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SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back? 123

Posted by Hemos
from the the-battle-of-the-battles dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Phoronix, a popular Linux-based hardware review site, has posted their beliefs on what they feel is the returning of NVIDIA's SoundStorm Technology. Even though sites have said SoundStorm is dead, Phoronix continues to believe otherwise about this long-discussed situation. They contend NVIDIA is currently working on a new generation of APUs for its upcoming Chipsets and they feel one of the audio technologies may be SoundStorm! The article can be read here, but it looks like only time will reveal if new audio features are being brought fourth in the new Chipsets."
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SoundStorm 2: SoundStorm Strikes Back?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:46AM (#13482539)
    "While we have chosen to not include the SoundStorm APU in our current nForce4 MCP, we look forward to including our audio technology in future NVIDIA products."

    That's hardly dead, especially when that article if from nearly a year ago. A year is a huge timespan in computing.
    • They've been saying that for over a year now. I swear they say it just to hope that the soundstorm fan base will quiet down and die off.

      I've heard the Nforce3-Nforce5 will have it. I heard it's going to be an add in card. Hell, I've heard it's going to be integrated in the next video card. So far I've seen nothing tangible and I'll be surprised if I do.

      It's pretty much a given if you want to compete in the PC audio market you're dealing with Creative whether you like it or not. They were allowed to buyout a
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:49AM (#13482549)
    The last truly inovative audio chipset was the Aureal au88x0 series, and what happened to them? Creative sucked them up and did nothing with their technology; even their "top end" Audigy 2 doesn't do positional 3D audio.

    As far as the consumer is concerned, audio technology is at a plateu and it's good enough for what they're using it for. The only thing that changes in the audio hardware world are the damn hardware programatic interfaces; there are more audio chipsets than modern video cards and NIC's combined.
    • by ImaLamer (260199) <john@lamar.gmail@com> on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:54AM (#13482565) Homepage Journal
      Soundstorm is freaking sweet though. I've used it under Mandrake and watched many movies with the nForce 2 under Windows and Linux with great results. Creative may have their heads up their asses, but Nvidia does good work on hardware and the software they release just plain works.

      Surround sound is easy to setup in Windows and Linux. It's more a matter of plugging the right speakers in the right places. I love the idea that you can use an extra mic input as a center channel or something.

      I wouldn't trade it in.
    • by slaker (53818) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:37AM (#13482707)
      There ARE good audio chips available. Sometimes they even make it on to motherboards. Albatron ships a few boards with the sounds-better-than-Creative Via Envy chipset. They even throw in a daughterboard with both types of digital input and output.

      Via Envy is the same sound chip on most $50ish sound cards that aren't made by Creative.

      If you want computer sound to get better, vote with your wallet and buy something better. Turtle Beach will happily sell you an Envy-based card, or you can get a PCI X-Mystique, which does exactly what Soundstorm used to do.
      • There ARE good audio chips available. Sometimes they even make it on to motherboards. Albatron ships a few boards with the sounds-better-than-Creative Via Envy chipset. They even throw in a daughterboard with both types of digital input and output.

        The problem for most people (i.e., people using the analog outs) isn't just the sound chip. The quality of components like the DACs can also play a huge role in how good the audio is. In order to keep costs down, motherboard manufacturers either like to use s

      • Envy has nothing to do with VIA, except that VIA is an integrator so they build the Envy chip into their boards and chipsets. Envy is a sound processor that's used in many prosumer cards such as the M-Audio Delta series, the most famous being the Audiophile 2496. It does sound beautifully clean and quiet on those cards, but I honestly doubt it could perform nearly as well as an integrated component on a mainboard, simply due to the extreme noise on there and often shaky traces and/or marginal tolerances o
      • If you want computer sound to get better, vote with your wallet and buy something better. Turtle Beach will happily sell you an Envy-based card, or you can get a PCI X-Mystique, which does exactly what Soundstorm used to do.

