Creative Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Card Review


Creative Sound Blaster ZxR

Creative Sound Blaster Z-Series

Creative Labs is perhaps the most well-known sound card vendor amongst PC gamers. Their Sound Blaster product family includes the longest running series of consumer sound cards out there and has been talked about by gamers for years. Typically we come across remarks that praise the high quality audio and unmatched proprietary virtual surround processing of Sound Blaster card, but hit-or-miss driver stability which fortunately we didn’t experience. Recently, we’ve gotten the opportunity to review the entire Sound Blaster Z-series, Creative’s most recent generation of desktop cards, to share if they’re right for you. This review focuses on the flagship Sound Blaster ZxR.Creative Sound Blaster ZxR

The Sound Blaster ZxR consists of not one, but two cards for robust audio output and recording. Together, these cards can be connected to headphones, microphones, speakers, and receivers. Like the Z and Zx, the ZxR has a 600 ohm amplifier makes driving headphones with high impedance easy. Unlike its smaller siblings, a better 124dB signal-to-noise ratio should give a cleaner sound output. Costing $194.99 at Amazon, the ZxR is arguably the current most expensive sound card targeted at PC gamers.

Sound Blaster ZxR Features:

  • 124dB Signal-To-Noise Ratio
  • Pristine audio recordings with ultra low latency
  • 24-bit / 192kHz audio output
  • Studio-grade content creation
  • DBPro daughter board
  • Accessible Audio Control Module (ACM)
  • Crystal clear communication
  • SBX Pro Studio technologies

Sound Blaster ZxR Specifications:

  • Audio Processor: Sound Core3D
  • Audio Resolution: 24-Bit
  • Digital Audio Convertor (DAC): Burr-Brown
  • Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Wgt): 124dB
  • Maximum Playback Quality:
    • 5.1 : Up to 96kHz
    • Stereo Direct: Up to 192kHz
  • Frequency Response @96kHz:
    • Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 45kHz
    • Rear Channel Out: 15Hz to 45kHz
    • Center Out: 10Hz to 45kHz
    • Headphone (33 ohms): 10Hz to 45kHz
  • Frequency Response @192kHz (Stereo Direct Only): Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 88kHz
  • 16-bit to 24-bit Recording Sample Rates: 8,11.025,16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 96 (kHz)
  • 16-bit to 24-bit Playback Sample Rates: 8,11.025,16, 22.05, 24, 32, 44.1, 48, 96, 192 (kHz)
  • Maximum Recording Quality: Up to 24-bit/96kHz
  • I/O Ports (Main Card):
    • Headphone: 1 x Amplified 1/4″ jack
    • Speaker Out: 2x RCA (L / R) 2x 3.5mm jacks (Rear, C/Sub)
    • Microphone In: 1x 1/4″ jack
  • I/O Ports (Daughter Card):
    • Line In: 2x RCA (L / R)
    • Optical Out: 1x TOSLINK
    • Optical In: 1x TOSLINK
  • Audio Control Module / Front Panel Connectivity:
    • Volume Control Knob Built-in Beam-Forming Microphone
    • Headphone-Out: 1x 3.5mm jack, 1x 1/4″ jack
    • Microphone-In: 1x 3.5mm jack, 1x 1/4″ jack
  • 600 Ohm Amplified Headphone Output: 80mw TI TPA6120
  • Swappable OP-AMPs: Yes
  • Included Accessories: Audio Control Module (with Beamforming Microphone Built-in)
  • Technology
    • Audio Enhancement:
      • SBX Pro Studio
      • Surround
      • Crystalizer
      • Bass
      • Smart Volume
      • Dialog Plus
      • CrystalVoice
      • Noise Reduction
      • Smart Volume
      • Acoustic Echo Cancellation
      • FX
      • Focus
    • Speaker/Headphone Switch: Software Controlled
    • Dolby Digital Live: Encoding
    • DTS Connect: Encoding
    • Upmixing of Stereo to Multi-Channels: SBX Surround
    • DTS & Dolby Digital Decoding via Cyberlink PowerDVD Download: via 3rd party software download
    • Scout Mode: Yes
    • EAX: EAX 5.0 HD
    • Max.No. of 3D Voices: 128
    • ASIO: ASIO 2.0 support at
      • 16-bit/44.1kHz
      • 16-bit/48kHz
      • 24-bit/44.1kHz
      • 24-bit/48kHz
      • 24-bit/96kHz with direct monitoring
  • Compatible With: PC – PCIe x1 Connection
  • Operating System: Windows 7/8
  • Warranty: 2-year in EU, 1-year worldwide

Creative Sound Blaster ZxR