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Turtle Beach Santa Cruz

Written By:
Date Posted:
July 18, 2002


The Label on the Back of the Turtle Beach Card

    Computers have come a long way since the days when all the sound you could hear coming from your computer was the beeping of the PC speaker.  The standard for computer sound has been set by Creative Labs for many years, from the original SoundBlaster to today's SoundBlaster Audigy.  But while Creative has set the standard for these years, they have not been the only company who have been creating sound cards for PC's. 

    Turtle Beach, now Voyetra Turtle Beach, has been creating sound cards, including more professional sound cards for over 17 years.  In fact to quote Turtle Beach they "pioneered PC-based hard-disk recording".  Whether this is true or is just marketing babble is debatable, but TurtleBeach sound cards are of very high quality.  They have produced such cards as the Montego series of sound cards and their most recent product, the Santa Cruz.  Can this product compete or even beat Creative's products in the PC sound arena?  In this review I will try to find out.

The Card

    The Santa Cruz is based on a Cirrus Logic Crystal CS4630 DSP (as seen below):

The Crystal CS4630 DSP chip

    Let us pick a few interesting points from the specs of this card, but for a complete list of the specifications please .

  • "3D audio is compatible with A3D" 1.0, EAX"1.0/2.0, IA3D, MacroFX", MultiDrive", Virtual Ear"" - This is a good list of 3D audio API's, with support for EAX 1 and 2 being the most interesting as these are the most supported API's.
  • "48 kHz PCM audio or Dolby Digital AC-3 for external decoder." - This should allow for no loss in signal quality when playing DVD's using the digital out.
  • "The DSP accelerates 32 hardware and 16 software DirectSound3D streams" - Having this many audio streams is useful, if for instance you wish to play a couple of MP3's in Winamp, watch a video clip, and listen to a CD, then all these will be done without accessing the CPU that much.

Next Page - The Card - continued



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