Creative Sound Blaster ZX PCIe Gaming Sound Cardsearch

Creative Sound Blaster ZX PCIe Gaming Sound Card

Creative Sound Blaster ZX PCIe Gaming Sound Card

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what do you guys think about this card vs onboard motherboard audio with alc1150 codec? I'm sure the card will be better, but will it actually be a noticeable difference?
PretentAttempt
Creative gear applies a lot of its own eq to your system in the first place. I always liked the sound of the crystalizer, ymmv.
Using this card with windows 10 perfectly but Idk if I'd advise joining this drop as you don't save much off Amazon as it's 109 after rebate. I have heard the volume nob is not the best so I have the version without it and it's only 84$ atm
I have one of these in my Win 10 gaming PC. I know that onboard audio is nothing like it used be (in fact many motherboards have really very nice built in output options), but I couldn't resist filling a vacant PCI slot with a good old fashioned sound card. I got it open box, so the cost wasn't massive. I got to say I think it's fantastic. Competently drives my HD6XX's, fantastic I/O options, good 24/192 DAC, and the little desktop pod is something that I didn't think I'd use much but found to be quite handy. The signal processing is actually quite helpful for gaming, and can fairly realistically simulate surround through a good pair of headphones. What I really use most is the processing on the microphone inputs. I either use the mic in the little pod or my Modmic attached to my Senn's and both are greatly improved with the Crystal Voice or whatever it's called. The noise reduction and adaptive volume may not be a dream for audiophiles but functionally in a game setting I believe it pays dividends. Long story short, nothing's perfect, sound cards are old and probably going extinct soon, but I'm happy with my purchase.
It seems having Windows 10 is going to keep me from this drop...
Toaster8taco
I'm running a SB-Z soundcard on the latest Win10 (April 2018, 1803). installed the old-and-seemingly-outdated creative drivers and everything works as intended - full functionality, zero issues. DPC latency is well within the limit, ASIO works just as good, even Kernel Streaming /WASAPI works without latency or hiccups.
Clean install is not a bad word though. I genuinely believe (that with Windows*) you should perform a clean install with any internal hardware change.
I'm confident you'll get this working properly in no time.
Anyone figured out how to install it? I followed everything including the stuff on the creative forum (unplugging entire machine before connecting, reconnecting, disable fastboot, unplug USB headset, etc), installation still can't seem to detect the hardware.
edit: never mind, changed pcie slot and worked
How well do they work for the HD6XX for gaming? I don’t necessarily need the best sound, they always sound fantastic but they suck at gaming cause u cant really tell what’s up and down etc. Any ideas? Would be great, thanks.
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well the confusing part was the mentioning of other hardware but not clear how you are using it, as in did you retire the SBZx, or what amp do you pair it with. Mentioning any other gear you use as reference would help too, thanks for responding.
PirateIce
seems confirmed shill still to me. It's a SB recommendation, how often are they not?
I've had the ZxR for a long time, almost since it was released. I loved it so much that I continued to go with mATX boards/cases because I wanted a space for my ZxR. The surround voodoo with stereo headset is seriously game changing. Best used with a really open headset like the AKG 7xx that has great sound stage.
However, pretty much every windows 10 update has been breaking the drivers, rendering it almost useless lately. It's a shame.
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mkenyon
MS is making a lot of changes to the audio sub-system and we're actively working with them to resolve these items as quickly as we can. We're on it and aware believe me!
DigitalRonyn
Awesome. I still have the card in my system and I eagerly await it working again. I love the product and definitely do not want to replace it.
Anyone know how well the EMI shielding on this works? Will it protect against interference from my GPU? Right now I get lots noise from onboard audio whenever I fire up a GPU intensive game.
wuhanclan
EMI shielding is really only going to shield from OUTSIDE interference. Things like signals coming from other devices not onboard the PC, etc.
You should be shielded from any noise that's being generated on the motherboard due to the Zx's circuit design...BUT if you're in close proximity to the GPU and your GPU has fans on it (not watercooled) when those fans spin up, they have a tendency to generate a LOT of "noise" due to the way the fans are powered and operate. This can lead to the noise you are experiencing.
Is there a PCIe slot further away from your GPU you could slot the card into? That may help mitigate the noise.
Props to homie repin creative, you holding your own against these spoiled mass drop know it alls. Someone get my son a raise
I've had the Zx for a couple years now. It's nothing short of an amazing card. I thought the controller was a bit silly at first, but now I use it every day with my headphones.
