New Sound Blaster To Drool Over

Creative keeps upping the ante on their sound cards, offering continually better audio quality for very reasonable prices. They just released their Sound Blaster Audigy 2. Tom’s Hardware gives the card their usual thorough run-through and gives it high grades.

I cover sound cards here and there because the integrated audio in most PCs sucks shit. There’s a common misconception that because PC audio is digital that it must inherently be good. NO! The interior of a PC is one of the worst places to try and record or playback digital audio — it’s full of RF intereference that adds all sorts of noise and distortion. On top of that most consumer PCs — like Dells — have the sound integrated on the motherboard, which is even worse. Don’t believe me? Crank up the volume on your computer audio. Hear a shitload of static and high-frequency noise? Yep. Now, if you have a half-way decent stereo, try the same thing. Much less noise.

The ability to record, edit and distribute digital audio has been one of the most liberating features of computers, especially for the growing Indymedia movement. But if your gear compromises the quality of what you produce, eventually you’ll regret it. Especially when producing audio for journalism, your stuff may pass through a few sound cards — if they all add a shitload of noise, then you end up with mush that nobody wants to listen to.

So, Sound Blaster has been at the forefront of bringing much higher fidelity audio to PCs at relatively low cost. By way of comparison, pro audio cards used to cost $500 and more (and many still do). But cards like the Audigy and Extigy come very close to this quality for less than half as much.

Better sound for cheaper can’t be bad. If we’re going to have to live in this post-industrial economy, we might as well enjoy some of its fruits — then use these tools against ’em!






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