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Creative SoundBlaster Audigy 2 Reviewed

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the handy-built-in-digital-out-disabling dept.

Music 377

Julio writes "For some, the Audigy 2 is what the original Audigy should have been, however without trying to underestimate Creative efforts, they are bringing us today a revamped soundcard that is set to raise the bar like the original Live! did, many years ago. You will be happy to know that Creative has taken care of the board quality from the ground up, newer and better DACs are used to ensure 24-Bit/96-kHz/192kHz playback and among the rest of niceties the card offers you have DVD-Audio playback, full 6.1 surround sound, THX certification and the mandatory (for a Creative soundcard) EAX Advanced HD."

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Sweet! (-1, Offtopic)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530881)

Imagine a beow...wait a minute...

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530885)

first post

FP? (-1, Offtopic)

SpdRacerGuy (632991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530888)

Did I manage to get one?

Very glad to see Creative is trying to not be the "Microsoft" of Audio cards these days..

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

YOU FAIL IT! (624257) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530920)

This is not the first post! "Speed Racer Guy"? Obviously not SPEEDY enough! "Slow FAILURE" would be more appropriate!

YOU FAIL IT!

First? (-1, Offtopic)

goosman (145634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530891)

I do not deserve this honor.

Re:First? (0, Offtopic)

goosman (145634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530930)

Nor did I get it.....

YOU FAIL IT! (-1)

YOU FAIL IT! (624257) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530940)

No, you dont! That is why you FAILED! To get the FIRST post, you must be the BEST - and you are nothing but a FAILURE!

YOU FAIL IT!

Re:YOU FAIL IT! (0)

goosman (145634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531071)

Yet I notice that YOU did not get it either. Ergo, you are also a FAILURE.

Go directly to /dev/null, do not collect root.

Dear slashdot.... (5, Funny)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530892)

Please advertise my un-innovative and slow-selling product for free. Thank you.

Re:Dear slashdot.... (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530927)

Especially one which sounds no better than the previous generation.

Next week, we`ll be covering SACD players...

Re:Dear slashdot.... (3, Insightful)

Telastyn (206146) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530933)

Huh? they mentioned their extremely high selling live cards too. It's not Creative's fault that the card is now cheap ($27 oem from pricewatch) and sufficient for even gamers' needs...

Odd that this market is one where people don't seem to be upgrading to something they don't need.

Re:Dear slashdot.... (1, Interesting)

mwolff (594593) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531009)

I would like to see more games built in surround sound, not more cards.

Re:Dear slashdot.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531106)

Can you give the link to seller, please? Because Audigy 2 OEM is supposed to be around $70-$75. SB Live OEM is about $27. I'm quite surprised how Audigy 2 drops so quickly....

Re:Dear slashdot.... (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531131)

Gamers needs? You make it sound like gamers need especially good sound, when an 16-bit onboard chip is usually decent enough to use.

Re:Dear slashdot.... (0)

TummyX (84871) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531177)


Huh? they mentioned their extremely high selling live cards too.


Your comment took me ages to grok. I assume you meant they're and not their.

Wow! Interesting! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530893)

A review of a six month old product!

Hip hip hooray!

DRM? (4, Interesting)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530900)

Any buil-in DRM things or other nastiness that I need to know about? Meaning, can I use the full potential of this card in Linux?

Re:DRM? (5, Informative)

the Man in Black (102634) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530934)

Never mind.


The Digital Output is always active except when playing DRM encoded content, at which point it is disabled. This is a requirement of DRM support otherwise the Audigy 2 would simply not be able to play DRM encoded content, e.g. DVD-Audio, as would be the case for other non-supporting soundcards.


So, no thank you. Also...


Unlike most other Soundcards though, the Audigy 2 can also send a 2, 4 or 5.1 channel signal over it's digital output using a 4 pole mini-jack. For the most part this will only remain compatible with Creative's own Speaker systems e.g. MegaWorks 510D, Inspire 5700, etc. while other receivers are likely to output this signal as stereo.


Sweet. So I also get a crippled Digital Out. Where's my wallet, I must have one of these!

Re:DRM? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531002)

Well luckily that will only affect windows users That drm crap is in the software and won't affect Linux users.

But at the same time if you still stuck in Windows-land I'd recommend M-Audio's new budget card to any windoze user who wants something decent without having to deal with Creative.

Personally I'll still continue to buy OEM SB Lives since I've been using them for years and they're supported under every OS known to man.

