reviewer`s guide
REVIEWER’S GUIDE
Corporate Headquarters
Tel: +(65) 6895 4000
Creative Technology Ltd.
Fax: +(65) 6895 4999
31 International Business Park
Creative Website: www.creative.com
Creative Resource
For more details on Creative Gaming headsets,
Singapore 609921
Visit www.soundblaster.com
INTRODUCTION
Designed around the powerful processing cores of the SoundCore3D,
the Sound Blaster Z series once again raises the bar for the industrystandard in PCIe sound cards. The Z has been designed to meet
the standards of those who want a vastly superior experience to
motherboard audio. With external DAC’s delivering 116 dB SnR, a 600
ohm audiophile-grade headphone amp, and massively customizable
SBX Pro Studio technologies, the Z packs a serious audio punch.
SBX Studio ProTm technologies enhance both speaker and headphone
or headset audio with an array of options to customize every detail of
audio at the output level, with easy to create and load audio profiles
that you can optimize for every type of playback or recording scenario
you want. Blast wave gaming? Multi-channel entertainment audio?
Optimized for voice chat and recording? Refined music listening? The Z and the SBX profile system not
only makes every one of these scenarios possible, it makes them awesome.
Much More Than Just A Sound Card. It’s A Philosophy.
The Sound Blaster product philosophy comes from a total system approach. We’ve designed the Z series
cards to give the best experience for not only those wishing to experience content, but those wanting to
create it as well. This includes optimizations for voice chat and recording in addition to all of the amazing
SBX Studio Pro audio output enhancements.
● Includes a beamforming microphone optimized for use with
CrystalVoiceTm technologies. The dual microphone array allow
for several complex uses such as advanced noise cancellation
creating superior recording and voice transmission platform than a
standard single mic solution.
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HARDWARE AND TECH
Multiple Layer Super Grounded PCB Design with EMI Shielding
A PC has many potential analog signal interference points. Multiple Layer
Super Grounding dedicates layers of PCB and materials to shield signals
travelling across the board away from possible interference points. EMI
shielding adds yet another level of protection from analog interference by
shielding the card from potential outside signals. The Z uses these two
methods in conjunction providing crystal clear signal transmission that is
vastly superior to motherboard audio and even dedicated discreet PCI and
PCIe audio solutions that do not utilize this methodology.
High-Quality Connections
The Z card is equipped with gold plated connection points to ensure the card
delivers the best possible audio signal.
• 3.5mm gold plated headphone jack driven by the 600 Ohm Maxim
MAX97220 amp
• 3.5mm gold plated microphone jack
• 3.5mm gold plated 5.1 channel connections
• TOSLINK digital audio input and outputs
Get A Sonic Advantage
The hardware benefits of the Sound Blaster Z card are
only half the story. High-power gaming demands high
power features. The exclusive Scout ModeTm feature
powered by the SoundCore3D chipset is one such feature.
This tech enhances specific ranges of audio to allow you
to hear your enemies before they hear you. Tuned by
pro-gamers who know what to listen for, this is audio that
gives you a definitive edge while gaming.
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PRODUCT FEATURES
EMI Shielding
3.5mm Headphone
and Mic Gold-Plated
Connectors
LED Illumination
Gold-Plated 5.1
Outputs
TOSLINK Optical
Input and Output
SoundCore3D™ Audio and
Voice Processor
PCIe 1X Connection
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SBX PRO
STUDIO™
AUDIO
CUSTOMIZATION
SBX Studio Pro Technologies
The SBX Pro Studio suite of technology is specially designed to reproduce the great audio experience
found in live performances, films and recording studios to the PC. SBX Pro Studio aims to deliver the
fullest audio experience for music, movies, and games; while remaining true to the source and intention
of the artist’s creation.
Total Audio Control
The SBX Studio Pro interface allows for complete control and customization of every playback and
Z audio
system.
The
interface
has
been
refined
to to
make
all all
functions
much
easier
recording aspect of the ZxR
audio
system.
