X-Fi Zone
X-Fi Models

Discover the SoundBlaster X-Fi models. What are the differences, what do the models have in common.

X-RAM Explained

What does X-RAM really do? Read about the extra 64MB onboard RAM on the SoundBlaster X-Fi.


Sunday, January 08, 2006

EAX Adcanced HD 5.0

EAX stands for Enviromental Audio eXtensions. If you haven't heard about EAX or don't really know what it is only the name should give you a hint. Basically it's a set of enviromental effects which can be applied to sounds of any kind. In games EAX is responsible for modifing a sound according to the room or enviroment the player is in.

Every generation of EAX since it's introduction in 1998 has brought a new set of features and evolved the existing ones. Now, with the X-Fi series of sound cards we got EAX 5.0 also called EAX Advanced HD 5.0.

The latest version of EAX supports up to 128 simultaneous voices (sounds) giving developers a lot of space for detailed sound effects. Theoreticaly you are now able to hear an impressive amount of 128 bullets hitting a wall at the exact same moment which is quiet a lot.

One of the new features in EAX5.0 is EAX Voice. When using a microphone in a game your voice will be applied to your player model and it's position. All enviromental effects apply and your friends will hear you like you would be inside the game.

Another feature is EAX PurePath. Previous generations of EAX already had support for multi-speaker setups. Depending on the position of a sound in the game it would be played by a certain speaker or speakers. But, before EAX5.0 a developer was not able to tell the sound card to play a sound in an exact speaker. This is very useful when it comes to bass in a game. Now a developer can feed your subwoofer with the sounds it is supposed to play rather than all low frequency sounds in a scene. This technique is being used in movies that use Dolby Digital or DTS for years now.

Another feature in EAX5.0 is Environment FlexiFX. It gives game developers the possibility to use all 4 fully flexible hardware effect slots. This means soon we will hear a bigger variarity of effects in games simultainlously.

With EAX MacroFX sounds that are close to you can be very accurately recreated. Someone whispering to your ear, a bullet flying a couple inch by your head, etc. A game developer has the possibility to make all those sounds far more realistic than ever before.

Environment Occlusion as the name suggests adds enviromental effects to sounds which are located behind a solid object. In previous generations when someone was shooting behind a window you would hear the sound like it's behind glass but it would sound the same if the shooter was in a great hall or in open space. Now, you will be able to distinguish in what space the shooter stands.

Will game creators make use of those new features in future titles? It's very likely, but we'll have to wait and see to be sure.