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Encyclopedia > Sound Blaster
The Sound Blaster logo
The Sound Blaster logo

The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature. The creator of Sound Blaster is the Singapore-based firm Creative Technology, also known by the name of its United States subsidiary, Creative Labs. Image File history File links Sound_Blaster_Logo. ... Image File history File links Sound_Blaster_Logo. ... A sound card (also known as an audio card) is a computer expansion card that can input and output sound under control of computer programs. ... De facto is a Latin expression that means in fact or in practice. It is commonly used as opposed to de jure (meaning by law) when referring to matters of law or governance or technique (such as standards), that are found in the common experience as created or developed without... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... In computing, a platform describes some sort of framework, either in hardware or software, which allows software to run. ... Commodification (or commoditization) is the transformation of what is normally a non-commodity into a commodity, or, in other words, to assign value. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Creative Technology Limited (SGX: C76, NASDAQ: CREAF) is a listed manufacturer of computer multimedia products based in Singapore where the firm was initially founded by Sim Wong Hoo (born 1955) on July 1, 1981. ...

Contents

The pre-Sound Blaster years

Creative Music System

The history of Creative sound boards started with the release of the Creative Music System ("C/MS") board in August 1987. It contained two Philips SAA 1099 circuits, which, together, provided 12 voices of square-wave bee-in-a-box stereo sound plus some noise channels. Year 1987 (MCMLXXXVII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link displays 1987 Gregorian calendar). ... The Philips SAA 1099 sound generator was a 6-voice sound chip used by some 1980s devices, notably: The SAM Coupé British-made computer The Creative Music System (C/MS) and Game Blaster cards by Creative Labs, which were apparently the same hardware. ...


These circuits were featured earlier in various popular electronics magazines around the world. For many years Creative tended to use off-the-shelf components and manufacturers' reference designs for their early products. The various integrated circuits had white or black paper sheets fully covering their top thus hiding their identity... On the C/MS board in particular, the Philips chips had white pieces of paper with a fantasy CMS-301 inscription on them; real Creative parts usually had consistent CT number references.


Surprisingly, the board also contained a large 40-pin PGA (Creative Technology Programmable Logic) integrated circuit, bearing a CT 1302A CTPL 8708 serigraphed inscription and looking exactly like the DSP of the later Sound Blaster. Presumably, it could be used to automate some of the sound operations, like envelope control.


Game Blaster

A year later, in 1988, Creative marketed the C/MS via Radio Shack under the name Game Blaster. This card was identical in every way to the precursor C/MS hardware. Creative did not even bother to change any of the labeling or program names on the disks that came with the Game Blaster. Year 1988 (MCMLXXXVIII) was a leap year starting on Friday (link displays 1988 Gregorian calendar). ... RadioShack Corporation (formerly Radio Shack) (NYSE: RSH) runs a chain of electronics retail stores in the United States, as well as parts of Europe. ...


First Sound Blasters: the right bundle

Image File history File links No higher resolution available. ...

Sound Blaster 1.0

The first board bearing the Sound Blaster name appeared in November 1989. In addition to Game Blaster features, it had an 11-voice FM synthesizer using the Yamaha YM3812 chip, also known as OPL2. It provided perfect compatibility with the then market leader AdLib sound card, which had gained support in PC games in the preceding years. Creative used the "DSP" acronym to designate the digital audio part of the Sound Blaster. This actually stood for Digital SOUND Processor, rather than for the more common digital signal processor meaning, and was really a simple microcontroller from the Intel MCS-51 family (supplied by Intel and Matra MHS, among others). It could play back monaural sampled sound at up to 23 kHz sampling frequency (AM radio quality) and record at up to 12 kHz (slightly better than telephone quality). The sole DSP-like feature of the circuit was ADPCM decompression. Year 1989 (MCMLXXXIX) was a common year starting on Sunday (link displays 1989 Gregorian calendar). ... Frequency modulation synthesis (or FM synthesis) is a form of audio synthesis where the timbre of a simple waveform is changed by frequency modulating it with a modulating frequency that is also in the audio range, resulting in a more complex waveform and a different-sounding tone. ... Yamaha YM3812 The Yamaha YM3812 also known as the OPL2 (OPL is an acronym for FM Operator Type-L) is a sound chip (i. ... AdLib, Inc. ... A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ... Pin diagram of 40 pin Intel 8051 Microcontroller The Intel 8051 was a Harvard architecture single chip microcontroller (µC) developed by Intel in 1980 for use in embedded systems. ... Mécanique Avion TRAction or Matra is a French company covering a wide range of activities mainly related to aeronautics and weaponry which today operates as the Lagardère Group. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Pulse-code modulation (PCM) is a modulation technique. ...


