It is unfortunate to say, but Creative Labs is pretty much the last of the sound card manufacturers that makes high-end cards. With the demise of Aureal under a year ago, we're stuck with whatever Creative places before us. It also falls upon them to keep the standards high, so us gamers have something to blast out quality sound with.
The problem? Creative hasn't always been known for its gracefulness and stability in its drivers and companion software. Creative's latest marvel, the Soundblaster Live! 5.1 series, topping off with the Live! Platinum 5.1, promises (and seems to be) the musicians (and gamers) dream. But can it really be that great for the pricey $200(US) price tag?