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Manufacturer: Creative
Min OS X: Not Supported


Sound Blaster Live!
April 30, 2001 | Jason Sims
Pages:12345

Under The Hood
The heart of this card is its Emu Systems' EMU10K1 sound processor. In audio terms, it's a DSP--a digital signal processor. These days, higher-priced models of today's stereo receivers--particularly those designed for home theater systems--usually include some sort of DSP to do sound shaping. The main function of these DSPs is usually to provide some form of reverb to simulate a particular listening environment, and the EMU10K1 does it well. It produces very high quality effects that rival those of professional reverb units.

I found the Sound Blaster most effective when listening to music and watching movies. It did add some minor enhancements to Deus Ex, but the true potential of the card has yet to be revealed. Primarily-acoustic music such as jazz and classical sounds great with the Auditorium or Concert Hall settings; for rock and electronic music, the various room settings seem to work well, though all of the effects really do sound good with everything.

Audio Glitches, Software Bugs
Unfortunately, for all that it promises, the Sound Blaster Live for Mac has some serious issues. The sound frequently pops and crackles during CPU- and disk-intensive activity, and in certain applications (such as when viewing large QuickTime movies) is so bad it's not even worth using. The card also increases your audio system's latency from 11ms to 23ms, which actually makes it worse to use than the built-in sound in your Mac for making music. There are also outstanding (though minor) bugs in the Mixer and SoundFont Bank Manager applications.

Besides the problems in Mac OS 9, there is an even bigger problem facing the future of this product--it doesn't support Mac OS X at all, at the moment, and Creative hasn't made any official statement that it ever will.

Creative has been promising a driver and software update for over six months now, but has yet to deliver anything--even an estimate of how much longer we can expect to wait.

At this point, I strongly recommend you do NOT purchase a Sound Blaster for the Mac. It appears that Creative has abandoned this product and has no intention of ever resolving its many problems, so do yourself a big favor and stay away from it.



Sound Blaster Live!
Manufacturer: Creative
Pre-order Sound Blaster Live! at MacGameStore.com


Pages:12345




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