The latest incarnation of SoundMAX, SoundMAX with SPX (Sound Production eXtensions), has been made available to us for testing. SoundMAX with SPX will appear exclusively on Intel desktop boards for six months, at which time it will appear on boards from other major manufacturers. SoundMAX is available on Intel 810E, 815E/P, and 850 boards, such as the D810E2CA3, D815EPFV, and D850GB, amongst others.
Fig 2. The AD1885 CODEC on Intel's D815EEA motherboard. Notice the significantly larger silkscreening to the right, which, instead of SoundMAX, could be populated with a (significantly larger and more expensive) Creative Labs controller.
The major difference between this, and previous versions of SoundMAX, is the SPX technology. SPX is essentially a system of environmental audio effects that can be customized by users or by software. SPX includes effects like Chorus and Reverb, which can be set to help present a listener with a more realistic sounding environment, as opposed to conventional ‘flat’ sound. For those of you who have experience with Creative’s Live! series of sound cards, SPX is very similar in design and functioning to EAX.
Of course, the base hardware on the motherboard only supports two-channel audio. This was one of our criticisms against the first iterations of SoundMAX – while it offered competitive two-channel sound, it lacked 4 or 5.1-channel support, as well as digital output. SoundMAX 3.0 with SPX, however, has remedied the situation.