High-end audio cards commercially available today cast a wide net by offering a variety of functions to satisfy a wide range of customer demands. While the consumer sound cards would not meet the specialty demands of professional use, multi-channel sound control (Dolby Digital, DTS, and others) is one of several audio technologies available in consumer channels today.
Of the cards in this comparative test, Creative's Platinum and Platinum EX have 6.1s channels, Terratec's Aureon Sky has 5.1, and Terratec's Aureon Space has 7.1. The range of available products spans classic Dolby Digital through advanced multi-channel sound. Comparatively, few DVDs offer more than five available channels.
Sound card capabilities also depend on software. Sampling sound at a 192 kHz frequency, for example, requires the Windows XP Service Pack 1. Sound cards that offer 7.1 channels require Windows XP. Older software packages limit sound card performance to 6.1 channels..