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$110.19 list($109.99)
1. Creative PCMCIA Sound Blaster
$38.94 $38.90 list($39.99)
2. Creative Labs USB Sound Blaster
$75.80 list()
3. XITELPro HiFi-Link
$40.60 list()
4. Creative Labs USB SoundBlaster
$160.64 list()
5. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Wireless
Too low to display $89.95 list()
6. Creative Labs USB Sound Blaster
$39.89 list($44.99)
7. Xitel HiFi-Link Audio Processor
$56.22 list($59.99)
8. External USB 5.1 Sound Card
9. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy
$52.25
10. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Go!
$76.49 list($34.99)
11. CABLES TO GO 22327 USB 5.1 Audio
12. USB Soundwave 5.1 Pro

1. Creative PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook Sound Card
by Creative Labs
list price: $109.99
our price: $110.19
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00067KZJI
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 7799
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook Sound Card, CardBus Type II ... Read more

Features

  • Music - Dramatically improve your digital music listening experience
  • Movies - Enjoy amazing surround sound with headphones and 5.1 or 7.1 speakers
  • Games - Hear sound effects so real, you'll feel like you're actually in the game
  • Recordings - Create studio-quality, low-latency recordings with high-fidelity inputs

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Consider ECHO INDIGO IO/DJ also
Hi

I am giving a 5 star rating only because of the awesome work done by Creative in providing 5.1 and 7.1 output etc.

But if sheer sound quality is only your concern, then consider the more expensive Echo Indigo IO or Echo Indigo DJ.

If like me you just use a good quality headphones (I use Grado SR80), and ocassionally a desktop speaker system to primarily listen to music and watch DVDs, then Echo Indigo IO is simply excellent for a PCMCIA sound card. Evidently improved performance over ZS Notebook. (Then again for pure sound quality, also consider Headroom Total Bithead (USB Soundcard)).

Nevertheless, if you have a 5.1 or so speaker system into which you plug your laptop, or want a sound card for games with features optimised for them, then Audigy 2 ZS Notebook will be a totally awesome purchase.

On an ending note.. Koodos to Creative for clubbing all the bells and horns into one small compact form factor.

5-0 out of 5 stars music to my ears
I bought this soundcard with the express purpose of bringing out all the sound of my logitech z-2300's. So far it's doing quite well. The install did take a while, despite having a relatively good system. It did bother me that there was no volume control on the card itself, only in software, but now that my speakers are set up I simply adjust the volume knob on their wired remote and all is well. Had an external usb audigy 2 zs (not ns) sound card been available I'd have likely bought it and installed a usb 2.0 sound card in the pcmcia slot instead, but no biggie. The zs was the only one that mentioned being THX certified, and since my speakers are too I'd settle for no less.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great product. I'll do my best to give a non-bias review
Background: I usually spend about 5-6 hours a day listening to music on my laptop and have about $800 worth of headphones with a $500 headphone amp. I'm pretty picky about my sound cards and they can make all the difference in the world.

First a quick note on system noise... Before buying this card, I could tell what my laptop was doing just by listening to the background noise on my headphones. With sensitive headphones, the common programs that tend to consume CPU each have a specific sound pattern that can be heard over the headphones. For example, I always knew the virus scanner started or when an indexing program started by the sound that it would make over the headphones. With the Audigy 2 Notebook card, all of that background noise is gone. This is very good.

Next sound quality: in short, excellent. It is so good in fact that I immediately noticed a difference between applications that play music. I used a CD (instead of an MP3 or WMA) and listened to my favorite track with several music players. The Creative MediaSource (player that comes with the card) sounded better than iTunes. I wasn't quite expecting this and I'm not overly happy about it either (I've bought a fair bit of music through iTunes). Other players seem to have better quality as well so it isn't just MediaSource that sounds better. After a bit of investigation, I was shocked to see that iTunes uses QuickTime for its audio and QuickTime apparently only uses 16 bit sound (the Audigy is full 24 bit). (If you want to see this for yourself... go to control panel, quicktime, choose 'Sound Out'). I can't really fault the card for ruining iTunes for me but I only use iTunes on my laptop and my laptop only had 16 bit audio before. I hadn't noticed before installing the Audigy.

The problems:
- Volume buttons on your laptop do not affect the sound volume on the audigy. This is a pain. If a good song comes on, you need to find the software volume control to turn it up. This was almost enough for me to give the card 4 stars. Others may not care as much

- iTunes was no longer able to use DirectSound (it was crackling). Not a bit deal although I do notice that lack sound quality in iTunes now. I hope this gets resolved at some point because I do like iTunes.

- The install takes time. You also need to use the install CD first before downloading the latest versions of the drivers and software.

Anyway, overall, I'm very happy with the card.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Sound Card
Easy installation. This card made a big difference in my laptop. This is worth getting if your big on sound, as I am. Get the Z-5500 speakers and your set to go!

4-0 out of 5 stars Good solution for laptop owners
I recently retired my old desktop and replaced it with a laptop & docking station. One of the problems you have with a laptop is less ability to upgrade it. Mine already has an nVidia 5200FX graphics card, albeit with just 32mb RAM, but it is adequate for all but the most demanding new games. OTOH, the built-in sound needed serious upgrading. I was toying with getting the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 external card with USB connection, but I've already filled 6 on-board USB ports and a 4-port USB hub with other paripherals, so this card was an ideal solution. The card suports 5.1 - 7.1 speaker configurations. If you only have two speakers now (with or without sub), plan on upgrading these as well if you want to get the most out of the sound card. Plugged into the PC card slot and connected to Logitech 5300e 5.1 THX surround sound speakers via the included cable adapter, it fills my 10' x 10' office with sound. DVD's obviously don't sound as good as my home theather set up, but do sound an order of magnitude better than my previous two speakers with sub and the built-in audio was capable of. I haven't had time to try out a game that supports EAX yet, but I assume it will be just as incredible.

