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View Full Version : Miss the SoundStorm, there is a new card that does just that!!!


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Veger
03-09-05, 10:46 AM
Hi all,

I just received the new Hitec HDA Mystique 7.1 soundcard with realtime hardware encoding Dolby Digital 5.1 and let me tell you it kicks AZZ.

Been testing it with music and games and the placement is fantastic just like the soundstorm.

I had an Audigy 2 LZ soundcard in before. I put this baby in and it works flawlessly.

It is a must have for anyone who misses the capablity of the soundstorm.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=3701&item=5170670510&rd=1&ssPageName=WDVW

The card will be released in the states soon. I just bought 2 of them off of ebay.

MUYA
03-09-05, 10:47 AM
Not when you game IIRC?

Veger
03-09-05, 10:50 AM
??

What do you mean?

I have tested it with the following games:

1)HalfLife 2
2)Counterstrike Source
3)Doom3
4)Natural Selection
5)Legacy of Kain
6)SWKOTOR Part 2
7)Guild Wars

etc...

Worked flawlessly :D

I am going directly with optical cable directly in my receiver.

MUYA
03-09-05, 10:58 AM
3D acceleration I am on about. It is no soundstorm and audigy in terms of 3d sound as it uses CPU for that. I read in a german translated review of it a few weeks back. I am not entirely sure though

Veger
03-09-05, 11:04 AM
I can assure you it is encoding harware wise, it states this that the encoding is real time off the chip = hardware not software. If it was software would you think it would work on there current cards using software?

There is no cpu utilization when I am listening to music and games, my audigy was using at least 3 to 5 % on average.

Well I do not care anyway as I am happy with the performance and sound quality and it seperates the channels properly that is all I care about, and imop it sounds better than the soundstorm, it does support EAX2.0 as well.

Go here for more info.

http://www.cmedia.com.tw/product/CMI8768_plus.htm

BrianG
03-09-05, 11:42 AM
Vegar, Can you run some benchies with and with out sound? That will be able to tell us if it is software or hardware encoded.

The website you linked lists "Dolby Digital Live 5.1 (AC-3) Real-time Encoder (only 8768+)" in the "Valuable Software Technology" heading. Does that mean that it is a software applet written for setting it up, or that the software does the work (ie CPU) and the hardware recognizes the instructions.

I have a 5.1 sound system for my PC and have been sorely missing Soundstorm as the controller for the speaker system does not have 6 channel inputs, just SPDIF. Pro Logic II does a pretty good job with it, but it is still just over-glorified stereo.

I miss my Soundstorm.

Rakeesh
03-09-05, 11:49 AM
The main benefit of a soundstorm isn't the dolby digital encoding, rather it is the powerful APU in the card. In some benchmarks, the soundstorm even gives better performance than having no sound at all (games that send the sound rendering to a bitbucket would be perfect examples of this.)

saturnotaku
03-09-05, 11:57 AM
That's something I'd consider buying if it was about $30-40 cheaper. Spending $110 plus another $30 for shipping is a bit steep. Of course, I don't have any sort of digital speakers, but I would like to possibly migrate away from the integrated Creative audio on my motherboard.

BrianG
03-09-05, 11:58 AM
Alpha,

No, the main benefit was the Dolby Digital encoding. Once you have that in games like Doom3, you can not look back. It was stunning on SoundStorm. I could care less about 5% loss in performance. :D

BrianG
03-09-05, 11:59 AM
That's something I'd consider buying if it was about $30-40 cheaper. Spending $110 plus another $30 for shipping is a bit steep. Of course, I don't have any sort of digital speakers, but I would like to possibly migrate away from the integrated Creative audio on my motherboard.
There is apparently a version with out the expansion board that is a bit cheaper. I need to research this a little.

Rakeesh
03-09-05, 01:12 PM
Alpha,

No, the main benefit was the Dolby Digital encoding. Once you have that in games like Doom3, you can not look back. It was stunning on SoundStorm. I could care less about 5% loss in performance. :D

I've had dolby digital encoding for a long time now (my soundcard itself uses the next generation of audio architecture (http://www.intel.com/design/chipsets/hdaudio.htm)) but I would still rather have a soundstorm.

Veger
03-09-05, 01:34 PM
Yep Intel has had for alittle while now but for AMD users we only had soundstorm. In terms of the benchmarking I will not have the time to test it right now, sorry about that.

It seems to be running good so I am happy with it.

I wonder if intels solution is the same because it says Dolby Digital Live, that's what this card says.

I am playing music right now and looking at my Lis LCD panel right in front of me and it is using 0% to maybe 1% cpu utilization. That to me is great.

The driver needs maturity like any other product, but if you do not have an Intel motherboard with the DD 5.1 Live capablity and want a like soundstorm product this is going to be the only product as nVidia has dropped the whole soundstorm chip. I still believe they will bring out a soundcard someday.

BrianG
03-09-05, 01:37 PM
Yep Intel has had for alittle while now but for AMD users we only had soundstorm. In terms of the benchmarking I will not have the time to test it right now, sorry about that.

It seems to be running good so I am happy with it.
So the driver and the control panel are good? Can you post a couple screens of the driver applet? Does it just use drivers from the C-Media website?

Veger
03-09-05, 01:50 PM
Hi BrianG,

I have uploaded some screenshots...

I have also checked winamp and the driver is in fact encoding DD 5.1 thru hardware acceleration. Which is what you want.

The drivers are c-media's but they are not on there website yet. I assume because the product is so new.

