Hercules Fortissimo II

Aug 9 2002



When shopping for a soundcard, I primarily look for support for the latest sound APIs( EAX, directsound, etc.) and how many hardware voice acceleration the card is capable of. The Hercules Fortissimo2 soundcard had all those with an advertised 64 voice hardware acceleration. Wow! I said. But then again a lot of other soundcards had these.

What finally made me purchase the Fortissimo2 was its optical input/output jacks. I figured someday I may need to use them and a $50 investment seemed like a good deal at the time. Plus, they just looked cool on the card. I've also been wanting to get the Yamaha midi software synthesizer because I like to listen to good midi music. The software costs $50 on it's own and to be included with the soundcard was awesome.

The card has a good signal-to-noise ratio. It was better than my Diamond MX400, that was replaced. I only hear a hiss when I enable the mic 20dB amplifier. So, I disable that. Who needs it?

My games sounded good overall. Not much better than my previous card though.

What finally made me wish that I hadn't bought the card was problems with the 64 midi voice acceleration. I like to listen to midi music even though it's not very popular. I thought 64 voices of hardware acceleration would do my midi listening a lot of good. Sadly, I constantly experienced system lock-ups if I set it at 64. At 32 voices, there were no lock-ups. What hurts me more was Hercules' solution to my problem was by disabling the hardware midi acceleration altogether with the latest driver release. I was totally furious. It's misadvertising if you ask me. The retail box clearly states hardware acceleration and for them to disable it is the work of evil. I can never forgive them for this.

Sure I can go back to old drivers but I would have to live with bugs that was fixed with the latest drivers. NO way!

On the bright side, Yamaha's midi software synthesizer is included in the package. It's a great midi synth but I still prefer the hardware midi. What's odd though was cpu utilization was much higher with hardware midi acceleration than If I use Yamaha's software synthesizer. I can't figure it out. Clearly the card was inefficiently engineered to handle hardware midi acceleration. Hercules engineers must have been drunk that day. Now, consumers have to pay for their mistake.

My soundcard is up for sale. Only 2 cents if you act now. Call 1-800-DONT-BUY-ME.