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make
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much
to access
and understand
as wellas
aswell
opening
up newup
options
for customization
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and understand
as opening
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which
all be in
uniqueinprofiles.
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it makes
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CustomizeYour
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Custmize
Main Menu Options
•
•
Choose
Choose from
from several
several configuration
configuration
options
options on
on this
this side
side bar.
bar. Every
Every SBX
SBX
technology
technology can
can be
be accessed
accessed from
from
this
this level.
level.
Manage Profile
Manage Profile
•
•
Create, save, load and delete profiles
Create, save, load and delete profiles
Top Level Volume Adjust
•
Master volume control
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WIRELESS
SOUND BLASTERTACTIC
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55OF
SBX Crystalizer™
Hearing fingers effortlessly glide across a guitar fret
or fingers on an accoustic bass all add to the magic
performance. SBX Crystalizer ensures that every audio
detail is heard by restoring the “highs” and the “lows”
that are compromised with audio compression.
The SBX Crystalizer effect can be adjusted in strength
for a larger amount of real-time restoration or more
subtle amount by moving the slider to a chosen
percentage in the interface.
SBX Surround™
Goes beyond 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound by creating
an unprecedented level of audio realism including
stunning surround effects that produce hundreds of
virtual speakers around you.
The SBX Surround effect strength and separation
can be adjusted by moving the slider to a chosen
percentage in the interface. The larger the value the
higher the number of simulated channels and larger
the virtual sound stage will be set.
SBX Bass™
SBX Bass technology dramatically improves the sound
experience by expanding the low frequency tones.
SBX Dialog Plus™
Intelligently enhances voices in games and moves for
dramatically clearer dialog.
Both levels can be adjusted via the sliders.
SBX Smart Volume™
SBX Smart Volume minimizes abrupt volume changes
and reduces audio fatigue during long listening
sessions. All playback will be actively normalized to
the pre-determined level making listening to content
of various sources much more consistent.
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CRYSTALVOICE™
CrystalVoice™ Technologies
The total system approach of Sound Blaster couples superior hardware and hardware accelerated functions
with a flexible interface. The CrystalVoice™ suite of technologies ensures you’ll experience crystal clear
communications while using VOIP services, chatting, or gaming as well as providing a set of hardware
tools to ensure that recordings are of studio quality.
• CrystalVoice™ Noise Reduction
CrystalVoice™ Noise Reduction – Eliminates unwanted background noise from your conversations by
utilizing powerful adaptive noise reduction algorithms accelerated in hardware by the SoundCore3D
chipset.
• CrystalVoice™ Smart Volume
Be heard clearly without having to shout or whisper. The CrystalVoice algorithms actively listen to the
recording audio stream and attenuates the volume louder or softer to a pre-set level. When activated
this ensures
recordings
or outbound voice will be recorded at this pre-determined level regardless
• CrystalVoice™
AECall(Active
Echo-Cancellation)
of
where
the
microphone
is
where you for
arerecording
in the room.
AEC allows for youplaced
to use aormicrophone
or conversation even while using
• CrystalVoice™ AEC (Active Echo-Cancellation)
top AEC allows for you to
speakers.
This is done for
by comparing
theconversation
recording feed
andwhile
the playback
feed
use a microphone
recording or
even
using desktop
elimi- speakers. This is done
nating
the
echo
in
the
outbound
audio
recording
stream.
by comparing the recording feed and the playback feed and eliminating the
echo in the outbound audio recording stream.
• CrystalVoice™FX
Change and alter your voice to match in-game avatars or just to add some fun to your recordings.
There are several presets to choose from as well as the ability to create your own custom voice mask.
deskand
CrystalVoice™ Controls
Recording Level Controls
•
Mic Volume and Mic boost are controlled with these sliders. You can
also customize each recording device level independently by selecting
from the drop down menu
Activate or Deactivate
•
Clicking this button will activate or
deactivate your selected CrystalVoice
tech in once click
Voice FX
•
Clicking this checkbox will turn Voice
FX voice alteration technologies off
and on. You can choose from several
Additional CrystalVoice Tech
presets in the drop down menu
•
Clicking these checkboxes will enable or disable the additional CrystalVoice technologies
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MORE SBX PRO STUDIO™
Scout Mode™ Technology
Intended for competitive online gaming, this proprietary
technology allows you to hear your enemies from further
away, giving you a distinct tactical advantage in combat.
