Analog and Digital sound
may not make that much of a difference, but with todayís
ever advancing standards; it is worth looking into.
sampling rate of the digital output can reach an amazing
48,800 kHz sampling rate. Also, with digital output, you donít
have to worry too much about line noise or other such things
that can inhibit an analog speaker and sound card setup from
producing the ultimate in sound.
sound is not the only thing that will set the SuperQuad
apart from the rest. Like the name suggests, it can support
a quad speaker setup. With quad speakers, you can position
two speakers behind and two speakers in front.
the 3D positional sound being used, you will be able to
discern the sounds coming from the back, left, right, front,
or just about any direction in 3D games. Talking about 3D
gaming. Aureal has been working a lot in the past few months
optimizing their sound drivers in order to utilize less CPU
cycles. When the CPU is utilized less for the sound
production, it leaves the CPU free to render more frames for
the video to produce, hence, making the playing experience
about playing in a more enjoyable environment, I found this
sound card to produce better 3D positional output than my
Sound Blaster Live! Could ever do, but the Aureal card still
exhibited more CPU utilization than the Live!. However, the
CPU utilization has gone down considerably since the
introduction of the Vortex 2 chipset. The performance hit
when enabling A3D enhancements in Half-Life was not worth
the performance hit when the sound card was first
introduced, but now the performance hit is negligible.
Aureal Vortex 2 SuperQuad installed without any troubles. As
with almost any PnP OS, installing a piece of hardware is a
snap if the drivers have been well written. In this case,
the drivers are indeed well written and continue to be
improved upon by Aureal.
I had to do was place the card into an empty PCI slot after
removing my Sound Blaster Live! Value. Windows 98 SE did an
excellent job of detecting the presence of the new card and
removing the drivers for the Sound Blaster Live!. After
installing the drivers and rebooting, I was greeted with a
robust sound when playing my windows startup sound. The card
seemed to have much stronger sound reproduction than I have
seen in previous soundboards.