Hacked BIOS? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531007)

Anyone hacking the bios of any of these multichannel sound cards to remove these kind of restrictions?
Most of the functionality is in a .dll, as I found out on the video card/macrovision bullshit; properly written software ignores the video bs; now how about the audio?

Re:DRM? (5, Interesting)

mozumder (178398) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531097)

They could have done what Pioneer has done in their top of the line Elite 49Txi receiver and 47Ai universal player- use an encrypted IEEE-1394 output instead of the optical/electrical digital link. They do this using approved standards for firewire audio transmission.

This is the only DVD-Audio or SACD player on the market capable of outputting a digitial audio signal (the article is wrong).

Of course the only thing that would be able to recieve this signal would be the 49Txi itself, but someone has to start somewhere to get high-end digital audio directly to the amplifier.

Actually, with a firewire audio output and a receiver that accepts firewire input, you wouldn't even need a soundcard... Anyone wanna try to write a device driver that can play audio through firewire???

It's about bandwidth, too. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531127)

DVD-audio requires more bandwidth than can be handled by a digital coax / optical output. This is the same as on standalone DVD-audio players - they just have 6 analog outputs. Firewire is supposed to fix this...

Re:DRM? (1)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531187)

Apparently if you want any form of DVD-Audio out, DRM has to be in place first, so that's not so much a Creative thing. Frankly, I don't see much value here above a Soundblaster Live anyway, for the mainstream user.

Re:DRM? (5, Informative)

br0ck (237309) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530956)

From the interview [tomshardware.com] with Creative's worldwide marketing manager..

Q: The digital outputs are disabled during DVD Audio playback, are there any plans to add more Digital Right Management and copy limitations to the Audigy 2 or any future product?

A: At Creative we don't look at it as adding "limitations" to our technology. We wanted to add DVD-Audio, which we feel (and I am sure all your readers will agree) adds a massive benefit to our product line. However, DVD-Audio incorporates certain copy-protection features that MUST be in place before support of the format is allowed. This is not unique to our card. Even standard DVD-Audio players are not allowed any form of "bit-for-bit" digital output while playing DVD-Audio. Some solutions use proprietary digital connections to deliver the digital content to their amp, etc., which means that you can't plug the digital output into a digital recording device.

Therefore as an "Enabler," we evaluate the benefit of a format against the limitations to the user. For instance, we also support WMA. This has requirements to support their DRM implementation, which we do. Remember that all these technologies do NOT stop you from making personal copies of unprotected media. They simply protect that content using the protection methods of the format.

In short, will we ever add generic "Copy-Protection" technologies to our products that stop users doing what they want with their music/ audio? No.

Will we ever add more formats that may incorporate stringent copy-protection technologies to protect itself? Most definitely, if the format is desirable to our users.

Finally, although there may be very stringent copy-protection formats, it is normally in the field of protecting "exact" digital copies. There is normally flexibility where analog/ low quality copies wish to be made. For instance, the DVD-Audio format does give some flexibility in the areas of 16-bit/ 44.1kHz Digital outputs, or for making analog copies. It was not possible to enable this from day one, but we will work to expose this and provide as much flexibility to our users as we move forward.

Re:DRM? (1)

killthiskid (197397) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531133)

I wonder if the drivers from the kx project [kxproject.spb.ru] can bypass this limitation?

I seem to remember reading that this is the case... can anyone back me up on this?

my comments (1)

Squeezer (132342) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530901)

All I can say is cool and hope that it will have Linux support, either from Creative of by Linux kernel developers. ;)

Works in linux (2, Informative)

bigskinnee (155373) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531005)

Works for me. I have this card in my box running Debian (sid) and it works fine with the CVS version of the http://sourceforge.net/projects/emu10k1 driver.

Granted I dont use midi digital out or any of the fancy stuff right now but the I get sound from the line out and the headphones (from the live drive) and the fire wire port on the live drive works as well.

Yarr! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530902)

It's drivin' me nuts!

Re:Yarr! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530931)

A pirate walks in to a bar with a steering wheel on his crotch. The bartender brings this to the pirate's attention. The pirate replies...

Audigy2 and Linux don't play well together (4, Informative)

kikensei (518689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530903)

Well, the Audigy 2 (that I pulled from a Dell at work) didn't work properly with SuSE 8.1 or Mandrake 9.1RC2 new installs so I yanked it in favor of my onboard AC'97 sound. Frankly, a sound card is a sound card. If I want high fidelity, the audigy 2 isn't the answer IMHO.

Re:Audigy2 and Linux don't play well together (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530951)

...nor is the operating system you chose to test the card (no offense).