Scout Mode can also be programmed to be activated or
de-activated on the fly by assigning a hot key, allowing
you to turn “bionic hearing” off or on with a simple
keystroke.
• CrystalVoice™ AEC (Active Echo-Cancellation)
AEC allows for you to use a microphone for recording or conversation even while using
top
speakers. This is done by comparing the recording feed and the playback feed
eliminating the echo in the outbound audio recording stream.
deskand
Speakers / Headphones Tab
This tab allows you to configure your system
for use with headphones, stereo speakers, or
multi-channel speakers. Choose the appropriate
output setup.
Cinematic Tab
This tab enables or disables Dolby® Digital Live
SPDIF output. Enabling the checkbox turns on
Dolby Digital Live SPDIF output.
Equalizer Tab
The equalizer tab opens a standard 10 band
graphic equalizer. You can choose from pre-set
equalizer types or create your own custom EQ
setting and save for future use and inclusion in
your audio profile.
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MIXER
Mixer and Output Controls
The SBX Studio Pro interface has refined the control system to allow for easy selection of various
input audio and control of the output levels as well.
Each input and output has configuration options. You can also assign the functionality of the
multipurpose jack on the card to serve as a rear-microphone or rear line-level input.
• CrystalVoice™ AEC (Active Echo-Cancellation)
AEC allows for you to use a microphone for recording or conversation even while using
top
speakers. This is done by comparing the recording feed and the playback feed
eliminating the echo in the outbound audio recording stream.
SOUNDBLASTER REVIEWER’S GUIDE: SOUND BLASTER Z PCIe SOUND CARD
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SPEAKERS & HEADPHONES
Multichannel and Stereo Speakers
When multi-channel or stereo speaker
audio is chosen in the drop down menu
of this tab you will see the corresponding
options for these output settings.
You can fine tune your speakers and
define them as full-range or surround type
speakers as well as turn off and on optional
speaker types (center channel speaker,
etc.).
• CrystalVoice™
AEC (Active Echo-Cancellation)
AEC allows for you to use a microphone for recording or conversation even while using
In addition, you can engage a basstop redirection option which
speakers.
This is adone by comparing the recording feed and the playback feed
will enable
elimi-crossover to send bass
nating
the
echo in thetooutbound audio recording stream.
level frequencies
deskand
the subwoofer instead of your surround or
stereo speakers. The crossover frequency
can be fine tuned by adjusting the slider.
Headphones
The SBX Pro Studio interface also
allows for you to switch from speaker to
headphones mode with a single toggle.
This is located at the top of the speaker /
headphones tab menu.
In headphone mode you can enable a highpowered gain stage takes full advantage
of the powerful headphone amp included
in the Z series cards and allows the card
to power high-end headphones up to 600
ohms.
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PROFILES
Another level of audio customization
The SBX Pro Studio profile system allows
you to create several profiles that are
optimized for the various useage scenarios
of the Z series cards.
There is a massive amount of flexibility in
tuning your audio and switching between
the different profiles is instantaneous and
easy.
• CrystalVoice™ AEC (Active Echo-Cancellation)
Once you have configured your card to the
AEC allows for you to use a microphone for recording or conversation even while using
setting desired, click the profile tab and
top you’ll see the windowspeakers.
done by comparing the recording feed and the playback feed
pop up This
that is
allows
elimi-for profiles to be saved
nating
the echo in the outbound audio recording stream.
or loaded.
deskand
When saving a profile you will also be
able to select one of the included icons
or select your own image to represent
the particular profile you have created.
It’s easy, quick, and extremely useful
when taking advantage of the massive
amount of customization SBX Pro
Studio provides.
You will have fine tuned audio,
entertainment, and gaming profiles a
few clicks away.
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