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Hardware Creative Sound Blaster Z review

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by brumgrunt, 11 Feb 2013.

  1. m0ngy

    m0ngy New Member

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    Had an X-Fi ten years ago and it wasn't that bad, was compatible with just about everything I threw at it (BF2, mostly), from what I can remember. Got a Xonar DX now and it provides much better sound quality than the Creative card, though you'd expect that of a later generation product.

    In my local forums I always recommend a sound card (Xonar DX) to people's new PC build spec list. However, it would seem most people think on-board sound is just fine, and a sound card simply a waste of money. I've even been accused of being an audiophile (which is true), for suggesting a sound card, which is perplexing; why skimp on sound when building a high-end multimedia/gaming PC? A lot of people rip their music at 128 kbps and think it sounds great.
     
    Last edited: 12 Feb 2013
  2. LordPyrinc

    LordPyrinc Legomaniac

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    I use the motherboard audio outputs (Realtek) for my 5.1 Surround sound setup. It has an additional port for the side speakers for a 7.1 configuration that I'm not using. The only audio issue I have is a weird left front issue that is very sporadic, occasionally it goes dead (not the speaker, ruled that out). I used to reboot to resolve till I read online about sliding the volume control up and down on the taskbar to fix it. Seems to be a driver issue. Other than that rare issue, the sound is great. Personally I think better quality speakers are more important than the audio output itself, but I'm not really trying to duplicate studio quality sound in my room, it doesn't have the acoustics for it.
     
  3. lietu

    lietu New Member

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    Unfortunately Creative is the ATI/AMD of sound cards .. hardware might be decent, but those guys just don't know how to make drivers. This is why I never buy Creative or ATI/AMD graphics cards.

    Though to be fair, I can't think of any sound card producer that actually did great drivers, but my ASUS Xonar Essence STX drivers have worked pretty well.
     
  4. m0ngy

    m0ngy New Member

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    Have you ever owned a decent sound card? The difference between your Realtek on-board and something like a Xonar Essence is immediately noticeable and quite dramatic. Good speakers are important, but will only replicate the quality of the source signal. By the way, what bit rate do you rip your music at? Let me guess...

    Aww, that's pretty harsh. ATi/AMD drivers aren't as bad as people make out. Anyway, they're better bang for buck than Nvidia.

    Yeah, the Xonar DX drivers aren't that great either, but they work.
     
  5. Coltch

    Coltch Member

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    Still using my X-Fi Elite Pro (PCI and about 6/7 years old) and see no reason to upgrade, sound quality is far better than the onboard chip and the breakout box with specific phono outputs is a huge bonus for me.

    I don't use Creative drivers as they have been useless since Vista and prefer to use a 3rd party set that are a huge improvement amongst other things.
     
  6. impar

    impar Well-Known Member

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    Greetings!
    You also suggest a decent speaker system or headphones?
    Because whithout those the investment on a sound card is weird, with those the investment doesnt justify for the large majority of users.
     
  7. .//TuNdRa

    .//TuNdRa Resident Bulldozer Guru

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    I'd say that Creative need to get their **** in gear. Some of their stuff is Very Nice. My Zen Mozaic has lasted for years, and it's still alive and kicking, but their soundcard drivers are just absolute crap. It probably doesn't help that all Creative EAX extensions were made completely inoperable under Windows Vista because of the Sound API change.

    As for the Creative V Asus Debate; Creative cards look nicer, but Asus Work. My Xonar DX has been going strong for a couple of years, threw the UniXonar drivers on there, had no problems bar the usual Xear3D looping sound issue.
     
  8. spolsh

    spolsh Active Member

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    I'd disagree - even with a cheapo 5.1 setup a soundcard makes a big difference. example : twisted transistor by Korn. Unlistenable through on-board, yet on the same speakers with either an Asus or Creative card, the vocals are clear.
     
  9. Harlequin

    Harlequin Well-Known Member

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  10. Jimbob

    Jimbob Member

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    I'm sorry but you are being a dick, I could pick points out for why you are wrong on so many levels but frankly I can't be arsed. There is a difference between enjoying quality audio and acting like a douche "I've even been accused of being an audiophile which is true" there are certainly good reasons for fitting a decent sound card but likewise there are very many good reasons to stick with the on-board sound.
     
  11. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    Apparently Creative are recalling some ZXR's due to a small fault.

