Newbie to Sound Cards - I need advice!

I never really cared about my sound card much (Integrated has always been fine), but now I think I want some surround sound.
I saw had SoundBlaster Live! on sale for $33, and a SoundBlaster Audigy Gamer for $87. So how big is the quality difference between them? They can both do surround, it's just a matter of quality. Or, is there some other Sound Card that is a better deal than these? And what's a good speaker system to buy? I don't usually crank up the volume alot, so I won't need that much wattage. I'm trying not to go over $150 with this, but I can if really necessary.

....<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by ProdigySim on 02/16/03 00:10 AM.</EM></FONT></P>
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  1. I use the sound blaster audigy oem, found on newegg for around $50. Its the best deal overall.
    I would suggest though if you are really serious about your gaming to get the audigy 2, comes with full versions of hitman2 and soldier of fortune 2.. it has better sound quality than any sound card on the market for gaming.

    But you get most of the quality with audigy 1 and save $50. depends on your preference.

    Audigy is better than any other card because of a few simple facts. No other sound cards other than teh audigy series has EAX3 (EAX advanced HD), so new games such as unreal tournament 2003 sound very very good. You should read up on it at if you want further information.
    Also they are the premium gaming cards out now as far as sound quality goes. The audigy 2 is more so the one that can claim that fact.. its fantastic.

    I love my audigy, but they do have trouble with VIA based motherboards so dont get one if you have a via chipset.
    Intel/sis/nvidia you are ok, but via is bad in many respects and incompatible with many pci hardware vendors so I suggest to stay away from them anyway.

    I'm listening to Cradle of Filth on my Audigy OEM (only difference between retail and oem is gold plated connectors which effects durability, not sound quality) and my logitech z560s and its stunning.. if you like death metal. :)

    Some will suggest the turtle beach santa cruz but its been said that they are going to be getting out of the business, and its not the premier gaming card anyway so I find that information irrelevent.

    The only thing I would use over an audigy is the nvidia nforce 1/2 onboard sound, its not better but if you get it and havent invested in an audigy then its close enough.

    Good luck on your decision!

    Athlon 1700+, Epox 8RDA (NForce2), Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 9 80GB 8MB cache, 2x256mb Crucial PC2100, Geforce 3, Audigy, Z560s, MX500
  2. I would have to agree.I used to own a SBLive(Platinum)Along with a plain Live series a few years back.It was the worst cards I ever used.Slowed my systom down really bad.I will go with a Audigy series card.Seems they worked out the bugs that the Lives had.Why do you think the Live series are so cheap?
  3. I have the SB Live 5.1 and it has caused me countless headaches. The Win XP drivers are nothing to write home about.

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  4. Klipsch Speakers rock! but they are alittle over priced

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  5. You want to talk about pricey? All this talk about Rock? I forgot about good hard hitting sound in just a few weeks.In a a post i answerd to a few weeks ago about Suond cards,,Well I went for Theater type sound in the 5700 Creative.It did not let me down.But for real sound,I hooked up my old Yamaha speakers just to see.We are talking 4 plus years easy on these things.The full range are the yst-m15 along with a msw10 woofer.They did not sell as a set.I spent $285 for the combo.Which was the going price at the time.Ive heard some of the new 2.1 systoms.Ill kick major butt on most of the new ones.If not all.I asked Yamaha about a year ago if they had replacments.The answer was no.They told me to buy some LameAS systom which did not even equel my old ones.Speakers got cheap,but the price went up!!!

    "You can Bash Me Now"
  6. Sounds like you were lucky. Yamaha is not the type of manufacturer to put out garbage. I have no dout those speakers kick major butt. They had NS-10 monitors (recording studio stuff) on the market for I think 15 years or more, and they were the reference speakers EVERY serious studio had to have. I still see them used for no less than $450/pr., and they sell in no time. Alot of their other products are just as good (love the CRW-F1). If you ever see another set on E-Bay, jump on it, or let me know.


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