"Excellent product. Best ever? Probably."4.5 starson by BruthamanQ
Pros: Ease of installation. Dynamite easy to use software package.
Cons: Price. But, actually, it's not too bad. SuperRip function is useless(for the average user).
Summary: Bought mine from BestBuy. $140.00 with tax. Lower prices online, but with shipping and having to wait, basically the same. The soundcard is connected to my AV receiver, connected to a 6.1 JBL outfit of speakers. These are not computer speakers. So the price of the card was nominal compared to my investment for the speakers. And worth it.
Simple to install. PC cover off. Slide card in. PC cover on. Software was an easy, albeit large(380 MB), install as well.
Software is excellent. It was what actually drew me to this product. Obviously, the product was going to perform well and that wasn't my concern. But making the product easy and a joy to use, now that's the key. One panel, very easy to use, organize, find & play all my music files, regardless of origin or type. I really love it.
Performance: A lot of talk going around that this product makes your low quality MP3s sound like CD quality. Well, uh, close, but not quite. That is not to say the sound is not excellent, because it is. Far better than the "digital" music channels on my cable box. But, it's not fair to compare a CD quality file to an MP3 file. I'll give you an example.
I ripped a music file using the SuperRip function (which seems to be nothing more than WMA lossless with some tweaking) and ripped the same file using the highest quality MP3 encoding the Creative software provided. SuperRip 164MB file 5475kbps. MP3 12MB file 320kbps.
I did this with 10 more songs from various CDs. I then had my friend play the SuperRip and the MP3 of the same song in varied sequences. Without watching what he was doing, I was able to correctly identify which file was which 100% of the time. However, when all 22 files were placed in a playlist and played at random, I was not able to consistenly identify whether the recording was the higher quality version or not. Truthfully, I was really just guessing.
I could not justify using 164MB of space on my hard drive for one song ... not when I can easily fit an entire CD (and more) in high quality MP3 format into the same space. So for me, the SuperRip function is very useless.
Overall, I love the product. Not quite CD quality, but fantastic fidelity out of a compressed music file and pretty hard to tell the difference. 9.5 out of 10 in my opinion.