The original card lacked an anti-aliasing filter, resulting in a characteristic "metal junk" sound. (This was rectified with the addition of two user-selectable filters in the later Sound Blaster Pro card.) It also featured a joystick port and a proprietary MIDI interface. Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a system designed to transmit information between electronic musical instruments. ...


In spite of these limitations, in less than a year, the Sound Blaster became the top-selling expansion card for the PC.


Sound Blaster 1.5

Sound Blaster 1.5, released in 1990, dropped the "C/MS chips". They could be purchased separately from Creative and inserted into two sockets on the board.[citation needed]


Sound Blaster 2.0

Sound Blaster 2.0 added support for auto-init DMA, which assisted in producing a continuous loop of double-buffered sound output and increased the maximum playback rate to 44 kHz (the same maximum as the Sound Blaster Pro, released around the same time). The earlier Sound Blaster 1.0 or 1.5 could be upgraded to support auto-init DMA by replacing the socketed V1.00 DSP with a V2.00 DSP, which was available from Creative Labs.


Sound Blaster MCV

Sound Blaster MCV was a version created for IBM PS/2 model 50 and higher, which had a MicroChannel bus instead of the more traditional ISA one. It does not contain sockets for the C/MS chips and was unreliable in the faster PS/2 systems.[citation needed] IBM redirects here. ... The Personal System/2 or PS/2 was IBMs second generation of personal computers. ... Micro Channel architecture (in practice almost always shortened to MCA) was a proprietary 16 or 32-bit parallel computer bus created by IBM in the 1980s for use on their new PS/2 computers. ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ...


Improved quality: stereo and 16 bits

Sound Blaster Pro

The Sound Blaster Pro (May 1991) was the first significant redesign of the card's core features: It could record and play back digitized sound at faster sampling rates (recording up to 22 kHz, playback up to 45 kHz), could do so in stereo (up to 22 kHz), and added a "mixer" which allowed independent volume control of the various subsystems on the card as well as enable a crude highpass or lowpass filter. The first version of the Pro also used two YM3812 chips (one for left audio channel and the other one for the right one; both chips had to be programmed identically to get mono sound if not using the AdLib compatible interface). Version 2.0 switched to the improved Yamaha YMF262 chip, also known as OPL3. MIDI support became full-duplex and offered time stamping features, but was not yet industry-standard MPU-401 compatible. Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... Yamaha YM3812 The Yamaha YM3812 also known as the OPL2 (OPL is an acronym for FM Operator Type-L) is a sound chip (i. ... The Yamaha YMF262 also known as the OPL3 (OPL is an acronym for FM Operator Type-L), is an improved version of the sound chip Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2). ... The MPU-401, where MPU stands for MIDI Processing Unit, is an important but now obsolescent standard for MIDI interfaces on the PC platform. ...


The Sound Blaster Pro was the first Creative sound card to have a built-in CD-ROM interface. Most had an interface for a Panasonic (Matsushita MKE) drive, prior to the popularity of IDE CD-ROM drives. After the release of the Sound Blaster Pro, Creative also began to sell Multimedia Upgrade Kits, typically including a sound card, Matsushita CD-ROM drive (model 531 for single-speed, or 562/3 for the later double-speed (2x) drives), and a large selection of multimedia software titles on the revolutionary CD-ROM media. One such kit, named "OmniCD", included the 2x Matsushita drive along with an ISA controller card and software, including Software Toolworks Encyclopedia and Aldus PhotoStyler SE. It was compliant with the MPC Level 2 standard. The Software Toolworks is a video game publisher, and was active from 1980 until about 2001. ... Aldus Corporation (named after the 15th-century Venetian printer Aldus Manutius) was the inventor of the groundbreaking PageMaker software for the Apple Macintosh, a program that is generally credited with creating the desktop publishing (DTP) field. ... The Multimedia PC, or MPC, was a recommended configuration for a PC with a CD-ROM drive. ...


