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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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On the other hand...
By dnatek on 5/3/2007 10:14:53 AM , Rating: 5
First and foremost, I totally agree that this is a bad move on Creative's part. I would like to play devil's advocate on the other hand. If any of you Audigy owners still have your original box, does it say anywhere on there that it will support Windows Vista? Of course not, Vista wasn't even close to being released when the Audigy came out. You are getting the exact functionality promised to you on the outside of the box, nothing more. In fact, this practice is fairly common and is why hardware and software vendors look forward to new OS releases, it forces customers to upgrade. This is no different than Adobe saying that they won't support Vista on anything other than CS3, all previous versions are SOL. Anyway, just my 2 cents - and no I'm not a Creative fanboy (do those even exist?).

RE: On the other hand...
By jrb531 on 5/3/2007 10:31:08 AM , Rating: 2
Ok great... so those who buy a Audigy 2 or 4 now can get this support for free?

Well since the box does not say Vista then I guess not.

"Technically" you are correct but from a PR standpoint... this will kill CL IMHO.


By therealnickdanger on 5/3/2007 10:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
There's no doubt that the OP is correct. If it doesn't support say it supports Vista, the consumer A) shouldn't buy it; and B) the company is not responsible for supporting it.

That being said, I own a Audigy4Pro, but this just confirms that I won't bother installing it on my Vista machine. I can guarantee, however, that hacked drivers will be made available almost immediately for those that want them. I probably won't bother and will just sell the card to someone with XP of something...

This is not the position Creative should be taking in this case. Not only are integrated sound solutions becoming competitive, but the newest edition of the world-leading OS doesn't support hardware sound, and the rest of the discrete soundcard market is offering amazing competition. Alienating all the Audigy users in the world is a stupid move, even if we don't truly deserve something for nothing. Reputation speaks volumes. I'm willing to accept a slightly higher SNR if it means not spending any money.

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