We live in a world where competition spawns excellence. The United States versus Russia in gymnastics, UCLA versus USC in football, and the Los Angeles Clippers versus…wait; the Clippers always get beat, don't they? At any rate, the computer industry operates in much the same way, with CPU, graphics, and motherboard manufacturers all nipping at each other's heels. Audio, on the other hand, has remained relatively stagnant over the past couple of years. The competition that did exist was more like a battle between David (Aureal) and Goliath (Creative Labs); that is, until Goliath recently bought David for 28 million dollars in cash (darn those Philistines).
Unhappy with the situation at hand, Turtle Beach has thrown down the gauntlet and entered the fray with their Santa Cruz sound card, boasting a feature set a mile long. Powered by Cirrus Logic's CS4630 (SoundFusion) DSP, the Santa Cruz offers 6-channel analog output, Dolby Digital pass-through (not decoding), 4-speaker analog output, and virtual surround sound. UK-based Sensaura Ltd. (the same guys who handled 3D audio for the MX400) has been brought on board to provide the 3D audio algorithms, while Voyetra's very own software guys have supplied the software bundle (sorry, no games are included this time).
Outshining Creative's Live! will not be an easy task though, since it has already received three major software updates adding a host of new features and capabilities. Is the Cirrus Logic/Sensaura combination just enough for Turtle Beach to oust Creative from their reign in the sound card market?