Hey folks Valkor here with another look at GenAudio, the company I had the pleasure of meeting at this year’s CES. The product they were showin off was AstoundStereo Expander (ASE) software, which brings out the best of your music. You can read the full review [HERE]. But to cut to the short, I gave the software a 3.5. It showed some serious promise, but was limited to Windows Media Player (WMP); great if that’s all you use, but I’m a Winamp guy. So I can either get used to WMP or say “Scrap it” and just go back to Winamp. Well I stuck it out, using WMP when I was in relax mode, plus I needed to check for updates.
Now GenAudio has upped the ante, putting out 2.0 on the software update, making it universal! That’s right AstoundStereo is no longer limited to WMP; you can use it with any media player, or any type of media: DVD’s, Divx movies, games, and of course music. And it’s a BIG, BIG, difference. How big?
Very big because once again you're no longer limited to just music and WMP, you can run the gamut of your PC with ASE. This excited me the most because I got to use Winamp, as my player of choice for listening to music and watching Divx movies. Toss in a pair of AblePlanet’s Linx Audio headphones and I have the perfect combination for my entertainment. First test was of course “My Immortal” by Evanescence, which sounds even more beautiful than when I first heard it using ASE. My guess would be that I’m using software that doesn’t use as much resources as WMP. Main vocals as well as background vocals are more prominent. Also a big improvement is guitar riffs; they aren’t displeasing as when I first tried out the software. Nickelback’s tunes “Gotta be Somebody” sounds much better with 2.0 than with 1.1. (then again it could be Winamp…)
Movies are also a treat, using ASE with PowerDVD 7 and a copy of Polar Express DVD as well as my latest sound reference DVD, Resident Evil: Degeneration. For Polar Express I cued it up to the “Hot Chocolate” song, it’s just wild with everything going on, you can make out the clinking of the cups, the rolling of the wheels, the feet tapping, and the hot chocolate sloshing through the air. With Resident Evil Degeneration, it works about the same, because there’s a great separation of sound, the vocals and sound effects don’t overshadow each other. So when the bullets fly, explosions kick in and zombies begin their… zombie-ing, you will hear them load and crystal clear.
Gaming is a different tale, as I don’t do much PC gaming. But I do play Warcraft and its scary when the music kicks in, as it sounds much clearer. Other than that, it’s nothing too special. If I did some serious PC gaming like I did hmmmm ten years ago, then I am sure ASE would sound impressive.
There’s a popping distortion no matter what software I use. When you first use ASE, a disclaimer pops up that says turn off any sound enhancements that may be running to avoid distortion, but when I made sure all enhancements were off, the popping is still there.
Overall I am quite pleased with GenAudio’s AstoundStereo Expander, simply due to the fact that I’m no longer anchored to Window’s Media Player to enjoy my music, plus I get the added bonus of movies, gaming, YouTube, Movie Trailers, anything audio wise my PC can dish out, AstoundStereo is there to take it on. Last time I gave AstoundStereo Expander 3.5, but I’m gonna knock it up ½ a point to a full 4 stars. If you haven’t done so already, then definitely give GenAudio a try.