Sound Blaster cards were also sold to PC manufacturers and third-parties. Many of these so-called OEM cards have different types of CD-ROM interfaces or other unusual features.


Sound Blaster 16

Sound Blaster 16 PNP
Sound Blaster 16 PNP
Main article: Sound Blaster 16

The next model, Sound Blaster 16 (June 1992) introduced 16-bit digital audio sampling to the Sound Blaster line. They also, like the older Sound Blasters, natively supported FM synthesis through a Yamaha OPL-3 chip. The cards also featured a connector for add-on daughterboards with "wavetable synthesis" (actually, sample-based synthesis) capabilities complying to the General MIDI standard. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (939x710, 222 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 WavEffects ISA. Scanned by me. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (939x710, 222 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster 16 WavEffects ISA. Scanned by me. ... Sound Blaster 16 is an ISA sound card from Creative Technology. ... Year 1992 (MCMXCII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar). ... Digital audio comprises audio signals stored in a digital format. ... Frequency modulation synthesis (or FM synthesis) is a form of audio synthesis where the timbre of a simple waveform is changed by frequency modulating it with a modulating frequency that is also in the audio range, resulting in a more complex waveform and a different-sounding tone. ... The Yamaha YMF262 also known as the OPL3 (OPL is an acronym for FM Operator Type-L), is an improved version of the sound chip Yamaha YM3812 (OPL2). ... A daughterboard or daughtercard is a circuit board meant to be an extension or daughter of a motherboard (or mainboard), or occasionally another card. ... Wavetable synthesis is used in digital musical instruments (synthesizers) to produce natural tone-like sounds. ... Sample-based synthesis is a form of audio synthesis that can be similar in structure to either subtractive synthesis or additive synthesis. ... General MIDI or GM is a specification for synthesizers which imposes several requirements beyond the more abstract MIDI standard. ...


Creative offered such daughterboards in their Wave Blaster line. Finally, the MIDI support now included MPU-401 emulation (in dumb UART mode only, but this was sufficient for most MIDI applications). The Wave Blaster was simply a MIDI peripheral internally connected to the MIDI port, so any PC sequencer software could use it. A UART or universal asynchronous receiver-transmitter is a piece of computer hardware that translates between parallel bits of data and serial bits. ... Wave Blaster may refer to: Yamaha Wave Blaster, a personal watercraft produced from 1993 to 1996 Creative WaveBlaster, a sound card by Creative in the Sound Blaster line of sound cards Category: ...


Eventually this design proved so popular that Creative made a PCI version of the card. This required a work-around to maintain backward compatibility with DOS programs. (Moving the card off of the ISA bus, which was already long in tooth, negated the need for a DMA, or Direct Memory Access, Line which is still needed for DOS sound support.)


Sound Blasters with onboard wavetable synthesis

Sound Blaster AWE32

Sound Blaster AWE32
Main article: Sound Blaster AWE32

The Sound Blaster AWE32, introduced in March 1994, was a full-length ISA card, measuring 14 inches (356 mm) in length. The AWE32 included two distinct audio sections; one being the Creative digital audio section with their audio codec and optional CSP/ASP chip socket, and the second being the E-mu MIDI synthesizer section. The synthesizer section consisted of the EMU8000 sampler and effects processor, an EMU8011 1 MiB sample ROM, and 512 kiB of sample RAM (expandable to 28 MiB). Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x463, 245 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE32 IDE. CT3990. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x463, 245 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE32 IDE. CT3990. ... Sound Blaster AWE32 is an ISA sound card from Creative Technology. ... Year 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... A codec is a device or program capable of performing encoding and decoding on a digital data stream or signal. ... E-mu Systems was a synthesizer maker and pioneer in the manufacture of low-cost digital sampling music workstations. ... The three-letter acronym MIB may refer to any of several concepts: Management information base, a computing information repository used (for example) by SNMP In marbles, any marble, but esp. ... According to the International Electrotechnical Commission a kibibyte (a contraction of kilo binary byte) is a unit of information or computer storage. ... The three-letter acronym MIB may refer to any of several concepts: Management information base, a computing information repository used (for example) by SNMP In marbles, any marble, but esp. ...


