The new Audigy cards feature Dolby Digital 5.1, a 96KHz DAC, a 100dB signal to noise ratio (SNR) and the ability to perform 24-bit analog to digital/digital to analog conversions at 48KHz. The 32-bit effects engine is capable of real-time effects such as reverb, chorus, normaliser, pitch shift and distortion. The audio clean-up tool can remove noise and clicks, and the time scaling functions can increase/decrease playback speed without altering pitch.
The card by itself retails for $249, the Audigy Platinum (card with white internal Audigy drive bay) is $499 and the top-of-the-line Audigy Platinum eX (card with black external Audigy drive, and infrared remote control) costs $599. The latter is what is pictured and discussed here.
Gamers will be drawn by the improved EAX ADVANCED HD functionality for games, allowing multiple environmental effects to be applied. Musicians will appreciate the 48 MIDI channels with 128 GM & GS compatible instruments and 10 drum kits, the ability to record between 8 and 48KHz, low latency multi-track recording with ASIO support, the onboard wavetable synthesis with 64 voice hardware polyphony and Creative's retention of SoundFont sampling technology.
Out of the box you'll find the black PCI card with gold-plated connectors such as line-in, microphone-in, SB1394 (FireWire) and line-out front and rear speaker jacks. Inputs on the circuit board include analog and digital CD audio in and several expansion headers. The external Audigy drive boasts gold-plated coaxial S/PDIF in and out, optical in and out, a ¬in headphone jack with volume control, a second line-in or microphone input with volume control, and two auxiliary RCA line-ins. There is another SB1394 port as well as small MIDI in and out ports (standard-sized MIDI cable adapters are bundled) enabling communication with musical instruments. An extensive software bundle is included.