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Creative Labs > 
Item#: N82E16829102050

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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  • Overview
  • Specifications
  • Warranty & Returns
  • Reviews

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
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™
- Noise Reduction
- Smart Volume
- Acoustic Echo Cancellation
- FX
- Focus
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
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

Warranty, Returns, And Additional Information
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty period (parts): 1 year
  • Limited Warranty period (labor): 1 year
  • Read full details

Customer Reviews of the Creative Labs ZXR

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  • Jacob D.
  • 1/17/2016 4:53:01 PM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsWorks great, well when it's actually working..

Pros: The card looks good and works great, well when it's working..

Cons: In order to make the card work, even with the latest drivers, I always have turn off my power supply wait 15 sec then turn it back on or the card simply won't work. Same thing happens when the computer is going to sleep mode. The problem is known from SB, but they don't seem to be working on it...

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

  • David E.
  • 12/7/2015 11:57:02 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year

5 out of 5 eggsSoundblaster ZXr

Pros: Everything about this is awesome. I'm not one for reviews but it's like apples and oranges when it comes to sound cards. simply one of the best. I've had my card for about 11 mos. As we all know sometimes things fail, as mine did. had some minor bugs that couldn't be fixed over the phone and I have to tell you the support team at creative is great. I was sent a new card in a very timely manner and all is now well. as I said I'm not one for writing reviews but kudos to you creative for a job well done, because believe me when I tell you I have had awful experiences with other product warranties.

Thank you

Cons: None

Did you find this review helpful? Yes No

  • Louis H.
  • 11/18/2015 5:24:27 AM
  • Ownership: 1 day to 1 week
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsPerfect for 600ohm headphones

Pros: An unreal amount of features to both modify the sound output and the mic input. REALLY pushes my Sennheiser HD598 headphones thanks to their 600ohm amp. DRASTIC improvement over on-board sound. The separate module for volume control and with built in mics is very solid, but the control knob is not as firm as I expected (not a con, just an observation).

Cons: Not a con of the card, but you need to be aware...

1. Some SLI capable motherboards are designed to share IRQ channels with the PCIx16 slots. My ZxR was not getting enough resources to run when I had it plugged into PCIe 1-3 on my motherboard. This resulted in wondering sound (channels would drop), cracking, popping, and low volume. I switched to PCIe 4, which shares an IRQ with the SATA channel on my motherboard, and everything works FLAWLESSLY now.

2) Reports of the card not being recognized seem to be related to putting the computer to sleep and then waking it up. I turn my computer off when not using, so I wasn't concerned about this issue. Numerous reports that this is resolved by updating your motherboards BIOS, but you may also want to try a different PCIe socket if you have this problem since IRQ sharing seems to be an issue. Look at your motherboard manual and see what the best configuration is for your setup.

Other Thoughts: I was floored by the difference this card made over on-board sound for my Sennheiser HD598 headphones. I bought them both at the same time, but the card got delayed in shipping, so I got to test the headphones without the card. I expected an improvement, but not like this. I literally get goosebumps when listening to music.

Do yourself (and your ears) a favor, and pair this with a good set of 600ohm headphones.

Also, the voice changers are really fun. I have a deep voice, and the male-to-female voice changer made me sound like one of my wife's female friends from grade-school.

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

  • VISA .
  • 10/19/2015 2:36:52 PM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsUpdating my review...

Pros: Good sound quality
Easy to use software

Cons: Drivers often fail to recognize card
Default sound option gets automatically switched (only happens with Creative Labs cards)
600ohm amp is very weak, I ended up plugging my headphones into my stereo receiver, headphone quality sucks.

Other Thoughts: I'm updating this review after around a year of owning this card. At first, it was great and I gave it 5 eggs. Since then, I've had it not get recognized by the drivers NUMEROUS times. I have to unhook the card, reboot the system, shut it down, plug it back in, and boot up for it to work. The sound quality is great, equalizer works well and I would love to leave a great review of this card.. but I can't.

Creative Labs has awful tech support, and their drivers are always bad, regardless of what soundcard it is. I own 3 SoundBlaster cards (this one, Recon3D Fata1ity, Audigy 2) and they all have these same issues. Opposed to be Asus card, which doesn't sound as nice, but is always stable.

I am looking to replace this card, most likely with a high-end Asus card (unfortunately I can't use HT Omega with my motherboard) and will not be purchasing another Creative Labs product again. Currently this card is laying on my floor... I have no intentions of picking it back up.

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

  • Rick S.
  • 9/5/2015 4:07:31 PM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

5 out of 5 eggsSound Blaster ZXR

Pros: Features are good and meet my needs

Cons: None

Other Thoughts: The Wife told me I was making too much noise, and needed to use a headset. This device allows you to hook up the headset and switch it via the program, makes it easy to do. I used this as a good excuse to upgrade sound card. :)

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

  • James J.
  • 8/9/2015 5:23:12 PM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

2 out of 5 eggsNothing but problems

Pros: Works great, when it works. Took a little tweaking but had my Klipsch 5.1 system sounding stellar at the end of the day.