Sound Blaster 32

Sound Blaster 32 IDE

The Sound Blaster 32 (SB32) was a value-oriented offering from Creative, announced on June 6, 1995, designed to fit below the AWE32 Value in the lineup. The SB32 lacked onboard RAM, the Wave Blaster header, and CSP port. The boards also used the Vibra digital audio chip which lacked adjustments for bass, treble, and gain. The SB32 was fully equipped with the same MIDI capabilities (the same EMU8000/EMU8011 combination) as the AWE32, and had the same 30-pin SIMM RAM expansion capability. The board was also fully compatible with the AWE32 option in software and used the same Windows drivers. Once the SB32 was outfitted with 30-pin SIMMs, the SB32's sampler section performed identically to the AWE32's. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x596, 264 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster 32. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x596, 264 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster 32. ... is the 157th day of the year (158th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Look up RAM, Ram, ram in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Wave Blaster may refer to: Yamaha Wave Blaster, a personal watercraft produced from 1993 to 1996 Creative WaveBlaster, a sound card by Creative in the Sound Blaster line of sound cards Category: ... Musical Instrument Digital Interface, or MIDI, is a system designed to transmit information between electronic musical instruments. ... 30- (top) and 72-pin (bottom) SIMMs. ...


Sound Blaster AWE64

Sound Blaster AWE64
Main article: Sound Blaster AWE64

The AWE32's successor, the Sound Blaster AWE64 (November 1996), was significantly smaller, being a "half-length ISA card" ( that term is misleading - see the pictures for size comparison ) . It offered similar features to the AWE32, but also has a few notable improvements, including support for greater polyphony, although this was a product of 32 extra software emulated channels. The 30-pin SIMM slots from AWE32/SB32 were replaced with a proprietary memory format which could be (expensively) purchased from Creative. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x809, 379 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1280x809, 379 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold. ... Sound Blaster AWE64 is an ISA sound card from Creative Technology. ... Year 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar). ... This article does not cite any references or sources. ... Polyphony is a musical texture consisting of two or more independent melodic voices, as opposed to music with just one voice (monophony) or music with one dominant melodic voice accompanied by chords (homophony). ... 30- (top) and 72-pin (bottom) SIMMs. ...


The main improvements were better compatibility with older SB models, and an improved signal-to-noise ratio. The AWE64 came in 3 versions: A Value version (with 512KB of RAM), a Standard version (with 1 MB of RAM), and a Gold version (with 4 MB of RAM and a separate SPDIF output). Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is an electrical engineering concept defined as the ratio of a signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal. ... Look up RAM, Ram, ram in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Multi-channel sound and F/X

Ensoniq AudioPCI-based cards

Main article: Ensoniq AudioPCI
Ensoniq AudioPCI

In 1998, Creative acquired Ensoniq Corporation, manufacturer of the AudioPCI, a card popular with OEMs at the time. AudioPCI offered a full-featured solution, being a PCI sound card with wavetable MIDI, and offering 4-speaker DirectSound3D surround sound, A3D emulation, and full DOS legacy support. Creative's acquisition filled a market segment where Live! was too expensive, and it gave them excellent DOS support, a feature that was proving difficult for companies to get working with PCI cards (typically early PCI audio cards are limited to DOS boxes within Windows 9x.) Ensoniq AudioPCI 1000 Ensoniq AudioPCI Towards the end of the 1990s, Ensoniq was struggling financially. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (832x759, 261 KB) Summary Ensoniq AudioPCI. Scanned. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (832x759, 261 KB) Summary Ensoniq AudioPCI. Scanned. ... Ensoniq Corp. ... Original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, is a term that refers to a situation in which one company purchases a manufactured product from another company and resells the product as its own, usually as a part of a larger product it sells. ... DirectSound3D is an addition to Microsofts DirectX system which is intended to standardize 3D audio under Microsoft Windows. ... A3D (Aureal 3-Dimensional) is a technology developed by Aureal that delivers sound with a three-dimensional effect through headphones, two or even four speakers. ... Windows 9x is a term used to describe the DOS-based operating systems Windows 95 and Windows 98, similar versions of Microsoft Windows which were produced in the 1990s. ...


