Pros:Extremely good 5.1 sound output and fantastic EAX effect quality.
Cons:No cannon or XLR microphone inputs on the breakout box. 1/4" only.
The Bottom Line: The Soundblaster Live Platinum 5.1 is money well spent for extreme audiophiles, gamers, weekend warriar musicians or semi-professional DJ's/KJ's.
I purchased Creative Labs SoundBlaster live Platinum 5.1, as with most things I purchase, for a specific reason. Two specific reasons actually. One, because I knew from prior experiences with Creative labs products that the quality was high and the sound output clear. Two, the EAX effects enable me to create and manipulate a sound environment that would require hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of sound equipment to do otherwise. The reason I needed to do this is that I recently started doing the sound and music for small gatherings such as weddings, parties and bars.
Being somebody who has been involved with singers in one way or another through the years I realized the tremendous advantage I would have if I could offer karaoke as well as music and to do that I would need to be able to affect the sound environment in a manner that simple sound controls don't offer. Typically, the reverb and echo controls offered on inexpensive amplified mixers are poor in quality so I didn't want to have to depend on that for the sound environment. Therefore I chose the 5.1 live card.
This piece of hardware is simple to install, you simply insert the card into an existing PCI slot and pop the breakout box into a free drive bay. Connect the breakout box to the card via a special IDE style cable, connect your cd-rom sound cable to the card and then button your box back up. Depending on what OS you are running, the hardware will be detected automatically when you re-boot although I recommend not using the windows driver installation routine but instead running the Creative installation program. The reason for this is that I experienced problems the other way and had to run the installation program anyhow.
Once you are all set up and have chosen which programs you wish to install from the bundled software, you can begin enjoying your new sound, which will take you to edge of audio bliss. I personally am using the sound card in a secondary system, which I use professionally to do sound with. The creative control panel offers a plethora of applets to affect, control and otherwise manage your sound output such as an applet for EAX effects (Environmental audio effects like arena, underwater, chipmunks, forest, etc.) and other useful functions such as access to the windows volume controls, a mixer and device controls to choose between sound output style (Digital, SPDIF or analog) and speaker arrangements including 2, 4, 5.1, headphones and "Live Surround".
I can tell you that the 5.1 output is phenomenal, especially when used with the matching Creative labs 5.1 speaker package. I seldom use it for that though so generally I run out through the optical output to my amplified mixer and then to the speakers. The sound is clear and concise. I also connect my microphones through the card both at the card input itself (For the secondary mic.) and at the 1/4" input on the break out box. I do wish creative would have included a cannon or XLR mic input on the break out box though so I wouldn’t have to use an impedance adapter which tends to make using the mic volume control on the break out box somewhat of a chore.
The Creative SoundBlaster live platinum 5.1 package also has an infra-red remote control on the break out box which makes using it for home audio more convenient but which I seldom use since I'm generally sitting right next to computer any time I'm using it. There are many other features to this package as well such as SPDIF in and out, auxiliary inputs on both the card and box, a 1/4" headphone jack on the break out box and both in and out 5 pin midi connectors with adaptors included so you can use either the small five pin plugs or the large ones.
Gamers will love the 5.1 sound output which dramatically increases directional awareness and which I've found to give me an advantage when playing games that are designed for 5.1 sound output. Overall this is an exceptional product although you might just have to purchase another case, like I did, in order to accommodate the break out box if you already have, say, a cd-rom, cd-rw and hard drive taking up your existing drive bays. This brings me to another down side of this product, I think it would be highly beneficial for creative to consider having offered a version of this product with an external break out box that connects to the card via USB or Fire wire. I believe they have with the new Audigy line but I'm not sure. The SoundBlaster Live Platinum 5.1 is money well spent for extreme audiophiles, gamers, weekend warrior musicians or semi-professional DJ's/KJ's.
Due to my satisfaction with this product, I fully intend to consider the purchase of Creative products in the future.
Read all 7 Reviews
Write a Review
Amount Paid (US$): 180.00