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Author Topic: SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold Bundled With Cubasis Audio v1.6 (1998)  (Read 4260 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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SoundBlaster AWE64 Gold Bundled With Cubasis Audio v1.6 (1998)
« on: December 23, 2014, 07:54:10 AM »

article translated from russian, dated  2 April, 1998

The solution to write an article about the SOUND BLASTER AWE64 GOLD pushed me not so much the fact of the presence of the audio card in our computer market (and, of course, not boyish awe name CREATIVE), as quite modest flashed messages about sales of additional memory to the products of the family AWE64 . Many people may think, "Eka wonder! What a memory there! A normal person that is needed - bought a fee, put it in the computer and continue to play on your health." It is difficult to argue with that. Moreover, the debate is often dangerous, so just say that the interests of the "abnormal" part of the readers of "HF" (ie those who are primarily interested in their own musical merits audio card) is also taken into account in the preparation of this material.

After this lyrical introduction is the time to come to grips with the problem of additional memory for the AWE64. Outwardly, it looks very simple: those who hunger super profits CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD., Confident in his unshakable position in the market for multimedia audio card, launches of products with non-standard connectors for installing memory modules, which itself and produces. However, the problem is not as simple as it might seem at first glance. If you wish, you can find arguments both in favor CREATIVE, and against. Thus, the arguments "pro". Boards previous series (meaning AWE32) were full-size and occupying the entire width of the computer case, causing some inconvenience. In addition, the 30-pin modules SIMM, with which to add more memory to the AWE32, have long disappeared from the price, and even in our country need much to sweat a lot and run to get at least a couple. The board of the new series (AWE64) by eliminating the standard SIMM modules get much more compact and, as a consequence, comfortable in terms of end-users and collectors. Arguments "contra". Many manufacturers (eg, Advanced Gravis) compact design audio card problem was solved much easier and cheaper - connectors for SIMM modules are not installed along the boards, and across it. As for the complete rejection of the standard SIMM, it looks like it's a little premature. A number of manufacturers (eg, TerraTec) successfully used a new 72-pin SIMM modules and, in general, do not complain. There should also take into account the following. Term obsolescence of certain memory slots and audio card itself is quite comparable. It seems that even in the worst scenario SIMMs another year or two to hold on, but CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD. surely release during this time a new series of their boards. Decide which position looks more convincing, will you, dear readers, and I would venture to express their own point of view.

By and large constructive memory - something purely secondary. Once you purchase a memory to both greater urgency in front of you will be a question: "Where can I get sample libraries, and if they do not, the question arises, why I needed the extra memory?" Only the presence of a sufficient amount of sound libraries (and software for editing) can convert audio card-sampler from the category of "dead iron" in the category of products is really suitable for a more or less serious use and really good money spent on them. Now let's try to look at the board SOUND BLASTER AWE32 / 64 with these positions. Until recently, domestic and computer, and music libraries of sounds markets for these products (however, for all other audio card) was not. However, periodically circulated rumors about the presence of one or two CD with samples for E-mu 8000 in Moscow music stores, but these rumors are rumors and left. All this excitement around additional sounds for AWE32 / 64 arises because sewn into the ROM volume only 1MB, sound samples are suitable for gaming, but it is absolutely not suitable for music. Generally with AWE32 / 64 was a paradoxical situation. These boards have the audio section with quality markedly superior performance periodically referred to a kind word articles for $ 15-25, they set a good synthesizer E-mu 8000, there Each channel effects processor, are permitted up to 28 MB RAM, and no libraries ... would remain only shrug, but, fortunately, will be on sale to the 8 MB memory module attached CD cherished additional sounds. For more details on the contents of this CD I will dwell below, but here I hasten to please our thrifty users - worth 8MB memory module and one CD as much, and $ 96 (at least so, but shrug many still have). Returning to our arguments "for" and "against", it can be assumed that the term "Singapore greed" has a good chance to become a household name.

Now a few words about why of all series motherboards AWE64 I chose the most expensive and ambitious AWE64 GOLD. Firstly, to date, this is the most "advanced" audio products CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD. Secondly, due to 4 MB of RAM and an available preset supplied 4MB set sounds AWE64 GOLD, like no other, has the right to charge CREATIVE claim the title card, suitable for music. This is also hinted at various "little things" like a digital interface S / PDIF (Sony / Phillips Digital Interface), RCA-connectors and a CD with "Cubasis Audio 1.6". Third, not so long ago, a Singapore company with fanfare held a contest for the best MIDI-tracks recorded using the AWE64. The winners, as, indeed, and the bulk of the contenders to win the competition, it was used before us pay, ie AWE64 GOLD. I confess that as a sign to the moment only with the sound of its base case, I'm the one hand, reacted to all this hype quite skeptical, but on the other hand, was extremely intrigued, rightly considering: "Well, will not because Western musicians spoiled good salaries and professional music equipment, participate in a storm in a teacup! " Therefore, as soon as possible, I have tried to get at their disposal a box with the above AWE64 GOLD and the second - with 8 MB memory module, as well as a CD with additional sounds.

