I had good sound before I got the card, 5.1 on-board sound. The 7.1 headset is nice, but not the greatest for movies. Too much bass, not enough tinny little artifacts of sound I love. The speakers I have support 7.1, so i figured i would make the wife mad and get one last upgrade before I call it.
I decided on the Soundblaster Audigy 2 after reading many favorable reviews on some tech websites. THX certified really means nothing to me as I have seen it on some real low end cards so did not play a factor in the end result. I took heed to the warnings about troublesome setup and then promptly ignored them.
I bought the card at CompUSA and put it in that afternoon. First thing i noticed was that the card came with like three books in several different languages, so i threw them in the garbage post haste. Installing the drivers was a snap and they did not work at all. I downloaded new drivers from the website and those did not work either. Using a tried and true program, Audio Sandbox, in combination with the downloaded Windows 7 drivers, i was able to get it to work. Using several splitters i was able to add speakers to the back and my extra sub without a problem. The installed surround application just did not work at all, so once again i used Audio Sandbox to get my speakers in the right place sounding great. Frustration after installing this fucking card could only be quelled by several Sam Adams beers.
If you don't have Audio Sandbox, i can not honestly recommend buying this card or putting any faith in to it. Getting a movie to play with anything better than stereo in Windows Media Player was next to impossible without the aid of A.S. Once properly set up and tuned the way you like it, your Blu Ray's and Skyrim-like-games sound great. Speakers make a huge difference.. I recommend anything that has "Creative" written on it.
**Update: I just realized when i put my hand on the computer earlier that it was hot to the touch. I added a fan and poked a larger hole in the desk for better ventilation. Lets hope that worked. Maybe time for a new desk?**