Entry-level Multi-channel Sound Card: Hercules Gamesurround Muse 5.1 DVD

Bundled Software

The software for the Muse 5.1 DVD may not look glitzy, but it includes everything a user would need for this type of card, starting with the indispensable DVD driver, Power DVD 4.0, in its multi-channel version that is compatible with the Muse 5.1 DVD. This is one of the most complete DVD drivers, as well as one of the easiest to use. It is used by the Hercules and is also integrated into MediaStation II. It is a multimedia driver capable of reading audio files, such as MP3, WMA, etc., as well as BMP, JPEG and video images of the MPEG 1, ASF and even AVI types (depending on the internal codec used). MediaStation II uses a fairly pleasant and ergonomic "Winamp-style" interface. The software bundle also includes Acid Xpress, beginners' software for composing music.

Test Setup And Methodology

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ProcessorIntel Pentium 4 - 2 GHz
Memory256 Mb RDRAM
Hard diskWestern Digital 40 GB
CD drivesPioneer DVR103
SpeakersCambridge Megaworks 510D
Graphics cardCreative Labs GeForce 4 Ti 4400
Drivers & Software
DirectX Version8.1
OSWindows XP Professional

The Muse 5.1 DVD was tested in a single environment using subjective and objective methods. The speakers used for the tests were Cambridge SoundWorks' MegaWorks 510D. The software used for these tests was as follows: Audio Winbench; Penguin Audio Meter; Right Mark Audio Analyzer 3.4; Spectra Labs SAS; American MCGee's Alice; Soldier of Fortune: Double Helix; and Quake III Arena.