Creative released many cards using the original AudioPCI chip, Ensoniq ES1370, and several boards using revised versions of this chip (ES1371 and ES1373), and some with relabeled AudioPCI chips (they say Creative on them.) Boards using AudioPCI tech are usually easily identifiable by the board design and the chip size because they all look quite similar. Such boards include Sound Blaster PCI64 (April 1998), PCI128 (July 1998), Creative Ensoniq AudioPCI, Vibra PCI and Sound Blaster 16 PCI. PCI Bus Digital Audio and Music Controller Ensoniqs AudioPCI ES1370 sound chip was the next-generation in sound technology from the company. ...


These cards were full-featured, but the features were limited in capability. MIDI, for example, was rather poor in quality and there was no ability to customize the sample sets beyond the 3 pre-made sets (2, 4, and 8 MB) included with the cards. The chips do not support hardware acceleration of any kind as they are entirely software-driven.


These cards do not support SoundFonts. SoundFont is a brand name that collectively refers to a file format and associated technology designed to bridge the gap between recorded and synthesized audio, especially for the purposes of computer music composition. ...


Sound Blaster PCI512

The Sound Blaster PCI512 was basically a lower-priced version of the Sound Blaster Live! Series, without the reprogramable ROM. Drivers are the same as the SB LIVE!.


Sound Blaster Live!

Main article: Sound Blaster Live!
Sound Blaster Live!
Sound Blaster Live!

Sound Blaster Live! (August 1998) saw the introduction of the EMU10K1 processor, a 2.44 million transistor DSP capable of 1000 MIPS for audio processing. The EMU10K1 featured DirectSound acceleration, EAX 1.0 and 2.0 (environmental audio extensions, which competed with A3D before the demise of the latter), a high-quality 64-voice sample-based synthesizer (a.k.a. wavetable), and integrated the FX8010 DSP chip for real-time digital audio effects processing. Sound Blaster Live! is a PCI sound card from Creative Technology. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1006x900, 324 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Value. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1006x900, 324 KB) Summary Creative Labs Sound Blaster Live! Value. ... Year 1998 (MCMXCVIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar). ... Million instructions per second (MIPS) is a measure of a computers processor speed. ... DirectSound is software supplied by Microsoft that resides on a computer with the Windows operating system. ... The environmental audio extensions (or EAX) are a number of digital signal processing presets for audio, present in Creative Labs later Sound Blaster sound cards and the Creative NOMAD/Creative Zen product lines. ... A3D (Aureal 3-Dimensional) is a technology developed by Aureal that delivers sound with a three-dimensional effect through headphones, two or even four speakers. ... Sample-based synthesis is a form of audio synthesis that can be similar in structure to either subtractive synthesis or additive synthesis. ... A digital signal processor (DSP) is a specialized microprocessor designed specifically for digital signal processing, generally in real-time. ...


The Sound Blaster Live! featured higher audio quality than previous Sound Blasters, as it processed the sound digitally at every stage, and because of its greater chip integration that reduced the analog signal losses of older, larger cards. Sound Blaster Live! supported multi-speaker output, initially up to a 4-speaker setup (4 satellites and a subwoofer). Later versions of the Live!, usually called Live! 5.1, offered 5.1-channel support which adds a center channel speaker and LFE subwoofer output, most useful for movie watching. Low-Frequency Effects (LFE) is commonly used in describing an audio track contained within a motion picture sound mix. ...


