Anyone else miss Aureal?

Bankie

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I was recently going through some old hardware and found my old Aureal Vortex 2 sound card. As soon as I touched it my thoughts were flooded with the sounds of the footsteps, echoes, and environmental occlusion from Thief:TDP. EAX based titles feel so dead in comparison. With a X-Fi in my current rig I can't recall anything that is anywhere near as impressive as some of the software programmed with the Vortex 2 in mind. Sure, the X-Fi is head and shoulders above the Vortex in clarity but it can't even stand next to the Vortex's urinal when you're looking for immersion.

I might put my old Athlon XP 1800 together with this card and Win98 just for some sweet Thief:TDP and Thief2 audio goodness. Now I remember that there are more reasons for me to hate Creative than just their drivers. Damn, I miss Aureal.

CN: Aureal had the best 3d sound hardware ever created and went out of business, Creative bought the assets, game audio got boring.
 

kniah

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I have vague memories of a Vortex 2 I once owned...unfortunately by the time I got it they were already out of business. Spent a good deal of time trying to get it to work in Linux. I only had it for a few months before I got my hands on an Audigy. I remember the bee/virtual room demo though...wish I could go back in time!
 

450

Fully [H]
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I'm glad someone brought this up. I was thinking about this for a while now. I mean Aureal's tech is now over 10 years old at this point and somehow its HRTF abilities are much better than anything Creative has put out. I don't understand why Creative can't do the same thing given that they bought out Aureal.

Also, on a related note, I think we need more binaurally recorded material in game and movies. Dolby headphone is nice but it still is worse when compared to a good binaural track.
 

ourfpshero

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supposedly the x-fi makes use of aureals technology. i also had a vortex 1 and 2. their 2 speaker 3d ability was top notch. i remember the st jedi knight game and the sounds being 'thrown' way out there where there was no speaker! but i think the x-fi does headphones better.

and dont forget wavetracing! the vortex2 had wavetracing- but only a few games supported it. i think the 2nd star trek fps game elite force did and i put my vortex superquad back into my machine to play it. very nice for the most part but it was buggy in open areas
dolby headphone is a joke compared to the vortex or an x-fi
p.s. there are full featured xp drivers out there for the vortex cards
 

phide

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I actually never owned an Aureal card, but I'm still impressed by what those chips achieved during their limited time in the spotlight. It must've been quite an amazing thing to have experienced real-time wavetracing in the late 90's, since A3D's wavetracing engine is, paradoxically, light years more advanced than anything the Audigy or X-Fi chips have been able to offer in the post-processing department so far -- and this is 10 years later.

70% of the processing power offered by the X-Fi's EMU20Kx is dedicated to resampling. If Creative were to instead dedicate that to an EAX-based wavetracing engine, the X-Fi would actually be able to pose a worthy threat to the Vortex 2's processing potential. Why they didn't is totally beyond me.

 

ourfpshero

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wavetracing increases cpu load drastically with level complexity. thats probably why there were few adopters game-wise. i can only think of the one game i mentioned as using it-and it was buggy at that. imagine calculating all sounds bouncing around on a Crysis level! every blade of grass would affect sound.
creative owns the tech now- maybe they can revive it w/multi core modern cpu's.
 

Justin42

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Jul 9, 2005
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The Vortex 2 was an amazing card. I still remember how amazed I was going from a Soundblaster AWE 64 Gold to it... I had an SBLive card for about a month and it popped and crackled like crazy... Creative dragged out tech support beyond where I could return it, and then started giving me totally nonsensical things to try and said they wouldn't take it back for repair until I did (like they said I was underclocking my PCI slots at 33mhz and until I put it back to 66mhz they would'nt help me more!). I gave up and put the AWE64 back in until I found a good deal on the SQ2500...

Probably my favorite card overall to this day. Awesome quality recording, too. No other card had me quite as excited for computer audio, even my current Asus Xonar D2X. I forget why I eventually swapped in a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz on that machine... (not a bad card either-- I am thinking Windows 2000 support wasn't good enough in the Aureal to continue using it when I upgraded).
 

Elledan

[H]ard|DCer of the Month - April 2010
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I'm sticking with onboard audio instead of getting poorly supported Creative hardware. I can't use my SB 128 PCI (not designed by Creative... actually a decent card) in Windows XP anymore. A good friend of mine had big issues with his X-Fi card with an nVidia chipset-based mainboard.

Creative could use some competition :( if I'm ever going to buy a dedicated soundcard it'll be from M-Audio or so.
 

phide

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wavetracing increases cpu load drastically with level complexity. creative owns the tech now- maybe they can revive it w/multi core modern cpu's.
A smart algorithm would allow only certain geometry to bounce waves (probably via a surface's sound shader), so only the basic level structure would impact the calculations.

Just to throw this one out there, Killzone 2 supposedly uses some form of wavetracing engine, but the developers haven't really talked about the details of it yet. The Cell processor is pretty well-suited to calculations of that nature, though, so we may not see any CPU-based wavetracing in PC games for some time.

As for Creative, I don't see them doing anything but coming up with dozens of new SKUs for the same damn things :)
 

Bankie

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supposedly the x-fi makes use of aureals technology. i also had a vortex 1 and 2. their 2 speaker 3d ability was top notch. i remember the st jedi knight game and the sounds being 'thrown' way out there where there was no speaker! but i think the x-fi does headphones better.

If the X-Fi does make use of Aureal technology it does so poorly. Thief 2 is the last game I remember seriously wowing me with the sound.

I pulled my X-Fi out because of horrible Linux support and started using onboard. The sound quality and environmental effects don't sound much different. :mad:
 

kniah

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I pulled my X-Fi out because of horrible Linux support and started using onboard. The sound quality and environmental effects don't sound much different. :mad:

X-Fi linux support is not that bad. I'm using the latest version of Ubuntu and didn't have any problems installing the X-Fi linux drivers from the creative website.
 
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