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Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe 124dB SNR Sound Card with 600ohm Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module

  • PCI Express x1 5.1 Channels
  • 124dB SNR of Superior Experience
  • 600 OHM Headphone Amp
  • Sound Core3D Audio Processor
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Sound Blaster ZxR

One card to rule them all. The Sound Blaster ZxR embodies the design and engineering philosophy of "Total System Performance" that Sound Blaster has employed by combining audiophile-grade componentry with exclusive audio playback and recording technologies into a technical masterpiece. The Sound Blaster ZxR has refined audio playback and staggeringly high-fidelity recording capabilities that few if any other PC audio cards can even dream to aspire to.


Sound Blaster ZxR


Sound Blaster Z Sound Blaster Z

"With the Sound Blaster ZxR, my game audio is crystal clear and no sound goes unnoticed."
- Chad "Minigun" Jones


 



 
  • newegg 124dB SNR OF SUPERIOR EXPERIENCE Sound Blaster ZxR has been designed to meet the expectations of those who want a vastly superior experience over motherboard audio. With external DACs delivering 124dB SNR, a 600 ohm audiophile-grade headphone amp and customizable SBX Pro Studio™ technologies, Sound Blaster ZxR is the most advanced PCIe sound card ever made.
  •   newegg Ti Burr-Brown Digital Audio Converter The TI Burr-Brown Digital Audio Converter (DAC) converts digital signals to analog while preserving digital purity, and delivers an audio signal rated at an incredible 127dB SNR (DAC output).
  •   newegg 600 ohm Headphone Amp Sound Blaser ZxR delivers the power needed to drive even the highest end headphones, allowing these headphones to reach their full playback potential. With its built-in 600 ohm, 80mW TI TPA6120 headphone amp, the sound card boasts a dynamic range of more than 120dB. This ensures no audio is lost from the amplifier as it exceeds the range of hearing for the human ear.
  • newegg "Multiple Layer Super Grounded" PCB design with EMI shielding With multiple layer super grounding, layers of PCB and materials are dedicated to shielding signals that are 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. This yields an extremely pure analog output signal.
  • newegg True Audio Customization The Sound Blaster ZxR main board is equipped with top-of-the line swappable Op Amps that allow users to further optimize their listening experience by customizing their sound coloration at the hardware level.
  • newegg Nichicon "Fine Gold" Capacitors These are used throughout the card, allowing for a rich and full base register without sacrificing clarity of high end tones.
  • newegg DBPro Studio-quality Daughter Card While the main board of Sound Blaster ZxR focuses on audio playback, the DBPro daughter board focuses on pristine recording and input. The DBPro board connects via a header on the main board and does not require an additional PCIe slot nor additional power.
  • newegg Sound Blaster Audio Control Module (ACM) The Audio Control Module (ACM) provides convenient desktop access to the powerful Sound Blaster ZxR 600 ohm, 80mW headphone amp, which allows any headphone or headset to reach its maximum potential in audio delivery. Rotary volume knob allows for smooth volume control. Equipped with a stereo beamforming microphone and coupled with exclusive Sound Core3D™ hardware-accelerated CrystalVoice™ voice enhancements, such as noise reduction and echo-cancellation technologies, the ACM lets users communicate or record even while audio is playing through desktop speakers.
  • newegg Sound Core3D Audio Processor The multi-core Sound Core3D audio processor was designed to offload SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice effects processing from your primary CPU, improving your overall PC performance, resulting in drastically superior audio and voice quality.
  • newegg 3D Surround Sound SBX Pro Studio technologies allow you to control the level of audio immersion in music, movies, and games. Go far beyond ordinary 5.1 and 7.1 solutions with an enhanced sense of audio depth and spaciousness by creating virtual surround sound channels via SBX Surround.
  • newegg Crystal Clear Communication 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 enhancements to ensure that recordings are of studio quality.

Tech Information


Product Name Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Blaster Zx Sound Blaster Z
  Sound Blaster ZxR Sound Blaster Zx Sound Blaster Z
Newegg Part No. 29-102-050 29-102-049 29-102-048
 
