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Audigy owners will get ALchemy, for a low cost, later this year

Microsoft Windows Vista features a new audio stack, which completely revamps how the operating system communicates with audio devices. The new audio stack, dubbed Universal Audio Architecture, or UAA, requires companies to develop new drivers. Hardware accelerated audio devices are treated as an independent device, separate from the audio output capabilities of a sound card under Windows Vista.

The way UAA handles hardware DSPs is a problem for Creative Labs when it comes to delivering hardware acceleration for DirectSound 3D and EAX algorithms. Earlier this year Creative Labs launched its ALchemy project that enabled hardware-accelerated audio on Sound Blaster X-Fi owners. ALchemy translates DirectSound 3D and EAX calls into OpenAL, which can still take advantage of the DSP hardware.

Creative Labs left Sound Blaster Audigy owners in the dark, in regards to hardware-accelerated audio in Windows Vista. However, Creative Labs stated ALchemy support for Sound Blaster Audigy 2 and 4-class products are to be determined depending on demand. Due to demand, Creative Labs has begun ALchemy development for Sound Blaster Audigy-series sound cards.

Creative Labs expects to have ALchemy for Audigy sound cards later this year. It does not appear as if ALchemy will be free to current Audigy owners. Nevertheless, when the cards are ready, Creative Labs “hopes to offer this product as a low-cost upgrade to interested Audigy owners.”


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Are they serious about it?
By sviola on 5/3/2007 9:02:56 AM , Rating: 5
They want to charge owners of their products for being able to use them under Vista?

Well, this is how a company loses customers...




RE: Are they serious about it?
By Moishe on 5/3/2007 9:14:38 AM , Rating: 2
Creative has always been slow to provide legacy support, and quick to screw everyone. I don't mind some company dominating, but I hate it when they use their position to abuse their customers.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By mjcutri on 5/3/2007 12:34:42 PM , Rating: 3
don't forget about them dragging their feet on introducing pcie (x1 ideally) based sound cards. I didn't even install my audigy sb pro in my new computer, just used the onboard audio. If a pcie x1 based card was available, i might have bought it, but not now. I still like CL as a whole (especially their mp3 players), but their sound card division has definitely gone way downhill.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By Mitch101 on 5/3/2007 9:15:15 AM , Rating: 2
I agree this looks to be the first nail in the coffin of Creative. Thier drivers have been falling downhill for some time now and now they want to charge for them.

Kinf of sounds like Happaugue. Can never spell them right. They promise all the bugs are fixed in thier next release and want you to pay to upgrade. You basically buy new bugs and new software crashes with promises/ignored it will be fixed on the next release.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By darkpaw on 5/3/2007 9:49:45 AM , Rating: 3
They've definately lost me. I've been a Creative customer since the original SB Pro, but my Audigy ZS will be my last purchase. Their driver and customer support in general has gone so far downhill I don't know how they stay in business at all.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By Xavian on 5/3/07, Rating: 0
RE: Are they serious about it?
By MustaineC on 5/3/2007 10:33:14 AM , Rating: 3
How dare you use the words "Microsoft" and "monopoly" in the same sentence?


RE: Are they serious about it?
By raddude9 on 5/3/2007 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 4
yep, me too, I've been buying Creative's sounds card since the sound blaster, but I "upgraded" to Vista last week only to find out that they havn't bothered making a new driver for my rather expensive Soundblaster Live Platinum! I'll be taking my soundcard money elsewhere in future.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By RW on 5/3/2007 11:24:54 AM , Rating: 2
I just need to say that from all my computer parts that I did have buy over the years my Creative Audigy 2 ZS was proven to have the biggest price compared to its quality.
In reality the card proves to be a piece of crap that costs me nearly 100 $ at the time of purchasing but it values a maximum of 10 $.

At first the sound quality is the worst especially on CDs or MP3s that are at 44.1 KHz rate because the Audigy card works on 48 KHz and multipliers of it 96 and 192 KHz.
When playing a song on it that has a different samplerate than it's default 48,96,192 KHs the result is somehow catastrophic meaning that the sound is not clear and you can hear the aliasing.
At first u did not notice it but after 1-2 months of using the card it became the most annoying thing.

And you just wonder how such a sound card costs you so much money when in fact it turns out to be totally crap.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By GlassHouse69 on 5/4/2007 1:33:34 AM , Rating: 2

audigy 2 zs is for gaming. it massively reduces cpu load for games. also, eax: the only thing that game designers use as clickable settings in their audio console. Or x-fi now for new games. I dont care if you have a diamond plated geek squad 2000 dollar audio "pro" card. it still will not offload your cpu. It gives significant frames in every game you use it in, and, it was less than 100 dollars, like 60 dollars.

only vista it doesnt work in. consider vista a joke and buying it a bigger one. getting rid of directsound was really dumb. its sound. it makes noise. we dont need another format for gaming, really we dont. 99.99% of users have sub 500 dollar a piece speakers on their computers. I dont think we need to split hairs about signal to noise ratios, bit rates, or whatever as none of this means anything when you are listening to digitized gun clicks or plain old music cds on your 100 dollar 2.1 klipsch's.

I truly think that M$ made the new format to knock out creative. notice how AMD is doing 5.1 hdcp sound through one hdmi(or dongle) this r600 version. That is not a coincedence! video,cpu,physics, and now audio is attempting to be all monopolized by one company.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By JSK on 5/4/2007 4:08:07 AM , Rating: 2
What a retarded assumption.

