Welcome to Reviews OnLine: Infostream - New Audio Board in June 1994
New Products
by Rick Smith (June 1994)

International Meta Systems, Inc. is several months away from sampling the IMS 3250, a low cost, low power, high performance RISC based microprocessor chip capable of executing 90 million instructions per second. Through efficient emulation this chip is capable of duplicating a 386/486 or a 68040. This low power technology is ideally suited for portable systems and hand held computers and may be significant competition to the IBM/Motorola/Apple PowerPC. (see last month's Infostream)

This emulation technology could be incorporated into other RISC processors including the PowerPC, which would increase its 486 "compatibility" performance by an approximately 1000% over its current software emulation. This low cost addition would help remove a major barrier for market penetration by these RISC processors, as the vast majority of "off the shelf" software is written for the 386/486 class of compatibles.

Peripheral devices such as graphics accelerators, video decompressors or a fax modems could also be duplicated by this hardware assisted emulation. Special algorithms for image processing and speech recognition can be embedded into the micro code achieving performance comparable to popular RISC machines at much lower cost.

Each of the new Media Vision sound boards include 16 bit sound capability, along with a compatible 20-voice FM-synthesis. Along with the important standards of Sound Blaster, AdLib, MPC level 1 and 2, the board is also VESA compliant. The VESA sound standard is a relatively new standard (February 1994) which was developed to combat the problems occurring from differences in PC-compatible sound hardware. Through the use of the provided VESA-compatible driver, multimedia developers can help assure users that their software will run on the Media Vision sound board.

If wave based MIDI sound is required, a Professional Wave table upgrade can be added which uses the same sound engine that is used in the Korg X-3, i2 and i3. This provides 32-note polyphony, 16-part multi-timbral with reverb and chorus effects. This upgrade works with any sound board which support the Wave Blaster connector.

The Media Vision Premium 3-D sound card is $199 and the Media Vision Pro 3-D sound card includes the wavetable upgrade is $379. The separate Media Vision Wave table upgrade is expected to be available during second quarter 1994 for $199.

Cardinal Technologies, Inc. recently announced several wavetable audio boards which are based on a powerful DSP (digital signal processor) chip set from Analog Devices, Inc. This chip set allows an easy upgrade path and the ability to be programmed to perform compression and special effects.

The board can play and record at 48 KHz (the digital audio tape sampling rate) which surpasses the 44.1 KHz rate of CD audio and most sound cards. Also included is an 11 voice stereo synthesis feature that adds stereo effects to monaural SoundBlaster applications. This board is also compatible with the major standards of SoundBlaster, AdLib and MPC along with Roland MPU401 MIDI compatibility.

The Digital Sound Pro 16 Wavetable Edition is $159. The Digital Sound Pro 16 Plus Wavetable edition, which also includes a SCSI interface is $229. If you have a current Digital Sound Pro 16, you can upgrade it to wavetable synthesis for $59 with a "Pop-In" DSP16 Wave sound chip. These boards are currently available.

Copyright 1994 Rick Smith All rights reserved.

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