Re:Audigy2 and Linux don't play well together (1)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531195)

With the low latency patch (among others), Linux can compete with OSX and XP.

Re:Audigy2 and Linux don't play well together (1)

GreyWolf3000 (468618) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530960)

Give it some time for support to develop. Remember that SBLive! (emu10k1) MIDI support is still not quite there...

Re:Audigy2 and Linux don't play well together (0)

garcia (6573) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531051)

nothing like playing your 192k variable rate MP3s on your $15000 audio-phile stereo system that's hooked to your computer...

Use REAL equipment to play REAL music.

First post! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530906)

Just for contention, what about linux etc. support for this card? :)

In other news Earth cools! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530912)

And how long has this card been out? What's next, a review of Windows 98.. .oh wait, that Microsoft, we actually pay attention to them.

SB16 (4, Funny)

crumbz (41803) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530914)

Man, I remember putting a SB16 into my 486 dx2 just to play doom. Same reason I installed a NIC into it for the first time too. Head to head on a couple 486 boxen. No audigy for me, I got my $200 odd bucks saved for a 100GB drive.....

Re:SB16 (2, Funny)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531052)

Probably had to remove the CDROM drive or hard drive, or knock a whole in the front of the case too. Those cards were big!

Re:SB16 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531217)

This is way off topic but Fry's Electronics (assuming you live in the US) has a 120GB IBM DeskStar 7200RPM HD for $99.

Re:SB16 (1)

alanh (29068) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531228)

I did the same thing for Doom and Xwing.... Then I added a WaveBlaster daughterboard and the music was much better.

Redundant...yet useful! (1, Insightful)

jonny-mt (631306) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530928)

Start of with the standard /. flame fare:
WTF AR EYOU l0s3RZ DOING POSTING OLD NEWS FROM like 1997 rfu 2002 wAnz its n00s back lololo!!!

With that out of the way, the Audigy 2 looks to be a real step in the right direction as computer audio finally verges on the level of hi-fi. I personally have a plain ol' Audigy OEM card that has performed quite well for me, considering I don't record. Thankfully, though, Creative has finally come through with a mainstream version for those who do.

Hats off to Creative for continuing to improve in a field that could so easily lay stagnant.

AWE 32 (5, Interesting)

msaulters (130992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530952)

AWE 32 was the last big worthwhile 'innovation' in sound cards. I'm still using mine all these years later, and it's all I've ever needed. It's a real wonder sound cards are even around these days. Seems to me all the circuitry should be in the speakers, with audio delivered over USB. Reduce noise inherent inside the PC case, and you only have to pay once for some nice, expensive speakers (which you need, anyway). My days of paying $200 or more for a sound card ended somewhere back around 1993-1995. It's just not worth it to me to spend that kind of cash, when you still have to add the cost of speakers on top of it to see the performance boost.

Re:AWE 32 (5, Informative)

Chmarr (18662) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530978)

Hardly innovative. The Gravis Ultrasound was doing all of that long before the AWE32 hit the market.

Re:AWE 32 (4, Informative)

msaulters (130992) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531048)

Good Point. Only reasons I'm not still using my old GUS:
1) it was ISA
2) driver compatibility issues
3) was not full-duplex, inasmuch as I can recall.
Like it or not, the AWE32 became the standard, and that's why I still use it today. Everything's backward-compatible with it.

Re:AWE 32 (4, Informative)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531014)

While I understand what you're trying to get at, USB is far from an ideal solution. First off, USB speakers have indeed been created (Microsoft had some), but the problem is the inherant issues with USB itself. High resource usage, bandwidth usage with multiple devices on the same bus, etc...

The closest you're going to get to what you're talking about is a solution like the nVidia SoundStorm with realtime DD5.1 encoding. You could output that digital signal over standard coax or optical SPDIF to a receiver to do the sound processing. Of course, at that point you're spending more money than Joe Blow consumer probably wants to spend ;-)

Re:AWE 32 (1, Funny)

Snork Asaurus (595692) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531181)

Yup. I've been using my AWE32 for 7 years or so. I hope to get good drivers for it any day now.

Re:AWE 32 (2, Informative)

Dalroth (85450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531240)

I've got a USB sound card. It's called the Soundblaster Extigy and it's a piece of crap. It skips, pops, and whirs all the time while playing audio. It does the same thing while RECORDING audio, and what really sucks is it does the same thing while playing back that audio so you get double the pops, whistles, cracks and whirs.

Windows XP system, fresh install, updated drivers for everything.