        Thanks for posting, I'd never heard of the X-Mystique before and it sounds like exactly what I need. I have a great DD5.1 tuner(Pioneer TRE-D800) and 5.1 speaker setup, and have been missing soundstorm in the newer nForce boards =(.

        My concern is that the X-Mystique only supports EAX 2.0
    • by EzInKy (115248) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:48AM (#13482756)

        The last truly inovative audio chipset was the Aureal au88x0 series, and what happened to them? Creative sucked them up and did nothing with their technology; even their "top end" Audigy 2 doesn't do positional 3D audio.

      As far as the consumer is concerned, audio technology is at a plateu and it's good enough for what they're using it for. The only thing that changes in the audio hardware world are the damn hardware programatic interfaces; there are more audio chipsets than modern video cards and NIC's combined.

      The real problem is the disparity between those who call themselves "audiophiles" and normal users. Seriously, if 99% of users can't tell the difference between a $10 card and a $10,000 then the $10 card will always win. If the "audiophile" can tell the difference then let him pay $10,000 for a difference that doesn't mean a thing to me.
    • by Quarters (18322) on Monday September 05, 2005 @10:31AM (#13482952)
      The Audigy 2 hasn't been Creative's "top end" card for a while now. The Audigy 4 was introduced quite some time ago.

      The Audigy 4 has recently been surpased by the X-Fi. It's an entirely new architecture, both hardware and software.

      Creative's EAX has been doing positional 3D audio with occlusion and reverberation for quite a while now. The Aureal was nice, sure, but Creative has had, and has, tech that accomplishes the same thing.

      • only that the drivers are obscene, not only to install but they totally overdo it with extras.

        you can pare it down to just the drivers and important applets (even then it's a large chunk of drive space) but most users wouldn't even dare click anything but the next button.

        that alone isn't enough though. their drivers are buggy as hell and performance in 3d audio is pretty pathetic for it being a dsp-based hw accel. card.

        unfortunetly, host-based (read soft/win aka no dsp no hardware accel) sound cards aren't
      • Hmmm...from reading recent announcements of Creative, I have the impression that when it comes to true 3D positional audio they catched up with A3D 1.0 with current (advertised) features of XiFi (plus Creative has enviromental "filters" of course - but while they'll together give similar results to A3D 2.0 in most cases...still, at least theorethically, not as accurate; ironically they'll give you better information where exactly a monster stands behind that wall...but I don't call that accuracy)
      • creative's EAX and its occlusion and reverberation aren't anywhere near what Aureal/A3D did, sorry to tell you. A3D did very realistic HRTF calculations that actually gave you real 3D positional sound. What creative does is nowhere near the same. Put on some headphones with a good A3D game and you can tell where a sound is coming from along every axis. I remember playing Counter-Strike with my Aureal SuperQuad and the game's A3D 2.0 support and it was just astonishing. You could tell if someone was 160
    • True about Aureal still being the gold standard bearer. But I should add as a footnote, that creative only sucked them up AFTER they delisted off the nasdaq and became a virtual penny stock while almost declaring chapter 11. Creative was able to suck their IP for next to NOTHING. And they remain the gold standard 5 years AFTER the fact. What's that in inverse moore's?
  • by xao gypsie (641755) on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:54AM (#13482566)
    I just bought a new board with an nvidia chipset!!! Buying hardware is worse than trading stocks...
  • by MarcoPon (689115) on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:56AM (#13482571) Homepage
    SoundStorm isn't a technology, or a piece of hardware.

    It's a "certification", a label that attest that the hardware follow certain specs and offer certain features (number and type of I/O connections, for example).

  • And they weren't Linux-based.
  • Bose replacement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by N8F8 (4562) on Monday September 05, 2005 @08:59AM (#13482579)
    I see plenty of decent audio chip solutions on the market, what I don't see is a decent inexpensive speaker set. Logitech and the ilk that I have tried have been horrible. I just want a decent, inexpensive 5 speaker plus woofer setup that doesn't take much space and produces good sound throught the sound spectrum. Too much to ask? I'm sick of cheapo speakers in fancy plastic boxes.
    • Re:Bose replacement (Score:2, Informative)

      by tomstdenis (446163)
      Well here's a tip you're not going to find a good amplifier+speakers for 69$...

