Yamaha: Home Theater on a PC
What Did you see at the Yamaha Booth?
Now that I've discussed the gaming sound cards, its time I discuss the ultimate PC-movie solution. That's right, I said the ultimate PC-movie solution. By no surprise, the card is made by the audio engineers at Yamaha, and (I believe) it was the sound card used in the Dolby booth. Please don't quote me on this one, because I was an idiot and forget to ask the Dolby guys whose sound card they were using! Ouch!
Okay, enough with the silliness, I'm sure you want to know the name of the sound card. Well, without further adieu, let me announce the Yamaha XG-Movie 5.1! With support for Dolby Digital, DTS, and Dolby Pro Logic, this card was designed for the home theater experience on the PC! Check these specs:
- Yamaha YSS912 sound processor, decodes Dolby Digital, Dolby Pro Logic, and DTS. Up to 6 channel sound, 6 speakers.
- Supports AC97 4 Channel Sound, 4 speakers (Left, Right, Rear left, Rear right)
- 24-bit DAC, signal-to-noise ratio greater than 105dB, 6 channels
- Digital Audio Interface Receiver
- 13 input/output connectors
- CD-ROM audio-in Panasonic connector and 1x4-pin ATAPI-style
- AUX audio-in, Panasonic connector and 1x4-pin ATAI-style
- Video-in Panasonic connector and 1x4-pin ATAI-style
- Modem/TAD, Panasonic connector and 1x4-pin ATAI-style
- S/PDIF-In, Digital Sound from CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive
- Mono Microphone-in, 3.5mm mini-jack
- Line-in, 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
- Line-out, Front Channels, (L & R) 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
- Line-out, Rear Channels, (LS & RS) 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
- Line-out, Center Channel and LFE, 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack
- Game/MIDI port
- S/PDIF-in/out, coaxial connector included, optical connector as an upgrade
Home audio buffs will recognize the Yamaha brand name. In fact, Yamaha's receivers are highly regarded in the market for their natural representation of home audio/theater. Like the other sound cards, the XG-Movie 5.1 has a dedicated DSP, in the Movie 5.1's case; the DSP is embedded in the USS912 audio chip. Unfortunately, it doesn't have multiple HRTF sets like the Aureal and Turtle Beach cards do. The DSP produces surround effects for seven environments: Church, Jazz, Hall, Disco, Live, Stadium, and Theater.
How Does it Sound?
James and I were given a demonstration of the sound cards' abilities behind closed doors in one of the Yamaha listening rooms. I quickly positioned myself in the center of the listening room while we were given Dolby Digital and a couple of DTS demonstrations from a variety of movies and the DTS sampler CD you'll find in many home audio stores. While I'll preserve final judgement until I've experienced the card in our labs under intense testing (if you consider watching movies intense testing ;)) I must say that I was quite impressed with the sound card itself, especially considering its $199 price tag! I was also assured that the card would ship with the popular software DVD player, WinDVD and possibly the above-mentioned sampler DTS DVD.
Like previous Yamaha products, the XG-Movie 5.1 supports 3D sound via Senaura's MultiDrive technology, so it will support A3D 1.0 and DirectSound3D API's in addition to those from Sensaura.