Sound card Leadtek WinFast 4Xsound
Installation of the software
In spite of being provided with support for such operating systems variety, the multimedia application offered to squeeze to the maximum the capacity of this card only is offered in versions for Windows 95, Windows 98 (curiously, different from the previous one) and Windows NT 4.0.
Also, the CD offered by Leadtek contains drivers for multitude of peripheral, badges and cards of the company, not only for 4Xsound; this is not a negative detail, simply it is a skill to limit costs to the company... although on the other hand, it might take to the confusion the newest users, especially if they do not understand (or they read) the manual.
We center on the application for Windows 98, since it was the installed system. After installing the software, we will be able to see a new entry in the menu; from her we have access to the installed applications.
Audio Rack contains the access to the programs to reproduce mp3, wav, MIDI and CDs, in addition to a mixer especially adapted to the characteristics of our new card. Namely with control panel to handle the earnings and digital exits.
The program turns out to be quite finished and can fulfill any need for reproduction in what it refers to sound files. It admits lists of reproduction for any format, although the CD breeding animal does not admit connection to CDDB to obtain the title of the songs Internet route. Since it is habitual, we can conceal the part of the "musical chain" that we were not interested in, so that it does not occupy screen space and at the same time let's be able to gain access to her quickly.
Also we are provided with a demo to prove the correct functioning of 4 loudspeakers and a desinstalador, in addition to a few small utilities to indicate the characteristics wished as for the use of the earnings and digital exits, and to the reproduction of surrounding sound by means of C3D HRTF.
Once quite in rule it is the moment to prove it 4Xsound. It is difficult to measure the "yield" of a sound card, since the quality is something hardly measurable without the use of such devices like oscilloscopes. Anyway, for the normal "ears" (more than 99,9 % of the users), two cards will reproduce practically of equal form an audio CD, although one costs 10 times more than other one. (And the same we might say on differing between a file wav and one mp3 of certain quality).
Nevertheless, there exist some simple "objective" tests, like for example the consumption of CPU. For it we have used the program Audio WinBench99, with which it is possible to verify both the correct functioning of the surrounding sound (her 4Xsound it worked to the perfection) and the CPU consumption.
On the CPU consumption, on having treated the effects digitalmente, it is not for anything highly. And we might treat the topic of the sound quality, but we prefer not to do it due to the subjectivity to which we exhibit ourselves on having said: "it sounds well" or "it sounds badly". As simple comment, some professionals think that the sound of 4Xsound is quite similar to that of SoundBlaster Live. The true thing is that in the tests with the different formats, good is mp3, midi, mod, AudioCD... we cannot say (and neither it is possible to say with almost any card) that should be listened badly by no means.
According to the manufacturer of the chip, this one supports up to 6 audio channels, to assure the compatibility with Dolby Digital or AC3 5.1 (that is to say, everything necessary to enjoy the movies at home). Therefore, very probably it will be able to find cards based on the same chip with this functionality; in any case, "only" with 4 loudspeakers it works of marvel, the surrounding effect is fantastic.
Apart from the digital exits, the support of 4 loudspeakers, etc., we have kept the small secret of this card by the end: we can find it for a price lower than 6.000 pesetas (approximately 33 $), depending where from we buy it.
Can anybody give more quality and functions for less money? A pity of the manual in English, but it is not possible to have everything in the life...
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