Sounblasters aren't what they used to be, they seemed to have come to a stand still with quality while other brands catch up or overtake. The Turtle Beach are a good solid card, the best nowadays would probably have to be the Hercules cards
What about the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 6.1? That card is supposed to smoke everything, but it has a hefty price tag. Only thing I have seen about this (or looked for) was on the box at BestBuy. I love BestBuy.
I got an Audigy2 for $70. 24bit sound is definitely worth it.
Worth it, when compared to my previous live! platinum. I looked at the turtle beach card for a while but I think I didn't go with it because it hasn't had much review in a while so I questioned its edge.
ack. sorry. pro sound. I'm out on this one...I can't imagine doing pro sound editing on anything but a qualified pro-tools rig.
Record as in analog (i.e., live instruments in a pro or home studio) to a DAW? If so, how many ins/outs do you need (4? 8? 10?), and of what type (SPDIF, 1/4", RCA?). Do you need MIDI also? Do you want to go PCI or USB? What software are you currently using (Cubase, Cakewalk, Protools, n-tracks, etc.)?
M-Audio, Aardvark, & Edirol all make PCI and/or USB sound cards that fall within your budget of $300 (there are others, too, just can't think of them at the moment). Check your system specs (hardware & OS) very carefully against the manufacturer's compatibility list (especially important if going the USB route). Read tech reviews and get feedback from people who use the equipment before laying down your $.
But, since you said your last soundcard was an SB, I suspect that studio type recording is not what you're referring to. What you want to do narrows down what sound card you should buy.