The card has a built-in headphone jack, so even if I take the laptop to another part of the house or on the road, I can still use it. That's something that wouldn't be practical with the external USB Audigy 2. The card comes with a little pouch to store it in when you remove it, so you can toss it in your laptop bag during transport.

I assume the included software suite is the same one you would get with any Audigy 2 card, but it is the one thing that drags down the product. Rather than one feature packed program, Creative gives you a collection of individual programs. Many of these programs (like volume level, CD burning, etc.) are of limited use and don't appear to offer any functionality not built-in to WinXP or Media Player 10. A couple of the utilities like the THX surround set up are actually useful though. Curiously, some of these utilities include buttons that launch others in the suite, but not all of them and not all apps have the buttons. OTOH, there is a dashboard utility/toolbar that has buttons to launch all the utilities and it starts now whenever I start up the machine or reboot. It "hides" at the top of the screen until you mouse over the top edge, then drops down into view. This is an unnecessary and unwanted "feature" as far as I'm concerned. Since the programs are all accessible from the menu, or via desktop shortcuts you could easily create for the most often used utilities if you want to go that route, I don't see the benefit of having an app launcher utility continuously running and taking up memory/system resources. I haven't yet explored disabling this utility, but intend to.

The hardware itself performs flawlessly, but the app suite and unnecessary, but forced app launcher toolbar prevent me from giving it 5 stars. Nevertheless, if you've got a laptop and you want to upgrade the sound, this is really the best way to go. The USB route is a little bit cheaper, but the PC card is worth the couple extra bucks for its portability and just the fact that it doesn't require a USB port to plug into. ... Read more


2. Creative Labs USB Sound Blaster MP3+ External Sound Card Sound System
by Creative Labs
list price: $39.99
our price: $38.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000095IMS
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 1337
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

SOUND BLASTER MP3 EXT USB SOUND SYSTEM ... Read more

Features

  • Compatible with Windows 98SE, Me, 2000 SP2, or XP
  • High fidelity sound system improves music through Bass Boost and Noise Removal
  • Proprietary Smart Volume Management matches volume across MP3 tracks
  • Make MP3s and personalized audio CDs in one easy step
  • CMSS 3-D delivers virtual surround on stereo speakers and headphones

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent software, good features, and a reasonable price
I have had my MP3+ for a while now, and have no real gripes about it.When I first got it, I was running Windows 98, which detected it and set it up without a problem.I later installed Windows 2000 Pro, which also detected it and set it up without a problem.I did not experience any problems with getting it to work.After 2000, I used the sound card with XP, which also supported it no problem.All the versions of Windows that I used the sound card with had no problem detecting the card, and all automatically used it with the generic USB sound card driver, which worked for most applications.Unfortunately, I did experience some trouble with the sound not working every once in a while.Especially while using XP and 2000, sometimes I would boot up the computer, and no sound would come from the card, although the blue light would flash when I played stuff.My solution was to unplug the card, reboot with it unplugged, then plug it in after Windows was loaded.It would then work fine.The final test came when I switched from Windows to Mac.OS X correctly detected and installed the MP3+, and I am still using it to this day.Of course, I don't benefit from the included software, but I never used it that much in the first place.It seemed to do its job, but was kind of clunky and annoying in some aspects.That is why I usually just used Windows' own drivers and software to use the card.One aspect of the drivers (and card) that should be mentioned is latency.The card does not have ASIO drivers available, and using DirectX drivers in sound programs, I could only get the latency down to about 50 ms before the sound started cracking or distorting.
As for hardware, it isn't too fancy, but the RCA jacks are very nice for recording records and such.I wish the line out had a hardware volume control, but it works as it is.I've never had a use for the optical in and out, so I can't say how well they work.
Overall, it is a good deal for the price, and I recommend it for people who maybe can't afford a hundred dollar sound card, but want something better than the noisy internal card that came with their system.

5-0 out of 5 stars LOVED this sucker for hooking up outside dev. to computer!
I work as a disc jockey, and I couldn't be happier with this little sucker. Liked it so much, I not only bought another, but on other systems I've custom built for clubs that have their own internal system, I've gotten it.

Your pc, yes, including the aforementioned Windows 2000, will see the device as a "usb sound"... no installation of ANY drivers has been necessary on either my SHOW pc, or my three HOME pcs! I absolutely love this, and highly recommend them to others. It's not the "GO!" unit, nor is it the hated ver2, which doesn't even have RCA connections!

I also use this for recording items ONTO the computer, such as live audio from an outside mixer!

3-0 out of 5 stars Unattractive Price
PROS:
+ Optical Connectors
+ Windows XP can install a default driver
+ Applicable in slow notebook
+ Bass-Boost and graphical equilizer
+ Real-time Audio Clean-up from external sources

CONS:
- Only two channels stereo
- Only 88-DB Single-to-Noise Ratio
- Expensive for two channel sound card

1-0 out of 5 stars Worthless
Simply junk. If you value your time don't buy this product.
It does not work with Win 2000 at all, well, maybe if you have a whole day to tinker around with a $30.00 piece of junk.
I am returning it right now.

