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AstoundStereo Expander Review: Listen to Your Music in 4D Surround Sound

AstoundStereo Expander review - Full PC version 1.1.2

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AstoundStereo Expander
Image © GenAudio, Inc.

AstoundStereo Expander has been updated! Be sure to read the AstoundStereo Expander 2 Review for more information.

Introduction

AstoundStereo Expander enhances normal audio into 4D. Because the hardware requirements are low, it can be used on virtually any computer that has a stereo soundcard - that's practically any system these days, unless you've got a dinosaur! The impressive thing about AstoundStereo Expander is that you only need two speakers, or a pair of headphones to hear the benefits. Find out by reading this review if GenAudio's audio enhancing software is worth the investment.

System Requirements:

  • Windows XP / Vista (32-bit only)
  • Microsoft Windows Media Player 11+
  • Processor: 1 GHz (32-bit x86)
  • Memory: 1Gb
  • Stereo audio output
  • Internet access

Installation and Interface:

To get started, there's a 30-day trial that can be downloaded from GenAudio's Web site for the PC or Mac. As far as the interface is concerned, it is simple to use and easily accessible from the system tray or desktop icon. Using the slider bar, you can quickly increase or decrease the amount of 4D audio processing that is applied to the outputted sound. You can also check for updates and disable the plugin if required.

Audio Processing

AstoundStereo ExpanderImage © Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

You can use AstoundStereo Expander to enhance the sound of your music library providing that it's not protected with DRM. You can also use the audio processing software to enhance the audio if you've got a collection of video files. We tested the capabilities of GenAudio's software by using both music and video files; the enhancement was impressive. In both instances, the original stereo image was greatly enhanced with a lot more audio detail being heard than before. This extra enhancement certainly adds life to sometimes dull music and video files.

Software

Once installed, AstoundStereo Expander is a Windows Media player plugin (version 11 or higher required) which can be found in the audio DSP section of Microsoft's media player. One downside to the way the software works is that you can't access it's properties from within Windows Media Player. Another drawback is that everytime you start Windows, AstoundStereo Expander's icon isn't present in the system tray - you have to add the program manually to the Windows Startup folder in order to automatically run it every time you start your system.

Conclusion

Listening to your music using the AstoundStereo Expander is like taking cotton wool out of your ears. The clarity and definition of the outputted audio is very impressive. Even though you can only use Windows Media Player 11 to listen to 4D sound, the software represents a cost-effective surround sound solution that won't burn a hole in your pocket. At the moment, GenAudio's software will only appeal to users who want to enhance just their music library using Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11. If you're a games player, or like watching DVDs then you'll have to wait a while longer before GenAudio comes up with a solution that can process all sound on your PC - just like its Mac version. That said, if you instantly want to add another dimension to your music library, then the AstoundStereo Expander is a steal at just under $25.

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