No, USB sound cards are definitely *NOT* the way to go and once again have me questioning why I should ever buy a Creative Labs product again....

Bryan

Well... (-1)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530955)

I had one of these cards...
The sound quality was great but it DOES have built-in drm "features", not to mention the software is as horrid as it always has been.

huh? (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530959)

Audigy 2 review the title shouts! I thought hurrah, a review of some sort of special edition on that will be completly out of budget but makes an interesting review. But alas, it is a review of a card that has been avaliable for months. Slow news day?

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531028)

Audigy 2 review the title shouts! I thought hurrah, a review of some sort of special edition on that will be completly out of budget but makes an interesting review. But alas, it is a review of a card that has been avaliable for months. Slow news day?

Must be. I can't begin to count how man stories I've submitted that never even made it from another poster. Submitted a link to the story about the 'invisibility suit' three days before it ran on CNN, but it was rejected within 3 minutes. Still haven't seen it here. Guess they save the best stories for a slow news day & just post dupes the rest of the time, because they know everyone's already reading.

Who meta-meta-moderates the meta-moderators?
Why can't we moderate stories?

I'm not anonymous, because I'm ashamed of who I am. I'm anonymous, because I'm too fucking proud of my karma to risk being moderated.

Re:huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531055)

This just in: RED HAT 8.0 RELEASED. I can't wait to try it out!

If its anything like my live (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530966)

...it'll be about 4 years until they get the drivers right.

Re:If it�s anything like my live� (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531026)

Hah, right! I have an SB Live! and they still haven't got the drivers right (it doesn't help that they stopped updating them about two years ago or so either).

Also, for the GNU/Linux folks out there:
SB are notoriously OS/alternative driver unfriendly.

creative drivers still suck (3, Interesting)

Indy1 (99447) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530968)

after the sb live fiasco a few years ago, i think anyone who uses creative is nuts. There are much better alternatives, such as the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz, or Hercules Game Threater or Fortissmo III.

Re:creative drivers still suck (1)

pdbogen (596723) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531054)

Drivers or no, I seem to remember a Tom's Hardware review wherein the Creative cards blasted everything else out of the water.

Re:creative drivers still suck (1)

md04 (241548) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531148)

Yeah, I use the Hercules Fortissimo, and I love that card. Liked it so much, I got my Dad one for the hell of it.

I don't like the idea ofthe digital output being turned off on machines that play DVD-Audio, it kind of makes my coax connection between player and amp useless doesn't it?

Re:creative drivers still suck (1)

vanillacoke (646623) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531153)

I have the fortissmo III. I love the hell out of it! I joke that it's the only card that i can upgrade the speakers to. It could have more tricks but hey, BF1942 with sennheiser 500 headphones is more then adequate.

Re:creative drivers still suck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531202)

"after the sb live fiasco a few years ago,"

What fiasco? I seem to recall a bunch of whiny kids on Usenet complaining that there weren't Windows 2000 drivers for their cards, even though Windows 2000 wasn't even out then. Apart from that, what was the "problem"?

Sound Cards, the SB-Live-Audigy upgrade train. (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530970)

Ok, consider first that I'm not a hardcore audiophile, and neither are most.

Once I got positional audio by way of the Live! series, what motivation is left to upgrade?

I mean I get positional audio and EAX in my games, I get surround sound in my movies. I rip/encode/playback my MP3s. I dont lose CPU time to the audio system, or deal with the setup hell that existed back in the ISA cards era. My PC isnt a media jukebox or lined through a $10,000 stereo, just a 4 way speaker set.

Why would anyone upgrade past Live, if they weren't an audiophile demanding the very latest (and even then, why would they? Most true audio geeks I know run 10 year old equipment).

I mean what breakthrough technologies have been developed? Two more speaker channels?

It's not like video cards. When Doom 3 comes out, and doesnt run on my computer, I can guarantee it will be because of the old Radeon card, not my SB Live.

So, really, what's been added to these things? Are there any good arguments to upgrade?

Re:Sound Cards, the SB-Live-Audigy upgrade train. (1)

robi2106 (464558) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531138)

That is quite a question to put to the Creative folks. I wondered that for a while too.

I bought the SB Live! 5.1 X-Gamer and aside from the nasty Via 686b southbridge problems (solved by upgrading to different mobo) I have no intention to ever upgrade my sound card. That is until mobos don't come with 32bit PCI buses.

