Sounds like a good deal. Review

Colin Ferris
Maxi Sound Fortissimo Info


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Release Date

  • 01/01/1970
  • Out Now


  • Hardware


Sounds like a good deal.

One of the worst things about PC gaming (and the best reason to get a console

system) is that you constantly have to upgrade your hardware to keep playing the

games. Faster processors, new video cards, new sound cards, new hard drives –

they all cost money. What’s top of the line one year is bottom of the barrel two

years later.

For the most hardcore gamers, it’s all about the games and it doesn’t matter

how much they spend. For the rest of us, however, it’s a delicate balancing

act between food, rent, social life (optional to some), and gaming. With those

limitations, you have to try to get the most bang for your buck, and that’s

not always easy.

Far and away, the cheapest upgrade to your computer is the sound card. Most

computers ship with horrible sound cards because most computers are meant for

work instead of play. If you’re a die-hard audiophile, you can end up spending

hundreds of dollars on a full surround sound card with all the bells and whistles,

but is it worth it? Enter the Maxi Sound Fortissmo sound card from Guillemot.

With a retail price of $50 and genuinely good sound, it’s hard to rationalize

some of the more expensive cards.

The Fortissimo supports both A3D and EAX to give you full positional

audio for all your favorite games. For lovers of first person shooters, positional

audio is a must – if someone is firing at you, you really want to know where

it’s coming from. Though it is designed to work with four speakers, it works

remarkably well with two.

Installation of the Fortissimo is a breeze. I encountered no conflicts

on any of the computers on which the card was installed. Even if you’re not

skilled with computers, you can still install the card without much help, saving

you the cost of hiring a professional geek.

For those technically inclined, the Fortissimo is a PCI card running

on the Yamaha YMF744 engine. If you’re interested in doing a little music creation,

it comes packaged with Acid DJ, perfect for house, industrial, and any other

low frequency rave music you want to create.

Let’s face facts – sound cards on computers aren’t just for games anymore.

With the growing popularity of MP3s, more and more people are listening to music

on their computers as well, and the Fortissimo delivers with clear, solid

audio. Though you should be warned, the better your sound card is, the more

you notice the loss of sound quality between the MP3 format and normal CD’s.

Game Revolution recently gave our thumbs up to the Aureal

Vortex 2: SQ2500
as an excellent sound card. That still applies (especially

now that Aureal cards have EAX support), but there are several differences between

the Aureal card and the Fortissimo.

The most obvious is the price. The Aureal card is $100, but then again it comes

with three really good games. So, if you really want those games, the extra

$50 isn’t that much to ask.

The other main difference between the two cards is the inclusion of a Digital

Optical out on the Fortissimo. For those of us with a good surround sound

system, this port is a godsend. There’s something strangely satisfying running

fiber optic cable from your computer to your sound system (Yes, I’m a geek.)

With virtually no quality loss, the sound coming out of a good stereo is fantastic.

All in all, the Fortissmo is a good sound card and well worth the money.

If you’ve got an old sound card, you honestly don’t know what you’re missing.

And for $50, you definitely won’t be sorry. Now if only it could make the video

game music itself better…