The Hoontech SoundTrack
Even more 'alternative' sound cards?
Until recently, when most of us thought about high-end 3D gaming sound cards, only two products come to mind: Creative EMU10K and the Aureal Vortex2. We have seen the ESS Canyon3D challenge these two powerhouses with its impressive Sensaura 3D sound, only to come up short by not supporting multiple audio streams with its current driver set. Indeed, the saving grace for expensive TerraTec DMX was its excellent digital input/output functionality, robust software bundle, and top-notch tech-support.
Today, we have a new challenger to the SB Live! and Aureal Vortex2, the Hoontech SoundTrack Digital XG. Hoontech is a Korean company famous for its high-end professional audio, and this marks their recent entry into the consumer market. Powered by Yamaha's second generation YMF744 chip, the Hoontech Digital XG offers the same famous Sensaura HRTF algorithms of the Canyon3D, but includes support for multiple audio streams and frequency/bitrate mixing. Sound good? It gets even better. Hoontech is famous for digital recording in particular, and so Hoontech's non-reference board design also offers a Digital I/O back plate with more ports than even the TerraTec DMX or Sound Blaster Live! Platinum: try AES/EBU inputs and outputs for size. But that's not the best thing about this card, it's the absurdly low price: $40 for the board only, and $60 including the digital I/O card.