Aureal has come a long way in creating a name and tradition for itself in the world of 3D audio. They are the Netscape Navigator to Creative's Internet Explorer. Their most recent entry into the competition is the Vortex2, which highlights the qualities of Aureal's newest positional audio standard, A3D 2.0 (more on this later). This Vortex2 chip has found its way into cards from Diamond, Videologic, Xitel, and into Dell and Alienware systems. Another well-known member of this A3D club is Turtle Beach, with their Montego-branded soundcards.
Turtle Beach began by establishing themselves as the ultimate in professional audio on the PC. One of their earliest products, the Turtle Beach Multisound, was awarded PC Magazine's Editor's Choice, despite having no support for games short of Adlib sound emulation. This nearly full-length card achieved its fame because of its ruler-straight frequency response for both input and output, and excellent wave table MIDI support.
Later Turtle Beach offerings were named after exotic beaches and still maintained the high standards for PC audio. All this came at a price, literally. These cards were expensive! Thus most of our computers became sound-powered by Creative Labs. Not content with only the high-end crowd, Turtle Beach began offering more affordable, high performance sound cards, the Vortex1 powered Montego and the Vortex2 Montego II. A testament to their newfound OEM success, Dell computer now incorporates the Montego II sound card into many of its systems.
Today, we will analyze Turtle Beach's Montego II Quadzilla, a Vortex2 powered board, but one based upon Turtle Beach's own design and not Aureal's reference design.