I'm pretty happy with my 3 card setup
intelligent mode compatible, modern clone card from https://www.serdashop.com/isa-mpu-card connected via Roland MIDI to USB cable to Falcosoft Software Midi Player running on a cheap Dell windows tablet for MT-32, Roland Sound Canvas, Yamaha S-YXG50, General Midi. All the software is free except the Sound Canvas VA plugin from Roland https://www.roland.com/global/products/sound_canvas_va/, but you can always buy that plugin later while enjoying MT-32, Yamaha and General Midi, which covers a lot of ground. With the software based general midi you can load some really nice large soundfonts without limitation of SIMM RAM on AWE cards. You could always also add real HW MIDI players connected to the MPU-401 if you want that original retro feel - I would love it, just don't have the space for it. Great video explaining it is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSk9S1bkRS8
AWE64 Value ISA
for clean SB16 DOS sounds, music is through MPU-401 card. No need for SIMM memory as music is played through separate MPU-401 card.
Audigy 1 PCI card
for windows 98 or windows XP games; your Audigy 2 is pretty good choice too, i picked the Audigy 1 per recommendation from vogons user "parus" i believe, who built a DOS mixer for it which allows you to connect multiple sound inputs from various sound cards/sources to it in DOS and let the sound play out through single speaker output cable. Alternative is a cheap external HW mixer.
Works really well, the only change I would possibly make is to swap the AWE64 value for AWE32 with OPL3, but in all honesty I don't know if it's worth the loss of higher quality / less noisy output from the AWE64. I may end up dropping to AWE32 for OPL3 or going up to AWE64 Gold for even cleaner audio, but I think it's totally unnecessary. Maybe I'll just have to try them both one day 😀
Oh, and some decent speakers, that makes the biggest difference I think.
Sinclair ZX Spectrum 48k, 48k+, 128k, +2
Amiga 1200, 68030/40mhz
386DX/33, ET4000, SBPro2, MT32
Dual PPro/200, Millennium II, Voodoo 2, AWE32, SC-55