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Auzentech Prelude 7.1 (Source: Hardware Canucks)
EAX 5.0 and Dolby Digital Live on a single PCI sound card

Auzentech is set to release the first third-party Creative Labs X-Fi based sound card – the Prelude 7.1. The Prelude 7.1, announced last month, allows users to enjoy multi-channel EAX 5.0 positional audio without connecting four sets of audio cables. Auzentech licenses Dolby Digital Live multi-channel audio encoding technology to provide users single-cable convenience over S/PDIF.

The new Prelude 7.1 mates features previously found on the Auzentech X-Meridian with the Creative Labs X-Fi sound processor. Auzentech equips the Prelude 7.1 with a removable OPAmp on the front channels output of the sound card, unlike the X-Meridian’s four removable OPAmps. A LM4562NA is the default installed OPAmp on the Prelude 7.1.  

Auzentech pairs the Creative Labs X-Fi sound processor with two memory chips for 64MB of memory. AKM digital-to-analog convertors are installed on all eight audio channels, a step up from the Cirrus Logic DACs employed by Creative Labs. Other notable features of the Prelude 7.1 include audio headers, although it is unknown if they meet Creative Labs’ specifications.

Expect the Auzentech Prelude 7.1 to trickle into retail channels in the coming weeks.

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RE: hmmmn
By Lakku on 5/30/2007 10:49:50 PM , Rating: 4
EAX is not killed in Vista. EAX, in its current form, won't work in Vista. Contrary to popular belief, Vista isn't the problem, it's the games designed before Vista's release. They were designed for DirectSound 3D with its Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) to give the software direct access to the hardware. the HAL no longer exists in Vista, so when games make calls to the HAL, it no longer exists, and thus, you have no EAX and surround sound in games. However, EAX is just a set of effects. Environmental Audio eXtensions as most of you know. EAX effects can be done in Vista if the game uses OpenAL instead of DirectSound. Why do you think the Creative ALchemy project exists? It takes those calls to the HAL and converts them to OpenAL in Vista. You now have hardware sound, with EAX and positional audio. EAX is NOT dead and Vista isn't the problem, other than the fact it radically changed the way sound and video worked, for the better I might add. Games were simply designed for a different system and don't work anymore.

Morale of the story? Vista is not the problem, so stop blaming it. Contrary to all the misinformation floating around the web, EAX STILL exists if the game uses OpenAL (Doom 3 based games do) and emulators can be made to allow older games to function under Vista, which Creative is actively working on. Therefore those of you with X-Fi's have the only card capable of hardware sound, as its the only card I know of with hardware accelerated OpenAL.

RE: hmmmn
By michal1980 on 5/31/07, Rating: -1
RE: hmmmn
By jtesoro on 5/31/2007 10:11:10 AM , Rating: 2
In some way you can "blame" Vista because it eliminated an interface which is being used by a lot of applications in the market. The expectation in this industry is to allow for improvements without breaking what already exists. If Vista doesn't meet this expectation, it will definitely get some heat (with good reason). In my mind, this is analogous to Microsoft eliminating DirectX support in Vista in favor of OpenGL. It would be very strange if people blamed the game instead of Vista if that happened. Ironically, Creative plays a major role in maintaining OpenAL, so the non-timely arrival of Alchemy is just as strange.

RE: hmmmn
By Etsp on 5/31/2007 2:42:13 PM , Rating: 3
The reason why they did that is to prevent blue-screens and hard locks. They effectively further separated Software from the hardware, so that Windows could have the opportunity to catch some unhandled exceptions.

For example, Due to crappy nVidia drivers, I sometimes have my screen just go black for about 2 seconds randomly, and then it comes back up, and Vista pops in and says something like "The video card driver had stopped responding, window's has restarted it" where as, in XP, that would have been a BSOD or a hard lock.

They should have created some emulation of HAL for the sake of compatibility, but they didn't, and Vista was late enough as it was, so I imagine that they didn't have time. The reason they don't allow HAL to still work is pretty obvious, as why allow a major cause of system instability to continue to function if it's only advantage is the proprietary EAX...

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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