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Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Sound Card
A signal to noise ratio or SNR of 124dB means your audio will be more than 99.99% pristine, which is over 89.1 times better than motherboard audio.
Enjoy reduced latency with Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) support with the Sound Blaster ZxR. Hear your audio recordings come to life!
Stereo Direct lets you listen to your music pure and unprocessed at the amazing bit rate of 24-bit 192 kHz.
Add studio quality audio sound tracks or voice tracks to your video clips or home videos created with hardware that uses only audiophile-grade components such as 123dB analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with RCA Aux-in and optical inputs for outstanding recording quality. With the 600 ohm headphone amplifier, you can do studio-grade monitoring as well.
The DBpro is another reason why Sound Blaster ZxR delivers only the best audio playback and creation. It offers optical output for outstanding audio playback, plus professional-grade ADCs with RCA Aux-in and optical inputs for studio-grade recording quality.
Take control in style and ease with the ACM that incorporates a built-in microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections. The knob on the ACM lets you conveniently adjust the headphone levels.
The multi-core Sound Core3D™ audio processor is designed to offload SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice effects processing from your primary CPU, improving your overall PC performance, resulting in drastically superior audio and voice quality.
In gaming, if you're not communicating, you're not winning. Experience crystal clear communication with your teammates with the CrystalVoice™ suite of technologies that removes echoes, ambient noises and picks up your voice from within a zone (Voice Focus). It also maintains your voice level even if you are near or further away from the microphone. Understand how CrystalVoice™ technologies work.
Connect to your home theatre system through a single digital cable and enjoy cinematic DVD movies by transforming any stereo or multi-channel streams into high fidelity immersive surround sound.
With the Sound Blaster Z-series Control Panel, just toggle between your headphone and speaker system with a flip of a switch.
|Average Customer Rating:
|| based on 102 reviews|
Average Customer Review:
( 102 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 54 found the following review helpful:
The best audio sound card but overkill if just for gamingApr 24, 2013
I originally purchased the creative Z sound card in November 2012 (see my Amazon review of creative Z). I have been waiting since then to upgrade to the ZXR. After having on order for several months, I finally received this card a few days ago. Physical installation was straight forward. You also have the choice of installing the DB Pro soundcard (if so, you need to attach it by supplied cable to the main audio unit). The DB pro card allows you to connect your pc to an external amp and speaker system. Driver installation for the sound card was very easy.
Now then, the ZXR, ZX and Z have all of the following features in common -
They all run on PCIE3 slots and they all use the creative quad core3D processor. They also utilise creative SBX pro studio support, SBX crystalliser, SBX surround, SBX smart volume, SBX dialogue plus and SBX bass, crystal voice, acoustic cancel, voice focus and noise reduction. All three models also have a dedicated 600 ohm headphone amp, gold plated connectors, dolby digital live and DTS connect.
Now this is where each card differs -
Z = double internal mic instead of ACM, 116DB SNR. No audio control module.
ZX = 116DB SNR, ACM (audio control module) support.
ZXR = 124DB SNR, TI Burr-Brown DAC, swappable op-amps, high quality DB-Pro and DB-Pro support, ACM support. The daughter board (DB-Pro) has 123DB ADC with RCA aux-in and optical outputs (to connect to external amps or other professional audio/music production hardware). The DB-pro card also has the quad core3D processor.
I was very happy with the entry model (Z). It produced noticeably better sound quality than the recon 3D sound blaster card I purchased over a year ago. The ZXR is a step up from the ZX and Z. It produces crystal clear sound reproduction with zero distortion. It is also about 15% louder than the Z (I have to decrease the volume on my Logitech X540 speaker control module). The ZXR has a lot of meat to it, particularly when gaming and listening to music. However, my Logitech X540 is not of the same calibre as the ZXR and I may need to upgrade my pc speaker system to a unit that can make the most of the ZXR. Only after I have upgraded to a high end speaker system, will they be able to extract every ounce of performance from the ZXR (I suspect the sound quality and clarity will show a circa 1.5 fold increase in performance). Another point to note, I am not using the supplied audio control module. I do not need to as, I am using the Logitech X540 control module. I therefore cannot comment on the quality of the ACM.
However, at £182-£200 and bearing in mind the high end TI Burr-Brown DACS, it is overkill if you want to use it purely for gaming, listening to music and watching bluray movies on your pc. In which case, I would highly recommend the ZX or the Z (to be honest, the main sound board for the ZX and Z is exactly the same. The only difference is that the ZX has the audio control module, but the Z does not). All things considered, it is cheaper to buy the entry Z. If you are a serious audiophile and have other audio equipment primarily for music production, audio editing or other audio work or even a high end home cinema, then the ZXR is the one for you, as long as you can afford the hefty price tag.
