This is an old archive page of HWZ prior to revamp. Please visit HWZ for the latest reviews and news.


» Articles
Creative Sound Blaster AUDIGY Platinum eX
By TechToyer
Category : Sound
Published by TechToyer on Friday, 14th December, 2001
Rating : 5 out of 5 stars  

For a better picture of how the card works, here's a simple diagram on how the various technologies within the Audigy card come together in Creative's eyes.

Click me!! It's amazing how you can quantify sound into words. But Creative did it. Oh man, they really did it. (Click image for larger picture)

1.00 EAX ADVANCED HD Technologies Explained

1.01 EAX ADVANCED HD is a great improvement from the previous EAX technology you see in the Platinum 5.1 (which was more focused on its integrated Dolby Digital 5.1-decoding feature then). This time, the Audigy seems to have rediscovered its roots and upgraded EAX to give it more prominent publicity (especially for gamers and digital music lovers). EAX ADVANCED HD is probably one of the Audigy's most powerful features to date. Being able to deliver a host of new high definition audio features for gaming enhancement, this technology comes with a completely new reverb engine design that is capable of up to four simultaneous environment effects (called Multi-Environment) and four other features called Environment Reflections, Environment Panning, Environment Filtering and Environment Morphing. Let me explain each one in greater detail.

1.02 Multi-Environment takes on the idea that in the real-world, the things you hear are not only affected by the "local" environment you're in, but also by the "immediate" environments around you. For example, you walk into a gladiatorial arena, the sound you'll hear is that of an echoey auditorium. However, let's say there's a caged corridor on the other end and a minotaur waiting to be unleashed upon you. The roars and hoof-stamps it create should sound narrower and more subdued. What about the crowds around you? Their cheers (or jeers) should sound more uplifting and thunderous. And of course, if you're wearing Russell Crowe's outdated gladiator outfit with a masked helmet, your breathing should sound louder, deeper and throbbing. Get the idea? The Audigy can do all these, the Platinum 5.1 can't.

1.03 Environment Reflections, on other hand, takes on the idea of sound bouncing off a surface (or surfaces) and returning to the listener (like the dream sequence corridor scenes in Remedy's MAX PAYNE). Not only is it able to simulate this effect with bravado, it is also able to spatialise the reflections in 3D (say in a spherical room like Jodie Foster in the spherical transporter in the film CONTACT).

1.04 Environment Panning is, yes, you've guessed it, that feature where you're able to move from big spaces to smaller spaces and distinguish the change in ambience just by sound. Imagine you're driving a race car and you speed down a highway and enter a tunnel mid-way. This is where Enviroment Panning comes in.

1.06 Environment Morphing takes into account that sound changes gradually when you move around borders, like a doorway, behind a group of barrels or crates (especially in espionage games like Half-Life Counter-strike, Metal Gear Solid, ONI). What this does is that it creates slow transitions when the audio sources change to make the environment change more believable. For example, if there's a wall in front of you, the sound you'll hear in front of you will be muffled. Move slowly away from this wall and the sound will gradually grow to become much clearer.

1.10 On the music front, EAX ADVANCED HD comes with components like Audio Clean-Up, Time-Scaling, EAX ADVANCED HD Audio Effects and DREAM. EAX ADVANCED HD Audio Effects are music enhancement effects for music listening. They come in three types: Environment Effects (Concert Hall, Opera House, Cathedral), Advanced EQ Effects (Jazz Club, Heavy Metal, Vocal) and Special Effects (Guitar Autowah, Chipmunk, Zeus). These effects have already existed in previous generations of Creative sound cards but the Audigy comes with new augmentations, to give you a better range of effects to choose from.

1.11 Time-scaling, on the other hand, refers to the ability to accelerate or slow down digital music without affecting the pitch or audio clarity. This is useful if you want to capture the lyrics of a song or slow down a narrative (say from an audio book). I personally feel that it would make a great boon to those who gets sleepy from listening to the audio book of Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, so you can use this card to accelerate the narrative and give it a 'funky' feel.

1.12 Audio Clean-Up is probably one of the most useful music technologies in the Audigy card. It removes unwanted noise and "pops" from digital audio content like MP3s (especially those on lower bitrates), recordings (those with lossy background noise), old LPs and tapes (retro cassette lovers, rejoice!).

1.13 Finally, DREAM, which stands for Dynamic Repositioning of Enhanced Audio & Music, creates an enhanced, "club-like" 3D-surround sound from any stereo music by rerouting the direction of a selected frequency band. What this means is that it creates a more funky effect for you music so that you can dance to it.

<<Prev | Page 2 of 6 | Next>>