Cons: The card works for a bit, then the drivers can't find it. In the 9 or so months I have had it is has worked far, far less than half the time. I have spent hours on forums and am able to get it to work occasionally after great effort- until the next power cycle. Then it's gone again. Now after spending over 200.00 I am back to onboard audio.

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

  • Juan R.
  • 7/20/2015 6:37:39 PM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsIt works great when it works

Pros: Sounds great when you use 600 ohm headphones and you can really tell the difference between it and onboard sound.

Cons: This sound card has a nasty habit of not being recognized. When you attempt to install it, the drivers won't recognize it is in the machine. When you put the PC to sleep, the soundcard magically disappears itself and the computer can't find the product.

This is a known issue and you may be unlucky and experience what I had to for the last 2 years where I had to wrestle with my pc to get it to not do that. It was frequent enough that it made me come here and post this review.

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

  • Chris A.
  • 6/8/2015 3:01:06 PM
  • Ownership: 1 week to 1 month
  • Verified Owner

4 out of 5 eggsGlad I bought

Pros: Good packaging, everything hooked up as it should have. The software is very professional and is setup to get the right sound, for whatever you are doing. I listen to music, video and do gaming, and I have a set of 5.1 Logitech Z5500s.
Granted, you do have to tinker with the settings a bit to get the most out of it, but you truly will, it's worth the time. For instance switching from an HD movie to gaming, I might have to go back in and turn my surrounds up, etc, but I can really get exactly the sound I want UNLIKE stock sound. I have a good onboard card, its a top Asus board, and I used Optical on my onboard AND on the ZXr so that wasn't a factor. I don't use headphones much so it was all about getting the best sound out of my speakers.
**If you don't have a good quality set of speakers, this is probably not going to make a huge sound difference but you can still get the surround settings perfect, which I never really could with my onboard like I can with the Soundblaster software. I can tell a big difference in sound quality, and no it's not perceived, but it's because I am taking the time to tweak everything I watch. If you are one of those who want to set and forget, this card is not probably for you.
**If on the other hand you are willing to spend 1 minute each time you switch from watching a movie, to music, to gaming, then this card will pay off for you if your using decent or above speakers. Don't expect your $20 speakers to come to life due to a sound card.

Cons: Headphone jack. So it's on this controller now right? Well my Sennheiser cord that comes out has a Red and Black wire. I have those going into a headphone splitter as is common. Well, due to the way they made this controller (with the volume nob), I cannot plug in my headphones, AT ALL. The stupid plastic around the base keeps my splitter from actually plugging in. I can't fix that!!! And there is no way to plug in headphones from the back of the soundcard that i could see (why can't they give us a label to put over this metal, it is SO hard to read like they mark it). SOOOO, I can't plug in my $150 wireless headphones in because of a stupid design in their base. So, even if I could plug it in on the back of the card, it now makes this $30 controller for volume WORTHLESS. So, I rated it 4/5. This needs to be fixed, did you guys really not try to plug in mainstream headphones into it before mass producing it??

Other Thoughts: Worth it if you're a gamer with decent speakers and willing to tinker.

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

  • GiGI V.
  • 5/27/2015 11:51:00 PM
  • Ownership: more than 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsNot better than onboard sound

Pros: External mic and headphone controller works great. Also came with a USB sound driver that works fine. Nice box.

Cons: To be brief, it doesn't sound better than the onboard sound card on the two different motherboards I used it with. In my opinion it sounded worse. I fiddled with the settings, and nothing seemed to make it better. I really would have liked it to work better, but it just doesn't. For something that requires so many connectors it just wasn't worth the time, effort, or money that it costs. If you really, really need it, then maybe, or maybe you can spend the money buying a better mic or other auxiliary input/output accessory.

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

  • Jeffrey C.
  • 5/16/2015 10:16:39 AM
  • Ownership: 1 month to 1 year
  • Verified Owner

1 out of 5 eggsAn update

Pros: Fancy box

Cons: I wrote a lengthy review of this card a bit ago and I have to give an update.
Clean format - Fresh install of Windows 8 and the card works at the moment. BUT
Yes there is a but...
Finally figured out how to plug a musical instrument (guitar) in and the latency is horrible!
Ran a test and found it around 112ms!
Totally annoying and impossible to record in real time.
Another email to creative and this is the best response yet.
"Thank you for contacting Creative.
Latency is a common behavior for most audio applications"

Are you kidding me! The advertisement boasts about having "ultra low latency ... as low as 1ms"

Its YOUR application!
Nothing else is running.

Tried all the suggested responses with no change and its really disappointing and frustrating.

Other Thoughts: Going to rip this thing out and either use the onboard audio or the prior sound card I had.
So disappointing and so frustrated that you wait forever for a response from their tech support..

Save your hard earned money. I am surprised I made it this far without loosing it.

6 out of 9 people found this review helpful. Did you? Yes No

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Item#: N82E16829102050
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