SB Live! Value vs Turtle Beach Santa Cruz - FIGHT!

I’m in a quandry here. I’m sure the SB Live is the cause of slowdowns/crashes in my PC. Morrowind especially. I have been offered a free Turtle Beach Santa Cruz (Dell OEM edition if that matters). I use my PC for games (duh!) and playing audio CDs and MP3s. I have a 4.1 Cambridge Soundworks FPS2000 speaker system.

Other specs for the PC

AMD Athlon 750
Gigabyte 71xe4 mobo
512mb RAM
GeForce 3 gfx card
SB Live Value 1024
Win XP

Thanks for voting!

I replaced my aging/problematic SB card with a Turtle Beach card and have been quite happy. Not quite a fair comparison, as the old card was about a generation behind, and many of my sound problems were partially due to the motherboard chipset and bus latency, but the Turtle Beach card hasn’t given me any problems yet.

  • Alan

I had a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz until the explosion of my brother’s computer* forced me to get a new PC, and that one had Nforce onboard audio. I liked the Turtle Beach. Never had a problem.

  • Ok, the computer didn’t explode, but 2 power supplies did, one of which was mine.

I will never put a Creative product in any computer I build ever again.

I’m sorry, but bloated driver sets that add useless “features” that don’t work with some of the top games just doesn’t cut it for this cowboy.

Since installing the TB SC in my work PC, it’s been nothing but smoooth sailing and crystal clear audio with nary a conflict in sight. In my home PC, I use the onboard C-media audio on my Soyo DRAGON mobo. Never had a problem with that, either.

I’ve also had excellent experiences with my Hercules GameTheater XP.

I would agree with this. It mirrors my experience with Creative drivers over the last couple of years. It seems they went into suck overdrive as soon as WinXP was released.

Thanks to all respondees. I’ve now had enough encouragement to go pick up the SC and install it tonight. I’ll let you now how it goes.

I had a ASUS mobo with VIA chipset and an SB Live Value. The damned thing would lock up sporadically any time a DirectX game was running. Soemtimes it would lock up right away. Sometimes it could run for hours. But assuredly it would lock up. You can guess how Morrowind behaved on this rig.

I got fed up and ripped out the SB Live. I had an old TB Santa Cruz card lying around that I popped in. The lockups went away. The old TB card wasn’t fully compatible withe DX version I was running and I had to turn down the audio acceleration to run Morrowind. Morrowind now ran reasonably well without crashing all the time. It still crashed, but I blame Bethesda for that.

I have the dreaded SBLive/Via Chipset/WinXP combo (soon to be upgraded though) and it has been a ongoing battle to deal with the popping and static.
A recent driver patch has illeviated the problem somewhat, but at times for some reason the problems resurfaces, and I havet reinstall the drivers again.

A year and a half ago I picked up the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz card and experienced absolutely no problems at all and was completely thrilled by it.

Unfortunatley, the TB card did not work so well with my Linux distro (Live works great), so I traded it back in and recquired the Live 5.1, a decision I have rued to this very day.

What the hell has happened to Creative in recent years - I know this has already been mentioned in this thread, but they really have gone to full suck mode with their driver support.

I agree it’s not like the Via/XP/Live combo is some arcane configuration.

I agree it’s not like the Via/XP/Live combo is some arcane configuration.[/quote]

Not to sound like too much a free market wacko, but, well, they really didn’t have any competition for several years (when Aureal got sued out of existence and before any of the Turtle Beach chipsets came out) so they haven’t had much reason to innovate or care.

Add in the fact that onboard audio had improved dramatically (and comes with virtually all motherboards), and if I was an exec at Creative I’d be putting my bright guys into working on Nomads, not Soundblasters.

Just a thought…


While I agree on Creative’s general suckiness with regards to drivers and compatibility, I’m still sticking to CL cards because to my ears, they simply sound much better (with any sound source other than MIDI) than any other brand I’ve tried. That’s with headphones, though; maybe it’s different with powered speakers.

Add in the fact that onboard audio had improved dramatically (and comes with virtually all motherboards), and if I was an exec at Creative I’d be putting my bright guys into working on Nomads, not Soundblasters.

Just a question to anyone who knows much about onboard audio. I am upgrading this week to the Asus a7v 8x-x which comes with onboard sound. With onboard sound, does the CPU take a hit, that you would not take othewise if you had a dedicated sound card? My processor is a 2100 XP and I will have 1 Gb of DDR ram…

The TB Santa Cruz is an amazingly trouble free peice of hardware maybe the most trouble free I have ever owned.

– Xaroc

I just made the switch, and I’m absolutely thrilled with the TB card. It all worked perfectly first time and it sounds great. The hardest part was cleaning out all the Creative junk from the registry before fitting/installing the SC. The Turtle Beach volume/settings applet is also much nicer than the Creative equivalent.

I’m gutted I put up with the shitty old SB for so long. Never again, Creative.

Agreed. I was having all kinds of lockups with IL-2FB with my KT266A based system until I pulled out the Audigy and went with the integrated audio. I was going to give the Audigy another chance with my new system, but ended up swearing off Creative once and for all instead… I found out I had to install the drivers from the driver disk in order to get to the User’s Guide just to find out where to plug in the front mounted sound jacks on my case. Of all things that one would expect to be in the regular manual, they left that out… :roll:

F*** Creative Labs.

You would think with all the driver problems Creative has it would stop people from buying Creative sound cards - but people keep on buying them.

It would seem that today’s 5.1 onboard sound chips have improved a lot over the original AC’97 standard.

One thing for sure - Creative definitely needs to feel some pain and clear out their driver development team and start over again. The current Audigy software and drivers are buggy, unreliable, prone to trashing the registry, and bloated.

I’ve had some major problems with sound in games like IL2FB and Vice City because of Creative’s shitty drivers.

Here in the UK, you’re hard pressed to find anything else. The major PC retailer, PC World, stocks pretty much only Creative stuff. I think there’s one or two Hercules cards to choose from as well, but that’s it.

I’m just going to get a motherboard with onboard sound next time, much easier. Do they come with a socket to plug the CD-ROM drive into, to enable CD Audio?

I don’t think you need that anymore. I am using an ASUS A7V-333 motherboard here at work with C-Media onboard sound and when I play an audio CD it simply pipes it through the IDE interface. I didn’t need to attach a separate audio cable.

Same in Germany, you get practically all Creative cards everywhere but other brands? Some cheapo cards with very limited features, some specalized music/MIDI cards… but competing game cards like the Turtle Beach Santa Cruz are impossible to find.