Creative recently introduced new line up of cards: Z, ZX and ZXR series are based on the same Core 3D processor found in its older Recon 3D models.
Now in the older Recon 3D series the only differences between the base model and the top of the line series were the accessories provided. So the base model lacked any accessories, the mid range model had a beam microphone and heat shield over the base model and the top of the line model had an additional daughter board for easy access.
However, the newer Creative sound cards seem to have taken a slightly different approach. While the Z and the ZX cards have the same processor and hence should (theoretically) sound the same, the top of the line ZXR has a different chipset and offers swappable Op-amps (to tweak the sound), a different headphone amplifier and generally better quality components. This time Creative has also offered a heat shield for even the base model Z card and kept its price similar to the older Recon series which is laudable.
The card on review today is the mid range model- Creative Sound Blaster ZX. While it looks the same as the base Z card and has the same components it offers an external control module with a built-in beam microphone and larger 1/4 headphone connectors along with the standard 3.5mm headphone connectors. The external module has a very premium look and finish. However,the volume control knob should have been slightly damped for a better finish. Currently its undamped which feels a little tacky compared to the premium finish of the module.
That said Creative has to be commended for offering better features for their new series of sound cards without charging a premium compared to the launch prices of the previous Recon 3D cards.[nextpage title=”Specifications and Features”]
Specifications, Bundled Software and Features
|Output Level (Full Scale)|
|Maximum DAC Resolution|