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Posted: March 12, 2001
Written by: Tuan "Solace" Nguyen
Game Theater XP
Establishing Herculesí arrival into the audio market is its formidable Game Theater XP. Not only does the GTXP offer features that are available in the competitionís product, it goes beyond standards to bring you the most compelling sound experience for your computer Ė and ears. Although Guillemot has audio products of its own, this is the first time that a sound card was marketed under the Hercules name.
Definitely not your average sound card!
At the heart of the GTXP lies the Cirrus Logic Crystal SoundFusion CS4630-CM sound processor. The CS4630-CM has a long list of features that youíll also find on other cards and then some.
The GTXP sound card itself doesnít use regular 3.5mm stereo jacks for its inputs and outputs like other soundcards. Instead, Hercules has gone with a 44-pin connector that interfaces with the Game Theater breakout box. Using a thick cable thatís thicker than an AA battery, it snakes audio signals from the card to the box. This design lets you hook and unhook various audio devices to your computer without having to go behind your system every time you want to change something.
A plethora of connectors
The front sports controls for basically everything you need. The headphone and microphone ports are both on exclusive channels so youíll not need to worry about interference and you can customize headphone volume from main volume independently. The front panel is also host to other inputs such as Line left and right, 2 USB ports and one game/MIDI port. Basically you have everything you need to quickly hook your external devices to your computer, whether they are for playback or recording.
On the backside of the box, youíll find yourself looking at more connectors than even the front. Since the GTXP fully supports Dolby Digital, it comes ready to dish out 6 channels of discrete audio using analog as well as digital outputs. There are 3.5mm jacks for front and rear speakers as well as RCA jacks. Center and Subwoofer channels use standard RCA jacks. Hercules also throws in digital optical and coaxial connectors for input and output! This ensures that youíll have everything you need to connect to whatever you need. Dolby Digital receiver? No problem! Optical MD recorder? No Problem! Lastly, there are DIN connectors for MIDI in and out.
Thatís definitely a long list of features just for the breakout box itself! Hercules definitely has put a lot of time and effort into designing a product that really meets the needs of the end user, and not just any end user but almost every end user that this product is aimed at. I am definitely impressed in the breakout box.