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Hardware Creative Sound Blaster Z review

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

  1. hoochy

    hoochy Need moar cooling

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    The card has dedicated headphone output and speaker output that can be swapped between from the bundled software without having to remove or swap out any cables. There is also a pass through cable for the front header panel
     
  2. ferret141

    ferret141 Well-Known Member

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    Any other soundcards the also have separate headphone and front channel jacks like this?
     
  3. Xunsu

    Xunsu New Member

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    I had a X-FI along time ago, guess what I did with it.....

    I got a xonar DX istead, and I will get another asus over creative any day.

    Also you could get custom drivers for creative but than why should you?
     
  4. papalarge123

    papalarge123 Papalarge

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    i am currently still using a very old and trusted Audigy Zs, been using this in multiple builds since 2006, had a few problems with vista drivers, but i skipped that after some months of duel booting with XP, went to Win 7 and havent looked back, drivers worked as specified, but did need a seperate piece of software for use of all features, but will say this, the newer cards do look awsome, including the asus ones, but untill this Audigy Zs dies, i wont be changing. also sounds like missing the X-fi cards was a good idea.
     
  5. Kovoet

    Kovoet New Member

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    But one does look attractive to me is the little switch so tempting.
     
  6. Deders

    Deders Well-Known Member

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    Only just read through this review properly after it was linked form the latest buyers guide but I think I noticed something that may need correcting, (if the Crystalizer is the same as it was on the X-FI):

    "...apply a Crystalizer that's designed to compensate for the dynamic range compression that's applied to a lot of modern studio recordings...."

    Dynamic range compression is completely different to general compression like MP3's which the original Crystalizer (on the X-FI range at least) was designed to compensate for by filling in the frequencies that are often lost in low bitrate MP3's. It won't compensate for that wishy washy sound you get with very low bitrate audio, just enhance it.

    Dynamic range is the difference between the loudest parts and the quietest parts of any give audio track and when used properly can provide extra oomph at the right places in a piece of music or film, and while you are right in saying a lot of studio tracks do over-compress their tracks in this way due to the loudness war, the Crystalizer can't really change this as it can only play back what it has been given.

    What the blurb says it can do is expand the sound source to 24bit from 16bit (Most studio tracks will be recorded in at least 24bit and then mixed down to 16bit on a CD) but this only really the definition of the soundwave, not the volume.

    If you imagine 16bit only has a certain amount of lines on a grid that the waveform can be plotted, 24bit will increase the amount of points within the same dynamic range giving you a much finer grain for the waveform to be plotted.

    It's debatable how much data you can actually extrapolate from a 16 bit track to interpolate it into 24 bit especially as Creative don't really give out much data on the process involved.

    I've found that using the Crystalizer at about 50% does make the sound better whether the audio is compressed or not but this is mostly because it adds 3 decibels to the overall sound, whether it's loud or quiet, which of course is going to make the air move more so it has more of an impact on your ears.

    I would be interested to know if the Crystalizer on this card is any different to the one on the X-FI.

    I'd also be interested to know if it apples the same technique if the sound source is already 24bit.

    Edit: actually I may be wrong abut this

    http://www.tomsguide.com/us/creative,review-490-3.html

    But then the pre-crystalizer audio image here doesn't really look like it's had much compression added to the overall mix in the first place, otherwise the wave peaks would be more uniform to start with. It look more like a recording might look before the decibel war.
     
    Last edited: 22 Aug 2013
  7. lysaer

    lysaer Suck my unit! Kirk lazarus (2008)

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    For a long time I always just stuck with onboard sound because I never thought there would be any benefit from a more expensive standalone sound card.

    My mate offered me a really good deal on a phobeus and I was like ok then.

    Since putting it in there is a considerable difference in ambient sounds from my system it has added a level of depth that was not there before.

    The sound is not necessarily better quality but it seems better quality since you hear more

    Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk 2
     
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