1-0 out of 5 stars Simply Terrible
I bought this almost a month ago in hopes of having a decent sound card capable of worry-free playback and recording.Unfortunately, the sound skips consistently on playback and even more while trying to record.I consulted Creative's support site, did everything they said to do to try and remedy the situation, and nothing changed.I attempted to contact their customer support people, and was told the estimated time for a response was 1 working day.Weeks later, with no response, I sent the item back, since it was a30 day return policy.I'm still looking for a decent sound card.Do yourself a favor...don't buy this cheap piece of junk. ... Read more


3. XITELPro HiFi-Link
by Xitel

our price: $75.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000078WG6
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Xitel
Sales Rank: 10393
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

The Pro HiFi-Link takes the output characteristics of the HiFi-Link to a whole new level. It's a simple way to radically improve the audio performance of your PC, allowing it to digitally connect to your HiFi system as though it were a piece of high fidelity stereo equipment. Internet radio, streaming audio, downloaded music, and even DVD surround sound can now be played digitally from your computer to a home receiver, amplifier, or portable boombox with unbelievable clarity. ... Read more

Features

  • Includes everything you need -PowerDVD software, 30 feet of optical digital cable, 30 feet of coaxial digital cable, & 30 feet of fully shielded studio-grade RCA cable.
  • Play DVDs with Dolby Digital or DTS Digital Surround sound
  • Play MP3s, WMA, WAV, Real, Liquid & all other formats
  • Cuts out distortion & interference
  • USB connection for easy installation

Reviews (19)

4-0 out of 5 stars Works with Macs
Works just fine on an Apple Mac running OS X.It will not output Dolby Digital/DTS (Mac OS X not compatible with core audio drivers), but works like a charm for PCM/analog audio/music.I have two of them just for running music all over the house with iTunes.I even bridged the two 30 foot optical cables with a signal amplifier.No problems what-so-ever.

5-0 out of 5 stars what a great product
This worked like a charm.I am puzzled as to why one reviewer insists that a hum is inserted when using the analog connection considering I am using it right now and listening to music off of my computer with no hum.I do agree that it is somewhat stupid to spend $80+ on a usb sound card just for analog when you can buy a $15 adapter cable and use a stock sound card.Could you buy a regular sound card for under $90 with digital outs?Yea you can and I have owned one with digital outs but it didn't work as easily and hassle free as the xitel.The SB Audigy 2 NX has and SPDIF which I connected to my HT reciever with no avail.I could not get the sound card to output the raw digital data for surround sound.I got the xitel and in literally the two seconds it took to set it up i had true digital sound going to my reciever.Great job Xitel!!

Pros:
-ease of use
-three connection options
-30 ft of optical, digital coax, and rca cables equal to the price of the whole thing
-comes with free dvd player software that allows digital pass through so you can get dolby digital or DTS encoding done in your reciever

Cons:
-it is a bit pricey
-nothing else really

overall this is a wonderful device for anyone who has high quality stereo/HT setups that wish to play high quality music files or movies off of their computer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not useless for analog!
After I read the comment that said you'd need an audio isolation transformer for $35 to eliminate the 60 hz hum caused by a ground loop between the computer and stereo, I began to consider buying a digital receiver for the study--where I had only a 1993 Kenwood.I also considered just springing for the transformer with my purchase.I'm glad I didn't.My RCA connectors provide crystal clear sound.Maybe they will on your system too. Great product, simple to set up!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
The sound quality from my Toshiba M200 laptop headphone jack to my receiver (using the best Monster cable)was weak had you could hear a slight hiss.The first step (based on helpful reviews here) was to download the Izotope Ozone plug-in for Windows Media Player 9.0 (they also support other players too).
This noticably improved my 192Kbps WMA and MP3 files sound.You can download the free seven day demo and hear for yourself. Guarantee'd you'll buy this once you hear the difference.OK, enough said about that.Next I couldn't resist coupling this with the Xitel Pro-HiFi link.I bought this for the Optical connection.The great thing is that it comes with a 30' optical connector which allows me to kick back in my living room chair several feet away and play the best quality music from my laptop that I've ever heard.This is a winner - buy it!!!

4-0 out of 5 stars To the point
Installation on a WindowsXP machine was as simple as simple can get.Simply plug the USB device into the machine, then plug your desired cable into your home theater a voila... music is sent to your theater as it should.

This product performs exactly as advertised.Only downside is that all computer sounds get sent to your home theater, so if you are listening to music at a high volume and you get mail... everybody knows. ... Read more


4. Creative Labs USB SoundBlaster Live! 24-Bit External Sound Card
by Creative Labs

our price: $40.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00030099O
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 8429
Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

The Easiest Upgrade from Basic PC Sound to Home-Theater Quality Audio

Enhanced Music Quality

Enjoy Crystal Clear 24-bit Audio

With 256 times the resolution of your basic built-in sound, all your music, movies, and games will sound better in 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ quality

Create MP3s, Organize Music, Burn CDs

The full-featured Creative MediaSource™ digital player allows you to make high quality MP3s, manage your music library, and burn personalized CDs.

Make Your Music Sound Even Better

Dramatically enhance your music with features including Bass Boost, Smart Volume Management, Multi-Band Graphic Equalizer, Audio Clean-Up, and more!

