Time to Upgrade?


Jul 20, 2003
Since my Live Drive on my old SoundBlaster Live got fried because I hooked the power cable in wrong, I’ve been thinking of getting a new sound card.

My Current Audio Setup:
Sound Card: SBlive! Platinum 5.1 Digital.

Home Theatre System:
Sony 400W STR-DE475 Home Theatre System
80W x 5 power output
Dolby Digital
New DSP (32bit x 1)
Digital Cinema Sound Studio Modes
5.1 Channel input
Subwoofer output
Auto tuning
1 optical input
1 coaxial input

Front: 2x Sony 140W
Rear: 2x Sony 100W
Center: Sony 150W
Subwoofer: JBL 1000W

Right Now I've got the sound card plugged into the system via the Mutl-Channel 5.1 Input, running it in Analog mode. What I'd REALLY love is a sound card that i could get an optical cable output for the audio, like with most DVD players these days.

When I bought my SBLive 5.1, it was specifically for this home theatre system, and it was a top of the line card back then. It’s been ideal for my setup, but I’ve been wondering if all the new sound cards out there are al they are cracked up to be. They boast all kinds of new features and improved versions of stuff that came with my SBlive. But does it actually SOUND any better? And will the newer cards take more advantage of my home theatre unit, such as using DTS or Digigtal Cinema Sound (using them on things other than DVD's that is)?

The main thing I’d like to know, is will my music sound any better on a new sound card, even if I’m playing the same MP3 files (usually at 192kbps).

Oh and BTW, I'm really only interrested in getting Creative Labs cards...<P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by draxsath on 07/30/05 03:35 PM.</EM></FONT></P>


Sep 15, 2002
You wont get 5.1 digitally to that system if you get a creative labs card. None of them support DD Live. Digital 5.1 sources (like dvds) will pass through for your reciever to decode but analog sources (games, music, etc) will get fed to the reciever in 2.1 instead of 5.1. Cards will DD Live will encode that analog into 5.1 to send to your reciever. At least that is what I have gathered from other posts in here :)
If that isn't a problem just get an audigy 4. Then you will have all of your digital ouputs on a convenient little box. The audigy 2 zs plat only has spdif optical and coax on the front 5.25" bay box.
New cards will probably make your music sound a little better on that system of yours.

<A HREF="http://www.folken.net/myrig.htm" target="_new">My precious...</A>


Former Staff
True dat...but you can get analog 5.1 sound from your games...

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>