The driver set for the Forte 7.1 features a set of driver seen on other X-fi equipped cards. The main idea behind the X-fi drivers is the Active Modal Architecture. Which is short means you configure the X-fi DSP chip for the audio task at hand. This effectively puts the DSP's processing power where it is required. Aside from the bundled drivers the software is very light and offers a auto mode changer, Soundfont bank Manger, Wave Studio 7 and Creative Media Source 5.
Let's take a look at the Driver suite for the Forte, at our disposal we have:
Entertainment Mode The first Modal drive panel is Entertainment mode meant to be used for Music or movies. We have sub panels for: Speaker settings, EAX effects (Reverb), CMSS3D upmix and headphone virtualization, SVM-Smart Volume Management, Graphics equalizer, Mixer, Dolby Digital Live encoder and settings for digital output. There are also controls for Master volume and timbre controls (Bass and Treble)
Gaming Mode The second modal drive panel assigns the DSP resources for gaming tasks. Again we have sub panels For CMSS-3D upmix and headphone virtualization, X-fi Crystallizer, Equalizer (shown), Signal Mixer, Speaker setup panel and Bass configuration panel.
Audio Creation Mode The last driver panel is meant for audio creation tasks. We have signal faders for all the inputs, Multi Channel Wave input, 3D-Midi and ASIO faders. We have balances settings for all faders, signal level monitors and effects loops. Without getting too in depth on the control of this panel, it is set up exactly like an external audio mixer would be and hopefully if you're creating audio this type of setup is familiar.
If you're new to this type of audio signal mixer a bit of experimenting and reading can help familiarize you with all the options and controls. Note: I am only showing a small selection of the signal faders so this mixer can become significantly larger.
Mode Changer: While some like the modal drivers, some do not and find it a pain to change them all the time. There are applications both released by Creative and another party that allow you to configure the drivers to change automatically based on whatever application you load.
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