I did the survey but I'm not sure if the questions available can reflect my preferences.
OPL3, running without TSRs, without protected mode issues, and replacing CQM, if achieved, makes this card the Eiffel Tower, the Rachmaninoff's 3rd, the Michelangelo's Pietà of the Sound Blasters.
Wavetable header is the second best feature. I would prefer if both WT header and gameport can do simultaneous midi but I don't mind losing either.
From the existing AWE64 features I find very important to keep the gameport (for joysticks), Line-in, Line-out and CD-in. Something I'd like is an internal 4-pin line-out connector like the ones used by CDs so it can be routed internaly to the Aux/Line-in of another sound card.
The rest of the features, they are nice, but honestly, I don't really mind:
- Intelligent mode can be done by software, and the AWE64 should not have any hanging note bug.
- Loading soundfonts and emulate GM/GS/MT32 with the AWE drivers doesn't work in protected mode, and it takes ages to load a big one, which has to be done every single time you turn on the machine, and for soundfont use in Windows 9X there are better and cheaper solutions that can work alongside the AWE Legacy. Still, I understand the no-compromises approach of maxing out the RAM.
- 2nd Wavetable header in the back of the card will cause more compatibility issues for many people than is worth, I'd prefer that second MIDI Out to go over the gameport and if there is need for extra daughterboards you can use solutions from Serdashop.
- SPDIF, unless it provides an all-in-one solution for OPL3 + digitised sound + wavetable + CD-In + Line-in (and without CQM), it's going ot be a mess, if you just take the EMU8000 signal it has to be mixed anyway with analogue signals, if this is done, will there be a dedicated mixer for this SPDIF? If you just convert Line-out to digital, is not much easier to use an external device?
- RCA outputs, they look nice, but honestly, I'll just get an RCA-to-jack adaptor and keep using my analogue mixer, I would much prefer the gameport to be built in the card and have a more solid connector for the port I will connect and disconnect the most in the machine. Reusing the existing bracket also lowers the price of the card. Still, I understand the no-compromises approach and the wish for that AWE64 Gold aesthetics.
- Coaxial SPDIF: It would be nice if you can add support for a toslink adaptor like this. You could even use a combo jack and gain more space in the bracket.
I understand other people might have some preferences, this is only my opinion.