      Suck it up, spend the 500$-1000$ for a home setup and move on.

      You don't have to be an audiophile with 3000$ speakers just to get some decent quality sound. I bought a Sony amplifier+receiver which with proper gauge cabling [forget what gauge] for 900$ I can listen to my music and actually like it ;-)

      Tom
      • You can get fairly good quality out of speakers that cost 100 euros , naturally though speakers costing 5 to 10* that are going to be far better but the average person would only likely notice the difference if its pointed out to them... unless they want to play at higher volumes then the difference becomes painfully obvious.
        If you want to take full advantage of a good sound chip on a budget then headphones are the only way to go .Obviously that's not always an option if you have people in the room as-well
        • ...and spending more on headphones also has it's rewards - I recommend any headphones from Grado Labs http://www.gradolabs.com/ [gradolabs.com] (and I dont make recommendations often).

          The SR325 headphones I have are something special.

          Do yourself a favour - check them out, including their "budget" models ;)

          • Sennheiser's higher-end cans are also really, REALLY good. The specific models that I know are good (because I have owned them) are the HD580s and HD600s. The 650s are also reputed to be great, but I haven't heard them myself.

            Personally, I think the 580s are one of the better buys in headphones. You can usually pick them up at around $150 on Ebay, and they sound AMAZING. They are extremely comfortable. You can literally put them on in the morning and wear them all day, to the point that you'll forget t
      • by BlueHands (142945)
        The question should be why can't he get a good 5:1 speaker system for less then the cost of 400 gig hard drive? You have just told him to spend as much on the audio as on the rest of his entire system.

        And this makes sense to you.

        And others, because you got modded up for the comment. That scares me most-est.
        • by Beta (31442)

          The question should be why can't he get a good 5:1 speaker system for less then the cost of 400 gig hard drive? You have just told him to spend as much on the audio as on the rest of his entire system.

          Because audio reproduction is still governed by the same laws of physics as it was 30 years ago. Bass response is dictated by the size of the transducer and the cabinet, and while you can do minor tuning with active EQ, you simply cannot compensate for 50 times too small enclosure. The enclosure must also be r

          • Because audio reproduction is still governed by the same laws of physics as it was 30 years ago.

            Yes!

            "subwoofer" cabinets on most computer sound systems are the size of my bookshelf speakers.

            I think it's funny that people expect 6" speakers on ~30W amps to perform decently on bass frequencies when they are comparing it to the performance of 12" speakers with 150W+ amps.
          • The problem I have with this is only partial, but if it's 30 years old why shouldn't the price of decent go down.
            In computers what cost a few hundred thousand is now in the bargin bin.
            I said partial because on some things you do tend to hit a min price for materials and some other things, but by now the R&D on how speakers work should be mostly paid for, amoung other things.
            If there were new breakthroughs being made then yes I could see high prices, but I s
            • I've found a few things in my years of listening to audio. Your $6 set of speakers would pale in comparison to the sound of my Klipsch Promedia 2.1s. Even without the sub.

              Yes, the Klipsch I bought were expensive. If I recall, I paid about 150$ at Comp-Usa for them. A lot of my friends thought I paid too much.

              Then they heard them.

              They are probably some of the best all-in-one computer sets you can buy. And I did a lot of research. The only other pair I considered were some Soricco (sp?) speakers, but th
              • Well I have no clue who originally made my speakers, so perhaps they're some 'high end' brand rebadged, but that just points out how insane the markup is on the high end models.
                I've listened to quite a few brands at various outlets including klipsch and frankly most are at best in the ballpark of these speakers for sound quality, and yes I'm including the klipsch speakers I've listened to.
                Frankly the tech is so basic and old there really is no reason for most speakers to cost what t
    • Re:Bose replacement (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Solder Fumes (797270)
      I'll provide you with a better forum to search and ask for your goal: http://www.diyaudio.com/ [diyaudio.com] Lots of good stuff there, everything from putting together a decent system for minimal money, to modifying stock equipment with better components.

