Multi-core processors and vastly improved onboard audio solutions have all but rendered discrete audio cards obsolete, just don't speak such nonsense to Creative, which just unveiled a new generation of Sound Blaster soundcards. Three new cards comprise the company's new Sound Blaster Z Series, including the Sound Blaster ZxR, Zx, and Z, all three of which are PCI Express parts.
Don't try telling Creative Technology that discrete audio is for dinosaurs. Onboard audio has improved leaps and bounds in recent years, but there's still room in the market for add-in soundcards, and Creative will continue to cater to the discrete audio market with its newly announced Sound Blaster Recon3D audio platform.
They say fate's a fickle mistress, but destiny's got nothing on the free market. For every Microsoft-esque success story, there's the burnt out husk of Sun Microsystems (R.I.P.). The really interesting tales have nothing to do with overwhelming successes or overwhelming failures, though; any budding novelist can tell you that a good story needs some tension.
Audiophiles, hear this: The amazing Asus Xonar Essence STX finally faces a true competitor.
Creative’s Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium is startling in several ways. A gaming and music enthusiast’s audio card, this X-Fi is ready for Windows 7 (and Vista) out of the box and comes armed with Creative Alchemy, which restores multichannel positional audio for legacy Windows XP and Vista games. Watch out, though: The sheer fidelity of the card’s output will really make you notice any shortcomings in the quality of your speakers’ or headset’s sound. Another thing you’ll notice: Its analog outputs don’t include an option for more than two speakers. Users of 5.1 or 7.1 systems without optical or digital audio inputs or a decoder will probably want to think about another soundcard because of this.
>We’re spoiled by today’s multichannel PC audio, but once all we had were crappy beepers. How did audio come to the PC? The journey to high quality, multichannel audio on your PC has been a long and arduous one, with some dead ends and side trips.
Herewith, we proudly present the six most important moments. What does Leisure Suit Larry have to do with PC audio? You'll have to hit the jump to find out.
Normally, designing a headset for one specific game would limit you to a relatively small segment of the gaming community. But we’re talking World of Warcraft here—a game whose massive popularity makes a game-specific headset seem viable.
Enter the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft Wireless Headset from Creative Labs. The headset uses a small USB dongle that broadcasts in the 2.4GHz range. We found the reception to be fairly good, allowing us to walk into a different room during use without static.
I feel silly asking such a simple question—I can build a computer blindfolded, but from time to time I shock myself at the little things I haven’t learned: If I buy a USB-powered headset and install a Sound Blaster card on my motherboard, will my headset take advantage of the soundcard even though it’s plugged into a USB port (and not directly into the card)?
I finally took the plunge and built my own rig. Everything worked fine until I plugged my Boston Acoustic Digital BA735 speakers into my EVGA 680i motherboard’s onboard outputs: Nothing happened. I received no sound at all. I tried the same speakers with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi XtremeGamer card and got the same result: zilch. Am I missing something here?