I thank creative for their work, but until new sound reproduction hardware is needed (vastly new speaker technology)... why bother? I'd rather put the $$$ in to RAID controllers, CPUs, or games.

robi

Re:Sound Cards, the SB-Live-Audigy upgrade train. (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531157)

When my Soundblaster Live! started acting up I disabled it then went to the onboard sound chip. No noticeable difference.

Mac support (1)

ruiner13 (527499) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530971)

I had read somewhere (perhaps thinksecret.com) that mac os x 10.2.4 would have audigy 2 drivers built in. Can anyone verify this?

I hope (2, Informative)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530975)

I hope that their drivers are better this time around than with the first Audigy. Or at least, that their tech support has gotten better.

Can you believe it, when I asked them for a fix to a bug that prevented me from loading soundfont files with my brand new Audigy, the answer was that there "was no such bug"?

It took weeks before I accidentally stumbled upon a solution in a forum somewhere.

I love the Audigy Ex (4, Interesting)

tmark (230091) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530983)

I bought the Audigy Ex (the first one) a few months ago. The Audigy 2 had just come out, but besides the fact that I got a great deal on mine, the external version had still not been released.

I didn't really care about the sound features that much, so I don't know it stacks up in that department, but what I was really interested in was being able to move all my cables from the back of my PC to my desktop. It drove me absolutely batty having to adjust the headphone volume by either reaching around to the back of the PC, or by running the mixer app. And it drove me crazy having to crawl under my desk to plug/unplug my headphones. Now I can plug in and adjust the volume with barely a reach.

I do wish that there was a master volume control on the panel, though, and I also wish that the damn cables attaching the external panel to the back of the PC wasn't so rigid - makes it really hard to position things. I understand that the Audigy 2 fixes at least the latter problem; I can't tell about the former because there doesn't seem to be specs on the Audigy2 Ex on the creative website.

The final wish on my list would be for them to have put a USB hub in the unit...oh well...

Re:I love the Audigy Ex (1)

warnerve (149076) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531188)

Crawling under your desk to plug in headphones is indeed batty. Should have went to Radio Shack. For about ten bucks, you can buy a small switch that sticks onto the side of your desk. Just plug both headphones and speakers into it and push a button to flip back and forth.

linux in the army (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5530991)

how does it ffeel, to kill children/

I hate to be a troll... (1, Flamebait)

YahoKa (577942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5530998)

but Creative sucks.

I regret every buying creative soundcards ... they leave you stranded in terms of drivers and support.

Slashdot shouldn't be giving creative free advertising on the front page

Progress (1)

Giant Ape Skeleton (638834) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531020)

It's heartening to see that Creative has taken some steps to remedy their past sins;
the Soundblaster series has always been just shy of being worthy of serious attention
from those who need their PCs to do more than play games.

The Audigy, while still not the Holy Grail (affordable, production-quality soundcard),
is head and shoulders above previous offerings.

Re:Progress (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531036)

You've obviously never used my favorite sound reproduction system.

I call it PC Speaker.

Get down with the boops and the beeps, yeah!!

Audio cards (5, Informative)

mfh (56) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531023)

Mackie [mackie.com] , Alesis [alesis.com] , M-audio [m-audio.com] , Roland [roland.com] , and MOTU [motu.com] (among others) also make professional audio interface equipment for recording and monitoring/listening.

There are a couple of Creative-licensed OEM products (Some of the Alesis stuff looks awfully familiar...) but most of these companies provide far better hardware and software for "real" sound applications. A nice audio interface w/ a pair of active studio monitors will sound worlds better than some cheap consumer surround sound system. The prices are pretty much comparable with Creative's "good" stuff.

Re:Audio cards (3, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531130)

I must add Aardvark [aardvarkaudio.com] to your list; I own the q10, and it is swell! Built better than Protools (digi001) stuff, and sounds great.

The Mbox from Digidesign [digidesign.com] is pretty nice too, altho Win/mac only. All do 24/96 without breaking a sweat.

ctfmon.exe?? (4, Informative)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531032)

Have they fixed their drivers so that they no longer have a file called ctfmon.exe? My SBLive! Value drivers have this and it clashes with something by the same name from Office XP. It causes me no end of grief. Creative Labs will never issue new drivers for my card to fix. Just one of a long line of complaints I have about their poor quality software, and shitty support like with the DXR3. Stick with whatever drivers comes with your OS, or use a product from another company.

Re:ctfmon.exe?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531085)

ctfmon.exe is part of Windows XP (input text services or something like that), nothing related to Creative.

More info in support.microsoft.com.