Convert Old Recordings to MP3 Easily

Record all of your old cassette tapes and vinyl records to MP3 with simple connections and easy-to-use recording software with advanced cleaning tools.

Immersive Games & Movies

Experience Realistic Sound in Your Games

Imagine hearing game sounds so realistic that you feel like you are actually in the game. Whether you're playing first person shooters, strategy games, or others, with EAX® 3.0 ADVANCED HD™ support you'll hear all the action.

Surround Yourself With 5.1 Sound

Immerse yourself in your games and DVD movies with 5.1 surround sound that lets you hear every sound in front or behind you.

Easy USB Setup

One-Step Hookup

Upgrading to Home Theater quality audio on your PC is as simple as plugging into any available USB port - no power adapter needed.

... Read more

Features

  • High-resolution stand-alone sound card with abundant inputs and outputs
  • Simple hookup via USB 1.1 port; no power supply required
  • The perfect tool to help you put your LPs and cassettes on CD, create MP3s, and organize music
  • Audio enhancements include bass boost, smart volume management, a multi-band graphic equalizer, and audio clean-up (hiss and click removal)
  • Encodes and decodes audio at up to 24-bit/96 kHz resolution; offers 5.1-channel output for use with 5.1 speaker systems

Reviews (3)

2-0 out of 5 stars I am not happy with this external soundcard
I have a Dell notebook with PIII 866. This soundcard slows way down my computer when I use it to listen music. I guess it is okay when you listening music only. If you are planning to surf on the web or other things, you need a fast CPU to handle this soundcard. I did not know souncard take much of CPU usage. Also software is much different than internal Live 5.1 or Audugy.It
does not allow custom setting for sound effect. I love that future on internal soundcard for singing. Internal soundscard allows you to adjust reberv, echo, etc..... I am bit disappointed with this soundcard.Quality of sound through headphone, I did not noticed much different than dell equipped onboard soundcard.

4-0 out of 5 stars Oweson Sound
Overall I am very pleased with the product. The sound is awesome! Definitely a high-quality product. Install went perfectly under Windows XP Home.
24-bit sound is an immense step up from my old 16-bit card. Crystal clear at very demanding levels, quitest passages, and everything in betwen.
If you want awesome sound at an owesome price, buy this. Know in advance the equalizer is SEVEN bands wide, not the TEN promised on the box.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sub-Standard Driver
I am not a novice at PC hardware but this one was a challenge to install and configure. I have not had enough time to explorer the hardware but the driver installation was riddled with problems. For me, it will always stop at DirectX update. I ended up wasting more time than its worth. ... Read more


5. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Wireless Music
by Creative Labs

our price: $160.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000E2RZN
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 11308
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Sound Blaster Wireless Music ... Read more

Features

  • Compatible with Windows 98 SE, Me, 2000, and XP
  • Listen to the MP3's on your PC in another room of your home over your 802.11b or 802.11g wireless network
  • View and choose songs and playlists from your entire MP3 collection on the remote control's built in LCD screen
  • Place the music receiver anywhere since the remote uses RF transmission it doesn't require line of sight
  • Works with home stereo and standalone speakers featuring digital optical (SPDIF) and standard RCA connectors

Reviews (45)

2-0 out of 5 stars Initially Great - Ultimately Disappointing
I was pretty excited when i bought this.I picked up a wireless G router and set-up was quite simple.Had a few minor connectivity issues, but their latest software downloads took care of those.

The trouble started when I began to build up my music library.Once I had built my library to about 20GB, this thing really became sluggish.Navigation got so slow and eventually things just would freeze up.Pain in the neck!

Now that I have my library built up to about 80GB, this product is worthless.It sits in my closet along with any other failed projects :)

In the end, I have to say it was a nice attempt by Creative, beautiful product with a way cool remote control... but they just couldn't pull it off.

4-0 out of 5 stars Pretty Good, still a few bugs
Works OK except for:

1. If you press play from the start of a playlist, the system will automatically play all songs in the playlist, as desired.However, if you want to start a song that is somewhere within a playlist, it will play that one song ONLY, and you manually have to play the next song, and the next song, and so on.Really poor design here.

2. When adding songs to the playlists, it appears that there is an incompatibility with music that is also used by iTunes.When you add music to the Creative Labs organizer, you loose all the of embedded mp3 data in iTunes.... information like artist, title, genre, etc.

3. Songs have a longer-than-expected delay before playing.This often makes me question whether I pressed play correctly, or whether the system missed my Play command.

4-0 out of 5 stars excellent product
wow...what an excellent product...
people freak out when the hear the "Creative Wireless" name...
i have a Linksys 802.11b router....and it took me 10 minutes to set everything up...(eventhought that i have WEP encryption in my wireless network)
the Creative wireless works like an IPOD....easy to use
when you select a song, dont espect to listen it inmediately, its gona take about 8 seconds...but not a big deal

4-0 out of 5 stars Works as advertised
Bottom line: this product is not w/o some minor warts, but overall it is high quality and does an excellent job of streaming your digital music files to your home stereo.

The remote control is where the negatives lie.The features on the remote are fairly limited, and it is essentially a line of sight device.Navigating through the menu to select your music is sometimes a bit clumsy.I also do not believe this item has the capability to stream video, as there are only audio (both analog and optical) outputs on the receiver.

