Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby janskjaer » 2015-5-05 @ 14:41

There are so many variants of the Sound Blaster LIVE! That I can't separate the best from the worst.
When looking to purchase an SB LIVE, which model numbers should I be looking at?

It was my understanding that the best card to get was the original (CT4760) and this should be the only one to go for and the third-party cards (SB0220 and SB0410) should be avoided. But then there is the CT4780 and CT4870, CT4830 and the SB0100, and what's the difference between a CT4760, CT4670 and CT4620? I'm going crazy! :confused:

If anyone has an informed guide on what to look for when shopping a LIVE card, it would be of great help. And if some cards are better than others for particular reasons (e.g. better DOS Emulation, 4.1/5.1, better driver support, low noise floor etc ...), then feel free to explain why you think that card is better and for what reason.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby candle_86 » 2015-5-05 @ 15:40

Well I'm using an SB0060 which sounds fine, and works great under 98 and the few dos games I've tried pick up its SB16 emulation just fine.

SB0060 is a SoundBlaster Live 5.1
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby mockingbird » 2015-5-05 @ 15:47

The simple answer is that while there might be certain models equivalent to the 4780 in terms of PCB layout, the original 4760 is the only one with the gold-plated connectors.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby candle_86 » 2015-5-05 @ 15:51

mockingbird wrote:The simple answer is that while there might be certain models equivalent to the 4780 in terms of PCB layout, the original 4760 is the only one with the gold-plated connectors.


yes but unless your using very expensive very nice speakers, you wont notice any minor corrioson on the other cards, Ive yet to notice any noise or bad contact on non gold plated sound cards because my most expensive speakers cost me 200 dollars new, and they are a 5.1 system.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby akula65 » 2015-5-05 @ 16:49

Although it just has the names and model numbers, you can usually figure out a great deal from this page (and do additional research if necessary):

http://www.ask.asia.creative.com/wwengl ... _audio.htm
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Jorpho » 2015-5-05 @ 17:54

The KX Project FAQ is also a little useful:
http://www.kxproject.com/faq.php?language=en#Q15
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Dreamer_of_the_past » 2015-5-05 @ 22:32

The original one with the gold-plated connectors is the best and the most valuable too.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Logistics » 2015-5-05 @ 23:19

Nobody is going to notice a difference in sound quality due to gold-plated connectors on the Live! card. One can cry "electrical conductivity" all they like, it matters not. Let's hope you don't have a good, revealing audio rig or it will show you what a cruddy , consumer card the Live! is.

However, they can sound good because I've modded one with low impedance filter caps, and film caps in the signal path, replacing the electrolytics, and it's a night and day difference.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby mockingbird » 2015-5-05 @ 23:36

Logistics wrote:However, they can sound good because I've modded one with low impedance filter caps, and film caps in the signal path, replacing the electrolytics, and it's a night and day difference.

I'd love to see a pic of this... I think the only benefit of the gold plated connectors is long-term longevity. They won't corrode like most other jacks will, but that usually takes many many years.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby tayyare » 2015-5-07 @ 09:47

SB 0220 is a widely available and cheap card. According to the excerpt below, it might be an acceptable option:

"Sound Blaster Live! Dell OEM
This card, marketed as a Sound Blaster Live!, did not have the full capabilities of the retail versions of Live! It used a different audio chip, not EMU10K1 but EMU10K1X, that is noticeably smaller with fewer pins. The chip does not accelerate DirectSound in hardware, nor EAX. The sale of this board by Dell created some controversy because it was not obviously marketed as an inferior or cheaper product. The card can be identified by its part number (SB0200/0203).

Sound Blaster Live! 5.1 Digital (Dell OEM, SB0220)
This was a later, improved model. The EMU10K1 chip was restored, as was hardware EAX/DirectSound/DirectSound3D acceleration. Currently there are Windows drivers available for download from Creative's website (filename LiveDrvUni-Pack_ENG_.exe). It was recommended that recording should be done at 48kHz sampling rate, as there was an issue with hardware down-sampling."
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby HighTreason » 2015-5-07 @ 10:13

This is interesting, because I still have a SB0220 card (though bought several) and a receipt for them, purchased brand new from a computer store in 2001 which no longer exists. I always knew there was something fishy about them... Never did get the SB16 emulation working either.

I wonder where they got those from. I liked that store though, they were cheap and even then, I used to get stuff for free out of them - no joke, me and my dad knew the manager. Fans and cables were by the entrance and I was allowed to just pick them up on the way out without paying for them, provided I didn't take ridiculous amounts. This is probably why I only recently started to run short on IDE/Floppy ribbons and 80mm fans. I also remember buying a shareware version of Duke Nukem II on floppy from that store. Sadly, the powers that be threw them out of the shopping center, along with all the other small businesses, because they wanted to put a cinema there.

