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.