Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500 Quad PCI Sound Card Sealed NOS

erek

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
8,379
1669098655062.png


https://www.ebay.com/itm/325326462110?hash=item4bbef7dc9e:g:-K8AAOSwfAljENRT
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2008
Messages
707
Cool, like it just did a basic directional wave or something to detect objects and block and modify the sound to suit the environmental obstacles. Seems like it's just how they do it when engineering the game engine, raytracing with visuals being just a more resource intensive version and needing specialized hardware to do so thusly it just being advertised as new when it's not really a "new" technology at all. Those advertising liars. lol
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

jlbenedict

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
May 22, 2005
Messages
1,902
The good ole days... I had the Diamond Multimedia MX300..... It was amazing... hell... I bet it would be amazing in a modern rig, if you had a PCI slot
 

Starfalcon

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
1,063
The good ole days... I had the Diamond Multimedia MX300..... It was amazing... hell... I bet it would be amazing in a modern rig, if you had a PCI slot

The issue is always drivers for old stuff. Just like how the old rage fury maxx only kinda worked on win98. I tried a lot of old cards on my 3770K system as it still had PCI slots and most didnt have drivers for windows 7 or didnt work right.
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

Absalom

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Oct 3, 2007
Messages
1,083
So this thing had raytracing for sound?
Aureal called it Wavetracing and when you could find a game that supported it well enough (there weren't many), it seemed to work. The number of "rays" it could "trace" is laughable by today's standards. Like low double digits at best. Anyway, back then we didn't have multicore cpus much less programmable GPUs to offload any of this. So this thing used DSPs to offload a bit of number crunch so the CPU could do other things.

Creative ended up buying Aureal tech then added A3D support to their cards, but it never worked quite as well, imo. Ironically, Nvidia ended up with most of Aureal's engineers.

I think I have the original Diamond Monster Sound around here somewhere.
 

Marstg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
220
So this thing had raytracing for sound?
Sound processing in hardware with a DSP, was really calculating the sound refractions and echoes. And I think it also had an onboard amplifier. Question: what happens if you install it in a system with Windows 10? Are there at least some basic drivers to make it work? I see some Aureal 1 boards for sale.
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

erek

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Messages
8,379
Sound processing in hardware with a DSP, was really calculating the sound refractions and echoes. And I think it also had an onboard amplifier. Question: what happens if you install it in a system with Windows 10? Are there at least some basic drivers to make it work? I see some Aureal 1 boards for sale.
was it any good
 

Starfalcon

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
1,063
Sound processing in hardware with a DSP, was really calculating the sound refractions and echoes. And I think it also had an onboard amplifier. Question: what happens if you install it in a system with Windows 10? Are there at least some basic drivers to make it work? I see some Aureal 1 boards for sale.

It wont work as microsoft nuked hardware sound processing when they rewrote the audio stack in vista. Not to mention this is windows XP era hardware so good luck even finding drivers to work. I had to stop using my Audigy 2 when I upgraded from XP to 7, and thats way newer of a card.
 

Starfalcon

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
1,063
was it any good

It was good when it worked and was supported. I had both creative and aureal cards back then, the aureal cards sounded better, but not very many games supported their cards. Creative was vasty more supported with their EAX, so I ended up using that the most as that was what my games used.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2008
Messages
707
Sound processing in hardware with a DSP, was really calculating the sound refractions and echoes. And I think it also had an onboard amplifier. Question: what happens if you install it in a system with Windows 10? Are there at least some basic drivers to make it work? I see some Aureal 1 boards for sale.
But does the sound processing to process the echoes on a micro scale work like raytracing but with tracking the bounces of a wave is what I was saying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

Marstg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
220
Yes, it worked in a similar fashion, of course with driver and API support.
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

Valnar

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 3, 2001
Messages
4,047
I've got two of these already. One is a spare. My Win98 gaming machine.
 
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

sleepeeg3

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Mar 4, 2004
Messages
5,291
It was AWESOME : people were saying there was a real difference when playing the first Unreal with Aureal in the PC compared to Creative's EAX. EAX was just a set of filters applied to sound while Aureal was able to calculate and replay the sound with all the echoes and whatnot.
Worked in an electronics store when a rep was demoing Diamond Monster Sound (Aureal). It was amazing! A3D on Jedi Knight was pretty cool

25 years ago 3D sound and VR seemed like the future. What happened?
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: erek
like this

Starfalcon

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
1,063
Worked in an electronics store when a rep was demoing Diamond Monster Sound (Aureal). It was amazing! A3D on Jedi Knight was pretty cool

25 years ago 3D sound and video seemed like the future. What happened?

