The new Audigy sound cards offer many new technical improvements over Creative's previous range of cards and even most existing cards by other manufacturers. To start with, the quality of sound that the Audigy can handle has been upped to 24-bit at 96 KHz with an extremely low 100 db signal to noise ratio, meaning you'll get the clearest sounds possible, whether playing games or music tracks.
In addition Audigy uses a new 32-bit processor that's four times as powerful as the old Live! sound cards. This lets the Audigy create a whole set of musical and gaming effects using EAX Advanced HD. While playing music real-time environmental effects can be applied, as well as special effects such as audio clean-up that removes pops and crackles from tracks while time scaling lets you slow down and speed up music playback.
For games the new EAX system can process four separate environmental effects at the same time, while also being able to morph sounds between locations and create realistic reflections. Meaning the Audigy can generate the most realistic sounding game environments ever, whether you're using a simple two speaker set up or a full Dolby Digital surround set.
Another bonus is the addition of the SB1394 port, that adds FireWire connectivity and networking as standard on all of the Audigy cards. There are cheaper sound cards available, but if you take into account the extra FireWire port on top of all the new enhancements to the card, along with the improvements to the EAX effects, this is the best in gaming sound. --Nick Baxter