The Hercules Game Theater XP
Hercules is Breakin' Out!

By Jeff Bouton
May 22, 2001


Today, it seems that if you ask someone what kind of sound card they have installed in their system, more often than not, the answer is "...a Sound Blaster Live..."  Without a doubt, Creative has garnered a huge stake in the PC audio market, especially with the success of the Live series of sound cards.  But to think that they are the only makers of quality sound cards would be a big mistake. 

The Hercules Corporation has been making quality video card products since 1982.  Early on they pioneered video processes that helped shape the innovations that we see today.  In 1999, the Guillemot Corporation acquired Hercules, which added to their market strength, allowing them to add a new line of products to be sold under the well know Hercules brand name.  Along with their well known video products, Hercules now offers quality sound cards and digital imaging tools as well.


Tonight we'll be taking a look at their latest audio product, the Hercules Game Theater XP.  The Game Theater XP is a feature rich audio solution offering support for Microsoft DirectSound API, A3D 1.0, and Creative EAX extensions.  With the creation of a "Rack",  all of the audio cards connections are much more accessible, eliminating the need to reach around the back of your system.  The addition of an external unit also allows room for additional features that really help the consumer get the most out of their sound card.

Let us take a look at what the Game Theater XP has to offer...
Specifications / Features of the Hercules Game Theater XP
Packed With Features...


Data Transfer PCI 2.1 bus
Audio Processor (DSP) Crystal CS4630
Audio Converters · 18-bit ADC/20-bit DAC For high audio quality at sampling rates of up to 48kHz
Full Game and Audio Compatibility · Microsoft® DirectSound® 3D Hardware accelerator, EAX™ 2.0, A3D™ 1.0, I3DL2, Sensaura's MacroFX™, MultiDrive™, ZoomFX™, EnvironmentFX™, allow for interactive positioning on 2 or 4 speakers or headphones.
Wavetable Synthesizer · DSP accelerated synthesis engine allows for an unlimited number of voices (64-voice hardware)
·8MB General MIDI/GS™ sample set
· DLS support - GM™ (General MIDI)
· Yamaha Soft Synthesizer™ S-YXG50™: 676 instrument sounds and 21 drum kits Effects: reverb and chorus XG-compatible
PCI Card Connectors &middor; DB44 connector to the PCI card
· 1/8
Front Connectors · 1/4
Rear Connectors · 1/8
Rack Dimensions · 4.3 x 21.6 x 15.5cm (1/2 U) (H: 1.7 W: 8.5 D: 6.1 inches)
· Cable between the PCI card and rack: 2m (78.74 inches)

The Hercules Game Theater XP comes with a PCI audio card, a rack, and a 6' DB44 connecting cable.  Included with the hardware is a CD that contains all of the necessary drivers as well as a decent selection of software to compliment the cards features.  The CD comes with such titles as Siren Jukebox, Music Match Jukebox, and Sensaura Virtual Ear to name a few.  In addition, a full version of Power DVD 3.0 is provided to give maximum DVD enjoyment.

The goodies don't stop with just one CD though.  A second disk is included with several Game Demos such as Rogue Spear and Midtown Madness.  In addition, there is also the Gameloft Package which contains a number of utilities to help online gamers.  Now that we've covered what goodies come with the Game Theater XP, what do you say we move on to the good stuff...shall we? 


Quality & Installation