Microsoft redesigned the audio stack in windows Vista and killed off all hardware sound processing, leading to it only being able to be done in software. Second thing is creative pretty much sued all their competition into oblivion, then bought all their IP after the bankruptcy and did not do anything with it. Those two things comined pretty much made creative the only player in the market, and they pretty much sat back and didnt do very much for a long time. Now the problem for them is that people really dont buy sound cards anymore, so they arent doing so well financially...they are trying to do things again, but it may be to late for them.

To use an analogy, just imagine if Nvidia was the only graphics card maker with no one else making them. They only release 2 cards, a cheap one and an expensive one. And new ones only come out every 5 to 7 years. Just imagine how quickly graphical progress would grind to a stop, and how few people would bother to upgrade. The whole thing would die off eventually, kinda how audio has so far.
 
Last edited:

Valnar

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 3, 2001
Messages
4,047
There were several other things happening at the same time. But yeah, Creative were jerks and probably contributed the most.
  • Computers were getting fast enough to actually accomplish most audio processing in software, which made development of new and unique audio processors moot. Yep, Microsoft was complicit too.
  • The MIDI music wars matured to a final state and were coming to an end because...
  • ...Storage limitations were going away, so there was no need for MIDI anymore. CD/DVD games could store music in WAV/PCM format and hard drives were getting bigger.
Honestly it was the advancement of many different aspects of computing that contributed. To use another analogy like above, it's a similar reason why HDD compression software grinded to a halt, such as Stacker & Superstor. There was simply no need for it anymore.
 

Halon

Gawd
Joined
Aug 13, 2004
Messages
736
It wont work as microsoft nuked hardware sound processing when they rewrote the audio stack in vista. Not to mention this is windows XP era hardware so good luck even finding drivers to work. I had to stop using my Audigy 2 when I upgraded from XP to 7, and thats way newer of a card.
I believe Microsoft actually wrote basic drivers for Aureal cards that worked with Vista or Windows 7. They were unaccelerated, but from what I remember they worked OK.

Valnar knocked it out of the park, but there were a number of things that contributed to the irrelevance of sound card DSPs:
- SIMD instructions like MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, and the rest greatly improved CPU-driven audio processing performance. There used to be heated debates on Usenet and elsewhere over whether we'd ever be able to handle realtime MP3 playback in games; the Pentium MMX put those concerns to rest, and things only improved from there.
- Multi-core processing made it possible to further isolate audio fetching from media, decompression, mixing, and playback to timeslices of a single CPU, leaving the other core(s) free to handle physics, rendering, AI, and other work.
- Accelerated DirectSound was spiffy in 1999, but it came at a price that wasn't immediately apparent: it was constrained by the lowest quality being played by the DSP. So if you were playing Quake with an mp3 in the background the game's 8-bit 11KHz WAV sound effects would cause the mp3 to also be thumped down to 8-bit 11KHz quality. Vista did the right thing in the long term by promoting all audio to 32-bit floats and mixing them in software, even if the performance hit hurt in 2007.

I loved my Diamond Monster Aureal card, but I think their marketing oversold what the card could really do... and it didn't help that at least a few high profile titles eventually dropped Aureal support after the company died. C'est la vie.
 
Joined
Oct 16, 2016
Messages
751
I believe Microsoft actually wrote basic drivers for Aureal cards that worked with Vista or Windows 7. They were unaccelerated, but from what I remember they worked OK.

Valnar knocked it out of the park, but there were a number of things that contributed to the irrelevance of sound card DSPs:
- SIMD instructions like MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, and the rest greatly improved CPU-driven audio processing performance. There used to be heated debates on Usenet and elsewhere over whether we'd ever be able to handle realtime MP3 playback in games; the Pentium MMX put those concerns to rest, and things only improved from there.
- Multi-core processing made it possible to further isolate audio fetching from media, decompression, mixing, and playback to timeslices of a single CPU, leaving the other core(s) free to handle physics, rendering, AI, and other work.
- Accelerated DirectSound was spiffy in 1999, but it came at a price that wasn't immediately apparent: it was constrained by the lowest quality being played by the DSP. So if you were playing Quake with an mp3 in the background the game's 8-bit 11KHz WAV sound effects would cause the mp3 to also be thumped down to 8-bit 11KHz quality. Vista did the right thing in the long term by promoting all audio to 32-bit floats and mixing them in software, even if the performance hit hurt in 2007.

I loved my Diamond Monster Aureal card, but I think their marketing oversold what the card could really do... and it didn't help that at least a few high profile titles eventually dropped Aureal support after the company died. C'est la vie.
Honestly, what really made me miffed about the abandoning of DirectSound3D was that XAudio2 was not a truly object-oriented, 3D API. You got 7.1 speakers' worth of sound positioning, and that was it.

