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  Soundblaster Audigy2, The Next Generation 
  Oct 31, 2002, 07:30am EST 

Software Package

By: Sander Sassen

Naturally a top-of-the-line card such as the SoundBlaster Audigy2 Platinum is not complete without a broad range of software titles thrown into the box. Although there will be retail boxed versions of the Audigy2 available that offer just the card and a small software package, Creative Labs seems to have taken some time to include a worthwhile selection of software titles with this new product.

Fig 4. The surround mixer applet which enables you to change the volume and other settings.

If you go with the default install youíll be blessed with a desktop filled with a whole set of brand new icons which for 99% of the users will probably get a one-way ticket to the recycle-bin. We usually install just the drivers and the required applications to unlock the full potential of the card, and donít really bother with all the extras. The applications that, from our perspective, do offer extra functionality are for example the Surround mixer, the EAX Console and the Speaker settings tool. With these three tools youíll be able to quickly set up the Audigy2 to your liking and configuration as well as make best possible use of the EAX and surround sound capabilities.

Fig 5. The speaker settings applet, we've used a 6.1-channel speaker system during the evalution.

The third party software bundle is also better than weíve come to expect from a bundled software package. Creative Labs includes full versions of Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin and a DVD-audio sampler disc with serves as a good introduction to DVD-audio for those that havenít heard it before. Especially the games are a welcome addition as they offer support for EAX and it is always nice to be able to use such a feature right out of the box, without the need to buy extra titles. Other titles that are included are more targeted towards the semi-professional audio user such as Cubasis VST CE, Traktor DJ CE and Ulead VideoStudio 5 SE.

1. Introduction
2. What's New?
3. A Closer Look
4. Software Package
5. User Experience
6. Summary

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