      I can also give you the ultimate crapspeakers. Cheap 5.1 surround that mostly works OK. You know those 5.1 systems at Wal-Mart? Yeah, the ones selling for like $35, which aren't really surround but instead mix out from a stereo signal. I managed to bypass that mixing cir
    • If you're looking for value why do you bother mentioning Bose? They just make overpriced junk for people who know nothing about audio.
      • by N8F8 (4562)
        The best home stereo setups I've personally heard were all Bose. I had a audiophile room-mate once who dumped a ton of money into supposedly one of the best setups (this was 15 years ago) and it sounded like shit. OTOH, I've been to numerous homes and even one trailer that had simple Bose setups that sounded awesome. How the hell do they get such great sound from such tiny speakers? I've purched four "package" home autio solutiuons over the least decade (Kenwood, Sony ot name two) and I was less that impres
        • The best home stereo setups I've personally heard were all Bose.

          I implore you, sir - if you're shopping for speakers in the near future, check out somewhere other than Best Buy and listen to some speakers before you jump on the Bose train (I suspect that BB arranges their Bose speakers better than the other brands intentionally). Additionally, most package setups don't really have very good speakers in them, just something to keep in mind.

          Bose used to really put some effort into clever speaker design and

          • I would also like to point out that most demos which are showing the bose speakers winning on "tiny" speakers have no bass. Most are a jazz tune with lots of symbols and a horn. Those Bose speakers are really good at the high end, but their mids and lows are very loose and inprecise. That is how the sound is "so good out of those tiny speakers"

            The point is that there is no speaker that is "tiny" which can accurately reproduce the mids and lows with precision. Bose doesnt' do magic in their setup, they just
    • I just want a:

      decent,
      inexpensive
      5 speaker plus woofer setup


      It's the classic pick two of the three items on this wishlist and you've got yourself a deal! Seriously. You can get a set of 5.1 speakers from woot for 20 bucks every now and then [inexpensive, 5.1]; you can go out and buy a pair of moderately good all-in-one speakers for 150 bucks or so [decent, inexpensive], or you can put down 1000-2000 bucks for a 5.1 setup that doesn't totally suck rocks [decent, 5.1]

      Even a $2000 setup won't be rock-your-socks
    • If your paying 69$ for a logitech 5.1 system and bitching about the quality you are either an idiot or you are picky.

      Logitech makes probably the best (sounding) speakers in their price range. Of course an amp with speakersystem for 69$ isn't going to sound super extreme high quality. Try the Z-5500's if you want something that is going to sound great. Or, get some Klipshe speakers if you want the top end. Or, invest in a quality amplifier and discrete speaker system if you really want some awesome sound.. B
    • no offense but try looking at speakers that cost more than 99 bucks.

      something in the 400+ range !should! meet your needs. if not, put your own set together.

      klipsh and creative's high end speakers are usually highly acclaimed. at least if you believe the reviewers. but ultimately it may not sound as good to you as it did the reviewers due to location differences and noise levels. buy a good set and try it at home.
    • General rule of thumb: if you want something good, stay away from speakers targeted at computer use.
    • Good speakers are expensive. It has always been that way, and it will remain that way for the foreseeable future, and as long as the raw materials remain the same and the design process is nontrivial.

      It's hard to design a good-sounding loudspeaker system, and it's typically fairly expensive to manufacture, assemble, and ship. A walk (and listen) through any audio store will illustrate this.

      But you don't want one good-sounding loudspeaker system: you want FIVE of them, and a subwoofer, too

      And you need the
      • I actually don't see it as unrealistic. Compared to the complexist of a computer, spearkers are trivial. And unlike computers, the need for constant reinvention isn't there. Bose has proven that.
  • Fuck Soundstorm (Score:3, Informative)

    by slaker (53818) on Monday September 05, 2005 @09:10AM (#13482618)
    X Mystique, Dolby Digital Live-encoding PCI sound card [newegg.com].
    I have three of them. They rock. Best hardware I've purchased in years, since they let me junk shitty Asus boards (AFAIK Asus is the only company that ever fully implemented soundstorm to begin with) for Gigabyte and Soltek hardware that I'm much more comfortable with.

