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[Expertreviews] Sound Blaster ZxR review

post #1 of 150
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Quote:
A high-quality Texas Instruments Burr-Brown PCM1794 DAC with a 127dB Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) feeds the headphone jack and RCA outputs while two PCM1798 DACs are used for the 3.5mm rear and centre stereo surround outputs. Everything's connected to a Creative SoundCore3D audio processor, which is visible through a porthole in the card's decorative metal EM shield.

The final part of the ZxR is an external module designed to connect to the 1/4in stereo TRS microphone and headphone ports. The 1/4in jack connectors are actually screw-on converters attached to 3.5mm jacks, so the external module could theoretically be connected to another audio device, although this is the only compatible sound card that's been released so far. The TRS jacks are labelled to indicate which one should connect to the mic input and which to the headphone output.

Source:

http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/gadgets/1296526/creative-sound-blaster-zxr/specifications

Preface: I recently replaced a titanium HD (which I was VERY happy with) with a ZX and I gotta say the Z series of sound blasters are *very* impressive. The sound is a marked improvement over the titanium HD, which the HD itself was 100x better than motherboard audio.

I know people like to bash Creative Labs, but this card is seriously impressive. I didn't expect much but the ZX won me over and replaced my old titanium HD.

post #2 of 150
link to the 1st page. it look goo but not a in depth review.
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post #3 of 150
I knew something was off with the headphone sound when gaming. I am used to virtual surround sound and since this card does not have it the sound is much worse in terms of 3d positional audio when using headphones.

A darn shame if you ask me.

mad.gif
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post #4 of 150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exostenza View Post

I knew something was off with the headphone sound when gaming. I am used to virtual surround sound and since this card does not have it the sound is much worse in terms of 3d positional audio when using headphones.
A darn shame if you ask me.
mad.gif

Huh? That is not correct. It does support EAX 5.0, ASIO, OpenAL and THX surround sound and has drivers for all of the above included.. You can go in the THX program and configure the positional sound to your liking. It even has all of the EAX 5.0 stuff which is pretty neat as well.

I've used a xonar STX soundcard and the titanium HD was definitely better in terms of positional audio hands down. Not that the xonar was bad -- let me be clear in that the xonar is an excellent card. But it is not good at positional audio even compared to the X-fi Titanium HD. The ZX/ZXR are even better than the Titanium HD in terms of 3d positional audio...
Edited by xoleras - 1/4/13 at 6:04pm
post #5 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoleras View Post

I know people like to bash Creative Labs, but this card is seriously impressive. I didn't expect much but the ZX won me over and replaced my old titanium HD.
It's Creative's software/driver department that needs bashing, the hardware is great. You could say they are the AMD of sound cards.
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoleras View Post

I've used a xonar STX soundcard and the titanium HD was definitely better in terms of positional audio hands down. Not that the xonar was bad -- let me be clear in that the xonar is an excellent card. But it is not good at positional audio even compared to the X-fi Titanium HD.
Are you sure you played around with the dolby virtual surround (7.1) settings?
Edited by Tippy - 1/4/13 at 6:23pm
post #6 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoleras View Post

Huh? That is not correct. It does support EAX 5.0, ASIO, OpenAL and THX surround sound and has drivers for all of the above included.. You can go in the THX program and configure the positional sound to your liking. It even has all of the EAX 5.0 stuff which is pretty neat as well.
I've used a xonar STX soundcard and the titanium HD was definitely better in terms of positional audio hands down. Not that the xonar was bad -- let me be clear in that the xonar is an excellent card. But it is not good at positional audio even compared to the X-fi Titanium HD. The ZX/ZXR are even better than the Titanium HD in terms of 3d positional audio...
Amazing to hear.

Does this card let you switch between speakers and headphones through software, or do you need to physically unplug one like the Titanium HD? I'm currently using my Xonar STX over my Titanium HD just for the convenience factor - I preferred the Titanium HD for positional audio.
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post #7 of 150
I think i'll be picking one up with some new sennheiser's here soon. Once my rebuilt loop is done, this card will be my next priority.
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post #8 of 150
I want one, looks good, sounds even better biggrin.gif
post #9 of 150
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arnotts View Post

Amazing to hear.
Does this card let you switch between speakers and headphones through software, or do you need to physically unplug one like the Titanium HD? I'm currently using my Xonar STX over my Titanium HD just for the convenience factor - I preferred the Titanium HD for positional audio.

It has a setting to detect headphones automatically, and can switch between speaker/headphones through software similar to the T-HD.
post #10 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by xoleras View Post

It has a setting to detect headphones automatically, and can switch between speaker/headphones through software similar to the T-HD.
I wonder if a pair of quality open headphones combined with the ZXR would have a better sound stage/imaging when gaming than a Astro A50 headset.
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