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Users' Opinion - Pinnacle

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Soundcard description :

  • Long ISA format
  • 20 bits A/D et D/A converters (signal/noise ratio > 97 dB)
  • analog I/O
  • S/PDIF digital I/O (optional)
  • Midi MPU401
  • Optional RAM (Max 48 Mo
  • Motorola 56002 DSP
  • KURZWEIL sample table (128 Sounds GM)
  • Full Duplex
  • Daughterboard can be added to have new sounds.

Concerning this card, my advice is to read the criticisms made on the FIJI soundcard, because these two cards are the same, except that the Pinnacle has its own KURZWEIL sample table. I had the same problems installing it, but it was due to my Adaptec 2940U/UW SCSI card. The result is a systematic conflict between these two cards in plug & play installation. Here are now my additional criticisms, or the points I disagree with, compared with the FIJI card :

  • Concerning the sound, I am satisfied with the converters. But they are not neutral. They tend to add high medium. Sure, it adds ?punch?, but I want absolute neutrality. Bass frequencies are a bit modified too, in the sense that they slightly become blurred
  • The signal/noise ratio which is announced by Turtle Beach is superior to 97dB. But I would like the measures to be made again, because I think there is a little background noise
  • Concerning the DSP, one must precise that it doesn?t allow you to have wonderful effects (reverb, chorus, etc.). The DSP just allows the computer not to use DMA channels, so the processor can be relieved.
  • As far as the little Kurzweil sample table is concerned, I think it is not good at all. The GM soundbank is inferior to a ROLAND sound canvas, that shows you !
  • One of this soundcard?s advantages is that we can use it as a real synthesizer. And if we bother to program the sounds, we have there an very good expander, equivalent to a 1200 ?uros rack.
  • The sampling part offers many possibilities, but I don?t use it.
  • Concerning these two last points, I must precise that if you want to make your sounds with the internal samples, or use the sampling part, you will need a lot of courage. That?s shit? (excuse my language!). Turtle Beach only released a beta-version of a piece of software to program. It is not at all user-friendly, and has gaps worthy of a beginner. Moreover, this beta 6.0 version has been released for six months, and there are no news of an update. That deserves nothing out of 20! I have the impression that this card is now too old?

In conclusion, if I had to do it again, I wouldn?t buy this card. I?m not saying it is bad, but it is too expensive regarding what it offers. The sampling part is too difficult to use, and the simple fact of writing ?KURZWEIL sample table? doesn?t imply that it will sound!!! The Guillemot maxi 64 home studio card seems to have a better quality/price rate. Don?t hesitate to visit my Web page to see how I use my soundcard.

Benoît LAGARDE


The opinion of a new-comer! I discovered CAM one year ago. In 1995, after having studied for 15 years, I decided to equip myself. I took advices. I have been proposed: Pentium 200 MHz, TX97e card, 64 Mo SDRam, 4Go SCSI and 1.7Go IDE HDs, CD-Rom player x8, Pinnacle soundcard, bundled with Voyetra audio sequencer (not bad at all), utilitarian software (Wave SE2) and sampling software (Patch Editor), Cubase VST, Making Wave software, Behringer 1602 mixing board. I took the whole, and a credit.

After a year of use, I have just uninstalled, formatted, and then install again. Results :

  • INSTALLATION : no problem with the card. The Plug & Play problems are more Bill Gates?s, not Turtle?s. It is more Plug & Pray then Plug & Aaargh. In fact, some address conflicts, solved without difficulties from Win95.
  • MIDI : KURZWEIL GM technology (MA-1), 48 voices of polyphony, 4Mo of samples compressed into 2Mo. Possibility to extend with a daughterboard: I tried the DBX50XG (background noise ++), Terratec (no background noise, but no sound at all). Advised by a Korg specialist, I chose the NS5R expander. No problem between Cubase, Pinnacle and Korg.
  • SAMPLING : 48 Mo Ram Edo 60ns can be connected on the Pinnacle. We can then load a wave file, process it with Waves SE2 (bundled with the card, this is a Wave Editor that can apply effects, 3D frequency analysis, cossfade?) or Wavelab then we can establish a keymap. A bundled software can allow you to do this, with many possible treatments on the sound (Patch Editor). You can download on the technical support site the many drivers and updates as well as the Help Files. Many keymaps are on the site. We load the wave files and the configuration files, and then we have new sounds. It is possible to create sounds thanks to the soundcard ROM and to the KURZWEIL sounds. All this works perfectly well with Cubase VST.
  • AUDIO : can sample from 5 to 48kHz, full duplex. 20 bits A/D D/A converters. Latency time in monitoring with Cubase: 750ms, which can be reduced to 150-250ms thanks to the Asio Setup. Below this point, the system becomes unreliable. Signal-noise ratio > 97dB (Micro Musique #1 and #6 information). Considering the weakness of my hearing, used by Walkmans, the quality is very correct. Nevertheless, I only record for the moment guitars (Squier Strato or electroacoustic Epiphone) and voices, in a small room (with no important echo). Moreover, I load samples (audio cd or free samples cd) that I use on the VST Audio Tracks
  • I/O : optional S/PDIF, I did not try. One line in, one auxiliary, one out, one mic in, MIDI joystick. Ins and outs are mini-jacks. Every level can be set in the Pinnacle mixing board.

