Videologic SonicVortex2 - Part 7
Impression #3

Toying With Aureal's Demos
I must say I'm terribly impressed here. I first put the card through its paces with a pair of Sony headphones and the demos really amazed me. 3D positional sounds were truly outstanding!

3D Positional Sound: The first demo was a simple positional test which worked really well. You hear a drumer encircling you convincingly as he played.

3D Positional Sound Demo

Reflections: Ok, the 'Corridor' demo was the one I liked best. Along a corridor (between 2 walls, duh!), you hear a person speak as he walks pass your standing position from the left into the distance and then back, passing your right. It was REALLY an ear-opener (pun intended!) if positional sounds could get as real as this!

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Corridor Demo

Reflections: Next was the muti-wall demo in which you'll hear a saxophonist play his tune while he walked about in an enclosed octagonal shape room. I couldn't catch the reflections here but I could certainly pinpoint his position by listening.

Occlusions and Reflections: The next demo I played with showcased occlusions and reflections. As a helicopter flew passed your postion backed by a building, you'll hear the sounds of the heli shifting from your rear right to the front right with the emphasis being that you actually hear 'echos' or reflections of the rotor's sound waves bouncing back from the building on your left. Then as the heli fly across your front, from right to left, and behind the building, you will catch the sounds fading away, occluded by the building. Very impressive.

"Heli" Demo

Occlusions and Reflections: Joining the 'Heli' demo was a FPS demo mimick where you'll catch a rampaging soldier sweeping bullets from outside the room then into your room, running around you while he continued to empty his cartridges. Well, yes the point of this particular demo was to showoff the occlusion of sounds behind walls. It really worked well here.

Interactive Demos: In addition to the pre-recorded demos, there were 4 other interactive demos included and while the same rules and effects stucked, you are now free to move your onscreen character around to experience the sounds transmitted from the sources. Interesting.

Pre-recorded game Demos
I fired up the pre-recorded gameclips on the disc and watched some hot action captured from games like Jedi Knights, Incoming, BattleZone and more - all replicated in a movie sequence. Jedi Knight and Incoming were particularly good and you should be able to use the sound cues to advance your gameplay quite a bit. The realism of 3D Positional audio must be heard to be believed.

All the above demos sounded truly awesome on the headphones, but the effects and realism was much reduced when I switched back to using 4 speaker audio. No longer were positions as distinct as before. I tinkered with the front/rear speakers fading, but just couldn't get it to match the headphones.

But we also have to take into account the difficulty proper speaker placement. It is hard to achieve an optimal listening position which may have affected my experience with the card.


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