Reply 20 of 33, by voodoo5_6k
Realistically, the best soundcards I have are these two:
- - Sound Blaster ZxR (SB1510 & SB1510A)
- Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD (SB1270)
I bought the SB1270 when it was new for the last upgrade of my socket 775 gaming rig back then and moved it over when I upgraded to socket 2011. When the SB1510 came out, it directly replaced my SB1270. The SB1510 is still my main rig's soundcard. There is nothing available that could convince me to replace it. The SB1270 unfortunately does not support XP anymore. Originally, that was no problem at all, my gaming rig was already using Win7 (after dual booting XP/Vista with an SB0466), but I had loved to use it in my Retro 4 system (which will again be dual booting XP/Vista).
From a nostalgia based point of view, I'd say that one of the best cards I have is the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 (SB0240) or Audigy 2 ZS (SB0350). EAX Advanced HD (EAX 4.0) sounded great. Playing Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, GTA 3 & Vice City, Doom 3 and others with said cards was a lot of fun and really stands out in my memory! I used both on my socket 478 system until it was replaced by the socket 775 and an SB0466. The SB0350 now works in my Retro 2 system.
Another mention here is my Sound Blaster Live! (CT4760). This one is a mixed one... When I originally used it, I had really bad desktop speakers from IBM (I had purchased an IBM Aptiva tower together with a monitor, speakers, keyboard etc. and the Live! was one of the later upgrades). These wouldn't really highlight good or bad sound... They would make matters worse... But I still fondly remember EAX! Using the CT4760 again nowadays, with way superior speakers in my Retro 1 system really highlighted the messed up primary channel... But redirecting the sound output to the rear channel makes this a totally different card! Overall, I'd say it is a very good card for Win9x gaming if used right (rear channel for output!).
The Sound Blaster AWE64 Gold (CT4390) has already been mentioned a few times. I like this card a lot, it has a very low level of background noise. As I don't play any games relying solely on FM synthesis, I don't care at all about this OPL vs. CQM debate. Unfortunately, I had a few issues with it under Win98SE/DOSBox. That's why I now use the CT4760 in my Retro 1 system.
The worst soundcard I remember was a Sound Boostar (or whatever its name was). It never worked right and it never really was fully SB16 compatible. It was quickly replaced with a real Sound Blaster.