I had some minor problems during installation.I followed the instructions precisely and still had some difficulty.The receiver immediately recognized my network, but the software that comes on the installation cd wasn't quite as accommodating.My best advice for installation is insert the cd, install all applications, restart your computer, and then power up your creative receiver.The installed software should load as windows starts, and then it should take over from there.The rest is very easy.

Overall, this is a high quality product that has liberated my audio collection.I can now listen to all of my music without fumbling around with CDs.It's a good thing.

3-0 out of 5 stars useful little gadget. wish the software was better !
this is such a neat little gadget. it has revolutionised the way we listen to music in out house. my large and unwieldy CD collection had grown to the point where i could never find the song/CD i wanted. now i can. my song collection is now 1500+ and this devices handles it ok. i run the server on a windows 2000 box.

problems
1. about 1 in 5 times, (of the unit being turned on), it cannot
connect to the server. almost always, a quick switch off/on
of the unit fixes the problem.

their software could do with a lot of improvements. some suggestions.
1. editing / data entry : tab movement, auto completion should
work like it does in all windows program.
2. if a song has more than one artist, that song must be
reachable by looking at either of the two artists.
currently, if you enter the two names comma separated, the
result is a new artist (whose name is a concatenation of
the two names.
3. faster search for songs, artists, etc from remote.
currently, the first level menu is a list of single letters
from A to Z and the next level is the name of all the songs. ... Read more


6. Creative Labs USB Sound Blaster Audigy2 External Sound Card Sound System (70SB030000000)
by Creative Labs

our price: Too low to display
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000DBMEU
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 7382
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Revolutionize Your PC and Notebook Music, Gaming, and Movies with the Ultra-Premium Sound of Sound Blaster® Audigy® 2 NX with Remote

Compact and stylish, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX is an external USB sound system that delivers superior 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ audio with music, games, and movies. In addition to cinematic 5.1 and 7.1 surround, concert quality 24-bit DVD-Audio playback, and EAX® ADVANCED HD™ game effects, Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX improves CD and MP3 music with EAX® Acoustic Enhancements.

The Premium 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ USB Sound System
  • Superior 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ audio with easy USB connection
  • Enjoy cinematic surround sound with 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems
  • Experience concert quality audio with 24-bit DVD-Audio playback
  • Improve CD and MP3 music with EAX® Acoustic Enhancements
  • Encounter audio realism with EAX ADVANCED HD game effects
  • Easily connect speakers, mic, headphones and audio devices
  • USB 2.0 hardware ready for high speed connectivity
Superior 24-bit ADVANCED HD™ audio
  • Superior quality 24-bit/96kHz DACs, studio quality EAX® acoustic enhancements, and realistic EAX® ADVANCED HD™ game effects
Enjoy cinematic surround sound with 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems
  • Sound Blaster Audigy 2 NX features multi-channel surround with over 400 existing 3D games and built-in Dolby Digital® EX decoding for captivating 5.1 and 7.1 playback.
Experience concert quality audio with 24-bit DVD-Audio playback
  • The only available external PC platform for 24-bit DVD-Audio playback on the Notebook and PC.
Improve CD and MP3 music with EAX® Acoustic Enhancements
  • New exciting features including Bass Boost, Graphic Equalizer, Smart Volume Management, and more!
Encounter ... Read more

Features

  • Superior 24-bit ADVANCED HD audio with easy USB connection
  • Enjoy cinematic surround sound with 5.1 and 7.1 speaker systems
  • Experience concert quality audio with 24-bit DVD-Audio playback
  • Improve CD and MP3 music with EAX Acoustic Enhancements
  • Encounter audio realism with EAX ADVANCED HD game effects

Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars Good... except for recording
If you're planning to use the NX for multitrack digital recording I would advise against it. Even with USB 2, recordings have a relatively high latency, meaning that if you try to record a new track while playing back an existing one, when you play them back together, they will start out in sync, but will end up with the new track lagging several seconds behind the original by the end. Consider purchasing the newer ZS instead.

For most other uses, the NX is a great upgrade to your computer's sound.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good and easy alternatives to internal devices
I have bought this device a few days ago, because my computer's internal sound device keep fails. (I have Sony RS-630G desktop, and it has Soundmax sound device integrated in its motherboard. However, the device fails to play sounds after a while. Since it plays again once rebooted or drivers reinstalled, I guess it is the matter of device driver; but Sony hasn't upgrade the sound driver yet.) Anyway, it works great so far.

Comments:

1. The greatest advantage is that you don't have to open the computer. Simply plug the device into computer via USB cable, and install the drivers and software as needed. Since it's in very compact casing, it doesn't take up much spaces: slightly wider than the size of 2 cigarette boxes put toghther horizontally.

2. Remote control is nice when you want to switch volumes or mute it while you're not in front of computer.

3. Sound quality is satisfactory. However, for some reason I hear subtle noise in certain sound level. Probably it's because I am using standard 2 speakers which came with my computer. Acceptable.

4. It happens while I watch movie file with voice. If I skip the movie while voice was playing, there is a sharp noise(zip!) and a (very) slight delay until it plays voices or sounds of the point I skipped to. Also acceptable.

5. Some people down there complains about softwares. Since I haven't used bundled softwares except the operating driver yet, I can't really comment on that. (I don't think that I will somehow use bundled software.)

6. Instruction manual is acceptable, but not detailed enough. I would have been happy if the company put more detailed instructions rather than same way-too-brief instruction in other languages.