Do you know how many issues the hardware abstraction layer for the audio in previous versions of windows had? Way too damn many...

While you may not like the new audio stack in vista, it is 10x more stable and reliable.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By jrb531 on 5/4/2007 10:32:00 AM , Rating: 2
I use Vista and it is far far better on release than XP was when it was released. While I'm not happy to lose Directsound the only thing you really lose is surround sound and the newer games all use openal so at least with the new stuff everything is fine.

Why do "some" people feel they have to bash whatever they do not use?

The old.... Whatever I use rocks... whatever I do not use sucks :)

-JB


By Cobra Commander on 5/3/2007 2:54:31 PM , Rating: 4
Creative is exceedingly-proficient in knowing how to lose customers.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By RMSe17 on 5/3/2007 3:44:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sure they are serious.. If you are going to bitch at someone, go bitch at microsoft, it's their stupidity that brought this on everyone. They moved the sound drivers into user-space out of kernel space, and had to rip out hardware accelerated sound out of DirectX. So, no game that used DirectX hardware accelerated sound will work any more, unless it uses software sound. So forget all that nice sound, unless the game used OpenAL, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OpenAL#Applications .

Why did they do it? Oh, now when sound drivers crash, there are no blue screens, they just get reloaded like an app... hm, great, so now I will stop having all those blue screens from audio drivers.. wait, you never got one of those? Oh yea.. now that I think of it, I never got one of those either. GG microsoft.

I dont favor creative, Aureal 3D (A3D) had much better positional audio for games, unfortunately, they went out of business after being sued by creative (and A3D didnt lose those lawsuits)... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A3D still, the fact of the matter is, creative is doing a favor to people by even bothering to write a translation software for their old audio cards, and it makes sense to charge a little for it, because, realisticly, they could be writing better stuff for X-fi (which you can get for cheap anyway), or working on something new, for they future that will make them money. Given how X-Fi is their current product, it makes sense to spend engineering hours on creating the wrapper for it for free, though they still could charge for it if they wanted to be asses about it. Oh, and guess what.. no other audio company made anything that would make that hardware audio setting work on any old games in Vista. Creative is alone on making old games work nice in MS's new OS.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By darkpaw on 5/3/2007 5:04:36 PM , Rating: 3
MS kicked everything out of the kernel primarily for security reasons. Elimintating driver based crashes from any source is a side effect of that.

Locking down the kernel was a smart move for security, but it does require new drivers to be writen for almost everything. The kernel still isn't completely secure, but its a hell of a lot better then it was when you could load anything into it.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By Zoomer on 5/3/2007 9:17:19 PM , Rating: 3
Security?

You meant DRM. But wait, that's going away, and besides, anyone running Vista on a virtual machine can get at it anyway.

Hmm...


RE: Are they serious about it?
By EBH on 5/3/2007 6:28:28 PM , Rating: 2
Creative software support has always been terrible.

I have an Audigy Plat EX card that cost me 300$ when it first came out. Which currently leaves me with two choices aside from getting a new card.

1. Use the original install CD and get a ton of outdated features.

2. Use the auto update and get a driver that shrinks the functionality and overall capabilities of the card down to the quality of a onboard sound chip.

I dont use Vista so I know so Creative can take the blame for their poor support and drivers.


RE: Are they serious about it?
By PrinceGaz on 5/4/2007 8:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why did they do it? Oh, now when sound drivers crash, there are no blue screens, they just get reloaded like an app... hm, great, so now I will stop having all those blue screens from audio drivers.. wait, you never got one of those? Oh yea.. now that I think of it, I never got one of those either. GG microsoft.


Actually, I did have Creative's Audigy driver blue-screen on me once on an otherwise almost rock-solid XP box. I had to look up the name of the application which caused the BSOD to find out what it was, otherwise I wouldn't have realised it was part of the Audigy driver. It has only happened the once, but that's once more than would happen with Vista.

quote:
...the fact of the matter is, creative is doing a favor to people by even bothering to write a translation software for their old audio cards, and it makes sense to charge a little for it, because, realisticly, they could be writing better stuff for X-fi (which you can get for cheap anyway), or working on something new, for they future that will make them money. Given how X-Fi is their current product, it makes sense to spend engineering hours on creating the wrapper for it for free, though they still could charge for it if they wanted to be asses about it.


The Audigy series is still a current product which Creative actively promote, manufacture, and sell.
http://www.creative.com/products/welcome.asp?categ...
Although it is positioned under the X-Fi these days, it should receive a similar level of support, and that includes a free Alchemy wrapper for Vista. Charging for the Audigy version is ridiculous, especially as they'll already have done most of the development work needed with the X-Fi version (in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if all they need to do is check that the wrapper they produced for the X-Fi also works with the Audigy, and then allow it to be installed on systems with an Audigy instead of an X-Fi).

When you buy the hardware, you shouldn't have to pay again for extra software to make it work properly. When I migrate to Vista, you can be sure that I'll pay exactly the same amount for the Alchemy wrapper as I did for nVidia's PureVideo decoder back when it was the only way to make use of the hardware video decoder on the GeForce 6 series. You can probably guess how much I paid for the PureVideo decoder :)


RE: Are they serious about it?
By jonmcc33 on 5/3/2007 8:45:04 PM , Rating: 3
$200 for my Audigy2 ZS Platinum and I need to pay more for something that should be built into the drivers? I was disgusted that it has taken them this long for an OS that has been in development for years. This is even worse!

Maybe they should stop paying John Wendel all that money and give us something we already paid for?


"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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