Hercules Digifire 7.1 Digital Sound Card

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The Hercules Digifire 7.1 Digital Sound Card - Page 2

 

The Hercules Digifire 7.1 Sound Card
360o Of Sound Emersion

Jay Gibson

December 11, 2002

 

The installation manual for this product was very well written. Covering everything from how to physically install your card, which plug does what on the main board and how to properly install the, drivers depending on which OS you are using (98 SE/ ME/ 2000/ XP).

 

 
Installation and Software
Smooth As Wet Gummy Bear...

Installation of the card was very uneventful. Just practice tradition safe setup procedures  and unplug the power supply, ground yourself out, pop open the side of the case, put the card in an open PCI slot, put the retaining screw back in,  hook up the audio cables from the CD-ROM, DVD-ROM and Speakers, slap the side of the case back on, plug it back in and and fired her up.

Windows XP started up without any problems. A few seconds after the OS had finished loading a little note popped up in the system tray notifying us that XP had found a new piece of hardware. Checking the Device Manager we found an item under "Sound, Video, and Gaming Controllers" entitled "Unsupported Customized Crystal Sound Fusion Audio Device." Following the instructions in the manual, we then proceeded to install the optimized Hercules drivers that were located on the installation CD. Just as the installation commenced, XP informed us that the drivers had not passed WinXP compatibility testing.  We were expecting this due to the note in the manual explaining that this may occur.  So we continued merrily on our way with the installation. Once the card's drivers were installed, we then repeated the same procedure for installing the MIDI/Game port. Finally done with the all the installations, we rebooted the computer and were rewarded with the euphoric tones of XP starting up.

Tossing the Instillation CD back into the CD drive, we were present with a plethora of programs to "enhance" or experience with the Digifire 7.1.

 

  • DirectX: Installs your typical version of DX v. 8.1
  • Acrobat Reader: Allows you to read .PDF files
  • Drivers: Drivers for the Main Board / MIDI/Game Port
  • Manuals: Installs the help files of the Digifire 7.1 Software Suite
  • Register: Registers your hardware with Hercules On-Line
  • PowerDVD PRO EX: Arguably one of the best software DVD players
  • PowerDirector PRO: Allows you to edit movies and sound in one easy to use program
  • Yamaha XG Player: An application used to playback multimedia files
  • Hercules MediaStation II: Full media station which allows you to play back digital music and videos
  • Acid Xpress: Sonic Foundry?s loop-based multi-track music creation tool

Peering into the system tray, we were slightly daunted by the sight of a burning speaker. Upon further inspection, we found that this is icon is just a quick launch icon for the Digifire control panel, not a new feature to that allows you to use your speakers as electrical heaters.  By right clicking on the icon, we were presented with a typical drop down menu that allows you to select "Properties" or "Exit." If you select Properties the main Digifire control panel will open up. Or, to save strain on that tired clicking finger of yours, simply left click on the icon to bring up the the same menu.

Main

Mixer


 


 

EQ

Midi

Other

 

Referring to the pictures above, from top left to bottom right, you can see screen shots for the Main, Mixer, EQ, Midi and Other control panel. The Main screen allows you to adjust the Master Volume, Record Source and the set up for your Speakers (2, 2.1, Quad, 4.1, 5.1, 7.1...). Also located at the bottom of this screen, are two check boxes which run a sound test that plays a drums beat which rotates around the speakers. The Mixer screen is straightforward, nothing new here. You can adjust the level for each input device just like in the default mixer that comes with Windows. Next comes the Equalizer menu. This screen works just like a typical EQ. It allows you to adjust each frequency channel manually to your own personal sound preferences, or you can use one of the presets located at the bottom of the screen. On the MIDI page, you can choose the synth bank, and how many hardware or software notes.  Lastly, is the "Other" section, where there are boxes to enable or disable Sensaura 3D, DirectSound 3D, DirectSound 2D, a checkbox to Enable Stereo Expansion, which is good for users with only 2 speakers, and modifications for the digital output.

If at any point you are not sure what a certain feature does, simply click on the question mark located at the top right hand corner to find a surprisingly comprehensive help page for each screen.

 

Performance, & Conclusion


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