Live! Experiences Review
The SoundBlaster Live! X-Gamer, in my opinion is a valued addition to my system. If you're a gamer, buy the X-Gamer. If you're an MP3 god, then the Live! MP3+ card has a great MP3 software bundle. If you're a gamer, dabble in MP3s, and you're an avid electronic musician, then the Live! or Live! Platinum is the way to go. Because, what it all boils down to is that all three kits include the exact same card with no difference except for the software bundle and the Live!Drive with the Platinum.
If you want to save a few bills, go for the CT4830 OEM card (if it's available in your area). All of the kits, except for the OEM card, come with the full Live!Ware 3.0 CD set. If you don't care for the included utilities and EAX interactive demos, then just download the 'lite' version instead. If the recipe tastes great, why change it? Sure, the newer cards have a few changes, but Creative didn't modify the EMU10K1 processor - if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
My older Live! Value has been sitting in a static bag for three weeks now, and I'm thinking of selling it. Even though, the X-Gamer has very few noticeable differences with the exception of a specialized-use connector, some fancy software in Live!Ware 3.0 and a game bundle - it has rejuvenated my system. No longer am I 'stuck' with the limitation of a four-speaker setup.
DVD movies on my 20" Trinitron monitor no longer have to be compromised by not having discrete rear effect channels or center channel. DVD movies appear so crisp on our high-definition computer monitors (as compared to 500 line television screens). Why can't the audio on our computers be highly-defined too?
The 90's has been the decade of media-merging - Creative has added the last straw this decade by providing consumers with Dolby Digital AC3 (5.1) capabilities to our PCs. Now, cross your fingers and cyber-pray that Software Developers design games based on high-capacity digital versatile discs (DVD) with CD-quality 5.1 discrete channel audio sound. When that happens, expect to see 'People with heart conditions should avoid the use of this product with a 5-speaker Live! system' warning stickers on game packaging.
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