|Interview: M-Audio's Jason Ivan
January 10, 2003 | Lucian Fong
IMG: Can you describe what Circle Surround II and TruSurround XT are and explain the benefits of them?
JI: TruSurround XT can simulate surround sound on stereo speakers or headphones. It gives you much more dimensional audio and can make even a stereo set of speakers sound much more like a surround sound set. It also lets you enhance (accentuate) dialog or vocals, and improve the bass output of your speakers. CircleSurround II sort of does the opposite. It takes stereo source material or Dolby Pro Logic material (CDs, MP3s, Internet Radio, Pro Logic on DVDs), and creates a true multi-channel mix that you can play back on a surround sound speaker set. It’s uncanny how well it works, and it’s an easy way to “upgrade” your existing music or video library to surround sound. This is the first use of this technology in an audio card. It’s also the only way to get any sort of surround sound playback from Apple’s DVD Player.
IMG: The Revolution 7.1, Sonica Theater, and Sonica all use a special version of the VideoLAN client (VLC) player to output the Dolby Digital signal. Has M-Audio been working with Apple so that this feature is included in the Mac OS X DVD player?
JI: We’ve honestly been so busy working on getting all of our new consumer products out that we haven’t spent as much time as we’d like evangelizing surround sound with Apple. We have seeded Apple with a ton of Sonicas and have expressed our interest in Apple supporting surround sound in their DVD player, but I think there’s a lot more we could do to partner with Apple in this. I’m hoping it’s a direction they want to go.
IMG: Will the aforementioned version of VLC be updated with the features and bug fixes in the newer version?
JI: We are actively working with the VLC crew and submitting fixes/changes. It’s something we’d like to continue doing. Since it’s an open source effort, we’re not able to “own” it or fix all the issues. We have improved the audio capabilities of the player, though.
IMG: What is the MSRP of the Revolution 7.1 and Sonica Theater? When will they be available for purchase?
JI: MSRP is $119.99 for each product, though some retailers are streeting it for as little as $99.99. They’ll be shipping mid-to-late January and should start arriving on store shelves early February. The products will be available from M-Audio directly (www.m-audio.com), and we expect it to be carried by CompUSA nationwide, and by other retailers/online stores.
IMG: Is there anything else you'd like to tell Mac users about M-Audio and your products?
JI: It’s an exciting time in the Mac market. Recently, there has been a lot of change, a lot of innovation, and a lot of new opportunities. The Mac has never been more capable of handling media. M-Audio is excited to help jumpstart audio on the Mac and hope this is an exciting thing for Mac users. We will be showing our products at our MacWorld Expo booth. Stop by to see us and check out the new products.