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Terratec Xlerate Pro

"A3D 2.0 has been having a tough time getting developer support."

It has been a while since the first introduction of the original A3D card a while ago. Back then "3d" sound was what you heard when you had a Dolby digital 4 speaker setup. Now, we all know it is quite possible to have true 3D sound from 2 speakers or a pair of headphones. After a long wait, A3D has released the second version of its popular sound card and API, the A3D 2.0. Boasting of many new features including wavetracing with up to 64 reflections, quad speaker support, and much more version 2.0 is set to be the most powerful sound card ever.

With the recent competition from Creative Labs and their Sound Blaster LIVE! EAX sound card, A3D 2.0 has been having a tough time getting developer support. EAX (and EAX 2.0) is a much easier API to incorporate then A3D 2.0, and more developers are dumping the harder to use, but more powerful A3D 2.0 for the simple EAX (and EAX 2.0). This is really a pity, because in my opinion, A3D 2.0 has much better 3d sound then what EAX currently has to offer. Although On EAX's defense, the EMU10K1 audio processor is built using a software upgradable chip, where as opposed to A3D's, it can be greatly enhanced with new drivers.

The Xlerate Pro is yet another A3D 2.0 card based on the PCI A3D reference design. The Xlerate Pro is made by Terratec, a huge audio card manufacturer in Germany, but not so well know here in the US. The Xlerate Pro is a card based on A3D's reference design (Terratec didn't even bother to print their logo or name on the PCB even). On top of that the Xlerate Pro's drivers are also based on the A3D reference drivers, but this time they put in their logo in place of the A3D one. The Xlerate Pro also ships with Stereo connector cables if you feel like connecting you Xlerate Pro to any external sound devices.

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