Off of the specs it says "Supports Dolby Digital Live Real-Time Contents Encoder / The World First Dolby Digital Live Certificated PCI Audio Board" - this tells me it is encoding DD 5.1 in hardware.

Here is another forum on this product by some other poster:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?threadid=511204&perpage=20&highlight=Mystique%207.1&pagenumber=1

Gator
03-09-05, 02:37 PM
Aww, you disappoint me! I thought you meant they made a seperate PCI sound card specifically with an Nvidia Soundstorm chipset :(

I have mixed feelings about CMedia chipsets. Some people swear by them, but my fiance's computer has CMedia and the audio is awful. If it's not creative, I usually stick with Realtek audio, or Crystal audio (used in the SantaCruz)

I've also read the Hercule Fortismo III cards are excellent, not sure what chipset they use though.

BrianG
03-09-05, 02:43 PM
Thanks for the linnk to AVS. I didn't notice it when I looked earlier...

(BTW, AVS was a huge help when Plasma shopping.)

Veger
03-09-05, 02:45 PM
The funny thing is soundstorm is gone, this card is like it why the hostility.

At least there is an alternative to creatives cards, hercules cards, etc.. that does DD5.1 encoding realtime. That is a plus.

Veger
03-09-05, 02:46 PM
Aww, you disappoint me! I thought you meant they made a seperate PCI sound card specifically with an Nvidia Soundstorm chipset :(

I have mixed feelings about CMedia chipsets. Some people swear by them, but my fiance's computer has CMedia and the audio is awful. If it's not creative, I usually stick with Realtek audio, or Crystal audio (used in the SantaCruz)

I've also read the Hercule Fortismo III cards are excellent, not sure what chipset they use though.

Sounds fine too me and I am an audio buff. I am using this card because of the Dolby Digital Live encoding feature. I usually only use creative soundcards and swear by them. So I think without trying it out yourself I think you are jumping to conclusions on this chip. You are comparing some piece of junk on-board oem c-media sound chip with a seperate pci card. That is comparing apples to oranges Gator - not going to work. Of course the on-board sound is going to have some oem crap. That is because the motherboard manufacturer is trying to keep there costs down. But, this card sounds fantastic to me and is perfect for games, music and movies. It is also perfect for people who have HTPC.

BrianG
03-09-05, 04:04 PM
Controlling......urge.....to....buy......getting.. .....harder.

Must....hold......out.......for.....US......retail er.

Or maybe not. I can't beleive all the positive feedback the seller is getting with three day international shipping.

saturnotaku
03-09-05, 10:16 PM
Hmm...that seller was auctioning the exact same card about 2 weeks ago with an $85 BIN price. :eek2:

superklye
03-09-05, 10:40 PM
So does this card only show benefit over an SBLive 24-bit or an Audigy 2 ZS if it's using ditigal decoding for digital speakers (like SoundStorm)? Or does it kick ass for analogue, too?

WeReWoLf
03-09-05, 11:30 PM
That's what i wanna know, coz i'm only using analogue atm as well.

Rakeesh
03-10-05, 12:50 AM
Yep Intel has had for alittle while now but for AMD users we only had soundstorm. In terms of the benchmarking I will not have the time to test it right now, sorry about that.

Actually soundstorm was the very first card with DDL. AMD users had DDL long before intel users did. But actually intel doesn't make the sound chips, rather they only defined the HD Audio standard. (BTW, something worth noting with HD Audio is that it is designed so that one driver works for all hardware that complies with the standard. It is actually part of microsofts up and coming Universal Audio Architecture.)

Realtek and C-Media usually make the chips They also make some of the components of the soundstorm chips as well, including the DAC's, although you don't even need a DAC if you use dolby digital.

With that said though, as far as digital audio is concerned, all brands of soundcards will always have the same audio quality. The difference of sound quality only exists in your speaker system. The difference between tommorows soundcards will only be the speed of the hardware and what sound APIs the driver supports, unless of course everybody sticks with analog sound.

I wonder if intels solution is the same because it says Dolby Digital Live, that's what this card says.

The end result is the same. There are numerous names for it, including Dolby Digital Encoding, DICE, and some others which I can't name off of the top of my head. (though I think DICE is a pure hardware version, and I know the soundstorm uses that)

Oddly enough, creative seems to suggest that they will never support DDL. Rather instead they have their own proprietary digital surround standard that only works with certain creative brand speakers.

Greg
03-10-05, 03:03 AM
Could you run a Ziff Davis Win Audio Benchmark and a 3DMark2003 sound bench please?

I couldn't care about audio quality or suround encoding/decoding as I have cheap speakers, but I do like the 10% increase in game frame rate from low CPU usage. (I benched SoundBlaser Live at 10-30% CPU, nForce2 SoundStorm at 0.5-2%, or similar figures anyway.)

Veger
03-10-05, 10:06 AM
Could you run a Ziff Davis Win Audio Benchmark and a 3DMark2003 sound bench please?

I couldn't care about audio quality or suround encoding/decoding as I have cheap speakers, but I do like the 10% increase in game frame rate from low CPU usage. (I benched SoundBlaser Live at 10-30% CPU, nForce2 SoundStorm at 0.5-2%, or similar figures anyway.)

Hi Greg,

I did just try 3dmark 03 but it says that this card is unsupported?

When I look at the number of hardware sounds it says only 17?

Also 3dmark thinks the driver is whql when it is not.

This is weird, hopefully it is only a driver issue which I believe it is.

PS - When I play the SW Republic Commando demo, I set it to 3D on, EAX 2.0, 32 channels and it sounds fantastic with DD5.1 encoding.