Intel Audio Studio

By Dave Salvator  |  Posted 2004-06-24 Print this article Print

"> Intel partnered with Sonic Focus to create Intel Audio Studio, a new bundled audio application that arrives with Intel motherboards. For the D925XCV, D925XBC, and D915PBL models, IAS is free and included on the installation CD. On other models like the D915PGN, D915PSY, D915PCY, D915PCM, D915GAG, D915GAV, D915GEV, and D915GUX, a 20-use no-obligation trial version can be downloaded and purchased for $14.95. Intel is also working on a version of IAS that will work on some 865-based motherboards that can also be downloaded and then purchased for $14.95. Sonic Focus technology touts the following features:
  • MP3 audio quality restoration improves high sample-rate MP3 files close to CD quality, while dramatically improving lower-rate MP3 files.
  • Full-range clarity enhancement adds vocal warmth and clarity to movie and game dialog and brilliance to solo instruments.
  • Dynamic range compensation energizes the audio stream, enabling users to turn up the volume without a perceived fall-off in bass response.
  • Audio environment modeling puts users in control of sound stage; studio acoustics are preconfigured by professional audio engineers to complement different media types and configurations of speakers and headphones.
  • Bass definition processing analyzes and intelligently manages low-range signals, without muffling the midrange.
  • Adaptive waveform analysis analyzes and adjusts audio streams based on content, with no requirement for users to constantly adjust settings.
  • Distortion filtering through special DSP filters preserves sound quality while minimizing distortion.
We spent some time playing with IAS knobs and levers and unlike most software audio "enhancement" applications, we actually liked this one. Weve been subjected to countless apps that claim to enrich the audio experience and within five minutes of being "enriched," we find ourselves reaching either for the off-switch or a ball-peen hammer. However IAS does a good job of subtly applying its DSP effects to music material to good effect. Sonic Focus is doing some pretty serious DSP leg-work to achieve its effect that goes way beyond simple EQ tweaks, though some of the effects sound like good EQ adjustments. IAS is especially useful in tweaking audio being played through marginal speakers, where certain types of frequency response are lacking. Next page: Final thoughts/what to buy

Dave came to have his insatiable tech jones by way of music—,and because his parents wouldn't let him run away to join the circus. After a brief and ill-fated career in professional wrestling, Dave now covers audio, HDTV, and 3D graphics technologies at ExtremeTech.

Dave came to ExtremeTech as its first hire from Computer Gaming World, where he was Technical Director and Lead (okay, the only) Saxophonist for five years. While there, he and Loyd Case pioneered the area of testing 3D graphics using PC games. This culminated in 3D GameGauge, a suite of OpenGL and Direct3D game demo loops that CGW and other Ziff-Davis publications, such as PC Magazine, still use.

Dave has also helped guide Ziff-Davis benchmark development over the years, particularly on 3D WinBench and Audio WinBench. Before coming to CGW, Dave worked at ZD Labs for three years (now eTesting Labs) as a project leader, testing a wide variety of products, ranging from sound cards to servers and everything in between. He also developed both subjective and objective multimedia test methodologies, focusing on audio and digital video. Before all that he toured with a blues band for two years, notable gigs included opening for Mitch Ryder and appearing at the Detroit Blues Festival.


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