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A Look at the FutureUPDATED!
Not forgetting Aureal's Vortex 2 that will soon be incorporated into many sound cards, we see the competition heating up.
Aureal's Vortex 2 promises to be on the forefront with the SBLive! delivering an unprecedented 320 polyphony voices and 16 3D hardware streams. Vortex 2 will also support DirectSound, DirectSound3D, A3D, A3D 2.0 and possibly EAX.
Click to see enlarged photograph
All these are exciting cards coming out in the near future, but what we have here is the Sound Blaster Live! delivering on every gamer's and audiophile's fantasies NOW.
Moreover, from the mail I recently received from Frank of 3DSoundSurge, it has confirmed that Creative will continue to exploit the unharnessed powess (est. to be close to 50 percent!!) of the EMU10K1 DSP processor on the Sound Blaster Live!
The word is out! Creative has announced in a press release that just simply through software upgrade (presumably drivers of course!), new unthinkable levels of functionalities will be added to the Sound Blaster Live!
This LiveWare! programme is scheduled to start in September which will bring about a major "upgrade" to the SBLive! product that promises to leave the competition in the dust! (hmm... the Vortex 2 has to try a lot harder)
AC-3 decoding will be available (although the exact way of implementation is still open to debate... whether it'll require the Theater 5.1???).
The number of hardware accelerated 3D audio streams will be increased 4 folds, from 8 to 32 !!! (This is DOUBLE that of the Diamond MX300 featuring the Vortex 2 !)
Also, Creative has decided to demolish the competition by upping the the number of PCI voices to a whopping 512 instead of the present 256. Seriously, what's the big deal about 320 voices now???
(Read the press release for even more spicy details)
I'll be eagerly waiting for the September update to see for myself if this Creative magic will work. Then I will definitely update my verdict again! Yeah, stay tuned!
There is little to hate about this card, in fact, it is very difficult not to love it.
Perhaps the high price tag will put many interested buyers on hold. But with all the high end features that rivals even professional home theater equipment all packed onto this tiny PCB, the value of the card is unmatched by any card in the market. Also, the fidelity of the card has absolutely no competition.
Creative's Environmental Audio Extensions will open new doors in 3D audio modeling. With the pledged support of many game developers keen on delivering new games with EAX support, and the possibilities of improvements like the inclusion of AC3 decoding, the Live! will not only be the ultimate choice for gamers but it will also be very appealing to audiophiles as well.
After reading the NEW press release, the MOST IMPRESSIVE part was all in CEO Sim Wong Hoo's words.
"... Even with the new major enhancements we are announcing today with Live!Ware, we are only just beginning to scratch the surface!''
Finally, as Hardware One does not have a percentage rating for this card, I'll give it a big thumbs up! The Sound Blaster Live! is definitely the way to go!
Other Sound Blaster Live! Resources:
Creative Sound Blaster Live! home page
Creative Environmental Audio home page
Anand's Sound Blaster Live! Review
PC Audio Reviews' Sound Blaster Live! Review
3D SoundSurge's Sound Blaster Live! Review
CoolInfo's Sound Blaster Live! Review
PC Asylum's Sound Blaster Live! Review
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