It sounds great. There's no question about it. One amazing thing is that it even supports EAX and A3D 1.0 as well as DirectSound, so for all intents and purposes, the sound card is pretty much identical to the Sound Blaster LIVE! or Diamond MX300. Do note that although A3D 1.0 is supported, A3D 2.0 is not. Now with the statement about the FORTISSIMO being almost the same as the LIVE!/MX300, there are the techy specs which are different. I'll go out on a limb here by saying "Who cares?". To me, I buy a sound card to play games and watch a movie and do regular windows stuff. I'm not in the need for something really fancy. Although the LIVE! and MX300 supports far more features, the fact remains that almost nobody will ever need them, let alone find a use for them. Sound quality is what really matters.
Games sound pretty groovy. If I had to pick between the MX300/Live!/FORTISSIMO, it would certainly be a difficult choice. One thing to do if you buy/own the FORTISSIMO is to be sure you set your speakers up for Quad mode in the multimedia section of the control panel. We've seen some reviews which complain that the rears sound the same as the front, and it's because of them not setting up the speakers right. Heck, even we didn't have them setup right till 3D Sound Surge told us how to. :-) Once the speakers are setup right, there's no difference between the Live!/MX300/FORTISSIMO that I could tell.
Movies played with a Toshiba and Creative DVD player with whatever software comes with the Voodoo3 3500TV is great as well. The first complaint would be lack of dolby digital support, making DVD's a little more appealing to watch on a LIVE!/MX300 board. Other than that, they all sound great.
The Maxi Sound FORTISSIMO is a great sound card, for the price. It won't beat out a LIVE! or a MX300, but for those in the right price range, $49.95 can't be beat. If you dig DVD's on your PC, this isn't the sound card for you. If you dig movies (mpg/avi) and you love games, you'll really enjoy this sound card. If all you ever do is type in MS Word, anything will do.