Sound Blaster Audigy series

Main article: Sound Blaster Audigy

The Sound Blaster Audigy (August 2001) featured the Audigy processor (EMU10K2), an improved version of the EMU10K1 processor that shipped with the Sound Blaster Live!. The Audigy could process up to 4 EAX environments simultaneously with its upgraded on-chip DSP and native EAX 3.0 ADVANCED HD support, and supported from stereo up to 5.1-channel output. Sound Blaster Audigy is a PCI sound card from Creative Technology. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ... The environmental audio extensions (or EAX) are a number of digital signal processing presets for audio, present in Creative Labs later Sound Blaster sound cards and the Creative NOMAD/Creative Zen product lines. ...


The Audigy was advertised as a 24-bit sound card. However, with some controversy, the Audigy's audio transport (DMA engine) was fixed to 16-bit sample precision at 48 kHz (like Live!), and all audio had to be resampled to 48 kHz in order to be rendered through its DSP, or recorded from its DSP.


Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (September 2002) featured an updated EMU10K2 processor, sometimes referred to as EMU10K2.5, has a new audio transport (DMA engine) that could support playback at 24-bit precision up to 192 kHz (2-channel only. 6.1 limited to 96 kHz) and recording at 24-bit precision up to 96 kHz. In addition, Audigy 2 supported up to 6.1 (later 7.1) speakers and had improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) over the Audigy (106 vs. 100 decibels (A)). It also featured built-in Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (which is technically 7.1) decoding for improved DVD play-back. Also see: 2002 (number). ... Signal-to-noise ratio (often abbreviated SNR or S/N) is an electrical engineering concept defined as the ratio of a signal power to the noise power corrupting the signal. ... The decibel is a dimensionless unit (like percent) that is a measure of ratios on a logarithmic scale. ... The A-weighting curve is one of a family of curves defined in IEC179 and various other standards for use in sound level meters. ... Dolby Digital is the marketing name for a series of lossy audio compression technologies by Dolby Laboratories. ...


Sound Blaster X-Fi

Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro
Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro
Main article: Sound Blaster X-Fi

The X-Fi (for "Extreme Fidelity") was released in August 2005 and comes in XtremeMusic, Platinum, Fatal1ty FPS, XtremeGamer and Elite Pro configurations. The 130 nm EMU20K1 audio chip operates at 400 MHz and has 51 million transistors. The computational power of this processor, i.e. its performance, is estimated as 10,000 MIPS (million instructions per second), which is actually about 24 times higher than the estimated performance of its predecessor – the Audigy processor. It is interesting to note that the processor’s computational power is optimized for the work mode selected in the software. With the X-Fi's "Active Modal Architecture" (AMA), the user can choose one of three optimization modes: Gaming, Entertainment, and Creation; each enabling a combination of the features of the chipset. The X-Fi uses EAX 5.0 which supports up to 128 3D-positioned voices with up to four effects applied to each. This release also included the 24 bit crystalizer, which is intended to pronounce percussion elements by placing some emphasis on low and high pitched parts of the sound. The X-Fi, at its release, offered some of the most powerful mixing capabilities available, making it a powerful entry-level card for home musicians. The other big improvement in the X-Fi over the previous Audigy designs was the complete overhaul of the resampling engine on the card. The previous Audigy cards had their DSPs locked at 48/16, meaning any content that didn't match was resampled on the card in hardware; which was done poorly and resulted in a lot of intermodulation distortion. Many hardcore users worked around this by means of resampling their content using high quality software decoders, usually in the form of a plugin in their media player. Creative completely re-wrote the resampling method used on the X-Fi and dedicated more than half of the power of the DSP to the process; resulting in a very clean resample. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 553 pixelsFull resolution (2058 × 1423 pixel, file size: 384 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Sound Blaster X-Fi ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 553 pixelsFull resolution (2058 × 1423 pixel, file size: 384 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Sound Blaster X-Fi ... Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer Fatal1ty Pro 8-channel digital-to-analog converter Cirrus Logic CS4382 placed on Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty 4-channel stereo multiplexed analog-to-digital converter Wolfson Microelectronics WM8775SEDS placed on X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro 64 MB sound memory of Fatal1ty Pro brought by two... A nanometre (American spelling: nanometer) is 1. ... MegaHertz (MHz) is the name given to one million (106) Hertz, a measure of frequency. ... Photo of transistor types (tape measure marked in centimeters) Transistor in the SMD form factor The transistor is a solid state semiconductor device used for amplification and switching. ... The environmental audio extensions (or EAX) are a number of digital signal processing presets for audio, present in Creative Labs later Sound Blaster sound cards and the Creative NOMAD/Creative Zen product lines. ...


