Creative adds three new products to Sound Blaster audio lineup

By on August 20, 2012, 7:30 AM

Creative has unveiled a new family of audio products that will inherit the reputable Sound Blaster name. The Sound Blaster Z, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster ZxR all use Creative’s Core3D quad-core audio and voice processor, much like the recent Recon3D cards. Each of the three products offers a unique blend of features, specifications and price points.

The entry-level Sound Blaster Z kicks things off at $100 which gets you an integrated amplifier meant to be used with headphones up to 600 Ω. There’s also 120dB SNR, support for 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out, an EMI-free analog input and output path and there’s even glowing LED lighting if you are into that sort of thing.

The mid-range Sound Blaster Zx ships with all of the same features as the Z card but adds an external Audio Control Module (ACM) with a built-in dual microphone array, volume knob and microphone / headphone connections. The low-end card does have an external mic but none of the other ACM features. Expect to pay around $150 for this configuration.

The top-of-the-line ZxR is $100 more expensive than the mid-range card but your $250 invest provides you with what Creative calls studio-grade components, 123dB analog-to-digital converters with RCA Aux-in and optical input, the same ACM that ships with the Zx card and a daughter card that provides additional ports should you need them.

The Tech Report says the Sound Blaster Z will be available as early as October while the Zx and the ZxR won’t be ready until December.




User Comments: 20

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nismo91 said:

hmm. im more interested in external solutions. days by days I rarely see people who rely on their PCIE soundcard anymore. most would go to USB solutions, especially those with pretty good headphones would pair them with USB DAC.

I used to have the x-fi surround 5.1 as I have posted here years ago until the buggy driver left me no choice but to sell them. it's a shame because I still have two 5.1 PC speaker systems around, otherwise I would definitely jump into USB DAC which doesn't support 5.1 channel. let's see if they come out with external version later

spydercanopus spydercanopus said:

The only feature I would pay for is being able to select "What you hear" as an audio input source. Is that still included as a feature for SoundBlasters? I know it's on the old X-Fi Elite Pro.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hmm the external modules are definitely interesting, prices don't seem too exorbitant either.

Sniped_Ash said:

Free Aureal! A3D for the masses! Down with EAX!

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Like nismo91 mentioned, the bad drivers is what made me dump the Creative sound cards. Using an ASUS Xonar Essence STX now which I absolutely love, but I can see where external solutions would be an attractive option.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Like nismo91 mentioned, the bad drivers is what made me dump the Creative sound cards. Using an ASUS Xonar Essence STX now which I absolutely love, but I can see where external solutions would be an attractive option.

To be honest I don't think the official Asus drivers are any better... but the unified one is pretty good though.

DanUK DanUK said:

I haven't used a sound card since.. the original sound blasters I think! As I only really play games on my PC I really don't see the need at all (unless someone can enlighten me)?

1 person liked this | TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

DanUK - the clarity, quality and control of my ASUS card blows away any on-board sound I've ever heard. Now granted, it's got better - a LOT better - and every once in a while I'll switch to onboard just to see the difference. And for my ears, it's difference is significant. In fact, with my Klipsch speakers and ASUS sound card, my PC doubles as my stereo system as the stereo system I have doesn't match the quality of what the ASUS card provides - and certainly not the control.

For slh28, I have never - EVER - had a single issue with the ASUS drivers. However while using Creative, there was a one in three shot that a game wouldn't work properly with their nasty drivers.

Guest said:

I'm still using and will use until it dies, my X-Fi Fatality Champion card. Best dound card I've ever owned.

Drivers could be done a bit better (slightly buggy) but nothing tops the front panel that comes with this thing, and that is why I will continue to use it.

-SPDIF in+out

-RCA Input

-Digital Optical in+out

-mini MIDI in+out

-5.25mm headphone

-5.25mm microphone

No need for a seperate surround system to tv, I just connect my HDMI video port to the tv (to watch videos on comp or Blu-Ray), and optical audio from tv to the front panel and I'm golden, everything gets 5.1, thx certified speakers, it's just like the theatre.

Unfortunately it's a PCI card (not PCIe) but none of the newer cards they make can touch the flexibility this one has.

Alchemy works very well giving DirectSound and 5.1 to older dx9 games while in Win7.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

Oh yeah, also has the "What you hear" so I can rip an audio stream off of ANYTHING, and a nice IR remote so I don't have to get off the couch to adjust audio when watching a movie (which syncs pretty well with Media Centre, if you use that).

Guest said:

Didn't the Recon3d cards just come out not too long ago...

DanUK DanUK said:

DanUK - the clarity, quality and control of my ASUS card blows away any on-board sound I've ever heard. Now granted, it's got better - a LOT better - and every once in a while I'll switch to onboard just to see the difference. And for my ears, it's difference is significant. In fact, with my Klipsch speakers and ASUS sound card, my PC doubles as my stereo system as the stereo system I have doesn't match the quality of what the ASUS card provides - and certainly not the control.

