Sound Quality In 5.1 And Game Modes
The most interesting part, and the main contribution, of Muse 5.1 DVD is the management of 5.1 Dolby Digital sound thanks to the CMI8738-6ch-LX chip. For this to work, all you need to do is install the Power DVD 4.0 software that comes with the card and connect up the three analog outputs to speakers such as MegaWorks 510D or the Hercules XPS 510. The result is more than acceptable, even if it cannot match the quality of an external, dedicated decoder. The sound is distributed correctly over the six elements and the additional load on the processor used for the purpose is only about 5%. The sound is generally acceptable, though not as good as on an Audigy or a DMX 6Fire 24/96.
The Hercules Muse 5.1 DVD supports DirectSound, DirectSound 3D, A3D 1.x, EAX 1.0 and EAX 2.0 standards, thanks to the Sensaura engine. We tested the card on games using standards such as Grand Theft Auto 3, Soldier of Fortune II, Double Helix, and American MCGee's Alice. No problems here either, the sound performance is acceptable. The sounds are correctly positioned in 4.1 mode and the reverberation effects are rendered properly. They do not have the same environmental quality of the effects of the Audigy Sound Blaster, but they make a pretty good go at it, nonetheless.