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  Soundblaster Audigy2, The Next Generation 
  Oct 31, 2002, 07:30am EST 


By: Sander Sassen

I can still vividly remember the days that 8-bit stereo sound was new and exciting and when the new 16-bit sound cards debuted on the market Creative Labs quickly became a house-hold name in sound cards with their SoundBlaster series. Their products offered solid driver support and compatibility with all of the major software titles. In these days the battle was fought over price and features and we all know that the days of the $10 sound card are certainly over today; most modern motherboards have onboard sound which is adequate for most tasks.

People that do have requirements that go beyond the capabilities of their AC’ 97 onboard sound usually end up buying one of Creative Labs’ products, not because they have to but simply because Creative Labs’ is the only company whose products can be found in every computer store, no matter how small. With the demise of Aureal a few years ago Creative Labs is simply the largest manufacturer of sound cards in the world and thus they have enough market share to push the PC-audio market into a certain direction and to be found on every retailer’s shelf.

With the launch of the Live! Family of cards a few years ago Creative spearheaded the introduction of 5.1-channel audio on the PC. And no less than three years later, with the introduction of the Audigy, we saw the introduction of 24-bit/96KHz audio. And although the Audigy’ 24-bit support was surrounded by quite a bit of controversy, as the 24-bit signal was internally down mixed to 16-bit, it none-the-less was a milestone in the history of PC-audio. And now, just a year later, Creative Labs introduces their latest sound card, the Audigy2, which offers 6.1-channel audio, true 24-bit/96KHz and DVD-audio support.

1. Introduction
2. What's New?
3. A Closer Look
4. Software Package
5. User Experience
6. Summary

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