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Audio Quality

The Audio is not The-Best, but it can lay just as much of a claim to it as any of its competitors, and more if you factor in the Headphone quality.

The 3D sound spatialization was actually very good. You could hear the differing sounds front to rear very clearly (Much improved over the previous version!), and there was no distortion or volume changes/echo effect as some reverb 3D sound engines create.

The BASS was very good. Not as explosive as Cinemaster, but superior to Both WinDVD and the LFE-less (till the next release!) PowerDVD. LFE is Low Frequency Effects decoding. All sounds are made of frequencies, and DVD players have the option of DELETING the very low sounds if they choose so you never hear them. (A Double-Bassoon or a Double-Tuba playing a really LOW note might fall in the LFE range.) This is done to protect users from blowing up their speakers as LFE tones are really Rough on speakers. You shouldn't enable LFE without a good quality subwoofer speaker system. However, for those who have the good speakers, you want the LFE! It rocks! And MGI doesn't disappoint for BASS quality.

The HIGHs were not as clean as the BASS, but quite adequate with only minor tweaking of my equalizer. Things like breaking glass or birds chirping should be easy to distinguish without sounding muted. Again, SoftDVD 6 is up to the challenge, though a taste behind PowerDVD and WinDVD for HIGH tone clarity.

HEADPHONES. This is MGI's domain. If you want to use Headphones for your DVD Playback, this is the player I recommend. Some other players really sound anemic in headphone mode, as though the tones are trimmed way down for the headphones. Not so with SoftDVD, its quite an experience. I am not a headphone fan myself, but if I were, this would be my choice. Again though, the system Crawled at 400mhz with headphones on and Hardware Acceleration enabled. If you don't have a Powerful system (500mhz or more) and a good Hardware Acceleration capable video card, don't expect good performance with headphones. Even at 600mhz, the system was taxed in Headphone mode, so keep it in mind.

I'd like to see more audio controls, 4 Vs 6 speaker setups to focus the 3D downmixing for any system. The option of selecting Full-Range or Compressed-Range sound to allow users with lesser speakers or weak amps to gain more volume and shave off the sounds like LFE and extreme highs they can't hear anyway. Overall though, I find a tough time not raving about SoftDVD Audio. It is definitely a player in this arena!

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