Philips Acoustic Edge
The Philips Acoustic Edge received a good review in the Jan. edition of Maximum PC. They liked it better than the Sound Blaster Live!, and you can get it for less than 100 bucks. Does anyone have this? Do you like it?
I have the PAE and it is a great card. I did not notice much difference in terms of sound quality between this and the Live!, but what I liked about it was its ability to output a true 5.1 signal (hooked up to an external receiver). The Live! 5.1 can do this but you are required to buy one of Creative's speaker packages (Cambridge DTT-something) for it to work (I personally think that they sound like cr*p). I can't tell you about its performance in games because I'm not into gaming. It is available for a good price at techstore.com/officeexpress.com with this coupon code: 936P ($79).
Unless you want to spend bigger bucks on a home theater system, the Klipsch Promedias are one of the best computer speakers you can get.
If you are interested in getting a home theater system, I suggest you check out these two sites: avsforum.com and hometheaterforum.com as they have an excellent HTPC forum. There are some budget home theater "in a box" packages that cost around $500. While these are not top of the line, they will definitely blow away the Promedias. The Kenwood htb503 is supposedly one of the better packages available.
I got a set of the Klipsch Promedias for my brother on Xmas and they sound pretty nice, although the bass didn't really impress me -- loud, but I didn't "feel" it.