I ve heard that creative was working on a new DSP, supposed to be 4 times more powerful than the emu10k1 (located on sound blaster live cards).
I just went to soundblaster.com and seen that they re releasing the sound blaster audigy. Maybe it s this new card.
SonicFury/Santa Cruz is acclaimed as having the best quality of those soundcards. It's also significantly cheaper than the 5.1 platinum, and doesn't have the problems many sblive users have been having with motherboards in particular those with the 686b southbridge.
Rumours from motherboard manufacturers regarding nForce say the delays are stemming from the sound implementation. Of course, rumours are merely rumours.