We all know Hercules, right? Then you know that this company has been on the industry leaders for NVIDIA based and some non-NVIDIA based video cards. Even if Guillemot has purchased them, they still manage to produce some of the top of the line video cards out there. But lately, Hercules has been coming out with new lines of products designed for businesses and home users. Products such as scanners, LCD monitors, video cards designed for business or editing purposes and now sound cards. Today, we'll be taking a look at the middle-range soundcard from Hercules, the Gamesurround Fortissimo II.
The Fortissimo II is one of three soundcards that Hercules has released. The Muse XL is the inexpensive ($30 US) entry-level card while the Game Theater XP is the thoroughly pimping sound card but with a $150 US price tag. The Fortissimo falls right between the two with a retail price of $60 US. Of course the card offers more than the Muse and less than the Game Theater but it still packs quite a punch and is perfect for people who are looking for a great sound card at a decent price.
As I rip the sound card out of the box, I'm greeted with the standard Hercules blue PCB. I'm personally a fan of blue and as a result, most of my hardware in my system is blue PCB and I have to admit, blue is an excellent color for my computer. The basic package includes a driver/software CD, the sound card it self, the analog cable, and a few manuals.
Installing the card's drivers was no different than installing any other item into your computer. Stick it in, plug the CD-in cable and any auxiliary devices, and you're all set. Afterwards, the CD's autorun comes up with a list of programs for you to install. One problem was that there was no telling which programs were necessary to install and which weren't, but each program came with a window that explained it's purpose.
Here is a list of the included software on the CD with a brief description:
Game Comander 2 SE:
Multiplayer gaming communications program
Storm Hercules SE v1.5:
All-In-One Music Studio
Full MP3 studio (ripping, encoding, and player)
Sonic Foundry Acid Xpress:
Loop-based multitrack music editor
SIREN Jukebox Xpress:
Music Manager for MP3, WAV, WMA
Yamaha S-YXG50 v3.1 and Yamaha XG Player 4.0:
Multi-format Music/Video Player
Eastsleepmusic.com Koolkaraoke Lite:
Trial version of a karaoke player
Hercules Media Station
Music player/WAV recorder
Cyberlink PowerDVD 3.0:
Top of the line DVD player with full 4.1 and 5.1 support
|Hercules Fortisimo II
||PCI 2.1 bus
|Audio Processor (DSP)
||Cirrus Logic SoundFusion CS4624
- CD and Pro Audio quality 20-bit quad output - and 18-bit dual stereo input codec
- up to 48kHz sampling rate
- Sensaura based 3D positional Audio with support for Microsoft DirectSound™ 3D, EAX™ 1.0, EAX™ 2.0 , A3D™ 1.0, I3DL2™, MacroFX™, MultiDrive™, ZoomFX™, EnvironmentFX™
- Legacy audio support for older DOS games
- Compatible with Microsoft™ DirectSound™& DirectMusic™
- Compatible with Dolby Surround™
|Softwarewave wavetable synthesizer
- DSP accelerated engine for unlimited number of voices (64-voice hardware)
- 8MB General MIDI/GS™sample set
- GM™(General Midi) and Yamaha XG™ compatible
- Yamaha S-YXG50™:
- 676 instrument sounds and 21 drum kits
- Effects: reverb, chorus, variation...
- Analog din with: mic in, headphones, front and rear speakers
- Line in