Have you heard? Montego II's Quadzilla is the Godzilla of 3-D sound

Have you heard? Montego II's Quadzilla is the Godzilla of 3-D sound

By John Breeden II

GCN Staff

The Montego II Quadzilla audio accelerator card from Turtle Beach Inc. has a name that suggests computer gaming, but it is an audio workhorse.



Heavyweight multimedia applications need an audio accelerator as much as a graphics accelerator, but the output from most sound cards still lags far behind the intense quality of the visuals. Without good sound, virtual-reality worlds for training or simulation lose their realism.

Have you heard?

The Quadzilla has something going for it that makes it a must-have for any simulation programmer or user: quad-speaker support, which is the only way to get true 3-D sound.

When you set two speakers behind your chair and two in front, preferably beside the monitor, sounds that are supposed to be behind you are actually generated behind.

A quad-speaker setup delivers VR realism right at the PC without an expensive VR helmet or other peripherals. In the absence of a four-speaker setup, the card defaults to surround-sound, which can be very realistic, too.

Even without quad speakers, the Quadzilla is quite a sound card. It has a 320-voice wavetable synthesis engine, a 16-track MIDI orchestrator and up to 96 simultaneous digital audio streams with a high signal-to-noise ratio. Listening to just about anything becomes a fascinating experience. You might even find yourself closing your eyes to ignore the visual input.

The card's setup has good and bad qualities.

The PCI interface means the Quadzilla need not hog one of the Accelerated Graphics Port slots used by so many devices these days.

On the flip side, the card comes in two pieces, so it takes up two slots on the back of the system.



Box Score'''''''''

Montego II Quadzilla

Quad-speaker sound card


Turtle Beach Inc.;

Yonkers, N.Y.;

tel. 800-233-9377

www.tbeach.com

Price: $99.95



+ ' Quad speaker sound support

+ ' Amazingly realistic simulations

+ ' Plays many simultaneous digital streams

' ' Takes up two expansion slots



Real-life requirements:
Windows 9x or NT and high-end speakers




Although the main card slides into a free PCI slot, quad-speaker sound requires mounting the second half of the card in a free expansion slot.

The second half does not plug into the computer directly but instead interfaces through a cable that plugs into the main card. It has to, however, be mounted in an open slot unless you want it to hang out the back of the system, so you wind up losing two slots.

Second time around

The second half of the card merely serves as an output device for the two speakers at the rear of a quad setup. Turtle Beach should have put the tiny four-speaker support outlet in the main card, which has more than enough room even though it is half the size of a standard PCI card.

Quadzilla does an excellent job of offloading CPU sound-generation cycles, which lets applications run faster. Even with audio streams arriving at different sample rates, the Quadzilla processes all the sound itself. I threw a lot of audio streams at it, and my CPU load monitors never moved a tick from their standard settings.

This is the best card I have seen for amazingly realistic four-speaker sound, even at the cost of losing two slots.'Oh, and those high-end speakers are sold separately.

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