Rupert Goodwins' Diary

Tuesday 21/08/2001August is always quiet for press launches, but this one has been certified dead and laid to rest. Still, Creative Labs bucks the trend and decide to unleash its Audigy sound system at a Planet Hollywood bash deep beneath Leicester Square.

Tuesday 21/08/2001

August is always quiet for press launches, but this one has been certified dead and laid to rest. Still, Creative Labs bucks the trend and decide to unleash its Audigy sound system at a Planet Hollywood bash deep beneath Leicester Square. The hardware and software seems swish enough, but the grand demo in the screening room is beset by buzzes, squawks and music soaring into the realms of earwax-curdling distortion. Turns out that they were forced by technical issues (ie, someone forgot the appropriate lead) to use Planet Hollywood's sound system via something of a lash-up.

I'm pleased to report that intensive gaming, MP3 auditioning and effects manipulation show that Audigy is capable of making delightfully loud noises that make good use of the 100 decibel signal to noise ratio and ganged 24-bit 96kHz analogue to digital converters, and can annoy an entire roomful of journalists at once.

One thing remains annoying. The system includes an IEEE-1394 interface, which can be used to get video and audio into and out of other systems. Fair enough. Yet, confronted with the astounding stupidity that means everyone decides to use their own name for the technology -- Sony's iLink, Apple's FireWire -- Creative Labs decide to help unify the market by calling its version SB1394. A cornered marketing manager attempts to defend this, before collapsing into a plate of Planet Hollywood miniature cheeseburgers and confessing "It was Singapore. We didn't have a chance...".

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