|Diamond Monster Sound MX300|
A word of warning for those of you considering an upgrade to a Pentium 4-based system with the MX300 ... the card can only operate on the primary PCI bus, and on my system at least (an ABit BW7, which is based around the i845 chipset), the PCI bridge supports all PCI devices on non-primary buses. This means only the normal sound 'device' in the MX300 will work; no midi or gameport. For this reason, I've installed the MX300/DB50XG combo in a second PC (built around an ABit BF6), and slapped an Audigy Player in the BW7.
Diamond's MX300 PCI sound card ... the answer to my dreams. For ages now I've been on the lookout for a good quality PCI sound card which could support my Yamaha DB50XG daughterboard. After a remarkably disappointing fling with the Yamaha Waveforce 192XG (to try to replace my DB50XG), the MX300 was recommended to me as a good card with a wavetable header (the connector that the DB50XG requires).
While Creative Labs have abandoned the wavetable header in favour of their own wavetables, Diamond's MX300 seems to have been designed with daughterboards like the DB50XG in mind. Setting up my MIDI system to use the DB50XG was a breeze, and the addition of an External Wavetable control on the standard mixer makes it ridiculously easy to control. The addition of a hardware-level 10-channel graphic equalizer allowed me to set up my sound just the way I like it; exactly the kind of innovation I've been waiting for. My Soundblaster 16 is dead ... long live the MX300 !
The first time I set everything up and auditioned some of my old XG files, I was gob-smacked by the quality of the sound - and that's running through an ancient amplifier and some really old speakers. For me, the addition of 3D sound support, via the Aureal A3D API, was an added bonus.
As with any adapter made by one manufacturer that utilises a chipset from another, there's always the 'should I use the board drivers, or the reference drivers ?' question. This isn't really an issue any more with the MX300 - Diamond haven't released anything since February '99.
Note that the drivers you download for the card are really in two parts - the Vortex 2 drivers which are for the chipset on the board (you can choose the Diamond or Aureal versions), and the A3D Interactive drivers which are for the 3D sound support.
Note also that the Vortex 2 Reference drivers introduced EAX support from version 2048.
|a3ddrivers312.exe||06.03.00||A3D Interactive drivers (3.12).||Vortex of Sound||1,327Kb|
|w9x2048_updt.exe||17.02.00||Aureal's Vortex 2 reference drivers (4.06.2048), without the A3D demos or the General MIDI patch set. Check the Info link for important information about managing the GM set (au30gm.arl) during installation.||Vortex of Sound||6.0Mb|
|w9x2048_full.exe||17.02.00||Aureal's Vortex 2 reference drivers (4.06.2048), without the A3D demos but including the General MIDI patch set.||Vortex of Sound||9.4Mb|
|w9xmx3_1.exe||11.02.99||Diamond's MX300 beta drivers (1.02).||Diamond||8.8Mb|