General  
Audio Processor Sound Core3D Sound Core3D Sound Core3D
Audio Resolution 24-Bit 24-Bit 24-Bit
Digital Audio Convertor (DAC) TI BURR-BROWN Cirrus Logic Cirrus Logic
Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)
(20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Wgt),
@ 24-bit, 96kHz
124dB 116dB 116dB
Maximum Playback Quality 5.1 Mode : Up to 96kHz
Stereo Direct Mode : Up to 192kHz
5.1 Mode : Up to 96kHz
Stereo Direct Mode : Up to 192kHz
5.1 Mode : Up to 96kHz
Stereo Direct Mode : 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
Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 45kHz
Rear Channel Out : 15Hz to 45kHz
Center Out : 10Hz to 45kHz
Headphone (33 ohms) : 10Hz to 45kHz
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 Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 88kHz Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 88kHz
Maximum Recording Quality Up to 96kHz Up to 96kHz Up to 96kHz
I/O Ports (Main Card) Headphone : 1x Amplified 1/4" jack
Speaker Out : 2x RCA (L / R)
2x 3.5mm jacks (Rear, C/Sub)
Microphone In: 1x 1/4" jack
Headphone : 1x Amplified 3.5mm jack
Speaker Out : 3x 3.5mm jacks(F/R/C-Sub)
Line / Mic In : 1x shared 3.5mm jack
Optical Out : 1x TOSLINK
Optical In : 1x TOSLINK
Headphone : 1x Amplified 3.5mm jack
Speaker Out : 3x 3.5mm jacks(F/R/C-Sub)
Line / Mic In : 1x shared 3.5mm jack
Optical Out : 1x TOSLINK
Optical In : 1x TOSLINK
I/O Ports (DBPro card) Line In : 2x RCA (L / R)
Optical Out : 1x TOSLINK
Optical In : 1x TOSLINK
Not Applicable Not Applicable
Connection PCI-Express PCI-Express PCI-Express
600ohm Amplified Headphone Output Y - 80mw TI TPA6120 Y - Maxim MAX97220A Y - Maxim MAX97220A
Swappable OP-AMPs Y N N
Included Acesssories Audio Control Module (with built-in Beamforming Microphone) Audio Control Module (with built-in Beamforming Microphone) Beamforming Microphone
 
Audio Technology  
SBX Pro Studio
- Surround™
- Crystalizer™
- Bass™
- Smart Volume™
- Dialog Plus™
Y Y Y
CrystalVoice™
- Noise Reduction
- Smart Volume
- Acoustic Echo Cancellation
- FX
- Focus
Y Y Y
Speaker/Headphone Switch Y Y Y
 
Music & Movies  
Dolby Digital Live Encoding Encoding Encoding
DTS Connect Encoding Encoding Encoding
Upmixing of Stereo to Multi-Channels SBX Surround SBX Surround SBX Surround
 
Gaming  
Scout Mode™ Y Y Y
EAX EAX 5.0 HD EAX 5.0 HD EAX 5.0 HD
Max. No. of 3D Voices 128 128 128
Creative ALchemy Y Y Y

 


Learn more about the Creative Labs ZXR (70SB151000000)

Model

Brand
Creative
Series
Sound Blaster Z Series
Model
ZXR (70SB151000000)

Audio core

Audio Chipset
Sound Core3D
Channels
5.1
Sample Rate
192KHz
Digital Audio
24-bit
SNR
124dB

Ports

Line In
RCA
Line Out
RCA
SPDIF In
TOSLINK
SPDIF Out
TOSLINK
MIC In
Yes
CD/Aux In
Yes

Spec

Interface
PCI Express x1
Operating Systems Supported
Microsoft Windows 8 (32/64-bit), Windows 7 (32/64-bit)
System Requirements
Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD equivalent processor, 2.2GHz or faster recommended.
Intel, AMD or 100% compatible motherboard
1 GB RAM
>600 MB of free hard disk space
Available PCI Express (x1, x4 or x16) slot
Available I/O slot opening on casing
Available CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive

Features

Features
Signal-to-Noise Ratio of 124dB

Pristine audio recordings with ultra low latency

24-bit / 192kHz audio output

SBX Pro Studio technologies

Studio-grade content creation

High-quality DBPro daughter board

Accessible Audio Control Module (ACM)

Sound Core3D audio processor

Crystal clear communication

High fidelity multi-channel surround

Packaging

Package Contents
Sound Blaster ZxR sound card (main card)
Sound Blaster ZxR sound card (daughter board)
Audio Control Module (ACM)
Quick Start leaflet
Installation CD containing:
- Drivers for Windows
- Creative software suite

Quick Info

Warranty

  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year


Customer Reviews of the Creative Labs ZXR (70SB151000000)

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  • Osama A.
  • 8/17/2014 1:44:40 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsAwesome Sound Card!

Pros: -Amazing surround sound.
-Feels high build quality.
-Good sound quality.
-Very stable software.

Cons: -None (Maybe! see other thoughts).

Other Thoughts: I purchased this sound card along with 780 Ti, Corsair Platinum RAM, Crucial 500GB SSD, and an I5 3570K.

Sometimes my PC freeze randomly, I don't know if it's because of the sound card or something else.

