Monster Sound article by Al Giovetti


By Al Giovetti
Price: $180 - $200
Genre: sound board
Lead Artist:
Publisher: Diamond Multimedia
Requirements: Microsoft Windows 95 (The card will not work in DOS), PCI bus slot,

Monster Sound


Ever since time immemorial, Creative Lab's Sound Blaster has been the standard of PC sound. Sound Blaster has dominated not because of its great sounds, because many other boards, such as Turtle Beach or Roland can beat the sounds of the Sound Blaster. Sound Blaster has a reputation for compatability. In fact if the sound on a program or game does not work, the support people will ask you what card you are using and if it is not a Sound Blaster, they will invariably blame the problem on your "off brand" sound card. Sound Blaster dominates because of its over 20 million installed user base.

Diamond Multimedia has been known, just like Sound Blaster, for its compatibility on Video Cards, a recognized standard, which is reacted to the same way as Sound Blaster when there are video problems. The Diamond Monster 3D and Stealth 3D video cards are accepted throughout the industry for compatibility and performance.

Company Line

Killer Audio for Awesome 3D Gaming! It doesn't just surround you. It swallows you. It's behind you, around you, on top of you inside of you. It's exploding across your field of vision, creeping over the horizon, lancing through your skull. It's the most all encompassing, heart-pounding, realer-than-real 3D sound you've ever heard ... and it will revolutionize your gaming experience. Monster Sound, using A3D technology initially developed for NASA's virtual reality simulators, gives you the next generation of mind-blowing PC audio.

Positional 3D Audio - Hear sounds above you, below you, and approach you from every direction. Sounds move independently on X, Y, and Z axes for all-encompassing audio that reacts to your every game move.
Accelerates DirectSound and Direct Sound 3D in Windows 95
32-voice Advanced Hardware Wavetable - Includes a high quality wavetable synthesizer which supports 32 voices and effects Supports up to 4 Speakers - for even more powerful home theater-like sound
Joystick Acceleration - Enjoy significantly more joystick and game performance because Monster Sound processes all game port signals relieving the burden on your PC
Greater than 80 db Signal to Noise Ratio - for a "best of class" audio experience
Easy Installation - with Windows 95 Plug and Play
Free Software - Experience the hottest new game titles and 3D internet audio enhanced to really take advantage of Monster Sound: SimCopter by Maxis, Outlaws by LucasArts, Tigershark by GT Interactive, and Worldview by Intervista.

Monster Sound is the first true 3D sound card specifically designed to accelerate and enhance DirectSound, the new Microsoft audio standard. Using the fast PCI bus, it processes all Windows 95 audio on-board, eliminating the burden on your PC. Monster Sound works as a stand-alone sound card for Windows 95. It can also work as a companion to your existing sound card by processing all audio in Windows 95, allowing your existing sound card to handle older legacy DOS software.

The New Standard for PC Audio DirectSound is the new Microsoft audio standard for PC computing, much like SoundBlaster technology has been the audio standard for DOS. DirectSound will revolutionize PC audio in Windows 95. It allows for the simulation of 3D audio effects, such as the ability to hear opponents creep up behind you and helicopters flying over head before either is visible on screen. Monster sound, using A3D Interactive audio technology from Aureal, accelerates and radically improves the quality of DirectSound in Windows 95. Aureal is the first to take advantage of Microsoft's DirectSound3D API.

For years, advances in PC audio have been scarce. PC sound stagnated with stereo sound that did not truly deliver compelling audio. Monster Sound gives you a completely new immersive audio experience.

Product Description

The salient features of the Monster Sound are the use of the PCI slot to gain higher bandwidth and consequently superior quality and perfomance. The use of the PCI slot is the source of better sound, but also the bane of the card since without the use of the normal ISA slot, the Monster Sound card is denied the use of an IRQ address.

Due to the lack of an IRQ address, the card will not work in pure DOS but will be only Sound Blaster compatible in a DOS box under Windows 95. This DOS compatability is critical to many computer users who still use DOS programs and to game players who still play DOS games.

Monster Sound is based upon the Freedom 5600 ASIC chip, which will let users download new audio technology upgrade patches, such as the VMRL 3.0, straming audio and Dolby's AC-3 surround. The Aureal positional sound technology of the Monster creates sound surround with only two speakers.

The Monster can manage up to 24 independent, monaural streams of sound that can be sent to four independent speakers. When the four speakers are set up around the computer user, surround sound superior to the two speaker variety can be experienced. The card can support simultaneous record and playback or listen and talk for internet phone applications due to its full-duplex design.

Another benefit of the card is its ability to process sound with very little clock time drain on the CPU. The typical use of CPU time with normal ISA sound cards can be as much as 20-30 percent of the computing power. The Monster uses a more typical and less demanding amount of less than 5 percent of CPU time.


Put your review right here by emailing us the text.


Editors, PC Gamer, volume 4, number 5, May, 1997, pg. 148.
Editors, Next Generation, May, 1997, pg. 20.
Diamond Monster Sound Web Site>

PC Game Center

Issues Reviews Previews News
Walkthroughs Hints Cheats Archives
Interviews Yellowpages

Please send us your comments and suggestions.