The Live! board is the first one from the company to support its Environmental Audio technology. Creative says that the board is capable of surpassing "Hollywood-quality audio and delivers unmatched immersive gaming interactivity."
The EMU10K1 processor is what makes the Live! tick. Developed by E-mu (a division of Creative that produces high-end processors for the music industry), the audio processor dishes out digital signal processing at 32-bit 48KHz [using patented 8-point interpolation to produce cleaner sound waveforms for output to audio systems. Additional real-time effects that the EMU10K1 produces include echo, auto-wah, distortion, pitch shifting, reverb, and chorus.
The new board is backward compatible with legacy DOS games and supports Microsoft's DirectSound3D. Creative's Environmental Audio Extensions (EAX) work alongside DirectSound technologies to allow developers to add more sound effects into an acoustic environment. Already, game developers including Dreamworks Interactive, Fox Interactive, Accolade, Bungie, and GT Interactive have signed up to support the new EAX API in upcoming titles.
Features for the Sound Blaster Live! audio card include multiple-speaker output for up to four analog speakers. The card's digital output connector will allow the card to support up to eight digital speakers. For hardware geeks, the Live! board has built-in 256-voice music synthesis, and sound sample banks are included in 2, 4, and 8MB configurations of up to 32MB for using SoundFont compression technology.
Bundled software with the board gives a pretty good assortment of audiophile programs. Included are Cakewalk Express Gold 6.0, Sonic Foundry's Sound Forge XP 4.0, Mixman Technologies' Mixman Studio, a special version of Unreal, and the standard assortment of Creative applications and demos.
The Sound Blaster Live! will sell for US$199.99, and the company plans to release an assortment of SoundFont banks, applications, and enhancements for the board through its official Sound Blaster Live! site.