Re:ctfmon.exe?? (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531159)

I *know* that. I even followed MSFT's steps to disable it so that it wouldn't clash with the Creative Labs file of the same name. Something happened when I installed VS.NET and the MSFT dependency is back, and they clash. It's a pain in the arse.

http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8 &oe=utf-8&threadm=cjwJ7.151703%24B72.39605737%40ne ws1.rdc1.az.home.com&rnum=2&prev=/groups%3Fnum%3D1 00%26hl%3Den%26lr%3D%26ie%3DUTF-8%26oe%3Dutf-8%26q %3Dcreative%2Blabs%2Bctfmon.exe%26sa%3DN%26tab%3Dw g [google.com]

Re:ctfmon.exe?? (1)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531185)

perhaps its time to try out OpenOffice... :) Good luck to you...

Not so hot (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531037)

There is talk on the web that the Audigy 2 has a hole in its bass response. Sorry I'm too lazy to hunt down a link.

Interested parties, especially home-theater people, should look at stuff based on the VIA EnvyHT chip which does 7.1 and typically has better SNR and lower THD than the Audigy 2, and in some benchmarks has shown to be less cpu intensive for gaming (i.e. higher frame rates with the EnvyHT cards) than the Audigy 2, although it ostensibly does not have as much hardware acceleration for 3D positional audio.

One such card, with *EXCELLENT* bass management is the M-Audio Revolution. See the card [digitalconnection.com] at one reseller.

Excellent, but buy the budget card. (2, Interesting)

bushboy (112290) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531044)

I got the Audigy1 with all the bells and whistles, aiming to venture into the world of electronic music, sound capture, Dolby surround EAX gaming sounds etc.

All I ever did was the games.

It's really nice, but overkill - buy the budget version unless you intend to use the card to it's full potential.

If you have an Audigy already, there's little reason to upgrade.

Still not there. (3, Interesting)

teamhasnoi (554944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531045)

The problem with the original Audigy was its misleading claim of 24 bit recording and playback. It *seems* that the abillity is now there, but hard to get. Defaults sound like upsampling is still being used. Of course, I like the sound quality of talking out of my ass...

Reasons I hate Creative... (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531058)

Every year or two, they release a new card, and claim it's the last card you'll ever need to buy because it's software upgradeable. Then, they try to charge for drivers for cards they market as upgradeable. Finally, the fact is, many of their drivers really suck and have huge flaws and compatibility issues.

2496? (2, Interesting)

dmnic (452122) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531072)

until it can do TRUE 24bit 96kHz operation(input/output) it will never be nothing more than gaming card.

dont know about this iteration of Audigy, but the Live Platinum, Audigy and Extigy would automaticlly resample whatever signal was thrown at it to 16/44.1, evenif the original signal was allready 16/44.1.
needless to say, this resulted in non Bit-perfect digital transfers(from DAT, CD, etc to HardDisc and vice-versa).

I'll stick with my M-Audio Audiophile 2496 for $130 thank you very much

Re:2496? (1)

Quikah (14419) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531125)

isn't 16/48? I seem to remember all this uproar about the Live having to resample CDs.

Re:2496? (2, Informative)

dmnic (452122) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531226)

16/48...not sure I understand this question.

yes, the Live(and Audigy and Extigy) resampled EVERYTHING, no matter what bit-rate/resolution the signal was in.
if you ripped a cd digitally, it was allready at 16/44.1 the Live(etc...) would take that 16/44.1 signal and resample it to 16/44.1(why is beyond me).

if your source file was 16/48 or 24/48 or 24/96 or anything other than 16/44.1 the Live(et all) would downsample to 16/44.1 without using a proper Dither. needless to say, the resulting sound was very inferior in quality compared to the source

What a great job (1)

nizo (81281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531083)

I wonder how much the person gets paid who comes up with funky product names like "Audigy"? What exactly is it, Audio+Prodigy=Audigy??

Re:What a great job (2, Funny)

Chemical (49694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531198)

There was a story on Slashdot about "naming consultants" many many moons ago. They are the people who came up with all those dot-com era company names like "Agilent", "Accenture", and all those other stupid names by basically scouring the dictionary and inventing a new word out of two existing ones. And I think the fee was something like $50k per name.

I'm sure most of the people who went into that line of work are now living under a freeway overpass in a cardboard box.

Still happy with the Live! Value (3, Insightful)

wayward_son (146338) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531084)

I still like my old SB Live! Value. Good clear sound. Does well with games and mp3's. Of course, I'm not exactly an audiophile either.