    Here's [storageforum.net] a good summary of my experiences with the first card I got.

    • Wow, the reviews are really good and I'm looking for a sound card right now to go with my Logitech Z-5500's but I only use linux so... Does this card work with linux? :)
      • It works as a Cmedia-whatever-the-hell; no Dolby encoding in Linux.
        Soundstorm didn't work under Linux, either.

        I'd suggest a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz for you. They work just fine under Linux.
        • The Santa Cruz is an awesome card. The only problem is that the sound occasionally fucks up (1/100,000 times), possibly having to do with a few bits of the documentation that ALSA is unable to obtain for the CS4630 chip. The hardware DSP and mixing is great as well.
    • Sicne he linked to Newegg (a great company BTW) I did a quick Froogle [google.com] and found it cheaper. Notably, Buy.com [buy.com] has it for ~$87 with free shipping.
    • The HDA Mystique is brilliant if you want to use a reciever with your PC. I have one running optical spdif to my Pioneer reciever, a few of my friends have heard it and run out to buy one to replace their Audigy2's and Onboard Live24 audio chips. I remember a Q&A with Creative, someone asked when they would do DolbyLive encoding, and the rep said no one wants anything like Dolby on their PC... I think it shows that creative would rather add another digit onto their EAX version than actually try new te
  • I've got an NVIDIA sound chipset on my SNG41VG2 (number may be a little off) - will this sound chipset be used for future Shuttles? So far - I've been quite happy with the NVIDIA chipset.
    • That wasn't a soundstorm-capable chip. Soundstorm mixes everything into 5.1 Dolby Digital when given a digital path to a 5.1 Dolby decoder. AFAIK Asus is the only company that included it on their boards (or more precisely, the only company that included it and actually added the digital out needed for it to work). Everyone else just shipped CMedia or Realtek AC97 crap.

      If you're happy with AC97, good for you, but Soundstorm was a whole different experience, since it actually creates LFE and rear surround (w
  • Even better! Audio features are being brought third!
  • in true Roland Piquipaille style. Note the wordy submission, the fact that Hemos accepted it, and the 'click here for more information' link at the end. And Phoronix is a popular Linux site? I've never heard of it.... well, maybe they're trying to be popular by astroturfing.
    • And Phoronix is a popular Linux site?

      According to google [google.co.uk] a whole 2 other sites link to it... :-o

      I suspect I'm as shocked as you to find this on Slashdot (assuming you're not very shocked at all).

      • According to the ever reliable Netcraft it is at position 18490 nuzzled between Espanol.weather.com and cocklovingmoms.com ... seems like a nice place to be *? *

        for a bit of perspective in this , slashdot.org is as at 37 , www.debian.org is at 1812 and technocrat.net is at 25803.

  • The soundstorm song from the site made my ears cry. I haven't heard something that horrible since Stock, Aitken and Waterman.

    Every time somebody clicks on the link to the song GOD kills a kitten. /picz

    • Indeed... This song is as bad as it gets... Makes you wonder what their marketing team was thinking when they chose it as a promotion sample...
    • Every time somebody clicks on the link to the song GOD kills a kitten.

