Cloudschatze wrote on 2020-10-13, 01:12:
It's a highly-opinionated way of looking at it. The criteria was "iconic and/or historically significant" Sound Blaster models, which can be arguably and legitimately applied to your earlier suggestions, as opposed to "Sound Blaster cards that dionb thinks are crap."
Sure it's opinionated, but there's no contradiction between considering these board iconic and/or historically significant and considering many of them crap.
There's no doubt at all that Creative set the standards in PC sound cards from the first Sound Blaster to basically the end of discrete sound cards, and that the listed cards here are milestones on that path, so deserve their place in the frame. However, apart from the original Sound Blaster (which was technically as much of a milestone as it was commercially), the rest of the lot are proof that exceptional marketing (and some downright anti-competitive practices here and there) enables inferior products to beat superior ones in the marketplace. Particularly the SB16 was egregious - a quick&dirty rip-off of the PAS16 feature set cobbled together in less than a month, copying the (hanging note) bugs but not the exceptional shielding & sound quality, particularly in earlier models. And all those models - all through the SB16 lifespan they were trying - and failing - to get it completely right, not one is completely bug-free, there is no 'definitive' design. As an engineer it makes me cringe, all the more so knowing how successful and even worshiped it became despite that.
But it did, so it earned it's place on the wall. Just not in my PC.
(at least, not as a primary card - SB16 support is still a must for later DOS games, and I use a late SB32 and/or an AWE64 Gold for that).