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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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RE: Are they serious about it?
By PrinceGaz on 5/4/2007 8:26:09 AM , Rating: 2
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.

...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.
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 :)

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