What can you find in the box with the audio card? Seemingly ridiculous question. Experience suggests that in the boxes with the computer components are usually the board itself, one or two CDs and a book with a user guide. We must pay tribute CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD .: in the box with the AWE64 GOLD, in addition to the three items found plenty of curious little things. Some of them, as usual, was useless (all sorts of promotional literature and a cheap microphone), and some, on the contrary, it is extremely useful. Tell me, please, with any other audio card kit is supplied all the necessary cables? Hard to say? So am I. By AWE64 GOLD attached cables RCA-RCA, RCA- "mini jack (male)" adapter RCA- "mini-jack (female)", as well as cable SPDIF output and MIDI-cable. If you buy it all separately (meaning cables acceptable quality), the purchase will result in a tidy sum.

Installation 8 MB memory module on the AWE64 GOLD has not caused problems. The only thing that we would like to note is the close contact of two chips: one on the board, and the second on the memory module - which is why the latter is slightly kosovato. In this regard, we can say one thing - not aesthetically pleasing, and only.

Specifications AWE64 GOLD well known, but, I think, will not be superfluous to recall some of them again. As it should in such cases, pay special attention to the dignity of audio section of this motherboard. Hardware support for Full Duplex mode I leave on the conscience of engineers CREATIVE TECHNOLOGY LTD. S / N ratio is 90dB, and the value of total harmonic distortion is less than 0.005%. Frequency is within 15Hz - 50kHz + 0 / -1 dB. AWE64 GOLD supports sampling rates from 8kHz to 44.1kHz resolution 8 or 16 bit. As for the digital output S / PDIF, and then 20bit 120dB speak for themselves. Different enough "corrosive" reader here might say, "But why should I have to unconditionally believe all these figures? It is well known that the board AWE32 / 64 to the number of completely" silent "do not belong". Taking into account the validity of this position, I have to say that absolutely believe the figures declared by the manufacturer or another audio card is usually not worth it. As for the AWE64 GOLD, then even a cursory glance at the beautiful graphics painted on the box, it is sufficient to ensure compliance linearity only in the standard range of 60Hz - 22kHz. While on the other hand, and this is a very good indicator. However, we must pay tribute CREATIVE: AWE64 GOLD - really quiet board. This is not just my opinion, but the majority of independent testers computer audio products. Overall I would rate the quality of the sound section AWE64 GOLD as high.

All of the major characteristics of MIDI-AWE64 GOLD I called, so I will focus only on certain "sensitive" moments. The board supports 64-voice polyphony, and here it should be remembered that only 32 votes are supported in hardware. The remaining 32 votes are run the software synthesizer CREATIVE WAVESYNTH / WG, created using proprietary technology of physical modeling sound "Sondius". Quality software synthesis, I was not trying to assess, as usual Pentium'a power that was available at my disposal, it is not enough. Technique of physical modeling sound initially focused on imitation sound of wind instruments, so you can assume that CREATIVE WAVESYNTH / WG would be best to use it in that direction. AWE64 GOLD supports MPU-401 interface. Despite this, I was not able to connect directly to the board a MIDI-keyboard Roland A33 - had to use essential in such cases, the interface Chamber Roland MPU-401AT. At the same time, practice shows that with widespread we have the tools and Fatar YAMAHA such problems usually arise.

AWE64 GOLD is equipped with a microphone and line inputs, as well as a stereo line output and a standard game-connector for the joystick. I think there is no point spread on the game theme compatibility SOUND BLASTER'ov since this thing for granted. Similarly, it is not necessary to paint the detail dignity supplied with the card software - its a lot for every taste. However, in addition to the already mentioned "Cubasis Audio 1.6", I would especially like to highlight the sound editor font (commonly patches) Vienna. With it, you get access to almost all the parameters you use sound samples (you can, for example, edit the envelope characteristics, loops, etc.). In addition, you can create new and edit existing banks patches. At first glance, Vienna differs somewhat overloaded interface, but behind it excellent functionality, and understand the terminology and principles of work, by and large, not a big deal.

Finally, a few words about the most important (for the author, of course) - on my subjective impressions of the AWE64 GOLD. Giving me the option of this board was designed for sale in Germany, so, of course, most software was also in German. The big problem with this is not because even "lazy Belarusian users, who taught poorly in school German" could leave the German drivers, and everything else you need to take the English-language software from the usual AWE64. The next thing that I would like to point out is the quality of the sounds used for the synthesis of the table. I did not like the sound of any of the ROM or downloadable into the RAM of 2 and 4 MB's other banks. From the standpoint of suitability AWE64 GOLD for music is the minimum acceptable 8MB th GM bank, which is available on CD-ROM in the set of optional memory card. At the same compact, there are some really cool sounds (eg, banks grandpno.sf2, rockbass.sf2 and others), but they are not as much as might be desired. However, given the almost complete absence in the domestic market of serious music cards, I would take the liberty to recommend the AWE64 GOLD computer music lovers who need a good sound quality, but are not able to pay for it more than $ 300.

PS Why am I silent about alternative AWE64 GOLD cards in the face of Turtle Beach "Tropez Plus" and "MultiSound Pinnacle"? It's very simple: CD with the sounds of "Tropez Plus" we have not widely available, and the "Pinnacle" is much more expensive and not everyone can afford.

The author expresses his gratitude to the company "Sky Systems" for the provision of payment SOUND BLASTER AWE64 GOLD, which made ​​it possible to write this article.
« Last Edit: December 24, 2014, 08:19:28 PM by chrisNova777 »