      .......... *click* ......
      .... hmmmmm .....
      ....... *click*..... *click* ...
      ..*click*.*click*..*click**click**click**clic k**click*
      *click**click**click**click*
      *click**c lick*
      *click*
      *click**click**click**click*
      *cli ck**click*
       
      MUAHAHAHAAAA!!!!
    • Lnkplskthx jk
  • I have always wondered where Apple are with real time 3d digital sound encoding. What are the problems with any modern OS and a card with a chip doing real time 3d encoding then digital out to your home theater (5.1 to 7.1) amp? Is it hardware, software, the encoder, the complex flow of cash per unit shipped? Why are users and the computer industry having so many problems with this? Thanks
    • the cynical answer to this is that apple will let the open source community write it first, and then include it in the operating system (konfabulator, launchbar, etc.etc.)... but, i'm a mac guy, so i can't really say that.

      probably the truth is that you don't need on-chip 3-D audio algorithms. the CPU is fast enough to do this and still have the horsepower for whatever else you want... just take a look at the ambisonics equations for 3D sound placement...

      problem being, in order for this to work, you have to
  • Soundstorm2 (Score:2, Insightful)

    My previous PC was based on the Abit NF7-s precisely because it was Soundstorm certified. I loved it, and recommended it to several other people who also ended up getting systems with the same board. I skipped the nForce3 generation because of the poor sound (AC97) and the lack of good cheap audio products, but eventually bit the bullet and got a Shuttle SN25P with nForce4 Ultra and onboard Via Envy 24PT soundchip, not ideal but it does the job. If nVidia released the nForce5 series (presumably for socke
    • i like the idea of the daughter-board as you get less electrical interference from motherboard components.

      Do you enclose your PCI cards in Faraday cages and filter all the signal and power lines on the PCI bus? No?

      Then the level of electrical interference is exactly the same. If you plug the daughterboard into the motherboard the electrical environment is going to be exactly the same.

      If you're worried about interference, go with an external Firewire/USB2 device.
  • I am among the many people who are puzzled by nVidia's decision to drop Soundstorm from their IGP chipsets. The original Soundstorm was one of the first, if not THE first, high-quality, 3D-audio, 5.1 chipsets that was integrated on motherboards.

    They started the revolution that finally brought high-quality, high-featured audio to nearly all modern integrated motherboard chipsets.

    I'm excited to hear they have restarted development.

  • As far as I'm concerned, all the chatter about "SoundStorm is returning" may as well be end-user fantasy until someone figures out how Nvidia is supposed to compete with Creative's patent portfolio. Since the original SoundStorm went in to design for the Xbox1, Creative has acquired both Aureal, and then in 2003 picked up Sensaura, the company responsible for providing most of the audio technologies/techniques that the SoundStorm used. This also means that Creative currently owns all 3 major 3D audio techno
    • Creative is perfectly willing to play hardball(just look at what they did to John Carmack)

      What was that about? [30 seconds of Googling]. Ah, was that the "We have a patent for 'Carmack's Reverse', so give us cash or include EAX in Doom3" thing?

      [Cue yet another /. discussion about the evils of software patents]
  • I use ac3filter http://ac3filter.sourceforge.net/download/ [sourceforge.net] to do the same thing - great for watching HD p2p downloads when the file is wmv-hd (wmv-hd doesn't use AC3 or DTS, it uses WMA Professional 5.1 for the audio).

    Instructions here: http://www.avforums.com/forums/showthread.php?p=19 25770#post1925770 [avforums.com]

  • They give good driver support but they don't give us full features (will the vivo part of my vivo card will work under linux ever? without having to rely on reverse engineering and manually compilling kernel and modules (thx to rivatv anyway))?
    And I don't talk about open source support.

    So when it comes to chipset i go to VIA, even if they are not always as fast, since they have open source initiatives (cle, unichrome)
    And when it come to sound i go to CREATIVE LABS for the same reasons.
  • It would make alot of sense that NVIDA is working on a next generation card! If a successes it will be interesting to see how much the individual stock shares willl be affected by these new devices {if they sold well} and what quater would they unviel these new cards in? You must have had to dig deep to get this news story.
  • I got an A7N8X-Deluxe w/ it built into it. It did the job pretty well. I needed it so that I could hook it up to a home theatre receiver that only supported Dolby Digital and Stereo AUX input (Crappy MidiLand S 8200, I ditched it now for a Creative S750). Linux support was kinda iffie..... But seemed to work pretty well even then with the proper settings.

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