Connectors

Sound Blaster cards since 1999 conform to Microsoft's PC 99 standard for color coding the external connectors as follows: PC 99 was a specification for PCs jointly developed by Microsoft and Intel in 1998. ...

Color Function
  Pink Analog microphone input.
  Light blue Analog line level input.
  Lime green Analog line level output for the main stereo signal (front speakers or headphones).
  Black Analog line level output for rear speakers.
  Silver Analog line level output for side speakers.
  Orange S/PDIF digital output (sometimes used as an analog line output for a center and/or subwoofer speaker instead)

Unfortunately, many (if not all) modern cards simply have their outputs labeled with numbers rather than colors. This can be confusing to a beginner user if they purchased an OEM card. “Microphones” redirects here. ... Line level is the strength of an audio signal used to transmit analog sound information between audio components such as CD and DVD players, TVs, amplifiers, and mixing consoles. ... TOSLINK connector (JIS F05) 75 ohm coaxial cable with BNC-to-RCA adapter. ...


Up until the AWE line, Creative cards has short text inscriptions on the backplane of the card, indicating which port does what (i.e. Mic, Spk, Aux In, Aux Out). On later cards, the text inscriptions were changed to icons. With the latest cards from Creative, the cards were changed to use numbers as the ports are flexi-jacks and can have different functions assigned to them at run-time (i.e. changed from speaker output to mic in), but a color overlay sticker is included with retail units to help consumers identify the commonly-used functions of the ports in its default mode.


Driver software modification (soft mod)

Some drivers from the Audigy 2 ZS have been soft-modded by enthusiasts. These can be installed on Creative's older cards, including Sound Blaster Live!, Audigy, and Audigy 2. It has been claimed to offer improved sound quality, hardware acceleration of higher EAX versions in games, 64-channel mixing for Audigy 1, and an overall improvement in the card's performance. Several forum posts across the web have reported favourable results with this technique, excepting Live! users where the drivers only add the ability to use the newer software applications (i.e. the newer mixer applet). Comments on forums from developers of the software mod have said that Live!'s hardware is not capable of EAX3 nor 64-channels of hardware sound mixing.


Later, in 2004, Creative released updated drivers top-to-bottom for the Audigy through Audigy 4 line that put these cards basically at feature parity on a software level. As of 2006, the entire Audigy lineup uses the same driver package. Still DSP decoding at the drivers level on other cards than Audigy2ZS and 4 are not supported by official drivers, but it is working with soft-modded drivers on the other cards with hardware DSP (like Audigy2 6.1).


See also

AdLib, Inc. ... Ensoniq Corp. ... The GF1 chip Gravis Ultrasound or GUS is a sound card for the IBM PC compatible system platform, made by Canadian-based Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. ... Realtek Semiconductor Corp. ... Roland Corporation ) TYO: 7944 is a Japanese manufacturer of electronic musical instruments, electronic equipment and software. ... Turtle Beach Systems is a sound card and headphone manufacturer and direct competitor with Creative Labs-branded Sound Blaster. ... A sound card based on VIA Envy24 HT-S chip The VIA Envy24 audio chipset series delivers some of the best sound quality available for personal computers. ... VDMSound is a modern program that allows Windows XP to have Sound Blaster support. ... Yamaha redirects here. ...

References

is the 174th day of the year (175th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... January 5 is the 5th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2006 (MMVI) was a common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

External links


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Sound Blaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4760 words)
The Sound Blaster family of sound cards was for many years the de facto standard for audio on the IBM PC compatible system platform, before PC audio became commoditized, and backward-compatibility became less of a feature.
Sound Blaster MCV was a version created for IBM PS/2 model 50 and higher, which had a MicroChannel bus instead of the more traditional ISA one.
Sound Blaster 16 SCSI-2 with a built-in SCSI adapter.
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