Creative Labs yesterday announced a new line of its popular Sound Blaster sound cards based on its new Audigy audio processor--aimed at satisfying the refined sensibilities of gamers and music lovers. The four new products in the Sound Blaster Audigy line include the Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum eX, Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum, Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+, and Sound Blaster Audigy X-Gamer.

I can hear for miles and miles
The Audigy offers quadruple the power of any of Creative Labs' previous audio processors, the company claims. It also drives a couple of new technologies underlying the new cards: Audigy Advanced HD, which delivers multichannel audio using 24-bit/96kHz digital-to-analog converters (DACs) with a 100dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR); and EAX Advanced HD, whose various features enhance the quality of sound in PC gaming and digital music.

The $249.99 Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum eX is a sound card that looks like an external drive. The $199.99 Sound Blaster Audigy Platinum is the internal version, which can be installed in your PC's drive bay. Both products offer simultaneous digital and analog connectivity for MIDI devices, MiniDisc players, and other external digital audio devices. Two SB1394 connectors let you connect to DV camcorders and other external devices. Both products come with a remote control.

Surrounded by sound
The $99.99 Sound Blaster Audigy X-Gamer lets you enjoy true surround sound--and share it with your friends via its SB1394 connector. The like-priced, multichannel Sound Blaster Audigy MP3+ lets Internet and digital music mavens create, edit, and jam to audio files.

All four products come with a raft of video and audio software. Creative Labs says the products will be available in September. The company would not say whether these cards would be available as installed options in computers, but stay tuned for our reviews and you'll see whether they're worth the wait.