2-0 out of 5 stars Terrible Tech Support
I bought this to utilize optical out to my receiver in order to eliminate hiss and noise that comes from using an analog port inside the computer.

TECH SUPPORT is useless!Works with my notebook, but does not work with a brand new Dell Dimension 4700 Tower; phone support would not help me because I have had this more than 2 months, and email support said that they do not "support 3rd party hardware"; that is pretty lame when the "hardware" is a brand new dell computer.

The product does work for my purpose, and I don't have any problem with Bass output (as long as my computer volume is not on max and I use my receiver to control it); however I suspect that any other (cheaper) USB sound device with an optical out would do the exact same for me.

The product is expensive for what you get.The remote that comes with it is also very lame!

4-0 out of 5 stars Does what it's supposed to, after some adjustment
First off, I have no major complaints with this product.I use it with my laptop and 5.1 setup and it works fine in that it plays audio and sounds pretty good.
The remote it comes with is an extremely cool feature, although good luck using it with iTunes as it becomes limited to prev/next song and a scroll (which is useless because you can't select).However, with Windows Media Player you will get more functionality, and with the bundled program all of the remote's buttons work.
I should point out that when I first received this product, it would not power up, so I had to order a replacement.Just a fair warning, even though the tech support guy said he had never heard of somebody with that problem.
When I first tried to install the replacement, my computer had a tough time recognizing it, and I eventually had to disregard the installation instructions that came with it and agree to Windows XP's driver installation window, but then it worked fine.
One more thing, I figured that I would be able to play surround sound audio with this (as in all of the channels functioning seperately), but apparently my PIII 1GHz, 316MB memory laptop isn't up to speed.So now whenever I want to play DVDs or DVD audio, I have to unplug the Audigy and use my headphone jack to connect my speakers so the audio doesn't get choppy.
Anyway, I almost feel like a lot of my issues with this product are more or less not going to be the norm, so I went ahead and gave it 4 of 5.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good hardware, but has room for improvement
I work in the streaming media industry and have used many different types of sound cards...

The Audigy 2 does its job, but I think there are a few annoyances.

1. It is an external sound card with an USB interface, but it still needs a seperate power supply (although it needs just 5Volts)

2. Your computer has to be ON all the time even when you are just trying to route the audio from another external device like your VCR. This makes no sense to me given the fact that this sound card has its own dedicated power supply. So, even though it is an "external" card, it is still pretty much wedded to your computer. I could as well have used a cheaper internal card that does the same thing.

3. The Media control software crashes very easily. Especially when you try to launch the media control when your Audigy card has been powered off

4. When you use the "Mute" button on your remote, many times you find no way of Un-Muting - pressing the Mute on your remote does not have an effect and you have to walk over to your computer and manually un-mute it. This happens to me 9 out or 10 times.

5. There is huge difference in the volume levels of your audio output depending on whether you play audio using the Creative's media player Or some other player like the Windows media player. They have a "smart" volume control but enabling it made the audio sound kind of "choked up".

I would suggest that you buy this card if you plan on using it solely with your laptop. But if you are planning on using this as a control center for all your audio devices at home, then you may want to look some place else (unless you dont mind keeping a computer near your VCR/DVD Player etc and it stays on all the time) ... Read more


7. Xitel HiFi-Link Audio Processor (for PC and Mac)
by Xitel
list price: $44.99
our price: $39.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B00006I601
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Xitel
Sales Rank: 9723
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com Product Description

As simple as it is affordable, Xitel's HiFi-Link audio processor aims to do but one thing, and well: deliver digital audio from PC and Macintosh computers to otherwise inaccessible home stereo equipment, whether serious "separates" to simple compact stereos. With the HiFi-Link, MP3 files, streaming audio, and Internet radio need no longer be the sole province of your computer, your study, or your--let's face it--substandard computer amplifier and speaker setups.

HiFi-Link plugs into any USB port on a computer and into the analog RCA jacks of any stereo system or component. Using its integrated precision DAC (digital-to-analog converter), the HiFi-Link processes digital audio bitstreams directly from the USB connection with no signal degradation. The HiFi-Link bypasses your sound card altogether, turning your computer itself into a powerful hi-fi source.

Xitel makes a range of PC-to-MiniDisc interfaces for Sony, so it's no stranger to digital signal flow, product reliability, and proven compatibility. Setup is nearly instantaneous--you don't need to pry panels off your system, modify your hardware, install software, or download drivers. It requires no training or complicated user manuals. Just plug the link into your stereo and your PC, open your media player of choice, and click "play." The HiFi-Link runs with all Windows- and Macintosh-compatible media players, including Windows Media Player, Winamp, RealAudio Player, LiquidAudio Player, MusicMatch Jukebox, iTunes, and many others.

What's in the Box
DAC/processor, USB cable, a 30-foot studio-quality audio interconnect with gold-plated connectors (minijack to RCA), and a user's manual. ... Read more

Features

  • Bypass generally inferior soundcards with advanced USB digital rendering technology, for professional quality output that enhances all your audio
  • Delete distortion and interference ? enjoy crystal clear sound with no more annoying hiss
  • It's the ultimate in Plug-and-Play simplicity ? plug the HiFi-Link into a USB port and watch it automatically install, without the need for any special drivers
  • The digital audio signal is ported to a unique in-line, electromagnetically isolated precision DAC, where it is processed into an optimum audio signal
  • Includes a fully shielded, high definition 30-foot interconnection cable with gold plated RCA jacks

Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Simple Solution
I've sold all of my CD's, and I don't miss them!I use my iMac and my HiFi-Link exclusively when listening to music at home.You'll get the fullest sound quality possible out of any MP3 collection with this basic HiFi-Link (the pro model is overkill for music).