I have not really experienced any issues with this item, bar one. For some reason, the GUI audio adjustment software seems to switch off every now and then (and this reflects via a massive dip in audio performance). I am not certain why this happens (I never had this problem when I was running my OS on my western digital caviar black HDD). However, I suspect, it may have something to do with my new Samsung 840 SSD as my main boot drive which I installed just two days before I received the ZXR (I was also having issues with AVG internet security 2013 with my new SSD, so I had to uninstall AVG and use an alternative). I have not yet used the software to tweak settings for online gaming. I will get round to it. Either way, if I notice any significant changes (good or bad), I shall update my review accordingly.
Overall, this is a fantastic sound card and I think one that outperforms any Asus sound card (especially the Phoebus!). A must have for any serious audiophile blessed with (reasonably) deep pockets!.
18 of 21 found the following review helpful:
Stunning upgrade -- once you get the settings right...Jan 01, 2014
With (some) effort, you'll get the sound you like.
I was disappointed at first listen on this card, as the sound was all over the place--weak bass in some songs (even those normally mixed to emphasize the low end), with distorted bass in others. I also suffered ear fatigue quickly with headphones that are normally fine for multiple-hour listening sessions. My internal Realtek 898 (apparently the creme de la creme of onboard audio chips) was looking like the better of the two.
Before giving up on the card, I spent some significant time in the Sound Blaster control panel. The software to officially support Windows 8.1 was released just in time for my installation, and I had no issues with it. Eventually, I found the best sound for my scenario, but it took some time. And it's gorgeous, across the entire spectrum! Here's what I came up with to suit my listening preferences (Sennheiser HD 598s):
Keep SBX Pro Studio On
Uncheck the Surround modification (discovered source of my fatigue)
Leave the Crystalizer on (apparently it's good for compressed audio--mp3, ogg, aac, many games--which I use most often)
Uncheck the Bass enhancement (I preferred it off, and the low-end no longer distorts)
Turn on the Smart Volume function (I have mine set to Night for the best clarity at the low volumes I listen at)
Leave Dialog Plus off (with my headphones, dialog belongs where it was mixed!)
Curious if this is a common configuration, or if there is more subjectivity regarding the sound.
I have yet to use the digital outs or audio in capabilities, but plan to over the coming months. Will update if my opinion changes in any way.
Regardless, there is a great chance you'll enjoy this card, if you're willing to put in the effort to find your preferred sound.
27 of 33 found the following review helpful:
Incredible Card. Absolutely worth it.Mar 02, 2013
By Rich Wiatrowski
If you're "on the fence" with this card. Go for it.
Pros: This card is awesome! I upgraded from a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Fatal1ty Pro Gamer card with the add-on front panel. This card kills it. The drivers installed quick and easy. The card looks fantastic (even though it's now buried in my tower). I laughed when I was checking the installation on the sound panel in the control panel and the mic showed activity from the beam forming mic on the volume module. I also want to mention the GUI software is WAAAAAAY better than the X-Fi generation GUI software. Easy to navigate all the options, the headphone switch works flawlessly, there aren't any hiccups or crashes.
I was one of the people that had the AWFUL clicking and popping on the X-Fi cards and I'm happy to say it's gone. Sound is as clean as can be.
I couldn't be happier!
Cons: I haven't found one yet!
Other Thoughts: I know it's expensive. However, it's a premium product. It's got a crazy snr rating and it sounds incredible. Keep in mind that to get the most out of this card, high quality speakers/headphones DO make a difference
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Great sound; limited headset supportJan 30, 2014
I purchased this ZxR to use with my Sennheiser PC G4ME ZERO headset. I had read other users complaining of sound degredation when using the ACM (Audio Control Module) to connect their devices to and that they recommended connecting directly to the sound card. So, I took the 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapters from the ACM connectors and applied them to my headset connectors and while the sound worked fine, the microphone did not work at all despite every possible attempt at troubleshooting the problem. I knew it wasn't the headset because I tested it on another computer so I almost thought I had a defective sound card until I plugged the ACM into the sound card and then plugged my headset into the ACM. This fixed my microphone issue and I honestly do not recognize any sound degredation using the ACM as of yet. I would have given it 5-stars if not for this unexpected hassle and the fact that the SB control panel gives you fairly limited features when using a headphone connection in terms of DTS and DD.
9 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Great Card, couldn't pass up at this priceDec 02, 2013
You get what you pay for. If you don't have your PC hooked up to a surround system and just use cruddy desktop speakers, what's the point? Stick with onboard for that. If you want to watch blu-rays, play video games, etc. through a nice set of speakers, then this is a great card to consider.
Like another reviewer mentioned, there are other "lower" models which are cheaper. If you don't need the extra features, save a few bucks. Also, make sure your computer has an x1 slot available as well as another slot free for the daughterboard. A lot of newer, fancier video cards are now "2 slots wide" so this can be a problem for some where there is only a single x1 port right next to the x16 slot (where video tends to go).
As to the reviewers who complain that the optical doesn't work with "games", or some other nonsensical complaint, consider for one brief moment that YOU are the problem. Believe it or not, you might be expected to change some settings, download newer drivers, etc in order to maximize your experience. Not everyone blames the card when something doesn't work right out of the box; they take 5 minutes to search for the answer on Google, and fix it themselves. Just a thought.
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