What they say: (excerpted from http://www.ventrilo.com)
Ventrilo 2.3.0 is the next evolutionary step of Voice over IP (VoIP) group communications software. Ventrilo is also the industry standard by which all others measure themselves as they attempt to imitate its features.
By offering surround sound positioning and special sound effects on a per user, per channel, per server or global configuration level the program provides each user the option to fully customize exactly how they wish to hear sounds from other users or events.
Ventrilo is best known for it’s superior sound quality and minimal use of CPU resources so as not to interfere with day to day operations of the computer or during online game competitions. It is also preferred for the simple user interface that any first time computer user can very quickly learn because the most commonly used features are immediately visible and can be activated with a single click of the mouse.
What the Viper Sez: my test of Ventrilo found it to be easy to install and use in its client mode. To set up your own server requires navigating through a clunky DOS based interface, but the instructions are pretty easy to follow. Best of all, this baby is FREE. Ventrilo sports higher ping rates, faster transmission, plus all the features you would expect from a typical VoIP solution. A binding a Push to Talk (PTT) key allows you to assign a spare mouse button, like your “back” button to keep noise down on your channel. But if you want the good old Darth Vader sound, use voice activation with your mic, that way you can taunt others with the rasp of each breath. Voice is near phone quality, and the fast transmission makes this software a premiere choice for first person shooter fans, who can’t afford lag in their communications.
Ventrilo’s claim of “minimal use of CPU resources” remains to be seen as some mid-level systems running high-level games may experience some performance issues. My system ran Ventrilo at the cost of 6,436k in vitrual memory. While this shouldn’t be an issue for most gaming rigs, remember to turn off virus scan during play.
Another fun feature in Ventrilo is its naming function. It allows you to phonetically type in the names of your channels and yourself. Your name is announced when you join the server for everyone already online to hear. The system also tells you what channel you’re in. The naming function is subject to abuse, the phonetics are limited only by your imagination.