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
The HiFi Link does exactly what the manufacture claims, produces high quality sound from your PC to your component stereo.You can't beat the peformance and the generous 30 foot cable for the price.Installation was simple and the documentation is easy to follow, but you don't really need it (it was really that easy, just plug and play, and a possible restart).Otherwise there is not much to say, it is a simple product that delivers what was promised, great sound.

4-0 out of 5 stars not worth it unless u have laptop or real weak sound card
This thing helped a lot whtn hooked up to my laptop, but when i hooked it up to my new desktop computer, my integrated sound card was actually much louder and better quality. this isnt really worth it unless youre using a laptop. I sent it back.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dramatically improved my Laptop Sound Quality
I purchased this external sound card because the built-in one on my laptop really sounded pretty poor - no high end and lots of distortion.The Xitel HiFi Link did the trick and improved the sound dramatically - no background "electronics" noise that you sometimes get with a built-in unit.

I used this with my hi-fi at home and the results were good, even with the extra long RCA cable supplied with the sound card.

The only negative I would say is that you have to set the volume levels of the sound application and sound control panel to the maximum level in order to get a line level signal out of this unit.Would be nice if it had a "line level" mode that would automatically give you a line level output and override the multiple volume controls you have in Windows.Maybe there is not enough juice to put out more signal, since this unit is powered by the computer USB connection.

Also, if you already have a pretty good sound card, you probably don't need this unit.Here's how you can decide - if a quality set of headphones already sounds good when plugged into your existing sound card, you might be hard pressed to tell the difference with this unit.I think most 3rd party desktops sound cards are pretty solid - this unit provides the best help to Laptops that obviously don't sound that good to start with.

4-0 out of 5 stars Kills the Krispy Bros: No More Snap, Crackle, Pop
My setup:
Windows 2K with low-end PCI soundcard.
Sennheiser 280 pro headphones plugged into line out from the soundcard.

What I was looking for:
I work in a noisy office, and so I like to put on headphones to listen music, but also just to reduce the office noise.What drove me nuts was the hissing, crackling, popping I'd hear as I'd move windows around, start applications, type on the keyboard, click the mouse, and otherwise use the computer. I believe the origin of this noise is electromagnetic interference (EMI) from the electronics inside the computer. (processor, PCI bus, hard drive, etc)

The results with Xitel:
1) Absolutely no more of the annoying noises.
2) Had to turn up the volume to get soundlevel I am used to. I think this is a result of the xitel only being powered off the USB, which doesn't have a lot of power. This is why I only gave 4 stars.
3) I can hear the music much better. This is a mixed blessing -- when one of my lower sample-rate MP3s come on I can hear it. I have good headphones, so this might not be a problem if you don't.
4) If anything I'd say the influence of this processor is to create very clean, sharp music. Doesn't add warmth, like my NAD stereo amp.

Conclusions:
Does what is says it is going to do. Probably very useful for a home media pc. Definitely recommended if you want clean audio from a low-end soundcard.Might consider getting an headphone amplifier if you are in an office setting. ... Read more


8. External USB 5.1 Sound Card
by Zalman USA
list price: $59.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0001OZ2K8
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Zalman USA
Sales Rank: 33469
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Surround yourself with exquisite sound with this versatile, value-priced Zalman 5.1 channel USB external sound card. The Zalman 5.1 channel sound card is both digital and analog compatible, giving you a world of audio options. Small and compact, featuring an easy-to-connect, Plug-n-Play USB interface. You can make simple connections to headphones, PCs, notebook computers and many other external sound sources. Comes with built-in amplifier to offer full sound and easy use. The Zalman 5.1 channel USB external sound card includes 3 volume controls so you can adjust sound levels for front, rear and center/subwoofer output channels (for digital output, volume can be controlled by a volume control on a speaker). Don’t kid around when it comes to sound, surround yourself with the best – the Zalman 5.1 channel USB external sound card. ... Read more

Features

  • Input: 1 USB Connection Port(USB 1.1 / 2.0 Compatible)
  • Chipset: Sonix 5.1 Sound
  • Sampling Rate: 24bit 96KHz D/A & A/D Converte
  • Size(WxHxD): 3.1 x 0.6 x 4.3 in.

9. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Extigy Sound Card
by Creative Labs

Asin: B000062TTF
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 23525
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Features

  • Works with Windows 98 SE, 2000, Me, or XP with USB functionality
  • Hook-up to your PC or notebook with the hassle-free external USB connection
  • Experience high-definition audio with 24-bit multi-channel performance with 100dB SNR clarity
  • Transform your PC into a home-theater system with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound
  • Enrich your listening experience with innovative EAX ADVANCED HD music enhancement tools

Reviews (41)

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent!!! Creative, sell me another one!
I have had the Creative Extigy for over a year, and I must say I'm extremely pleased with it.I use Creative's 4.1 speakers with it, and they work flawlessly and the sound is great.I can't think of many drawbacks for this device.It has practically every connection an audiophile could hope for.The only problem is the software... in that I mean that it is not updated for at least 6 months after the device is released.All in all, this is a smart investment and a supberb choice, especially if you use a laptop and want better sound. By the way, I run it on a Toshiba laptop with Windows XP Pro SP2.

