Hercules Digifire 7.1 Digital Sound Card

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The Hercules Digifire 7.1 Sound Card
360o Of Sound Emersion

By Jay Gibson
December 11, 2002

Since our last look at a Hercules sound card, the Gamesound Fortissimo II, there have been a few advances in the technology that audiophiles will rejoice over.  As Hercules' flagship product, in their audio line-up, the Digifire brand sports the leading edge audio processing capabilities, as well as a host of other features, including of course, Firewire connectivity. With support for 7.1 digital surround sound and FireWire DV Editing, this card should cover just about ever aspect one could ask for in a sound card. But, the thing to keep in mind is that quantity of features does not always mean quality, or vise-versa. So, lets throw this card into the machine and see what it can do.

Specifications / Features Of The Digifire 7.1 Sound Card
Full Frontal Audio

 

Technical Specifications

Data Transfer  · PCI 2.1 bus
DSP  · Cirrus Logic SoundFusion CS4624
Audio Quality  · CD and professional audio quality
 · 20-bit quad output and 18-bit dual stereo input codec
 · Up to 48kHz sampling rate
Game Compatibility  · Sensaura based 3D positional audio with support for Microsoft DirectSound? 3D, EAX? 1.0, EAX? 2.0, A3D? 1.0, I3DL2?, MacroFX?, MultiDrive?, ZoomFX?, EnvironmentFX?
 · Sound Blaster®
Audio Compatibility  · Microsoft® DirectSound?& DirectMusic?
 · Dolby Surround?
 · Dolby Digital? / Dolby Digital? EX
Software Wavetable Synthesizer  · DSP accelerated engine for an unlimited number of voices (64-voice hardware)
 · 8MB General MIDI/GS? sample set
 · DLS 1.0 compatible
 · GM? (General Midi) and Yamaha XG? compatible
 · Yamaha S-YXG50:
 - 676 instrument sounds and 21 drum kits
 - Effects: reverb, chorus, variation ?
External Connectors  · Analog output connectors:
 · Front speakers out
 · Rear speakers out
 · Centre / LFE out
 · 7 & 8 channels / Headphones out
 · Line in / Mic in
 · MIDI / Game port (MPU 401? compatible)
 · Digital S/PDIF out (optical)
 · 3 FireWire® ports, 2 external and 1 internal
Internal Connectors  · CD-in; CD-in 2; Aux-in; S/PDIF in
 · FireWire port

Click images for full view

 

Included with the Hercules Digifire 7.1 Sound Card full retail package, we found the following list of accessories:

  • Digifire 7.1 PCI Card
  • MIDI/Game Port Bracket
  • Installation CDROM
  • User Guide
 
Upon opening the well-festooned box, we found the soundcard neatly wrapped in your typical anti-static bag. The card itself is made of Hercules's "trademark" blue PCB, which should be familiar sight to anyone who has ever owned one of their products.  Included are also a MIDI/Game Port Extension bracket, User Manual, Installation CD, and three (3) Certificates of Authenticity for the programs on the CD, PowerDVD Pro EX, PowerDirector Pre 2.5 ME and one from the Yamaha Corporation.  Working our way down from the top of the bracket on the card we found plugs for, Front Speakers, Rear Speakers, Center Speakers and Subwoofer, Headset or Back Left and Right Speakers, Line-In/Mic-In, Optical Out, and lastly two FireWire ports. The connections on the PCB were for the CD-In 1, CD-In 2, Aux-In and a S/PDIF 2-pin connector which, is used for digital connection to a CD or DVD drive.

Overall the construction of the card looks good. Components were aligned well with precision solder placement and nothing seems loose or flimsy. Our initial impression of this card was a positive one. But lets see how the card holds up to the tests before we pass any judgement...
 

Setup, Installation and  Software

 

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