More Than A SoundBlaster

Hercules - Gamesurround Fortissimo II

Guillemot, owner of the Hercules brand name, has been in the sound card business for some time now. Guillemot has wanted to expand further into the sound card market, and Guillemot placed several bids in an attempt to purchase the assets of Aureal. Guillemot has, in the past, released such cards as the Maxi Sound Muse, Maxi Studio Isis XL, and the original Maxi Sound Fortissimo. While these cards were popular in some circles, with the introduction of the new Hercules branded cards, Guillemot looks to make a big splash in the sound card market.

When announced a few months ago, it appeared that the Gamesurround Fortissimo II was going to be the "hands down" sound card of choice for many people. The Gamesurround Fortissimo II does offer an impressive array of features at a price that could make it a future market leader. What I think Guillemot has done particularly well is that it has combined many of the best features of the Sound Blaster Live with the Live Drive, and they have marketed the product in a more affordable package. (The biggest complaint that I continue to hear about the Sound Blaster Live and the Live Drive is that it costs too much.)

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Data Transfer SpecificationPCI 2.1 Bus Mastering
Audio Processor (DSP)Cirrus Logic SoundFusion CS4624
Audio Standards CompatibilitySensaura based 3D positional Audio with support for Microsoft DirectSound 3D, EAX 1.0, EAX 2.0, A3D 1.0, I3DL2, MacroFX, MultiDrive, ZoomFX, EnvironmentFX, Compatible with Dolby Surround
Legacy DOS SupportYes, Legacy DOS/Sound Blaster Support
Wavetable SynthesizerDSP accelerated engine for unlimited number of voices (64-voice hardware)8 MB General MIDI/GS sample setGM (General Midi) and Yamaha XG compatible
External Connector ConfigurationAnalog din with: mic in, headphones, front and rear speakers - Line in, and S/PDIF In & Out using TOSLINK connectors.
Operating Systems SupportedWindows 95/98/ME/2000
Status Of Windows XP DriversWindows XP Driver In Development
Special FeaturesUses unique single din cable configuration for connecting the analog inputs
Software Included With The CardGamesurround Fortissimo II control panel, Game Commander 2 Special Edition, Storm, Acid Xpress, MusicMatch Jukebox, Siren Jukebox Xpress, Media Station, Yamaha XG Player, Kool karaoke Lite, Power DVD 3.0 (4 channels)
Suggested Retail Price - US$60 US