1-0 out of 5 stars problems with midi in extigy.help!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I bought recently Extigy USB card, and I have a huge problem with midi. When I connect my midi controler trough this card, the midi recording is totally wrong. It changes rytms and records wrong music notes...does anybody know what`s wrong. Is it card, WinXP or maybe some settings?

4-0 out of 5 stars Very happy with it but software could be better
I have owned the extigy for well over a year now and I must say I am very happy with it. I use it on a COMPAQ PRESARIO windows xp desktop along with Creative Inspire 5.1 speakers.

I have used the Creative Recorder Utility to record scores of albums from my casette tapes and even from free streaming Mp3s available in the web.

The Creative play center is not intuitive at all to use. It is a pain to keep the media library updated as my MP3 collection grew or shrunk.(specially since most of us store our mp3 collections in distinct sub-folders which the play center does not automatically recognize) Windows Media Player was easier to use. But Creative Play Center had two uses for me:

1. It saved me the trouble of buying an mp3 codec to Windows media player. I could convert wav files into mp3.
2. It allowed me to access the mp3 media library using the included Remote control.

Speaking of remote control, it is a handy thing but the remote control interface in the computer needs much to be desired.

I use a Belkins USB 1.1 Hub in my setup and have not thus far encountered any bandwidth limitation that we hear about in the other reviews.

Also bundled is a basic wave editor and a minidisc center. Havent used either to comment on their performance.

Wish they could improve the creative play center and the remote control interface. These are small glitches in an otherwise impressive product.

1-0 out of 5 stars Creative doesn't approve rebates
I've called creative customer service to make sure that I submit everything I need to get my rebate, but they still deny my rebate, despite I have done what I was told to submit by the representative of Creative. Creative do not listen to my explaination, even if I would like to try to resubmit the materials they think I did not submit. Other companies would certainly give opportunity for consumers to resubmit their information in order to get their rebates. Creative doesn't seem to have business ethic in this.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great hardware, So So Software and so so service
I was all the time hesitating to replace my laptop with a powerful desktop. And this card changed my plan totally. Now I don't envy any multimedia PC anymore. Hooked up with Logitech Z680 5.1 speakers, it produces sound like a dream.

My notebook has only 1 USB1.1 port. Before purchasing this card, several of my usb devices shared one USB hub. When I got this card and assigned it one port of the hub, unfortunately, the sound was full of scratches. I had to go to Bestbuy and get one USB PCMCIA card. After I connected it to the PCMCIA card, the sound that I was expecting finally came out. So be sure to give it a separate port, otherwise, it is not guaranteed to work fine.

Another suggestion, be careful to select the applications from its bundled CD to install. Some of them are crap. The manual and help file are talking about some operations you can never find on your PC. I went to their website to see if I can get any help there, and answer was negative. Fortunately, I got my problem solved before having to call the company.

But On the whole, it is a good buy. ... Read more


10. Creative Labs Sound Blaster Go! External USB Sound System with Head Phones
by Creative Labs

(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B0000C4DVZ
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Sales Rank: 34798
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Transform your notebook into a premium stereo system on the road or at home. Getting premium stereo music with your Notebook has never been easier! Sound Blaster Go! improves the quality of your MP3s and CDs whether you're on the road or at home. The included Creative HN-500 Noise Cancellation Headphone ensures you will experience quality audio when traveling. Plug this external USB sound system in and enhance music with the included Creative MediaSource digital player. Listening to your notebook just got dramatically better! ... Read more

Features

  • High Fidelity Sound
  • Quality Noise Cancellation Headphones
  • USB Powered and Portable
  • Easy Connection to Notebook or PC
  • Premium Stereo System on the Road or at Home

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Sound Card and Headphones ...
I just bought it for recording my parents old LP's on my laptop and burning'em on CD's. To my surprise, it is an excellent sound card. The noise cancelling Headphones are a great added bonus.

At first when installed, the sound card gave a hissing sound when recording using LINE-IN, but I just went to Creative's web page and downloaded all the updates (Software and Driver) and the "hiss" went bye, bye.

THESE BABIES ROCK !!!

Well worth their price and Totally recommended .... ... Read more


11. CABLES TO GO 22327 USB 5.1 Audio Adapter
by CABLES TO GO
list price: $34.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: B000233WJG
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: CABLES TO GO
Sales Rank: 95829
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

Turn your computer into a personal digital entertainment system with this USB 5.1 Audio Adapter from Cables To Go! ... Read more

Features

  • Perfect for connecting your PC to your Home Theater System!
  • 1 year warranty
  • Black color

12. USB Soundwave 5.1 Pro
by SIIG

Asin: B0000DZFR6
Catlog: CE
Manufacturer: SIIG
Sales Rank: 82188
US | Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan

Product Description

SoundWave 5.1 Pro provides 5.1-channel cinema effects through desktop or notebook computer's USB port.PRODUCT FEATURES: Built-in Q-SPACE intelligent 5.1-channel surround sound system; Supports DVD, MP3, MPS, WAVE, Audio CD, MIDI, and GM2 audio formats; Delivers cinema-quality 5.1 surround sound to all Microsoft DirectSound and DirectSound 3D enabled games; Convenient control buttons to enable/disable Mute, Q-SPACE Surround, and Microphone-In functions; LED indicators for Power, Q-SPACE Surround, and Microphone operations; Value-pack software included: WinDVD, WinRip, and Speaker Tester. ... Read more


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