This vs Fulla 2
Ilikedifferentthings
Depends on if you want to use a microphone or a 1/4" jack
I have the soundblaster x g5. While obviously not the same card/setup, I absolutely love my soundcard. Having a desktop mic/headphone jack with independent audio knob is also very nice for gaming.
I got the ZxR a few years ago in order to solve an sound interference problem with my old card. The sound blew my mind. However, the shield was ineffective and the parasitic noises continued. I only solved the issue by getting an external card (the X7). I imagine the experience must be translatable to the ZX.
unbornchiken
I have never had that issue using the rear IO. I have an HT Omega Claro. I have thought about getting the Sound Blaster for my intel rig, but the Gigabyte onboard sound appears to be fine (again, always using the rear IO). Do you mind sharing what your setup was that had the parastic noise issue? I see this on forums all the time, and I really do not understand how it could be happening, save for using the front audio jack. It is a problem I want to understand better. Thanks.
unbornchiken
I thought the same thing. Until I moved my dual-band wireless router away from my desktop. Wireless will have a very large impact on anything within about 5 feet of the transmitter. I own the ZX and actually bought the ZX because I thought my on-board sound was bad. The speaker wire were absorbing the wireless waves until they hit a point of oscillation. I installed the ZX and it still took place. It's been a week now since I moved my wireless access point away from my desktop and there hasn't been a single event again. Also, this soundcard is worth every penny. The software is somewhat clunky, but works well.
Have this card almost since release. It just works. Never had fail me and you can actually hear the diferrence even if your using a pricy motherboard with some fancy onboard audio option.
Coldnemessis
Saw the drop and wanted to leave a positive comment. I enjoy the ZX completely. It was/is a big jump for me over the onboard audio.
I wish this drop had the option to choose between the Z and the Zx. I have no need for the controller. Just more clutter on an already cluttered desktop. I would join in an instant if the Z was available for $20 less.
It would be better to just purchase the sound card, the volume knob stand with extra connections degrades the sound drastically. I immediately noticed the difference from plugging straight into the card and moving to the standalone volume knob. I have seen other reviews mention the problem as well and it unusable.
Also for this price you'd be much better off purchasing a USB Dac/Amp like the Fiio E10K, which is actually cheaper and will give cleaner sound. Don't believe the marketing of 'Surround Sound' when it comes to sound cards or headphones. Headphones by design have two drivers, one in each ear. The 'Surround Sound' is done with software which can really change the signature of the sound for worse. Better to have a good pair of headphones or speakers, a good Dac and Amp, and let the game or movie create the surround sound. Going from this sound card to the E10K then eventually the O2/ODac with a good pair of headphones I noticed a big improvement. Trust me, even without any 'Surround Sound' products the game creates the sounds appearing to come from all around you, and it will sound better with a good setup than with the best 'Surround Sound' software filter.
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I've had this card and moved on the Dac/Amp combos I mentioned. My comment was not skepticism but my own experience as well as the majority of Headphone and Speaker enthusiasts. It is much better to have a good Dac/Amp than to have software augmenting the sound.
When gaming there was no loss of 'Surround Sound' and in fact the games sounded much better when not running through the software. My main point was that Headphones by default have only two main drivers, left and right, but you still get sound that comes from all points around you as the game's audio takes care of positional audio without one of these sound cards running software.
For music there is no competition, a good Dac/Amp will beat any sound card every time. And yes these are just my opinions, but as stated before also the opinion of every Hi-Fi enthusiast.
EDIT: Also I currently still have this sound card installed and have done many A/B testing with it and my E10K and O2/Odac Rev B. Gaming, movies, and ESPECIALLY music all sound much better on the Dac/Amps.
OleDaneBoy
DigitalRonyn most likely has not delved deeper than the marketing material he was given, be fair to him ;) And... straight from creative marketing material: "SBX Surround consists of two core technology components – Upmix and Virtualizer."
Software HRTF uses the position calculated by the game to create an accurate sense of its location. Creative SBX has to take the channels as presented from the software and upmix and virtualize either 2 channel or multi channel audio to create a fake headphone surround effect than can only track the positions of these channels, whereas the software can represent a sound at any angle.
Clearly, we do not want or need SBX surround when gaming HRTF is still available, still free, and still better... and can often handle more than 128 sounds.
