What's so great about the Santa Cruz?

I see that you guys really like the Santa Cruz, so I'd like to know what's so great about it.

I mean, I've owned my Santa Cruz since last August after selling my SB Live! to a friend and I'm not convinced that I made the right choice. Some things I note:

--I used to have a lot of fun with MIDI SoundFonts on my SB Live!, and I even found an awesome 80 MB SoundFont, but there's absolutely nothing I can find (for free) for my Santa Cruz. Basically, I'm relegated to the default DLS that the SC uses, and I think it sucks.

--Games with 3D sound are pretty much the same from the Live! to the Santa Cruz. Each has problems; for example, in Operation Flashpoint the audio gets crackly-sounding on the SC.

--Playback skips from time to time when using GoldWave sound editing software with the SC, which the developer told me was a fault of the card's drivers.

--The graphic EQ on the SC is cool, but I just leave it on and flat. I'd love to learn how to tweak it, though, since my Klipsch v.2-400's have absolutely no midrange (and Grado SR 80 headphones have no bass).

The biggest difference between the two cards that I notice is that the Live has a very deep, rich sound. The Santa Cruz has a cleaner, crisper sound.

I'm considering upgrading to the Audigy so that I can get EAX Advanced HQ, plus the ability to use SoundFonts again.

That's really the biggest issue: SoundFonts. I haven't the expertise to make 'em nor the money to buy 'em, and I have awesome SoundFonts... but no DLS. If I you guys could lead me to a good source for (free) DLS's, I'd be grateful, but I digress.

I'm interested in knowing what makes the Santa Cruz (and GTXP, for that matter) so much better than everything else.
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  1. You've noticed the sound is clearer, that's one thing. 3D positioning in games is far better on the Santa Cruz/GTXP than the Live or Audigy. EQ isn't too difficult, just start moving things until it sounds the way you want it.

    I can't help you with SoundFonts, since I don't use anything like that.

    As for the crackling, what's the rest of your setup? I'm thinking your PCI bus might be taxed.

    <font color=blue>Hi mom!</font color=blue>
  2. My system specs are:

    Athlon 1200 MHz, processor, ASUS A7V-133 motherboard (BIOS 1006, I think), 512 MB of PC133 RAM running at CAS2, Radeon 32 MB DDR video card... my hard drives and CD/DVD drives are on the standard IDE channels (not ATA-100)... my network card is a 3Com 905CTXM (the expensive $100 version; what a waste of money). I'm using Windows XP Pro. The only signifigant TSR on my system is MacAfee antivirus 6.0. All drivers are current.

    Oh, one other thing I noticed that's cool about the Santa Cruz is that it supports reverb and chorus on individual MIDI channels, as opposed to the Live! which could only apply reverb and chorus to every channel at once... but oh, my precious SoundFonts! :-|

    Anyway, if you can help with the crackling, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.
  3. <A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com/staff/bryan_villarin.html" target="_new">I have a similar system</A>...

    The BIOS version isn't the latest, so you might want to try upgrading that.
    <A HREF="http://download.asus.com.tw/mb_dl_menu.asp?l1=1&l2=10&l3=4&mid=1" target="_new">Asus A7V133 BIOS page</A>

    Also, what version of the Via 4-in-1 drivers are you using?

    <font color=red><A HREF="http://www.btvillarin.com" target="_new">btvillarin.com</A> - My Windows XP-based Website</font color=red>
  4. Quote:
    I'm considering upgrading to the Audigy so that I can get EAX Advanced HQ, plus the ability to use SoundFonts again.

    The Audigy removes the silly 32 MB addressing limit that the Live! had, so you can use gigantic Soundfonts and still be able to play all the instruments. Personally, I use Utopia Live! which is a nice 32 MB Soundfont (<A HREF="http://utopialive.com" target="_new">Great MIDI!</A>). It makes all my Windows MIDI games sound much better (i.e. FF7 and FF8), but it's not fully compatible with the Audigy and some sounds drop out every now and then. The author does intend to patch it for full Audigy compatibility and I hope he also makes a nice big 128 MB Soundfont or something to really exploit the Audigy's capabilities in this regard.

    Also, the Audigy is a big improvement in sound quality from the Live!

  5. The SoundBlaster has always been a notch ahead of the Santa Cruz in terms of MIDI. Unless you listen to MIDI, or have a MIDI keyboard that you have attached to your PC, there's absolutely no reason to get an Audigy over the Santa Cruz. Most people on the forums I've seen agree that the Audigy has cleaner sound tha the Audigy. Make sure you have the latest drivers installed for the Santa Cruz.

    :wink: <b><i>"A penny saved is a penny earned!"</i></b> :wink:
  6. No Base on Grado SR80's is most likely related to not having a headhpone amplifier: <A HREF="http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=26&productID=0020090080" target="_new">Grado 80's info at Headroom</A> <A HREF="http://www.headphone.com/layout.php?topicID=3&subTopicID=27&productID=0010010002" target="_new">cheap headphone amp at Headroom</A> I could be wrong on that, but its my best guess. Using Sennhieser HD580's here and get great bass through a similar amp.

    As far as Op Flashpoint problem is concerned i'd put my money on driver problems of some sort. I don't have that issue in Op Flashpoint with the GTXP. So, don't despair there, it should be fixable. The suggestions above are good.

    No clue about soundfonts...as far as i know that could be a legit reason to pick an audigy. Never even messed with em.

    The itsy bitsy spider climbed up the empires state building, along came goblin, wiped the spider out<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by williamc on 05/24/02 11:04 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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