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Xitel's Storm Platinum Gamers Pack
by David Lian

"There is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes

New gaming hardware can often be a boring rearrangement of the old, or merely incremental in progress (My hard drive is 2% faster than yours!) It's tough to find products out there that are either unique or different enough to catch my interest.

I first came across this interesting headset and sound card package while browsing at a local computer discount store. Because the box artwork seemed to scream out "console gamer look here," I ignored the hardware initially - no insult intended towards console gamers - I'm just a regular mil sim fringe dweller (MSFD)!

On a subsequent visit to the store I ran across the pack again and looked at it more closely. When I spied the words "Force Feedback Headset," my interest was sparked because I had heard how much fun all sorts of PC game players had with positional audio hardware. Indeed, many gamers spend mucho $$ on big woofers, sub-woofers or whatever equipment it is that resonates one's cranial, chest and abdominal internals in the quest for more fun.

So there I was, wondering if a similar experience could be had with just a headset. Put another way, I didn't feel a great desire for buying big $$ equipment to mix-master my internals - just the brains will do, thank you very much. With that end in view, let's look first at the hype from Xitel:

"This revolutionary headset actually shakes and vibrates for a totally addictive sensation that takes the virtual reality of positional audio all the way...It's like wearing a full surround sound system on your ears, subwoofer included....

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Storm Platinum uses Aureal's revolutionary Vortex 2 processor to provide the most potent hardware acceleration available. On-board support for 96 DirectSound streams at full 18-bit 48Khz resolution, translates into massive processing power ...

Let your ears experience the pin point accuracy of true interactive positional audio. Thrive on the ability to distinguish where noises are coming from in real time. Surrender to the virtual reality of atmospheric absorption .. with sophisticated hardware processing and quad channel support for up to 4 speakers...

Storm Platinum's 320-voice General MIDI synthesizer is packed with all the technical features you'd expect to see in a professional platform. 8 real time effects and high-resolution PCM samples provide rich tonal qualities for unsurpassed realism. Simultaneous instrument playback and multi-layering adds exceptional depth for studio quality output. Intelligent Dynamic Resource Management (IDRM) ensures applications not requiring wavetable synthesis can access more power for accelerating DirectSound and A3D 2.0 acoustic reflections..."

Yeah, right - so does it work? Let's have a look...

Go to Page Two: Setup and Tests


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Last Updated July 21st, 1999

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