Reviewed: August 26, 2010
Type: Audio Software
Audio is such a key point in our everyday life that we all want the best possible solutions for our home theaters, car audio and even our Personal computers. There are a lot of programs and devices out there that help enhance our PC experience be it for watching digital movies, listening to music or playing the hottest PC games. One of the companies behind some of these programs is SRS Labs, a company that has been enhancing audio via PC software and integrated sound since the early 90s. Their newest audio endeavor, SRS HD Audio Lab releases for PC and sets out to be the mother of all audio enhancers. I recently got the chance to experience the HD Audio Lab or HAL as it is officially known as and am here to weigh my opinions on my time with HAL.|
SRS HD Audio Labô provides the ultimate audio experience for music, movies and games. Utilizing patented audio technologies, SRS HD Audio Lab delivers amazing audio depth and immersive surround sound; allowing for the multimedia experience to be enjoyed across any speaker configuration with the ability to fine tune listening preferences. Iíve used various audio enhancers before as well as my fair share of peripherals and I have to admit HAL actually does live up to what is says it does for the most part.
HD Audio Lab features a visually appealing straightforward interface hub that really easy to use. I had no trouble familiarizing myself with HAL's 6-button configuration. In the center of the application you see camera lens window similar to the iconic movie computer. Surrounding its left and right edges are the 6 simple to use buttons I just mentioned. The three on the left allow the users to switch between the Movie, Music and Game Modes that all PC users need. The other three let the user switch between all the standard speaker setups. There is also a drop down menu that allows for a more customized sound depending on the personís tastes.
Like many programs out there looks and number of functions are good and all but if the product donít work then it was all for nothing. HD Audio Lab however worked for me pretty well. HAL is designed to seek out the active default sound card, which will work just fine for most users. For the rest of us that use multiple soundcards of setups, you can change the default card to suit your needs. The only problem that I ran into and itís sort of an annoyance is that the software requires you to restart your computer. This happens every time you attempt to change your options and you just so happen to forget to close any media program before you do it.
As far as sound performance goes, HD Audio Lab functions perfectly in Music Mode on all levels. In the Movie and Game modes I found that finding the right setup was a bit trickier for me. For my movies, both DVD and Digital Copies I often ran into trouble with the voices not being present in a 5.1 Surround Sound setup. The voices worked perfectly in 2.1 or 2.0 without a hitch though. The Game Mode worked quite well for most of my PC games with the exception of a few select titles that didnít seem to work quite right regardless of my every effort.
The HD Audio Lab works with almost any media players including DivX, VLC, Windows Media Player and iTunes to name a few. The increase in audio quality was definitely noticeable almost immediately and I was really impressed with the various SRS settings and options. SRS did a really nice job with this software and I definitely plan on using it for a long time. I listen to music, watch movies and play my favorite PC games almost on a daily basis so audio quality is very important. SRS has delivered a quality audio enhancement program and at its $30 price tag itís definitely worth the money.