Creative Labs has officially lost my sound card business. I know I’ve griped about them before in various contexts but my latest experiences with the two sound cards still in my systems have made me want to completely eliminate them. (I also have an Extigy card that was hooked to my wife’s computer, but it’s no longer in use.)

I have an Audigy card in my Linux box and I previously had a Live card in my Windows PC. The reason for that split was very simple. My Audigy card no longer had the original driver disc (at least when I installed it) and Creative Labs, in a fit of DRM-induced paranoid fanaticism, stopped distributing full drivers for their Audigy cards on their website. They provide upgrades, but the upgrades require the original CD be present in the drive to install.

The Live card, on the other hand, had always had working drivers on the website. That’s the very reason I picked that card up. 

When my windows system crashed I went and patched together a new one and moved my card over. I went to the Sound Blaster website and went to download the drivers. They weren’t there anymore. They’d been replaced with the same “requires original cd” nonsense upgrades that the Audigy card had. I’ve been using Sound Blaster cards since my original 8086 system. I had an 8-bit SB card that still had the built in amplifier. Almost every sound card I’ve had since then has been a Sound Blaster…

I’m never buying another creative labs product. Bubye Soundblaster!

I gave my SB Live to my brother for his Linux box (they work great in linux still, the driver is built into ubuntu.) I’m now temporarily using the built in sound card on the motherboard. When I get a few spare 20’s I’m getting a Turtle Beach Montegro DDL card. The nice draw to this is that they have the drivers right on their website as well as having optical outputs so I can link it to my stereo along with my PS2. There’s a company that wants to stay in business… 

If it supports linux fully, I may even get a second one to replace that clunky Audigy card. (Did I mention that once I found the driver disc for the Audigy, it didn’t even WORK in windows with the latest drivers?)