For most (90%) of people, a good set of speakers is a much wiser investment in sound quality than a good sound card. On a cheap set of speakers, an SB Audigy, SB Live!, the AC97 that came with your mobo, and even a 10 year old SB16 don't sound terribly different. Only good speakers can truly take advantage of a good sound card.

Re:Still happy with the Live! Value (1)

SkankhodBeeblebrox (581971) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531232)

I was happy with my Live! Value as well (4 years old) but I bought a set of 5.1 speakers and didn't have 5 channel support with the Value... Of course I could have bought a Live 5.1 for 1/4 of the money I paid for the Audigy 2, but I have a friend who had a live and got the original Audigy and said he found the audio much clearer...

Anyway, the Audigy2 works and sounds great with my Klipsch Promedia 5.1 system... I just wish the Klipsch had digital/optical in...

Er, the Audigy 2 has been out for almost 6 months (5, Informative)

SmirkingRevenge (633503) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531096)

Tom's Hardware Review [tomshardware.com] I own one and the problem I have with it is its ASIO access (for low latency with midi devices) isn't very fast, which makes it worthless as a synth.

20th post! (0, Offtopic)

famebait (450028) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531118)

If that was interesting 'news', then so is this!

"Digital Out Always Active" - Wrong!!! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531136)

Early in the review, it states that the digital out is always active except when playing DRM. This is at least imprecise if not just plain wrong.

I got an Audigy 2 very recently, and I love it. However, when I tried to pair it w/ the new Klipsch ProMedia Digital system (w/ built in Dolby Digital decoder), it didn't work well at all. There are two problems w/ this combo: On the Audigy 2 side, it only outputs stereo over the digital port unless there's a DD signal. So you can't even run the Audigy tests if you're only connected to the digital out, as you get no sound for rear left/right or center channels. In my opinion, the Audigy 2 should always send the exact same digital signal out as it's sending over its analog out jacks (leaving the DRM arguments to others).

On the Klipsch side, it only has front stereo analog input jacks - you can't do the required 3 stereo analog hookups. So for the vast majority of Audigy 2 out scenarios (unless all you do is play DVDs), you can't take advantage of the features of the Audigy 2.

Since Creative cards have apparently behaved this way for a while, I think Klipsch really screwed up here. I sent the Klipsch back and got the Logitech Z-680s, which also are THX certified, have a wireless remote, etc. This setup sounds terrific!!!

FWIW...

Great card, but the Software's Annoying... (5, Informative)

seigniory (89942) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531137)

I bought one of these when they first came out - without a doubt there's no better card out there for the money. However, Creative's still got e VERY annoying software set that may or may not really piss you off... consider:

1. The software on the Creative website (soundblaster.com) are only updates. You CANNOT download full applications or drivers (that only work if you have the card, mind you). So if you lose your original install CD, you're hosed unless you poly up the $25 they want for a new CD

2. The software that gets installed (the mixer, EAX control panels, speaker calibrators, etc.) is a) a HUGE memory hog (we're taling > 92MB on XP Pro with all the bells & whistles loaded) and b) slow, because they chose not to use the standard Windows toolbox to build it. All kinds of unnecessary stuff is in there - transparent drop downs (like OS X), etc...

3. If you install the full software suite - it's ALWAYS there... at one point or another, every 10 minutes you'll be reminded of the fact that you have a CREATIVE card in your rig... and that stupid splash screen at every startup / login is one of the most annoying things... if you can find out how to shut it off the first time in less than 15 minutes of searching, I'll give you a cookie. Chocolate chip, even.

As always, this is My $0.02, so YMMV. Me? I get around this by installing the drivers only and the individual apps as necessary (which is rare since most of their offerings have better share/freeware counterparts).

moron getting yOUR monIE's worth? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531141)

"A point I have been wanting to bring out, that is getting ignored, is the increasing conglomeration of business. Big corp's are buying up small businesses left and right. Dependents are few and far inbetween, and contractual agreements greatly restrict their access to the markets.

Repubs talk about entrepreneurs, but the entrepreneurs are getting squeezed out and they aren't the ones making the big bucks, the people making the big bucks are the corporate politicians ( Executives and Investment Bankers ). These people create nothing, they are parasites, destroyers.

I too see serious economic troubles ahead, I'm thinking depression. The laws have been stacked far too much in favor of the wealthy. Increased extensions of intellectual property laws for people who never created the property in the first place, coupled with weak or non-existant enforcement of laws against fraud, and barriers against civil action are all combining to create large fissure in our economy. The people in charge of our federal government certainly aren't going to fix these problems.