Finally : no special problems with this card, but this is the opinion of a new comer in CAM (and in music in general). Problems in my system were due to hardware (IRQ conflicts of a serial port with NSR5) or software (well-known details in VST). They all have been solved without difficulties (in comparison with what I can read about some cards?). Despite its ridiculous name, the ?pinnacle of the turtle beach? suits me well, and seduced me because of its Audio qualities, its easy sampling and its correct GM sounds. I don?t sell it !

Denis DUPUY


Hello !! Aaargh ! I read Benoit Lagarde?s opinion (see above) concerning the Pinnacle, and I have to say that I don?t always agree with his point of view ;-) !!!!!!!!!!!

I?ve had a Pinnacle for nearly 3 years (I have a lot of soundcards, including the famous HS64PRO, that I won?t dare to compare to the Pinnacle, let?s be serious !)? The Pinnacle is the only card I don?t want to part with ! Let?s see what Benoit told us : ?Concerning the sound, I am satisfied with the converters. But they are not neutral. They tend to add high medium. Sure, it adds ?punch?, but I want absolute neutrality. Bass frequencies are a bit modified too, in the sense that they slightly become blurred. The signal/noise ratio which is announced by Turtle Beach is superior to 97dB. But I would like the measures to be made again, because I think there is a little background noise?.

I do not agree at all!!! I haven?t heard a more neutral card than the Pinnacle!!! I think you will have to worry about from where the signal you record is passing through, and from where you play it, ?cause you won?t make the difference between the direct and the recorded signal on my machine!!! ( a priori, I?m not deaf, even if I?ve been sound-engineer for 15 years). The Pinnacle is the more transparent soundcard I?ve ever heard. Concerning the background noise, the level is the lowest one I have ever measured on a soundcard, that is to say an about 80dB signal-noise ratio (on 5 or 6 different configurations and boxes), and I can add that, as usual, the constructor specifications are awfully funny, but, as the others do exactly the same ;-)))). For information, in the same conditions, the HS64PRO doesn?t pass the 50dB !!).

"Concerning the DSP, one must precise that it doesn?t allow you to have wonderful effects (reverb, chorus, etc.). The DSP just allows the computer not to use DMA channels, so the processor can be relieved. As far as the little Kurzweil sample table is concerned, I think it is not good at all. The GM soundbank is inferior to a ROLAND sound canvas, that shows you !?

I?m OK, that?s true that the factory sounds are not deadly good, that?s simple General Midi : exactly faithful to closely imitate the SB16 sounds !!! arf! But there?s a more serious problem: if someone buys the ?Project Studio? version, he will see (with terror) that the KURZWEIL daughterboard bundled with has nearly the same sounds!!!!!

Nevertheless, concerning the effects, I have to say that the internal effects, and particurlary the reverbs, are quite good, and I am rather difficult to please?

?One of this soundcard?s advantages is that we can use it as a real synthesizer. And if we bother to program the sounds, we have there an very good expander, equivalent to a 1200 ?uros rack?.

That is the least we can say, if you like spend hours to make his patches and to modify the internal sampler filters (that are really good!), you can obtain really impressive, ENORMOUS sounds !!!

?The sampling part offers many possibilities, but I don?t use it. Concerning these two last points, I must precise that if you want to make your sounds with the internal samples, or use the sampling part, you will need a lot of courage. That?s shit??/P>

Perfectly true? the editor (to be downloaded on the site) or the Librarian patch (bundled on the CD) are not intuitive, event if the capacity of the sampler are fantastic? You can beat your head on the wall: you have a thing that is really very powerful, but you have the strongest difficulty to create patches (I don?t lie, you will need at least 10 minutes to create a simple program based on one sample, with one or two filters on velocity or aftertouch?)

?If I had to do it again, I wouldn?t buy this card. I?m not saying it is bad, but it is too expensive regarding what it offers. The sampling part is too difficult to use, and the simple fact of writing ?KURZWEIL sample table? doesn?t imply that it will sound!!! The Guillemot maxi 64 home studio card seems to have a better quality/price rate.?

Nnnnoooooo !!! Let?s be serious, one can compare what is comparable!!! The Guillemot is really bad in comparison!!! It doesn?t sound a second in comparison, I know, I?ve got one, and I had all the needed time to compare in situ?

In conclusion, buy Pinnacle. I advised many friends to buy it, and they all are happy. And some of them had tried a lot of soundcards before!!! But don?t buy the ?Project Studio? pack, buy a simple Pinnacle (F revision) with the S/PDIF interface if you use it?

Serial P

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