    But on a side note Creatives support isn't the best.
    When your customers have to depend on a third party to modify your drivers to get them working for some people its a sad state for them to be in. Personally i use the Drivers modified by daniel_k as it very rare for Creative to update there software/drivers.

    I wouldn't use PAX myself as some of his changes are very dubious, in that he adds settings to .ini files that are debatable if they do anything.
    The only other changes he makes is changing the default setting for bass, treble etc. AFAIK there just a glorified EQ preset.
     
  12. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

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    There are only a few of reasons I can think of:

    1) Budget constraints

    2) Room in your case (not enough PCI / PCI-e slots)....... if someone says external I'll scream!

    3) You're deaf or have a constant ringing in your ears!

    Can't think of any more
     
  13. true_gamer

    true_gamer Well-Known Member

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    I don't understand where people are pulling these major driver problems from? Is everyone still in the ERA of Vista times?

    I can honestly say when owning the Creative X-Fi Titanium Pro 7.1 Sound card, the drivers and sound quality was awesome. I rate it better than the ASUS Xonar D2X that I also owned prior.

    As Bennyboy has mentioned, he too has not experienced these so called "driver issues" also.
    When comparing the HD Titanium with the ASUS STX, I haven't a clue which is better, but I'm sure with Bennyboy experience, he speaks the truth when he says the ASUS STX sound quality is better.
    Drop down from the high end, to the mainstream/high end range, and it's the opposite way around.
     
  14. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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  15. true_gamer

    true_gamer Well-Known Member

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    All I can say is, I never experienced these problems. Problems like that can be down installing Windows on an unstable OC, or installing Drivers on a unstable OC. Installing drivers on top of drivers without completely wiping the original, and so driver conflict can occur etc. etc..

    I can also go on...
     
  16. m0ngy

    m0ngy New Member

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    Funny you should say that, because I usually do suggest the new PC builder buys a decent 100W amp and a pair of 3-way floor speakers cheap off Ebay or the local free classifieds, called Gumtree. I myself use an old Pioneer VSX-D711 100W amp ($60 from Ebay), and a pair of Yammy NS-70's ($200 off Gumtree).

    However, I don't really listen to music on my computer. I have a Pioneer Spec-1 pre and Spec-4 power amp from the late 70's, for when I want to sit back in my bean bag and really enjoy my extensive vinyl collection. Basically, it's a poor mans audiophile system, which also happens to be some of the best looking stereo equipment ever made, in my opinion. I'm not so full-on about it that I'd spend a fortune (I don't have) on stylus and cartidge etc, but I will get a classic Linn Sondek or Thorens TT one day, when I can afford it.

    I was being a bit of a dick, but I'm still right. Like B1GBUD said, there's no good reason (besides poverty, which is totally legit) for not getting a decent soundcard for you gaming/multimedia PC. Why? Because the difference between a decent sound card and on-board is huge. To suggest otherwise is to admit your lack of appreciation for music and to utterly reject the dynamism of modern gaming experience. I love indie lo-fi, like Smog and Will Oldham, with their sparse arrangements and minimalist production, but I'll be damned if I'll listen in low res.
     
  17. Shirty

    Shirty Time travelling rogue Super Moderator

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    I gave up on dedicated sound cards a year ago. Call me a luddite, but I can't tell the difference through Creative T20s or Koss PortaPros.

    Mind you, I use the PC a lot less than I used to.
     
  18. B1GBUD

    B1GBUD ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Accidentally Funny

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    Ahhhh, that's cos you're an old codger Shirty ;)...... should have added that as a reason! We forgive you!
     
  19. Corky42

    Corky42 Where's walle?

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    No you cant go on :wallbash:, as it is known what causes these problems.

    http://forums.creative.com/showthread.php?t=587995&page=7&p=537975#post537975

    Originally Posted by daniel_k

     
  20. true_gamer

    true_gamer Well-Known Member

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    I'm sorry, but if these problems were so big and everyone was experiencing them, then surely trading standards would be involved?

    I have had the X-FI Titanium Pro Drivers installed on 3 different SSD's with no issues (Over a period of time, including on C300 in Raid 0, Vertex 3 etc.)
    You can't tell me that the SSD is too fast to load the drivers...There has to be more to the guys problem, like something so simple as a lost packet when downloading the drivers...
     
    Last edited: 12 Feb 2013
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