My thoughts/questions on the Santa Cruz

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Jeff250
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My thoughts/questions on the Santa Cruz

Post by Jeff250 » Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:07 pm

I'm not going to be very verbose (unless I start rambling), but I got my Turtle Beach Santa Cruz in yesterday from Newegg. Only $50 (OEM), no S&H, and I had first ordered it that weekend. That went smooth. But, well, I first got around to sticking it in there today.

I removed the POS SB Live card and stuck the Santa Cruz in there. I didn't even touch the software CD and went straight to the website to download the latest drivers, which I promptly installed.

There was no reboot necessary for the drivers. I've often run into this with other devices, and I think it has to do with XP. I can usually go to the standard SVGA crap drivers to the Detonators without a reboot too, but it seems as if the only time you still have to reboot is when upgrading, when the files you're replacing are still in use. Well kudos to Microsoft for making reboots as seldom as possible.

So immediately I had working sound and little Santa Cruz control panel instead of my standard Windows volume control. I normally despised the bloated Creative volume panels they used to try to rub off on me, but this one was A-OK and professional looking.

A lot of the stuff was standard, but take the equalizer settings. I'm sure I could have installed some bloated Creative application to get these with my Live, but basically you can control different volumes for the frequencies, as you would expect. Since I'm not that complicated, I just went for the "bass boost" preset, which sounded pretty much like turning up the bass in the Windows volume control.

I also noticed the 3d Stereo Enhancement option. Now, I had remembered this old feature back in the SB AWE32 days, where it was implemented via QSound. I was always very impressed, and it really made 3d games like Descent sound incredible, all the more impressive was that that was still DOS. Additionally, it always provided a nice bass boost for kicks too. But I had a two speaker setup back then, and now I was using headphones. I personally wasn't very impressed with the stereo enhancement on the Santa Cruz, but it may have been just that I was using headphones. Also it's possible that things these days just don't need stereo enhancement-- the stereo is enhanced enough! Well, regardless, I didn't like the option.

There were some other options relating to MIDI and reverb and stuff like that, but I just left those well enough alone.

Performance-wise, I was impressed with the card's MP3 performance. I had read that it had some sort of MP3 acceleration. Now, I don't know if that was just a gimmick or not, but something in that card is allowing me to play MP3's with WMP9 using 0-1% CPU utilization, 1-2% with the visuals. Once again, I don't know if this is any sort of acceleration, or just the lack of being full of ****, but I was impressed. This is especially impressive compared to my Live card that used to use ten times as much processor power! And all that time I had blamed it on WMP!

Games, of course, are also important, and there's where some of my troubles lied. Most games were fine, but in some, actually in one that I've found so far, Descent3, the sounds were simply too quiet with 3d sound. Sounds are way too quiet even at the maximum volume. Things were always a bit quiet with 3d sound in D3 with my Live, but nothing turning the sound volume to max wouldn't fix. So does anyone (Mobius? Image) know how to get around this? That would be nice.

Other than that, the card seems great. Of course, I don't think I'm done playing with it yet. Image
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Honest Bob
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Post by Honest Bob » Thu Jan 01, 2004 7:17 pm

I am afraid you will have to use the volume knob. I dont believe its a flaw in the turtle beach, Its something with D3 and having poor sound implimentation? I forget the exact reason but it was definatly disscused before.
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Post by Mobius » Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:49 am

Yup, I had the same thing in D3 when I got mine. I simply cranked the WAVE volume (Left most control on MIXER ta Image all the way up. If you experience any problems, like stereo balance being affected, make sure your master volume (On MAIN ta Image is no higher than 2/3rds of maximum value. (Pushing the Main volume too high can cause high pitched hiss and balance issues in some apps)

Make sure you use the "Virtual 5.1" for your MP3s. If you HAVE 5.l, it'll sound great. Image

I leave 3D stereo enhancement on by default.

Raise Voices to 32 maximum Hardware and 1024 Software voices.

I'd leave the effects alone they just muddle the sound. Likewise the equaliser - if you have decent speakers you shouldn't need it.
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Post by Top Wop » Sat Jan 03, 2004 2:28 pm

Damn, I think ill upgrade too from my live card. Sounds like SC is the shiz.
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Post by Admiral LSD » Sat Jan 03, 2004 3:07 pm

Of course, it's not exactly difficult to produce a better card than Creative...

Getting rid of my BSLive is among the bestthings I ever did to my PC.
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Post by Mobius » Sat Jan 03, 2004 3:09 pm

LOL! he said "BS Live!" HEHE!

You are teh Funnay! Image
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Post by Krom » Sat Jan 03, 2004 3:56 pm

Dont use 3D sound in Descent 3, its just plain bad.

BTW: Playing MP3s in Winamp (2 or 5) and I never see it even use 1% of the cpu time, NForce2 soundstorm audio.

-Krom
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Post by Honest Bob » Sat Jan 03, 2004 4:31 pm

I did find that the Nforce 2 audio works wonderfully, except one rare day I played Diablo II for like 6 hour straight and the audio started crackling. Heat issues I believe. I pulled the Santa Cruz from my old machine to this one so I didnt have to deal with that. Of course now that the northbridge is watercooled I dont think I really need the Santa Cruz in the machine anymore.
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Post by ccb056 » Sun Jan 04, 2004 12:31 am

isnt the sound controlled on the southbridge ??
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Post by Honest Bob » Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:18 pm

Is it? Hmmm... I think your right. Whoops...
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Post by Vindicator » Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:42 pm

Yeah, its in the southbridge. I hot-glued a small passive heatsink to the southbridge and havent noticed any crackling since I did it (about 4 months ago). As I write this, with only Winamp running, the heatsink is almost too hot to touch, so that should give you an idea of how undercooled it is from the factory.
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Post by Mobius » Sun Jan 04, 2004 5:49 pm

Direct 3D sound in D3 rocks hard. Playing D3 in plain old stereo (or even mono!) sucks donkey whatsits! The 5.1 3D sound in D3 is awesome. I know EXACTLY where things happen just from the positional sound effects.

Don't listen to Krom - he probably plays in yucky software sound! Wearing a pair of $5 headphones. Image
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