I'm really happy with my Audigy2 Platinum, but it seems like the Creative stuff doesnt have too many fans in this forum. I work for a Creative Labs subsidiary, so I get the stuff cheap...I guess that's why I like it! =)
There was a really good thread I read here yesterday about the Turtle Beach card. I'd check it out. They're alot more popular than I had thought.
Dont worry about it.Ive been a Creative Fan since the 80's.Wont buy anything else.Except for the SBLive series from 4 years back.So i went back to a 512.Not a lick of problems.Just bought a Audigy 2(cheapo version) and it does not have the problems of the old SB Lives.Creative Pretty much started things in the early 80's.They have been slacking,with the Video Cards and other things they sould stay with what they know best "Sound Cards".I allways keep a older Creative Card around..So when they drop the ball,Ive got a back up until they pick up the Peices.."They allways do"
The Aureon 7.1 should be the best in the bunch. Terratec is a very respected sound card producer with excellent products like the DMX 6Fire. In January this year, <A HREF="http://www.tech-report.com" target="_new"> Tech-report </A> had a sound card comparison and they praised the DMX for its excellent quality.
Both the Aureon 7.1 and the Audigy2 are true 24-bit sound cards with 24/192KHz playback and 24/96KHz recording capabilities. AFAIK the Audigy2 is the only one with a DVD-Audio player software and it will probably do better in games than the Terratec. But the Terratec will probably sound better. Hercules F3 is in a completely different league to these 2 others quality, feature and price-wise. It'd probably be a good card for ordinary use and a lot cheaper.
Anyway, I'm in the same boat as you are right now, deciding on upgrading my Audigy to a 24-bit solution. If you found out anything interesting please share it with us!
There were some reviews about Hercules Fortissimo III and Creative's Audigy on Tom's Hardware too, but there never was a side by side comparision between Audigy2 and a product that could truly rival it and be in the same priceleague. Like the newly arrived AureonSpace
I've sent some email's around (tom's hardware included) asking for such a review audigy2-aureon-fortissimo-santacruz-etc
etc is not a soundcard (:
maybe we will see one such a review somewhere in future (hopefully very near future), maybe you should send some emails too, maybe it'll make a difference
I would add the m-audio revolution 7.1 to your list of cards to consider too. It's been making quite a lot of buzz lately but still no reviews as far as I know. It uses the same envy24ht controller and similar if not the same dacs as the aureon. Some people have tested the cards using rightmark audio analyzer and the results seem to favor the revo. A lot of info and feedback about the revo can be found in the avs forums (www.avsforum.com) if you search there. I saw a set of rightmark results on the aureon in the rightmark forums (http://audio.rightmark.org/) and there was set in the avs forums for the revo if you want to compare.
I'm looking to buy a card as well for my soon to be new pc. So far I'm just considering the revo or space but I'm leaning towards the revo because of the extra features like bass management and circle surround II.
Another thing you might want to consider concerns gaming. Both the revo and space don’t accelerate 3d sound in hardware like the audigy series does. There has been a lot of discussion about this issue too. Some benchmarks were posted for the revo on the hardocp forums if you are concerned (www.hardforums.com). The results didn't seem too good but I'm optimistic that driver updates will increase performance. The dmx 6fire is potentially a good sign of how much the performance can increase I suppose, as it doesn't accelerate 3d sound in hardware as well. From what I've seen, benchmarks on the dmx 6fire were quite competitive to cards that do 3d sound in hardware. The issue will be diminished if you have a beast of a computer though.