• GenAudio AstoundStereo Expander Review Part 3

Hey folks, Valkor here with part 3 of GenAudio, this time I got to hang with the GA peeps on the E3 2009 floor where they were showin off their software in a game coming out in the future called “Deprived”. The demo shown just has a person walking around, but it really shows off the effects of the software as it gives you full 4-D sound, where you hear everything around you. In one area you get to kick a box and as you walk away you still hear it stumbling across the floor. Another area you can hear chains rattling, but overall you get a really spooky atmosphere. It was a simple demo, nothing too special, but it gives you an Idea of what the game will be about and just what GenAudio is bringing to the table. Needless to say I was impressed and I can’t wait to see more of this game.

Now I have a vast collection of DVD’s, music and games, and since AstoundStereo Expander 2.0 has come out, I’ve been working the software on overtime, mostly in the music department. Now I know Evanescence sounds great, but here are my top ten songs heard through Expander that’s just “Killer” and maybe, just maybe when the GenAudio peeps are out and about, they can use some of this music to showcase just how great the software is.

1. H.O.T. “Outside Castle” – This Korean pop group does an incredible mix of orchestra sounds with some techno beats, bringing them together for an amazingly, fantastical song. I’ve listened to this song a bajillion times over the course of 5 years and it never gets tiring. But now it really shines as the opening thunderstorm is more prominent, the vocals really stand out; but what’s truly amazing is a background chorus that I’ve never heard before, not through Creative hardware or SRS enhancements. And mind you the song was encoded at 128kp! If I can find this song at 320 KP I think I’ll have a heart attack.

2. Jason Mraz “Everything I Own” (Happy Feet Soundtrack) – I’m a huge fan of the movie and an even bigger fan of the soundtrack, mostly because it’s so out of left field; I totally didn’t expect such great music from a movie called “Happy Feet”. But Mraz’s take on “Everything I Own” is only more enhanced by ASE; bass really thumps, and you get a great separation of music and vocals.

3. SPEED “Body and Soul” – Direct from Japan, this J-pop group won my heart many moons ago, simply because they sound terrific. But this song in particular is a personal favorite. Vocals were already great, but ASE goes in and spits out background sounds such as guitar riffs and additional effects I’ve never heard before.

4. Maroon 5 “Make Me Wonder” – Just hearing a sample of this song in an ad for their CD made me want this album, well this song in particular anyway. It’s a nice jazzytune with a touch of Michael Jackson in the background; this song makes me wonder why I would even doubt Maroon 5 after “Harder to Breathe”. Nice separation of sound, plus background vocals stand out nicely.

5. H.O.T. “IYAH” – Bringin ya back to Korea, this goes to show that ASE has improved enough to handle heavy guitar riffs. If you read my first report (over on the side bar), I wasn’t impressed how electric guitar was handled by the software, it was just so rough and grating. But if I wasn’t a believer that this software couldn’t handle the riffs, this song did make me a believer. IYAH is hard as hell, and it’s only improved by additional guitar bits I’ve not heard before. W00t!!

6. Green Day “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” – Keep in tune with heavy guitar, this is the song that to me should have been used in “Batman Begins”. With the HUGE success of Dark Knight, someone should consider going back and doing a soundtrack inspired by the film and this should be the first. The software does a great job separating the vocals from the guitar, as without it, it really does sound like a mash up of both. But again the software does a great job of handling the guitar riffs.

7. Linkin Park “What I’ve Done” – Transformers 2007 drew me to this song, and the fact that it’s a damn good song caused me to keep it in my MP3 cycle ever since. ASE doesn’t do too much for the song other than to make it sound better, by showcasing the background music, and enhancing the vocals.

8. Record of Lodoss War (OVA) Opening song – Lodoss War is by far one of my favorite animes; the follow up OVAs… not so much. But it did have a killer opening song, which sounds richer and fuller when heard through ASE. The vocals sound great, but it’s the background music you wanna pay close attention too; it just comes alive!

9. Cynthia Harrell “Snake Eater” (Metal Gear Solid 3) – People have said that I have strange taste in music. Well I confirmed that when I added this song to my playlist. First time I heard it I was instantly smitten; its pure geeky-cool. My thoughts of ASE on this song is the same as with Linkin Park, it’s just enhanced and sounds much better.

10. Ace of Base “Lucky Love” – Here’s a song that plays great with the first Tomb Raider game on the PS (I think I may be the only person who knows that… in fact the entire album “The Bridge” works great with the game). Again it’s more of the same as Linkin Park and Cynthia Harrell, however you get to hear more of the background chorus, which is usually drowned out by the main vocals.

I know folks are gonna wonder why I chose older songs as opposed to newer, more current hits. And the answer is simple: I’ve listened to these songs enough that I know them like the back of my hand, and what better way to truly test out sound expanding/enhancing software than to throw music you already know at it and see what spits out. And yea with each update I become more and more impressed. I’m interested to see what else is down the pike for GenAudio, so expect additional coverage as the news breaks.