For slh28, I have never - EVER - had a single issue with the ASUS drivers. However while using Creative, there was a one in three shot that a game wouldn't work properly with their nasty drivers.

Thanks for the info! Obviously knew that it gave better output than the standard mobo shizz but wasn't sure if the increased quality was significant/worth it. The gunshot noises in battlefield 3 already sound ridiculously good.. wonder what it would be like with one of these blasters.

howzz1854 said:

like few of you, I haven't had a sound card in my system for quite some time now. at this day and age, digital lossless passthrough is the way to go. soundcards just can't compete with external receivers that cost $500+. I hook up my system to my Pioneer Elite receiver through HDMI, better sound than any soundcard I've owned in the past. when in doubt, pass it through and let the receiver do the processing for you. nothing beats gaming on a studio theater grade surround sound system, and pair it with top of the line JBL floor standing theater grade system it's like playing games at a AMC theater.

I am wondering how much longer will Creative Labs go on for seeing more and more digital passthrough solution are becoming common.

only way I can see you'll need a PCIe soundcard is if you're doing recording or sound editing in the studio, or as a music professional but as a gamer, consumer, movie watcher, or music listener, IMO you really should be passing the audio untouched through HDMI/Display port and let the receiver do the processing.

Squuiid said:

DanUK - the clarity, quality and control of my ASUS card blows away any on-board sound I've ever heard. Now granted, it's got better - a LOT better - and every once in a while I'll switch to onboard just to see the difference. And for my ears, it's difference is significant. In fact, with my Klipsch speakers and ASUS sound card, my PC doubles as my stereo system as the stereo system I have doesn't match the quality of what the ASUS card provides - and certainly not the control.

For slh28, I have never - EVER - had a single issue with the ASUS drivers. However while using Creative, there was a one in three shot that a game wouldn't work properly with their nasty drivers.

Spend your money on a good DAC instead and use the onboard optical out. MUCH better sound than ANY sound card, let alone your Asus card.

[link]

Guest said:

Still loving my X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Pro with no driver issues... NONE... EVER! ;)

DKRON said:

what is "What U Hear"? because I was playing dirt3 multiplayer and everyone could here a echo of the games music but I don't have a creative sound card installed anymore, does a sniper2 motherboard have one build it?

nismo91 said:

@DKRON

What U Hear is one extra channel worth of everything you're playing right now. so if you're playing games and listening to music, What U Hear will contain both of them exactly like what you're listening. Very useful for self-recording (think of how fraps record your desktop sound).

If you're using Realtek, there are chances you already have Stereo Mix. It is exactly the same as What U Hear. Right now for my Realtek ALC888 and ALC889 both are having their Stereo Mix working fine.

-edit

since you mention the other party can hear your game noise, it is possible that your "What U Hear" feature malfunction and leaks sound into your microphone channel. did u use microphone while online? if yes it explains why it happened, because sound device like Realtek are notorious for having the mentioned problem. another reason why people went for X-Fi for "What U Hear" instead of using their realtek "Stereo Mix".

DKRON said:

I have no microphone lol, thats the weird thing about it. I ended up muting the microphone option within the "games for live" profile and that stopped it

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

DanUK - the clarity, quality and control of my ASUS card blows away any on-board sound I've ever heard. Now granted, it's got better - a LOT better - and every once in a while I'll switch to onboard just to see the difference. And for my ears, it's difference is significant. In fact, with my Klipsch speakers and ASUS sound card, my PC doubles as my stereo system as the stereo system I have doesn't match the quality of what the ASUS card provides - and certainly not the control.

For slh28, I have never - EVER - had a single issue with the ASUS drivers. However while using Creative, there was a one in three shot that a game wouldn't work properly with their nasty drivers.

Spend your money on a good DAC instead and use the onboard optical out. MUCH better sound than ANY sound card, let alone your Asus card.

Optical out doesn't help with sound that is processed like game sound. Eg EAX5 etc. All stuff that occurs before it hits the optical...

Sure for your music and other already calculated digital audio, that will be a good option.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Like nismo91 mentioned, the bad drivers is what made me dump the Creative sound cards. Using an ASUS Xonar Essence STX now which I absolutely love, but I can see where external solutions would be an attractive option.

Yes the drivers are still atrocious. Thanks for the reminder... my Auzentech X-Fi Prelude and X-Fi Extreme Audio sound ok when they work but have some stupid bugs in them still.

The Prelude (whose drivers are written by Creative iirc) gets pops in Win7 Media Center after 2 or 3 days uptime. Been there since day dot...

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