Tom’s Hardware Guide does their usual excellent job at reviewing anything computer-related, this time they look at the new top-of-the-line SoundBlaster sound card, the Audigy EX. From their review it seems like this card offers near-pro-quality for less than $300. Including optical digital I/O and even firewire, this card looks like it would be a good choice for basic audio editing and production for radio without spending a ton. The optical I/O means that it will interface nicely with an external minidisc deck or recorder, DAT or even CD recorder. Sure, it’s much more expensive than the cheap-ass $19 sound card that comes pre-installed in most PCs, but if you’re even moderately serious about producing good audio material for the web, radio (licensed or micropower/pirate) or even to integrate into digital video, it’s worth considering a high-end consumer card like this.
I’m even thinking about it for myself — if I end up breaking down I’ll be sure to review it here.