Sound Blaster Live Vs. ______

QUick question, I just bought a Logitech THX 5.1 sound system. Now I need a 5.1 card.
My question is, will the sound blaster live 5.1 do, or should i spend an additional $100 CDN for the lower end audigy.
I like listening to music and playin games, but I dont do any recording or anything of that sort.
I just want to be able to get the surround sound and wonder if there is a $100 difference in sound quality and which one i should get


Depending on your motherboard (does it have onboard sound?), you may have 5.1 capability already. If you do have onboard sound on a recent montherboard, and you have 3 audio connectors, there may be a way to set them up all to output sound (front L&R, back L&R, center/subwoofer) instead of the default, which is one stereo output along with a mic input and a line-in (or something). This change is done in software - check the Windows Sound Control Panel.

Unless you really really care about your sound quality, get the cheapest 5.1 card you can find. It will probably do you fine. The higher end cards from Sound Blaster and others come with neato front control panels and remote controls and stuff, if you want that, get the card with the extras you need.

There may be comparison reviews on the internet if you google.

      • I am a bit out of date on the matter, but as of a year or so ago, the SBLive Dolby cards cost like $30 for a whitebox/OEM, and could play and record in 16-bits, which is the quality that CD’s are encoded to. Later Creative cards can play 24-bit files and some can record in 24 bits, but no common audio media type is yet available in 24 bits that I know of, so there’s really a question of if you -need- a 24-bit card for typical computer use.
  • If you go shopping for a Soundblaster Live card, buy only one that has on-board Dolby hardware decoding. The retail version has it, but the retail version is overpriced for the pretty box. If you buy a OEM version, than you should know that there were about 14 different “Soundblaster” cards made, all of them missing various features except the top-grade one, and only the top-grade one has hardware Dolby decoding. As of a year or so ago it cost about $32.

IMHO if you are just out to play games and listen to music the SB Live will be fine. If you are concered about MIDI latency or recording then you’ll want to avoid the SB series of cards.

I’d recommend strongly against getting an SB Live!. They’re pretty old, with poor driver support and relatively poor audio quality to the cards of today.

What connection does the reciever use for digital input? If it’s got both optical AND coaxial, you’re good no matter what. Does it also have 5.1 analog input?

The main issue here is that you’re not going to be able to send a Dolby Digital signal from every source. Most likely you’re only going to get Dolby Digital from DVDs, where it’s just sitting on the disk and is passed through the digital output. From other sources (games, music), you’re restricted to using digital stereo or analog 5.1 sound.

How important is 3D audio in games to you? I think your best option is the Chaintech AV710. It’s a 7.1 card with optical digital out, and best of all is under $25. It’s also gained much fame as the best consumer soundcard for headphones. Its analog surround sound isn’t all that great, but it’s still probably better than the SB Live!. The only real downside is that its support for 3D audio in games is lacking, as it has no hardware acceleration for 3D sound and doesn’t support the latest standards. Of course, the SB Live! doesn’t support anything beyond the original EAX standard anyway.

If the Chaintech AV710 won’t cut it for you, your best bet is the Creative Labs Audigy 2 ZS. It offers the best 3D sound support currently available, and very good quality for analog surround. The downside is that they retail for around $85.

Yep, I returned the SB Live almost as quickly as it took me to install it, try it and take it out again. It offered no sound difference to my original SB PCI 512 card (which I found odd).
Seeing as Im a bit strapped for cash, I will have to hold on for the time being since the obvious step up at the moment is the AUdigy cards

The Chaintech AV710 should work well for you. If you’re using a pre-Live! Soundblaster, even the software 3D audio support on the AV710 will be a major improvement.