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home : reviews : Maxi Sound FORTISSIMO

Joe Glass
November 29, 1999

Guillemot brings high-end sound at a low price...

Gotta love that box art!
Have you ever stopped to listen to your computer? We sometimes take for granted the sound made by a computer in everyday use. Ever since the first introduction of bleeps and chirps of the PC speaker, computers have been making large strides in sound creation. From the PC speaker, PC sound has evolved into sound cards with sound recording, synthesized midi, then into stereo playback and full duplex recording/playback, and now into optical and quadraphonic output. With industry leaders like Creative Labs and Aureal, new companies are now stepping up to the plate in PC audio add-in cards. One of the newest entries is the Maxi Sound FORTISSIMO by Guillemot.

This is a new chipset based around Yamaha's YMF744 chipset. The YMF744 chipset has many high-end features that current competitors have such as quadrophonic output, industry standard PCI interface, full duplex audio, wavetable midi playback with DLS1 capability, optical TOSLINK connector, low cpu utilization, and enhanced 3D audio technology. With this feature set, the YMF744 is a competitive alternative to higher priced audio boards, yet it comes with an astonishingly low price point. How low? I'll explain that a bit. But first, I'll discuss the feature set.

As with any Windows based sound card, it provides basic audio playback from 11khz to 48khz in mono or stereo. Full duplex audio is possible for conferencing software such as Microsoft's NetMeeting. The card can play from multiple wave sources simultaneously. I can't stress this enough. This is a Windows/DOS legacy based sound card. There's no word yet if there will ever be Linux, OS/2, or BeOS support.

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