It doesn't happen very often though so it's not a huge problem.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • James H.
  • 6/23/2014 7:33:03 AM
  • Tech Level: Average
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWorth it

Pros: Excellent sound card. Install was very easy and straight forward. Works like a champion and the sound quality is great when paired with a good set of headphones.

Cons: None

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Sean H.
  • 6/1/2014 10:40:28 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsbetter than expected

Pros: They power my Beyer DT990 Premium 600ohm's just fine. Sound beautiful. I ordered Schiit Asgard 2 and ended up returning it because this alone sounded better to me. Powers my bass's deeply and loudly in my DT990's. Surprised me.

Cons: none, because it has native 5.1 outputs AND it has the premium headphone jack, plus a digital SPDIF out so you can also connect it to surround that way. Premium audiophile headphone support plus native pc surround setup, there are no cons!

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Marielle G.
  • 5/26/2014 9:40:04 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggs

Pros: The design of this thing is really striking, if maybe a little superfluous.

The control panel software is pretty easy to navigate and understand.

Easy to install. I was able to get it into my HAF-X case without any power cables passing anywhere near it.

The sound coming out of my Logitech Z906 speakers, connected via optical digital, is phenomenal. Way beyond anything I've ever gotten from onboard audio chipsets.

Cons: Somehow, Firefox seems to do something that causes the sound card to start sending pops and crackles to the speakers. Their frequency escalates and will not stop until I either shut down entirely, reboot, or put the system to sleep and wake it back up. This happens at least once a day, sometimes twice. Only when browsing in Firefox so far, but that may be a statistical anomaly.

The ribbon cable can be awkward. I had to coil it up to keep it from touching my video card, even though I had both parts of this card at the very bottom of my motherboard, with the second actually hanging below my motherboard entirely. My video card is in the top PCIe slot on my Z87 Sabertooth.

Other Thoughts: Does the thing that looks like second processor chip actually serve a purpose, or is it just a decorative design feature?

After many years of avoiding Sound Blaster because of their repeated failures to make cards compatible with the latest operating systems, I figured I'd give them a try again since HT|Omega doesn't have any updated cards for PCIe x1 slots. Besides the cracking and popping, I'm pretty happy with this thing's output so far.

I've owned it a few months now and mostly listen to high-bitrate music, DTS-or-better movies, or high quality games.

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Joseph S.
  • 5/14/2014 11:41:08 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsSoftware causes blue screen crashes

Pros: Produces basic sound from the primary output using Windows 7 default drivers.

Cons: Attempting to install the driver/software package causes a blue screen crash.

Other Thoughts: I worked with Creative's tech support via email, and tried everything they suggested with no success. I haven't heard from them in 5 days now, so I guess they gave up & didn't bother to tell me. Time to RMA it and buy the competing ASUS product from NewEgg.

Manufacturer Response:

Hello there!

We'd like to get some more information from you regarding your experience with our customer support and the issues you've come across.

Please contact us at socialmedia@creativelabs.com so we can help solve your problem directly.

3 out of 3 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • FRANK M.
  • 5/1/2014 6:18:31 PM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week

5 out of 5 eggsGood sound quality

Pros: Good build quality, durable metal parts etc.
Sounds great

Cons: EQ presets are pretty bad... way too much base, easily fixed

Other Thoughts: after a lot of EQ tweaking it sounds amazing

theres kind of a lot of programs with it... havent really tried em all but a couple hundered MB space and a bit of downloading needed to get it all up to date

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Bogdan K.
  • 4/27/2014 8:23:55 AM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsWorth every penny

Pros: The sound is incredible, and im not switching from on-board audio, im switching from an X-Fi Fatality Champion card, which was a wonderful card during it's 8 year lifetime.
Using the AKG 701 headphones I can distinguish sounds that I couldn't with the previous card and that's no small thing.
I miss the front panel of the previous card but the Volume Control Module of the ZXR makes up for it to some extent.
Its very well built, the control knob has a great feel to it and its very precise and sensitive. The incorporated stereo microphones are a big plus and you can plug two headphones for comparison purposes.
The software installed easy and worked fine without any issues....pretty basic compared to what the previous card had though....oh well.
Swappable op-amps is a great feature to adjust the "voice" of the card to personal taste.

Cons: No Alchemy and no EAX support despite the fact that there are EAX and Alchemy logos on the back of the box.
I sent an email to customer support asking about this but I got no answer.
The connector cable of the Volume Control Module while very good quality, could have been a bit longer. Its barely enough for me and my PC is close to the KB.