Let that sink in for a moment: we effectively regressed from having Dolby Atmos over headphones and stereo speakers decades early to mere home theater surround, and it's only very recently with this weird new audio API in recent versions of Windows that Windows Sonic for Headphones and Dolby Atmos hook into that full-blown 3D audio's made any sort of comeback on PC, alongside custom solutions for VR games in particular (one of which offered, amusingly enough, GPU-accelerated audio wavetracing).

I'm still trying to determine if the new API stuff gives me the "aural wallhack" sensation that A3D and CMSS-3D Headphone did, and even my latest 12700K build still has the same old X-Fi Titanium HD I've had for what feels like a decade already. Depending on how DSOAL shapes up in practice for both HRTF mixing and DS3D wrapping, I may eventually give the ol' X-Fi a rest, as its other big advantage for retro PC gaming - custom MIDI SoundFonts - can easily be done in software nowadays.

There was also that AMD TrueAudio thing they pushed back on the old R9 290X cards, but I'd be surprised if today's RDNA 3 cards supported it. Probably wound up dying off quietly like TRUFORM tessellation because hardly any games used it, and even back then, NVIDIA was rather dominant in the market.

I think A3D could've had a fighting chance if not for Aureal's untimely demise and getting the remains devoured by Creative, who didn't bother supporting A3D any further in favor of pushing their own EAX. CMSS-3D Headphone likely borrows far more from their later Sensaura acquisition than Aureal for any HRTF-related tech.
 

DrezKill

Gawd
Joined
Mar 11, 2007
Messages
630
The only time I had a non-Creative-Labs sound card was when I had an Aureal Vortex 2. One of my favorite sound cards of all time. Gawd I loved that thing.
 

WhoBeDaPlaya

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2002
Messages
2,576
Having a sound card is why I can never go ITX (that and the obscene costs of ITX mobos, cases, SFX PSUs, etc.)
The 7900X in my sig still has the X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty from ~10 years ago (as does the 7950X build for my brother)
 

Marstg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
220
Are the Aureal cards supported in any way under windows 10, if you have a Mobo with PCI slot? Is there any audio output on them ?
 

jfreund

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Sep 3, 2006
Messages
1,483
Are the Aureal cards supported in any way under windows 10, if you have a Mobo with PCI slot? Is there any audio output on them ?
Doubt it. Aureal was defunct long before the change to the Windows driver model with Vista.
 

lopoetve

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
33,317
Doubt it. Aureal was defunct long before the change to the Windows driver model with Vista.
and wouldn't matter if it was - it would just be basic sound out, as all the special directsound3d stuff is long gone.
 

TrailRunner

Limp Gawd
Joined
Feb 15, 2012
Messages
415
I had a Monster Sound Vortex 2 card back in the day. The first time I slapped on some headphones and tried out the 3D audio demos on the driver disk, it blew me away. The sound was just *there*, all around, positioned exactly where it was supposed to be.

Half-Life (the original) was amazing. I'd heard it with a SB Live / EAX, and the way EAX produced environmental effects was by processing the sound through an audio filter that distorted the sound in a manner preselected by the developer. So in-game you enter a sewer, the dev would have preselected that environment to have Creative's 'sewers' filter applied, and the audio gets distorted by the fixed-function EAX DSP. EAX-enhanced games on SB Live in that era always sounded to me like those preset 'environments' that you would get in mini-shelf audio systems of the same mid-late 90s era (the 'Hall', 'Concert', 'Forest', etc "enhancements" that you used to be able to run).
The Vortex cards/A3D the developer would have selected the materials in use in the room - metal floor, stone walls, etc. In-game, the card would know the room geometry and materials, and the audio would be processed based on that material and geometry configuration, and your location in the environment, and would calculate the audio accordingly. It sounded amazing. And the headphone 3D spatializer was top-notch. Sounds really were positioned front, side, and behind you, and without the upwards pitch shifting that some spatializers do. The product was just simply amazing. We all really lost something when that company was forced to fold.

For those hoping to try out one of the cards in a modern system - not a chance. My card was originally in a BX system running Windows 98. I upgraded to a 815 chipset based board ~2001, and the 815 didn't support the card well, there was some fiddling I had to do in the BIOS that has since been lost to time to get the board to work. I eventually upgraded to Windows XP, but even the XP drivers were basic stereo drivers. None of the environmental or positional audio stuff would work. If I remember correctly, Aureal had already folded by the time XP was released, and so the basic stereo drivers were Microsoft supplied. I don't think the card ever had Aureal supplied NT or 2000 drivers (if it had 2000 drivers, I would have definitely tried to use them under XP).
 

Marstg

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jul 31, 2016
Messages
220
I had the first-gen SB Live! and I played extensively with their software suite, I know what you are talking about, to my ears it always sounded a bit metallic.@TrailRunner
 

Burticus

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Nov 7, 2005
Messages
4,798
$978! That's gonna be a hard pass for me, dog. I don't recall these things costing more than $100ish
 
Top