How About On Our Card?
At Creative, Dolby Pro-Logic II seems to have run its course, to be replaced by the CMSS 3D system that will transform your stereo into 7.1 sound, but the Neo:6 should soon be available through an update available for downloading from the internet.
In practice, it should be enough to click on the various buttons under the "Decoder" tab to realize that Creative offers almost everything available from Dolby and DTS. There is a choice of mapping from a 4 or 5.1 source, in other words, the additional 7.1 speakers. In respect of the Dolby Digital decoder, you have the choice of activating dynamic compression and Dolby Pro Logic or not. In Dolby Digital EX, you can opt for 6.1 or 7.1, though you need to know that the rear speakers are on a matrix. With DTS, you can choose to matrix the 5.1 sources in order to benefit to the maximum on your loudspeakers or to remain in the source format if you are a purist. In DTS ES, you have the choice between 6.1 and 7.1. Here again, the rear speaker is matrixed because only DTS ES DVDs are in Matrix and not in Discrete. In practice, when in 7.1 mode, differentiating between a movie in Dolby EX or in DTS ES such as "Seven" and a spectacular production mapped in 5.1 such as "Pearl Harbor" becomes mission impossible!
In movie mode on a PC, 6.1 could still be considered to have a slight advantage. If the 7.1 doesn't add much to the movie, it nevertheless noticeably improves the sound in games. The integration of the player into his or her virtual world would be more realistic if there were greater accuracy in the movement of the various elements in the game. The actual contribution made by the sound depends very much on the configuration adopted - size of the listening area, quality and arrangement of loudspeakers, etc. It would be ridiculous to turn up one's nose at the advent of 7.1 systems and it would be just as silly to go hell-for-leather for them if you already have a good 5.1 system: the difference remains pretty minimal.