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PRICE: US$190/170 British Pounds

Released a few months ago, the new UltraSound Max is the lastest sound card designed by Advanced Gravis. The card does not offer any new technology improvements when compared to the UltraSound itself, but it now has 512 Kb of RAM instead of 256 KB, 16-bit recording and playback up to 48 Khz with hardware compression, and three different CD-ROM interfaces (Mitsumi, Panasonic and Sony).

The bonus software included with the card is quite impressive with eight programs under Windows, two DOS games (Doom Episode 1 and Epic Pinball) and other DOS utilities.

The Patch Manager is a Window utility to audition patches, while Patch Maker Lite enables you to modify and create new MIDI instruments. If you create your own songs, there is Midisoft Recording Session, a music composition, recording and sequencing program with musical notation; Power Chords, a guitar based music sequencer and drum machine, and for DOS users, UltraSound Studio to play, record and mix digital sounds.

Modus allows you to play MOD files, and Wavelite is a WAV file editing program, both running under Windows. Also included is Winsoft Sound Station, a multimedia component control system (CD Audio, WAV and MIDI) and sound mixer. Other utilities to play digital and MIDI files are provided for DOS users.

While most other wave table cards are ROM-based, the UltraSound Max has a unique RAM-based system that lets you modify any existing instrument. The card features an expandable 192 General MIDI instrument set with Voice Crystal (tm) a 5.6 Mb patch stored on the hard disk. However, some people are complaining about the hard disk space used for the patches. But, 5.6 Mb is not much for obtaining the purest sounds available on the market, and hopefully people who only own an old 30 Mb hard drive will soon be upgrading.

The other powerful features of the UltraSound Max are the 16 stereo digital channels which allow 32 voices to play simultaneously, and the 3D holographic sound which places sounds above, below, to the right, left, and back of the player for a complete audio virtual reality experience.

Advanced Gravis offers a memory upgrade from 512 Kb to 1 Mb, which is recommended if you intend to use the card with MIDI files having a complex orchestration.

The UltraSound Max is probably the best sound card available on the market with its outstanding capabilities, but there is something wrong with the card: the Sound Blaster emulation. For all the old games without native GUS support, you will have to use a software emulation to get the Sound Blaster and/or Roland sounds. Two different emulators are provided: SBOS for the Sound Blaster alone, and MegaEm for Sound Blaster and Roland (Sound Canvas and MT-32) at the same time. Both emulations work, but sometimes the Sound Blaster emulation is really disappointing.


The UltraSound card family is relatively new on the market and software developpers have just started to use the UltraSound/UltraSound Max superior performances. In other words, we will have to wait for the programmers to include the GUS cards in the sound support if we want the native GUS sound. Once it is widely spread among the software developers community, the Sound Blaster emulation will no longer be a concern.

The UltraSound and the UltraSound Max are excellent sound cards with a very attractive price. When a game has native GUS support, it is really hard for any other sound card to out perform the superior quality of sound and music. It's a must for gamers and musicians!


MIDI : Musical Instrument Digital Interface GUS : Gravis UltraSound Patch: A voice that consists of an instrument or a digital sound. MOD : File that contains an instrument waveform table and a pattern table. WAV : Digital audio file extension standardized by Microsoft.


Our North American readers can reach Gravis at:

Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd.
#101-3750 North Fraser Way
Burnaby, BC, Canada
V5J 5E9

Tel: (800) 663-8558, +1 (604) 431-5020
Fax: +1 (604) 431-5155
BBS: +1 (604) 431-5927 (v32.bis)

In Europe, readers can contact Gravis at:

Advanced Gravis Europe
Antennestraat 70,
1322 AS Almere

Tel: +31-(0)36-5364443
Fax: +31-(0)36-5366011
BBS: +31-(0)36-5360379

Game Support

Sample of games with native UltraSound support:

|    Product Name      |    Company Name     |
|Al-Qadim: The Genie's  |                    | 
| Curse                 |S.S.I.              | 
|Archon Ultra           |S.S.I.              |
|Brett Hull Hockey      |Accolade            |
|Chuck Yeagers Air      |                    | 
| Combat                |Electronic Arts     | 
|Dark Legions           |S.S.I.              | (with update 1.1)
|Dark Sun: Shattered    |                    |
| Lands                 |S.S.I.              | 
|Delta-V                |Bethesda Softworks  |
|Doom                   |ID Software         |
|Doom 2: Hell on Earth  |ID Software         |
|Epic Pinball           |Epic Megagames      |
|Flight Simulator 5.0   |Microsoft           |
|Hexx                   |Psygnosis           |
|Hired Guns             |Psygnosis           |
|Hocus Pocus            |Apogee              |
|Hokum KA-50            |Virgin              |
|Inferno                |Ocean               |
|Inherit the Earth      |New World Computing |
|Iron Cross             |New World Computing |
|Jazz Jack Rabbit       |Epic Megagames      |
|Kasparov's Gambit      |Electronic Arts     |
|MechWarrior II: The    |                    |
| Clans                 |Activision          |
|Microcosm              |Psygnosis           |
|One Must Fall          |Epic Megagames      |
|Pinball Fantasies      |21st Century        |
|Quarantine             |Gametek             |
|Raptor                 |Apogee              |
|Rebel Assault          |LucasArts           |
|Return to Zork         |Activision          |
|Reunion                |Grandslam           |
|Serf City              |S.S.I.              |
|SSN-21 Sea Wolf        |Electronic Arts     |
|Star Control II        |Accolade            |
|Star Reach             |Interplay           |
|Star Trek: The Next    |                    |
| Generation            |Spectrum Holobyte   |
|System Shock           |Origin              |
|Terminator Rampage     |Bethesda Softworks  |
|The 11th Hour          |Virgin              |
|The Blue and The Grey  |Impressions         |
|The Elder Scrolls:     |                    |
| Arena                 |Bethesda Softworks  |
|The Horde              |Crystal Dynamics    |
|The Pure Wargame       |Q.Q.P.              |
|Tie-Fighter            |LucasArts           |
|UFO                    |MicroProse          |
|Under a Killing Moon   |Access              |
|Zephyr                 |New World Computing |
|Zone 66                |Epic Megagames      |

For some of the games released without UltraSound Native support, there are files available that will provide native support. Here is a list of the games:
|     Product Name      |    Company Name    |
|Gabriel Knight         |Sierra On-Line      |
|Leisure Suit Larry VI  |Sierra On-Line      |
|Police Quest IV        |Sierra On-Line      |
|Quest for Glory 3      |Sierra On-Line      |
|Sim City               |Maxis               |
|Sim City 2000          |Maxis               |
|Sim Farm               |Maxis               |
|The 7th Guest          |Virgin              |
|Ultima VIII: Pagan     |Origin              |

Here are the games recently released without native GUS support:

|     Product Name      |    Company Name    |
|Aces of the Deep       |Dynamix             |
|Armored Fist           |Novalogic           |
|Colonization           |MicroProse          |
|Desert Strike          |Gremlin Graphics    |
|Dominus                |US Gold             |
|Dreamweb               |Empire Software     |
|Fortress of Dr. Radiaki|Merit Software      |
|Master of Magic        |MicroProse          |
|Star Crusader          |Gametek             |
|Universe               |Core Design         |
|Wing Armada            |Origin              |


A file called 'The G List', written originally by Marc J. Paulin and kept alive by Nick Tucker, is available on America Online, most BBS's that support the Gravis UltraSound, and on the Internet sites in \submit\glist.zip.
It provides, for the games without native support, the name of the emulator to use for the best sound. Names of the games with native support are also included.


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