Product Type: Creative sound cards
Newest Review: ... other other three are to be connected to your speaker system. By using this method, Creative have been able to provide 5 speakers and on... more
A Creative product that WORKS!
Creative Sound Blaster Live!
Member Name: Johndonut
Creative Sound Blaster Live!
Date: 25/08/01, updated on 25/08/01 (674 review reads)
Advantages: Great sound, EAX support, Works with a subwoofer
Disadvantages: Pricey, You need a 5.1 speaker system to make the most of it, It's Creative!
If you've read any of my other Creative opinions, you'll know that I'm not too impressed with the quality of their products. The GeForce II MX graphics card I bought from them started to shed parts, and the CD-RW drive I bought decided to stop working after 6 months. However, I needed a sound card and I needed one quickly. So, for a laugh I decided to buy a Soundblaster Live! 5.1.
However, after a few minutes using this product I was actually quite impressed. Combined with a 5.1 speaker solution from Cambridge Soundworks, I soon had my PC running with full surround sound and EAX support in games.
So, what do you get with this piece of hardware? Well, on the inside you get the ability to have three CD-ROM drives connected up to playback CD audio. As well as this, you can connect two of the drives up to play digital CD audio. Most people won't need more thanone of these internal sockets, but it's always nice to have room to expand.
At the back of the card there are 5 sockets - each have a various function in the 5.1 speaker system. Two of these are sound inputs, and other other three are to be connected to your speaker system. By using this method, Creative have been able to provide 5 speakers and one subwoofer with an adequate connection to your PC. As in most soundcards, a joystick port is provided to make your gaming experience complete.
The soundcard is available in one option only, PCI form. Almost all PCs made within the last 10 years are provided with PCI slots, so most people should be ok. Installation is also very simple. The built in drivers that come with most Windows installations will do the job, but if you're not content you can install the ones which come on the CD provided. Also on the Creative CD is an intro into the world of EAX sound, including some interesting demos! One of my favourite toys is the microphone tool - simply plug in your microphone and flick through the various effects,
the result is your voice, but warped! These microphone effects include Chipmunk (my favourite), drunk, and evil.
The card is reasonably priced, at about £60-70. Compared to some other cards on the market, this isn't bad - although Creative know they're the market leaders so they can charge what they want! All the cables you need are included (basically the CD audio links) and all the software is provided in the box. Creative also have thrown in a free game, "Rage Rally". This helps you experience the joys of EAX gaming as soon as you get the thing out of its box. Granted, Rage Rally isn't what you'd call a well known game. However, it fulfils its purpose in demostrating to the user how powerful the EAX medium can be.
If sound isn't that important to you, and you only need your computer for work, don't bother splashing out on this card. However, if you're a gamer this card comes highly recommended. Nothing quite comes close to the true experience of surround sound. You should be warned that to make the most of this card you need to have a 5.1 speaker system, and these can cost more than the sound card! Still, it's worth looking into. Well done Creative! (That's something you don't hear everyday!)