Synth Site: Soft/Virtual/Cards: MS Pinnacle: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 2.8 out of 5
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IAIN RODGERS a hobbyist user from U.K. writes:
Its obsolete already. It was supposed to be T.B's best card when I bought it in 1997. Now its obsolete and unsupported. It wont work in my new P.C. I expected better for the price.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Apr-02-2002 at 07:09
Steve Raymar from USA writes:
I bought one of the first ones back in '96 for $500 and I've had some real ups and downs with it. In the beginning the drivers, then the editors were directly from hell and designed by Satan. But the latest drivers are fine, the editor is tollerable and I think the effects are usable. I like the RAM sounds(must be the only one) and I use the Everest editor(you need this! It has sliders!). The 12k program RAM is a joke so you have to make small banks. Some of the patches available at their site aren't bad and with the Everest editor(do a search) you can load Sound- fonts!! I have a CD called Gaining Altitude at http://www.mp3.com/SteveRaymar that has a tune called Salt Creek that features three patches from the Pinnacle layered together using the pan delay so check it out! Its also in the string sounds on Pineal Observations and also on A Little Moody(how can you help but get a little moody with this thing?) using their ARP string patch layered in with my U20 strings. Its been great for making wave files and now mp3s.

Rating: 2 out of 5 posted Sunday-Oct-29-2000 at 09:18
Chris a professional user from Norway writes:
0 out of 5. In 1996 I bought this crap. Weeks of installation troubles. My PC crashed 2 to 3 times a day. Yes, I got the blue screen (fatal error message). Man it was hell. I promise you, you cant rely on this card. It will fuck your mind up.

Slowly after months Turtle Beach came out with new drivers wich still didnt work. After 1,5 years they finally came with the patcheditor and some drivers that worked. Unfortunately, some weeks later it just stoped working. $900 down the drain. (Yes, that's how much it cost in Norway)

Ok you say, I was unlucky with my Pinnacle card. The fact is, Iv experienced so much wrong and heard so much negative about this card that I'll never by another product from Turtlw Beach again.

Ok, over to the review. The effects of the card SUCKS. Only reverb and chorus both terrebly baaaad quality. A joke of a patch editor, didnt work for me and was very hard to use. The rom sounds = a joke. 2 Mb of compressed rom samples IS NOT GOOD. Nobody can make 128 samples sound good out of 2MB. IT CANT BE DONE. Drum samples = a bad joke. Only one drum kit. The only good thing was the HD recording. Very quiet and good, the few times it worked and didnt crash my system.

Ok, I know you say, It's not a professional synth or hd recording device. Thats right. The "synth" onboard is for games. You cant make professional sequences with it. Maby it's not ment to be either, but all I know is for $800 I really did expect a more than this.

As I said, (whenever working) the HD recording system can compete with pro gear, however it doesnt have any effects. If the Pinnacle had realtime effects for audio I could have lived with the lousy synth. SNR is good.

So, I really cant reccomend anybody to buy this card. It's on your own risk. What I do reccomend is Yamaha's SW1000XG. SW1000XG IS PROFESSIONAL WITH 6 REALTIME EFFECTS PROSESSORS FOR BOTH AUDIO AND MIDI AND IT'S GOT A MU100R ONBOARD WITH 20MB UNCOMMPRESSED SAMPLES.

Rating: 1 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Oct-06-1998 at 04:50
Jay Thompson a part-timer user from USA writes:
I think the other reviews on this site are kind of one sided. The Pinnacle has performed very well for me. It is an extremely quiet card! Example: I can take my mixer's faders all the way up to max. and I don't hear ANY noise. Try that with other cards! The Pinnacle was designed primarily to be a mid-professional level recording card that has the added bonus of having a real nice Kurzweil synth built-in, but MIDI is not it's primary purpose. I use the midi only to audition midi files and play an occasional game. I didn't want to have to put a cheap soundblaster in my high-end digital audio workstation. I believe that this is the market TBeach was shooting for. When I want to do serious midi work I rely on my outboard "real" synths. Those of you who are complaining that the pinnacle is not a professional synth should have purchased a card or external synth module intended for professional production. The pinnacle's synth is not. As far as installation and other problems, I have had none! I have a rev. F card and use Samplitude Studio to do multi-track digital recording and the Pinnacle has performed flawlessly. So those of you who hate the Pinnacle and are basing it only on midi issues, get a life, and go get a real synth! And if you hate it so much, why don't you box it up and send it to me. I'll give a home where it is loved!

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Tuesday-Sep-22-1998 at 18:14
Ed a professional user from USA writes:
This is my second Rev F board. The digital I/O didn't work on the first. No prob now. The reason I bought this card was a need to have digital I/O full duplex. What I replaced with the Pinnacle was an Audiomedia III and two Mauis! Great card, sound better than the Pinnacle, but no full duplex with most Win95 software. The installation was rough. With PNP, the Pinnie forced my BIOS to assign the AMIII and the SCSI card to the same IRQ! Some serious crashes happened. I pulled the AMIII and all is well. The sound is great. It is quiet, and clean(I have a "low noise" power supply). The Kurzweil synth works well and is many times superior to the Maui. One downfall for the sampler at this point: while you can stuff 48 meg, you are limited to 12k patch ram. This ram contains the assigments of the samples, envelopes, filters,and other synth parameters. Let me put it this way, a two bar stereo sample hacked down into individual drum samples by Wavesurgeon will use about 5.5k of the 12k ram. You may still have 13meg left for raw samples but only 6.5k for another loop. I don't recommend stuff the full amount of RAM at this time as it will surely go unused. I have heard a rumor(02/26/98) that there is an upgrade which boosts that 12k to 256k......for 50 bucks, of course. It would be worth it though. Lastly regarding the sampler, if you do intend to use the sampling features, do yourself a favor and get Awave 4.4 and WaveSurgeon. WaveSurgeon is similar to Recycle by Steinberg but capable of stereo samples. You can store a hacked loop in a AWE Wavefont format, and convert it to a .PFB format with Awave 4.4 . This makes working with loops a lot easier. The daugter card sound okay but I'm not much into GM sounds. But, it's acceptable. The effects are adequate, although they are global on the daughter card, and on the Kurz synth there are two effects proccessors which each of the 16 midi channels can be bussed thru either/or the two effects. I haven't found a way to edit those effects yet. So, to me they are almost irrelevant. The software that accompanies the Pinnacle Project Studio is good. There are the basic mixer and drivers. Plus, a patch librarian, a patch editor, CD player, and Digital Orchestrator Plus. DOP works well. It's certainly no VST or Cakewalk as it is not capable of DirectX plugins, or all the other fancy midi manipulations. But you can export and import the wave files to other wave editors. DOP is simple, but with 200mhz, 64meg, and SCSI Seagate, I was able to get at least 16 tracks. What makes DOP usable to me is the measure grid all midi and audio are edited by. It works intuitively; highlight, ctrl+c, ctrl+v, and ctrl+x to delete. You can combine stereo and mono files in a session. If you import a stereo file, it breaks it out into two mono tracks. What it lacks is mix editing, realtime effect, or even usable effects. The built in stuff is limited. But unlike VST, this program works out of the box. All in all, the Pinnacle does what TB says it will, and it does it well.

Rating: 3 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-06-1998 at 00:16
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