Sound cards are particularly very important in sound recording done using a personal computer. Sound blaster Audigy Value was released commercially as an upgrade of the old Live! sound cards. They are quality sound cards very applicable to a home recording engineer doing home-based projects.
I will now give my detailed review on this sound card even though I am not an expert reviewer. I will divide my reviews into three parts: hardware installation, software installation, playback quality, recording quality, interface, compatibility/customer service and price. This is based on my experience.
It is very easy to install this on windows based computer. Since it is a PCI card, it can be easily inserted to any PCI slot making this card easy to be installed. Although Sound blaster did provide additional metals for installation, but it is useless when i installed my card. I think it belongs to other types of PC cases. So you have to check the manual or PC casing instructions.
I remember there are warnings in the manual before installation, this says that we should remove all the existing audio hardware/ card in the PC. Now this looks a bit tricky, Sound blaster should disseminate this information carefully (some users will install PCI card without reading manual) or else lot of mistake will happen during hardware and software installation.I suggest they should put this warning on the product boxes for better visibility.
But as a summary, hardware installation is straight forward, except those warnings to remove existing hardware. Removing existing hardware will be easy if it is PCI card, onboard sound cards are not straightforward, and since it cannot be removed, it can be disabled in the Motherboard Bios. Again, Creative do not have specific instructions in the manual pertaining to removing on board based sound card. I think they should specified this clearly in the manual or in their product boxes.
After the hardware installation, boot the PC and installation wizard will prompt to install software. The software installation is straightforward and the only problem is the massive downloading of files from their server. I believe it is an update. The file is just massive and not suitable for slower internet connection. There are just too many files to download, I hope Creative will work on prioritizing only a small set of files in the future.
The best thing with this software it that the control panel of the sound card is very easy to use. It is almost the same my soundmax onboard sound card before except that it contains many advanced features.
The playback quality is excellent! I am not a gear freak, but I can say I am contented with the sound. When I do watch movies using altec lansing ATP 3. The sound is massive and theater like. I do not even adjust too much on the sound card control panel. Every time I play audio CD’s, it sounds like listening in controlled studio. Although this depends on what type of environment you are listening.
I observed massive differences when recording with this sound card compared with the on board sound card I have before. First the noise is very low and the most noticeable feature is the excellent frequency response that the card provides.
Very easy to interface with a real external audio mixer. Also, the line inputs and microphone inputs servers very well for recording process. Although depending on mixer that is used, careful not to overload input or some feedback. THe feedback is very annoying especially when used together with a audio mixer.
The green one should be used for speaker (this is a standard color for all PC based audio devices). The orange are for line inputs/microphone.
Compatibility and Customer Service
It is very compatible with Windows XP system although there are problems when used together with other audio devices. For example, a web-cam with audio devices installed such as Logitech webcam. To resolve the problem is to temporarily turn-off one device when the other is used.
The customer service of Creative supporting this sound card is very poor. Honestly, one time I have a problem with the diagnostic test results. It is showing there are problems with Direct X. I correct all possible causes and still the problem exist. Although the error does not produce any form of audible errors. I have consulted creative audigy value customer support, send all the diagnostic test results. But I get no reply until now.
The price is very affordable and I get the sound quality I want at the price I can afford.