Sound Blaster G5

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Pros:Of course this is a massive upgrade from motherboard audio. The Creative software is full featured without being over-the-top. The virtual surround sounds fantastic when played on an amplifier that does Dolby PL2 decoding. Headphone amp is clear and powerful. Makes old encoded audio files come to life. Ideal for gaming laptops. Works fine swapping between my desktop and laptop (with the software installed on each). Cons:The built in USB port is not worth the trouble it creates. Added to the sound device is a Etron USB hub, and if your system already has Etron USB hub(s), you may have problems. I finally had to use a different USB port on my desktop machine to keep it from messing up my keyboard & mouse input. It does not support encoded 5.1 output, such as Dolby Digital or DTS, which was kinda clear from the documentation. The S/PDIF output is not directly available as an output device in Windows. Overall Review:I've been blown away at how good some of my old Windows Media Audio files sound when played through this device. I know some of that is the audio engine and the virtual 5.1, but the level of detail is certainly from the higher quality DAC.