A dedicated sound card—now why on earth should we need one, you may ask. We already have one integrated into our motherboard and it's doing its job fine, at least if it isn't broken. Answering your question is quite an easy task. And once you get the hang of it, we are going to proceed with reviewing the Creative Audigy SE. At the end, you can expect our professional rating and conclusions.
The on-board sound cards are produced cheaply for the purpose of not increasing the price of a motherboard. And because of this, they are of poor quality. If you want to take your audio experience to another level, you need to acquire a dedicated sound card, which obviously is capable of much more than the tiny little integrated chip on the motherboard. An independent audio card has the advantage of getting more attention during the production stages along with additional technologies to enhance your experience.
You may be low budget, but as long as the determination to upgrade from your basic integrated audio is present in your heart, the Creative Audigy SE is a product to watch for. I invite you to read the following pages because I'll analyze a dedicated sound card that was meant to end your pursuit for greater sound quality, giving you superior relaxation time (regardless of music, movies, or games) in your hectic everyday life.
It’s time to see what we have. First of all, you must know that there are two packages. First there is the retail version that can be found at a price starting from $30, but if your budget is even lower and you aren't interested in a nice and shiny box alongside a printed quick start leaflet, you may go for the bulk version. Going this way, you might end up sparing another $10.
So the contents of the package for the Creative Audigy SE version can be summed up in the following list:
Sound Blaster Audigy SE card
Quick Start leaflet
Installation CD containing:
Creative Software Suite
Drivers for Windows XP, XP Professional x64 and 2000
User's Guide on CD
Quick Start leaflet
However, if you choose the bulk version, then you can strike the leaflet from the above list and instead of the box you should expect a protective, anti-static package like the one in the attached picture below.
Moreover, here we present the more sophisticated retail version— it certainly looks way prettier, but your pocket will sense the difference.
If we open the box or the anti-static package, this is what we have:
The technical specifications of the card are as follows:
Series: Sound Blaster
Model: SB0570 Audigy SE
Audio Chipset: Audigy
Sample Rate: 96KHz
Digital Audio: 24-bit
Line Out Front/Rear/Center/Subwoofer/Rear Center
MIC In: Yes
Additional Technologies: CMSS-3D Audio Technology and EAX ADVANCED HD
The list looks quite impressive, but we will analyze the performance given by the card later on. You should also note that there are some system requirements, though they are nothing that should be a problem for a system from our era (at least 1 GHz or equivalent CPU, 128 MB of RAM, 600MB free space, etc.).
Another important thing that you receive when purchasing this sound card is the warranty paper. Yes, it has an impressive two year warranty assuring for any possible failure of the device in the future. But for now, let’s move on with the installation process.
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