Sound Blaster Pro. (evaluation)
by David English
In just two years, the Sound Blaster has become one of the most widely-supported PC sound cards. It's easy to see why. The Sound Blaster contains an 11-voice FM synthesizer that makes it fully compatible with the popular Ad Lib Music Card. The day it hist store shelves, the Sound Blaster could be used with hundreds of Ad Lib compatible games and educational programs. To add even more value, the original Sound Blastern included a DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) for digitized voice and sound effects, a microphone jack for voice input, a built-in game port, a built-in 4-watt amplifier, and an optional MIDI interface.
Creative Labs is now turning up the volume with the Sound Blaster Pro. It's basically two Sound Blasters on a single card with additional multimedia features thrown in. It has twin FM chips capable of creating 22 individual voices, two DACs for stereo voice and sound-effects playback, a stereo microphone jack, and a built-in stereo mixer that can adjust the volume of all your Sound Blaster audio sources (stereo DAC, stereo FM, microphone, stereo line-in, CD-Audio, and PC internal speaker).
The built-in mixer makes the Sound Blaster Pro fully compliant with Microsoft's Multimedia Level 1 Extensions to Windows. Multimedia software will be able to fade-in, fade-out, and pan the various audio sources to create elaborate sound montages.
The Sound Blaster Pro includes a CD-ROM interface for either an internal or external CD-ROM player. There's also an internal connector for CD-Audio. The MIDI interface is compatible with the original Sound Blaster's MIDI interface, but adds the MIDI time-stamp that's part of Microsoft's new multimedia standard.
All in all, the Sound Blaster Pro is chock-full of new features, yet it's fully compatible with its younger brother.