The Original Sound Blaster Live! only received the correct drivers from manufacturer, and was a source of problems for many people.
That said, reference drivers are usually the best because they've passed through the least hands to get to you, and too many cooks spoil the broth.
On the other hand, any manufacturers optimizations and/or additional features/hardware won't be available for use.
That said, there's only about 5 or 6 large network card chip manufacturers, and realtek, marvell & intel (in that order) are the most likely to be stumbled upon by consumers.