Incidentally, all the Live! cards I do still have no longer work... They all smell rather musty for some reason too, which is unusual as some of them were in use. Overall I never really thought any version of them was any good to be honest, they were only marginally better than the SBPCI. Personally I favor the YM724 for PCI, though I can see why one might want the extra features of the Live... Maybe I'd use an Envy24 for jobs like those, it's used in pro audio gear to this day (which I don't agree with) and does actually have SBPro emulation which, although finicky is better than the Live's unreliable attempt at SB16 emulation, despite the lack of EAX I find them to be a good compromise.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Sammy » 2015-5-07 @ 10:21

I use a SB0060 Live 5.1 to record my from my tapedeck.
Until today i record as 44.1 kHZ 16 bit in cooledit and then save it as MP3.

Should i record now at 48 kHz in cooledit and let cooledit downsample to 44.1 kHZ?

I've read SB-Live makes hearable distortion when downsampling.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby akula65 » 2015-5-07 @ 12:39

The preceding posts are also a cautionary reminder to distinguish the difference between the Creative model number marked on the box (if retail) and the card model as stamped on the card's sticker or the card itself since these can be misleading. I once purchased a Creative retail package marked Model SB0060US hoping to get a spare card for a Live! 5.1 retail package, but the card's sticker and stamp indicated that the card was a SB0220. This card and it's driver package did not permit the assignment of the traditional DOS emulation ports and IRQs (IRQ=5, Port=220, etc.), so it was useless for my purposes (it wasn't a drop-in replacement).
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Logistics » 2015-5-08 @ 01:23

mockingbird wrote:
Logistics wrote:However, they can sound good because I've modded one with low impedance filter caps, and film caps in the signal path, replacing the electrolytics, and it's a night and day difference.

I'd love to see a pic of this... I think the only benefit of the gold plated connectors is long-term longevity. They won't corrode like most other jacks will, but that usually takes many many years.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Firtasik » 2015-5-08 @ 09:53

I have SB0220 and it works fine (DOS, Windows 9x/NT, Linux).
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby janskjaer » 2015-5-12 @ 12:26

I noticed that the CT4620 and CT4760 seem to be separated only by the lack of "Digital Out" jack on the CT4620. Has anyone used got much use out of this extra jack, and if so, what have you used it for?

Also, on the original cards from 1998 (CT4620 and CT4670), they have the older EMU10K chip. Wasn't it vastly improved on in later models from 1999 onwards?

I remember buying a LIVE! Value (CT4670) pretty much on the day they came out. I just remember terrible driver support for Windows 98 at that time. Countless amounts of VXD errors and BSOD's. I put up with it for 6 months, then I traded it in for a Voyetra Turtle Beach Santa Cruz and all my problems went away. That card lasted me all the way up to 2004, using it on Windows XP.

I'm not really looking for DOS emulation and support because I have another rig (see my sig) for that. The LIVE! would be used in a rig for games that are 1997/8 onwards, so what I do need is strong driver support for Windows 98, 2000 SP4, and with use of the ORIGINAL drivers, and not 3rd party ones.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-5-12 @ 13:49

the CT4620 is the original "full" Live! card that was released in 1998. It came with a breakout board (CT4660) that had SPDIF I/O, Mini-DIN MIDI I/O, and the 4 channel digital output DIN for use with Cambridge Soundworks speaker systems. It didn't require the yellow digital out jack. That jack wasn't on the first generation cards anyway.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby chinny22 » 2015-5-12 @ 14:11

I've got 2 CT4830 (Value cards) the first came with a PC my parents got round 98 and remember upgrading to the Liveware 3 driver CD, the same that is on vogon drives now. They were a big improvement over the original drivers but are still bloated.

These days I have 1 card in my NT4 server and the other currently lives in a PC built from left over parts. Although for a 98 build I prefer an Audigy 2 ZS. Drivers are much nicer.
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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby Cloudschatze » 2015-5-13 @ 00:23

janskjaer wrote:If anyone has an informed guide on what to look for when shopping a LIVE card, it would be of great help.

"The Sound Blaster Live! Book" is a great, inexpensive resource. It covers a breadth of topics, including general hardware differences between variants (up through the SB0060).

janskjaer wrote:I noticed that the CT4620 and CT4760 seem to be separated only by the lack of "Digital Out" jack on the CT4620. Has anyone used got much use out of this extra jack, and if so, what have you used it for?

I'm using Creative's CT4801, "Digital Output Module," which was designed to interface with the digital mini-jack on the CT4760, and is made of high-grade unobtainium.

Image

Paired with Roland's CM-110 monitor system for the front channel output (coax), and leveraging the DS-50A monitors across the room for the rear channel output (optical), this makes for a completely digital SB Live! configuration. In my opinion, it's a pretty impressive experience.

This isn't necessarily a specific endorsement of the CT4760 though, mind you, as similar (if less elegant) configurations can be achieved with most members of the SB Live! family, including the CT4620.

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Re: Sound Blaster LIVE! Versions

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-5-13 @ 03:09

I went a different route with 4 channel digital, I actually have a Cambridge Soundworks DTT2500 that I had connected to the Digital DIN port for many years. Creative also made adapters to convert the "Digital Out" jack to the DIN port.
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