We would like to thank OverClockers UK for kindly supplying the review sample!
Creative’s newest sound card is dubbed the Sound Blaster Z. The sound card is available in the PCI Express x1 format and will run off bus power, which is great for the modding crowd and those wanting to integrate this 5.1 capable sound card into a small form-factor PC. The Sound Blaster Z is feature rich and comes with a brand-new gadget that is quite interesting to anyone using a pair of proper headphones for gaming. Creative opted to include a beam-forming microphone that should have very good noise-cancellation properties and vastly superior sound quality over normal desktop and clip-on microphones.
Coming in at just under $100, the Sound Blaster Z is the smallest and cheapest of the new generation of sound cards from Creative. The card has no audiophile features, like the ability to swap op-amps. Instead, you get a smart sound card that looks flashy, comes in a convenient form factor, and includes a microphone of good quality.
Sound Blaster Z series sound cards feature the new Sound Core 3D-processor from Creative: a quad-core processor for some offloading from the primary CPU.
Output Level:Front Channel Out: 2Vrms
Headphone (33 ohms): 1.3Vrms
Headphone (600 ohms): 2Vrms
Maximum DAC Resolution:Front Channel Out : 24-bit, 192kHz
Headphone (33 ohms): 24-bit, 96kHz
Headphone (600 ohms): 24-bit, 96kHz
SNR (20kHz Low-pass filter, A-Wgt), @ 24-bit, 96kHz
Front Channel Out : 116dB
Headphone (33 ohms): >105dB
Headphone (600 ohms): >105dB
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 only)
Front Channel Out : 10Hz to 88kHz
Speaker Support:Supported Output: Stereo/2.1 Speakers/5.1 Speakers, Headphones
Connectivity:Headphone 1 x Amplified 1/8" mini jack
Speaker Out: 3 x 1/8" mini jacks
Optical Out: TOSLINK
Optical In: TOSLINK
Line In / Microphone In: Shared 1/8" mini jack