It's not often a new company comes along to compete in the component business, and one that enters the increasingly niche world of sound cards is even rarer. But that's exactly what Formosa21 is doing with its aim Audio SC8000.

It may seem an odd place to be trying to cut a name for yourself, but Formosa21 has a 17-year history in the OEM audio business, and the component list sounds impressive enough. A 32-bit CMI8787 processor is as good as they come, and the JRC4580 op amps have been seen on the prolific Auzentech's cards in the past.

Consider our interest in the aim SC8000 piqued.

Sound is, by its very nature, a subjective experience. The process of turning electronic pulses into high fidelity renditions of Bach's most subtly nuanced cantos is technically complex. Together, these two facts create the perfect conditions for snake oil salesmen to grow, ready to blind with the science of audio and fleece some cash.

It's why we can love the expensive ASUS Xonar Xense, but be wary of the similarly priced Creative Titanium HD. At a third of the price of either, how does the aim SC8000 compare.