I used this sound card for quite some time, a few years. I loved the performance of it, and it was even better once I set up my own equalizer. I had one issue with it, which was microphone interference from coil whine, which only occurred when I played certain games. Even with that, I loved the card, until it one day bricked when I booted up my system. If they ever fixed the microphone grounding issue (I've seen no evidence of this yet) I would love to try one, but it seems to be an issue with many Creative cards. Anyways, if you can deal with a quirk like that, or use a microphone through a different interface from the card, go for it. The card sounds great, and the software is pretty solid.
I would advise against buying Creative Labs anything. In the past they implemented artificial obsolescence on their cards through software support and drivers and then sued programmers when they provided unofficial drivers for those cards. Up to you really, I know am not coming close to their stuff ever.
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I have and use CL's sound cards for the last 20yrs without much issue pretty much cements my trust in CL. I build my own pc's every 2-3yrs and one of my checkbox has always been a CL sound card/chipset (for onboard). I will not use Realtek based sound (they're mediocre).
SpecTP
Am not disputing hardware, I am criticizing toxic behavior from the company making it. The fact community won doesn't justify their behavior. It's important to remember they actively tried to prevent people from using their cards on newer system in order to force a new purchase. They failed, but that is only thank to people who actually stood up to them. In the end you are free to use whatever you want, I merely gave my opinion and advice.
If you subcribe to Fry's newsletter this is 99.99 right now free shipping.
SilverSurfR
Good luck returning it to Fry's if it got damaged in shipping. Those jerks make you RMA everything. The only retailer worth buying from is Microcenter.
DigitalRonyn, can you provide the output power and output impedance for the headphone amp of the ZX?
satchmo
600 Ohm Amplified Headphone Output: 80mw TI TPA6120 Read more at http://www.legitreviews.com/creative-sound-blaster-zxr-sound-card-review_155706#0KVbfRQqe5QrjGpt.99
I have a SoundBlaster Z, which is the base card in this drop. The hardware is spectacular. The drivers, not so much. Every time I update my video card driver I have to reinstall the sound card driver because the HDMI part of the video card driver messes with the sound card driver. I then have to disable the video card's sound through device manager to ensure the sound card continues working as it should, otherwise the sound card driver has difficulty recognizing the sound card hardware's presence.
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I have disabled HDMI sound. It helps a bit. The biggest improvement in stability comes when I connect headphones only when I use them instead of always keeping them hooked up.
This is a constant issue with video drivers, and not one that I've found a solution to. It's happened with onboard audio, several USB DACs, and my X-Fi Titanium through SPDIF to a DAC/Amp.
And I blame Windows, not the GPU drivers, and not the sound drivers. Output device designation is a Windows function and there doesn't seem to be a way to lock it off of DP/HDMI outputs on monitors (I have three!) if you never want to use them.
I placed my soundblaster Z in front of my r9 290 video card that was being water cooled, Long story short: The soundblaster Z can overheat and start acting funky. It kept messing up my 5.1 system during gaming sessions when my video card got hot. Moving it far away fixed the issue, creative wouldn't help me at all and I figured it out myself.
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The heat from the video card, caused it to switch up the rear, front center and sub woofer signals.
Thujan
Fairly certain that I saw this with a Soundblaster Z. It was in front (top x1 slot) of a large video card in the only slot available, and the sound would bounce between output channels when using headphones. No amount of software troubleshooting resolved the issue, so I returned the card.
Is this sound card a good option for the hd6xx from sennheisr?
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Hey thanks for replying. I already settled for schiit stack.
ASUS Xonar Essence used to be a far more expensive solution. They are great, but you pay for it. On the upside they are PCI-e. So many cound cards are still PCI, which makes buying a motherboard tricky (same thing with caputure cards and similar).
What about warranty outside of USA? I live in Ukraine and it costs a bit more here (not many shops still offering this piece, price is $20 higher). If the card is DOA (dead on arrival), what do I do? Ship it back for a replacement? Or am I busted?
Hey guys, does the Audio Control Module's volume knob work for adjusting the sound card volume or just for the headphones that is plugged into it? i'm asking this because i noticed only 2 connections coming out of the module, i am assuming one is for the mic and the other is for the headphones input. thanks!
PureSound168
It does not control the system volume (that would require a digital connection), it controls only what is plugged into the ACM unit (analog).
DigitalRonyn
thanks for the clarification.. the control module looks kick-ass, but design wise i wished it could control the sound card volume by default then control the headphone volume if you plugged in one at the module..
I have this in my gaming PC and is WORTHLESS! stay away from this better to plug in a dac/amp combo
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Can you send me a mail at socialmedia@creativelabs.com so I can help you out. We will get this sorted out for you.
DigitalRonyn
Thanks