Throw in this war Bush seems determined to wage in Iraq, and it might just be like dynamiting a fragile structure. The war might be won quickly, but the aftermath will be devastating. I think that Words of Woe does have a few points, one being that the rest of the world may very well boycott U.S. products simply because they don't like the arrogance of our leadership. If a depression comes, it will be worldwide, and the U.S. will get the blame."

not that it really matters now, what anybody actually thinks.

why no OS X or Linux drivers? (2, Insightful)

The Lynxpro (657990) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531142)

I really do not understand the logic of Creative Labs. Why can't they offer up-to-date driver support for these other operating systems? Sure, they (Creative) are one of the featured Microsoft partners on *the Beast's* video ipod, but Nvidia makes the majority of the chips in the Xbox yet their relationship with MS doesn't hamper their ability to offer drivers for Linux, OS X, BSD, etc. Maybe they are just lazy. For all the talk about Linux adoption in Asia, Creative Labs sure is missing the boat, and they are a Singapore based company to boot! Maybe their CEO needs to be cained.

Why do I want one of these? (3, Insightful)

CommieBozo (617132) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531160)

What does this give me that my on-board sound does not? My on-board sound seems to work pretty well, meaning it plays MP3s about as well as anything else.

Maybe if I wanted to watch DVD's on a 21" screen or have my computer in the living room I would want a card that does all of that fancy digital output.

For my needs the on-board sound does what I want to do, which is play MP3s in the background and let me hear Serious Sam blow things up.

For everything else, my regular home theater system works just fine.

Re:Why do I want one of these? (1)

intermodal (534361) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531175)

I'm with you, komrad. I don't understand how this is front-page material.

Latency? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5531164)

*From the website*

24-BIT/ 96 kHz RECORDING
The purest commercially available recording path captures the quality and subtle details of your audio creations
Sound Blaster Audigy 2 lets you make rich 24-bit recordings to your PC with an unprecedented 24-bit/96kHz recording capability, while ASIO support allows compatible music creation software to link directly to ASIO compliant hardware, allowing multi-channel recording simultaneously at 16-bit/48khz at ultra low latency of =2ms.

Can anyone verify that the latency is indeed =2ms? I'm not too involved with digital audio recording, but I have friends who do it. I remember them saying that the only real cards that have =2ms are the expensive ones like RMA etc. I highly doubt that a $99 card could do what a $1000 card does.

Good job on the firewire though :)

Isn't this a couple of months late? (3, Informative)

teg (97890) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531165)

It's a great card, but I've had it for months already - and it wasn't just released when I bought it either.

A couple of linux notes:

* support was added in early January in the opensource driver [creative.com]
* the newest beta of Red Hat Linux supports the card out of the box.

I bought a Platinum - Here's my quick review (0)

aflat362 (601039) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531166)

I paid 200 bucks for an Audigy 2 Platinum. The Creative software that comes with it crashes my computer (XP Pro - P4 2.4, 512 DDR). Therefore rendering the remote control useless. The other software that comes with it not made by Creative is great, especially Cubasis VST 4.0 for home recording. SOF deuce is a fun game. When I make home recordings (acoustic guitar from a microphone) for some reason there will be an occasional pop sound. Otherwise the sound is just beautiful. It is great having the Front panel drive that came with the Platinum. I/O Ports Galore! and it is sweet having the volume knob for the headphones and mic input right on the computer. I think it sucks that if you want a black faceplate for the drive you have to buy it separately for 20 bucks. You should get the option to buy a black one for the same price as a beige panel one. All in all I give it a 6/10 because of the software problems I had and the occasional pop sound in recording.

DVD-Audio (5, Informative)

Mooset (9986) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531211)

It seems this needs to be cleared up for the ignorant reactionaries in the audience...

The DVD-Audio protection does NOT cripple the Audigy 2 when compared to other sound cards because the Audigy 2 is the only card that supports DVD-Audio at all! DVD-Audio is not the same thing as audio channels on DVD playback which DO work through the Audigy 2's digital outputs.

The only time digital output is disabled is when DVD-Audio discs are played, but DVD-Audio is such a niche format right now that it isn't likely to seriously affect anyone.

sound for the borg (1)

rigelstar (243170) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531212)

All you need is an imbedded chip in the brain that encodes a wireless digital audio signal.

Alternatives? (1)

shr3k (451065) | more than 11 years ago | (#5531223)

Has anyone had any success using non-SB sound cards in Linux? Specifically, are there any alternatives better than SB in quality and features?

Of course, if they're aren't any, then that must be why SB is got a nice chunk of the market.
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