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Interview: M-Audio's Jason Ivan
January 10, 2003 | Lucian Fong
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IMG: Will Mac users be able to plug any stereo or surround sound speaker system into the analog outputs in the Revolution 7.1 and Sonica Theater and get surround sound (given that the application supports it)?

JI: Yes. Both Revolution 7.1 and Sonica Theater will plug into any stereo or surround sound receiver/speakers and provide surround sound. We offer SRS TruSurround XT for simulated surround sound on stereo speakers or headphones, and Circle Surround II can create surround sound content from iTunes, QuickTime Player, Apple DVD Player and other applications. You can also use our digital output and the VLC player to output to an external receiver or speakers with surround sound decode capability.

IMG: Mac users have craved surround sound in games for a long time and Creative's SoundBlaster Live! gave them a taste of the experience. What does M-Audio think is the most promising surround sound API on the Mac and why?

JI: We’re still looking into this one, so I don’t have a good answer for you yet. Sound is especially important in networked gaming since you gain a real a real advantage against the people you’re playing when you can hear where someone’s coming from. On the PC, the surround sound APIs exist to support this. On the Mac, I think this will take some more time to support at the audio card driver, OS, and game levels. We’d love to see this happen on the Mac. OpenAL looks interesting, but we’ll still need to investigate where the technology’s at before I can really comment on it.

IMG: What is M-Audio doing to promote this API with Mac game developers?

JI: At this point, we’re still in the investigation stage, so I don’t really have anything to announce. We’d be interested in partnering with game developers and/or API developers to advance multi-channel gaming on the Mac, though.

IMG: Are the Revolution 7.1 and Sonica Theater capable of accelerating this API?

JI: Please see above.

IMG: What is the advantage of 24-bit/192 kHz audio playback? Will users be able to tell the difference from a device of lesser quality?

JI: There are a few areas where users will see an improvement in sound quality on Sonica Theater and Revolution 7.1 over built-in audio. I think most people can hear a marked difference between 24-bit/192kHz or 24-bit/96kHz audio and 16-bit/44.1 audio (built in). But the quality of the sound, not just the resolution, is important too. Having crystal clean audio that’s incredibly noise free with low distortion and unheard of dynamic range makes a huge difference. This can improve the sound quality of all the audio coming out of your Mac.



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