Other Thoughts: Its very hard to make a decent review for a sound card, there are so many variables in the chain: the recording, the player used, the headphones/speakers, and last but not least our subjective ears and mind perception.
For the first few days I used this card I didn't like it very much because I was so used to the way the previous card sounded, and it was a wonderful card indeed.
After giving it a couple weeks of heavy testing I love this card, for music listening its a definite improvement.
What I noticed is that the good recordings sound better with the ZXR but the average and bad recordings sound worse than the X-Fi. This is particularly noticeable with the AKG 701 headphones. The Sennheiser HD 280 are a lot more forgiving.

Its sad that EAX is not supported anymore, it was a great technology. According to Creative themselves EAX is "deprecated" but I don't understand how a technology can become obsolete when there is no new technology that can do even remotely what EAX could do.

Contrary to what they claim, SBX and Dolby are good for movies but NOT for games.

There are motherboards that claim to have top sound qualities including swappable op-amps...cool but don't forget you are paying at least $150 extra for this feature and when its time to change the motherboard....you have to pay again if you want good sound.
With a soundcard you just re-use it in your new rig.

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Russell W.
  • 4/9/2014 1:13:47 AM
  • Tech Level: High
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsSolid but Warm

Pros: Swappable op amps mean that the audio warmth can be fixed. RCA in and out. 8mm headphone and mic out. Decent software for recording from vinyl(automatically starts and when its over cuts the tracks). Decent EQ built into the UI.

Cons: I bought the card expecting it to be something else, I love listening to audio however the card colors the music so i find I am bypassing it and still running to my Fiio X3 for the DAC and Amp and only using the Headphone out and RCA for my Stereo setup. If you are looking for a true hifi audio experience from the card look for the Asus Xonar line. This card is optimized for gaming and media consumption, not as a reference component

Other Thoughts: Its a good card, not the best I have heard, but a significant upgrade for those who want better sound over onboard sound. I don't do a lot of recording but I think this card would be good for that because of the Inputs, and basic audio editing package that it comes with.

1 out of 2 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • Michael H.
  • 3/19/2014 1:41:39 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsDisappointing

Pros: You can plug both your 2.1 speakers and headphones into the card and switch between the two without having to plug/unplug anything.

Good quality sound for music and movies.

Good AMP.

Cons: Poor quality surround sound in the main games that I play (CS 1.6 & CS:S). It's not great in 1.6, and in CS:S it's even worse.

Paired with an ATH AD700, people with inferior/no sound cards can tell where people are better than me (IE: planting lower rather than upper) while spectating me, so we were both getting the same sounds.

Footsteps in CS:S were much quieter than with my xfi xtremegamer. Even after playing with all the settings and EQ.

Additionally, the card would randomly go dead when playing CS 1.6, until I would restart my computer. RMA'd my card and still had the same problem.

Creative support's reply was:
"It is possible for the sound card to go dead if there is a driver conflict between the game and the sound card. We regret to inform you that Creative sound card cannot guarantee that our sound card will work with all games and software applications."

Other Thoughts: CS 1.6 is one of the most popular games of all time, and one of the most popular esports games till recently. Seems like esports/competitive FPS gaming is their target demographic. So it's strange that the card wouldn't work well for those games.

I've been playing high-level competitive CS for 8+ years with an xfi xtremegamer & ATH AD700.

I guess I'll try the TiHD as an upgrade from the xtremegamer, and I'll have to constantly plug and unplug my speakers till a new sound card comes out in a few years...

FYI, the Bass setting is terrible. UNCHECK it and use the EQ to adjust bass.

1 out of 6 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • John S.
  • 3/17/2014 1:36:11 PM
  • Tech Level: Somewhat High
  • Ownership: less than 1 day

4 out of 5 eggsStill Waiting

Pros: PCIe
High SNR

Cons: No 7.1 channel analog outputs
No 5.1 or 7.1 192/24
No multi-channel 24-bit / 192kHz audio fidelity

Other Thoughts: Initially I was excited about this card and eagerly checked the specs:

My requirements are:
1) 120-124 dB SNR (or close to it) DAC for all analog channels
2) Built-in headphone amp
3) 7.1 channel analog outputs (with or without a daughterboard)
4) PCIE slot connection
5) Full Windows 8.1 driver compatibility.
6) 24-bit / 192kHz audio fidelity for all audio channels

Sadly, this product fails on #3, and #6 (I checked, the ZxR supports only 24-bit / 96kHz in 5.1channel mode). So why don’t I settle for either an

1) Asus Xonar Essence ST
or an
2) HT Omega Claro Halo XT?

Because they’re both obsolescing PCI slot boards, 6 years old tech, and overpriced considering how ancient they are.
The wait continues….

2 out of 4 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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