Important caveat: this page is pretty old. At the time I wrote it, I was using the AWE32 everyday to make music. I still use it everyday -- to play Quake and Tie Fighter. So some of the info may be a bit dated; the AWE64 has been out for a while too.

The Sound Blaster AWE32 is a fairly bland Sound Blaster 16 sound card loaded with an Emu8000 synthesizer system. A lot of people complain that the AWE32 has pretty noisy output (which it does) and loads of distortion (which it does)--out the regular 1/8" line or speaker outputs. However, hidden on this card is J3, an S/PDIF digital out direct from the Emu8000 chip. This means you can get pristine, digital-only output and run it through the outboard D/A converter of your choice.

I use an Audio Alchemy DAC-in-the-Box ($200) to realize the Emu8000's output. Note that both the OPL3 and the Emu8000 go through S/PDIF, so for optimal sound quality you should uninstall the OPL3 drivers. For sampling I use a Sony CDU-55e CD-ROM drive set up as the master on my second IDE port, which lets me do digital sampling. My program of choice for this is the excellent Digital Domain (dido) under Windows.

Okay, this is pretty lame. It used to be one of the only AWE32 sites on the net, but times have changed, so...

Additional Sites

You can check the official Creative Labs site for the most recent software upgrades as well as product information and specifications. Click here for ftp access.

The net's unofficial AWE32 site is packed with product information, .SBK files and editors (both EsBeeKay and Vienna) and lots of other cool stuff for the card. Check it out!

Finally, last and certainly not least, Mathias Hjelt's awesome AWE32 pages are THE authoritative source of AWE32 info. Everything you ever wanted to know about the AWE and a whole lot more.