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Monday, August 20, 2012
Creative Introduces New Sound Blaster Z-series Sound Cards

Creative has relased its new high-performance Z-Series of Sound Blaster PCI-Express sound cards, designed for gaming PCs.

Creative previewed the new Sound Blaster ZxR, Sound Blaster Zx and Sound Blaster Z at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany from 15-19 August 2012.

To dynamically power audio playback, the new sound cards leverage the Creative Sound Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor, which is designed to work in harmony with Creative?s SBX Pro Studio technology. Sound Core3D also works with CrystalVoice communications technologies and the beam-forming microphone array included with each of the new sound cards to deliver Acoustic Echo Cancellation, Voice Focus and Noise Reduction for clear online voice communications.

This complete system for voice communications also enables gamers to use speakers and the high-quality microphone.

Sound Blaster ZxR (SRP US$249.99)

This flagship Sound Blaster ZxR features studio-grade components, which include external digital-to-analog converters (DACs) that deliver 127dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), sockets for swappable Op-Amps, a high-end 80mW into 600 ohm headphone amplifier, and 192kHz pass through.

The Sound Blaster ZxR has multiple connections including a proprietary connector to the DBpro, a daughter board that offers optical output; and professional-grade 123dB analog-to-digital converters (ADCs) with RCA Aux-in and optical input for high recording quality.

Furthermore, an external ACM (Audio Control Module) provides a built-in dual-microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections. Designed to complement the Sound Blaster ZxR, the ACM adds convenience, extra connectivity and control, plus it enhances the look of any desktop.

In addition to the hardware capabilities, the proprietary SB Speaker-Calibration feature, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live, all these three ensure a realistic audio playback and gaming experience.

Creative?s audio engineers also designed the SBX Pro Studio suite of audio playback technologies so gamers can improve their audio experience and calibrate their game audio.

SBX Pro Studio Features:

- SBX Crystalizer - Enhances sound for games, music and movies by restoring low and high end frequency curves lost to compression
- SBX Surround - Delivers a 360 degree surround sound experience
- SBX Smart Volume - Address the problem of abrupt volume level changes in music, movies and games by intelligently applying gain and attenuation to deliver consistent volume levels; includes Night Mode to reduce the impact of explosions and bursts of sound so as not to disturb others after hours
- SBX Dialog Plus - Enhances voices in games and movies for clearer dialog, allowing the listener to hear the dialog over the rest of sound track and over ambient noise
- SBX Bass - Fills in the missing low frequency tones

CrystalVoice Features:

- Acoustic Echo Cancellation - Eliminates echoes and enables whoever is speaking to listen to the other party clearly
- Noise Reduction - Enables the person speaking to be heard clearly over background noise by constantly monitoring the environment and eliminating unwanted noise that interferes with the conversation
- Smart Volume - Automatically adjusts the loudness of a voice to maintain a consistent volume level. This makes it convenient for the speaker to converse normally, regardless of whether the speaker is close to or far away from the microphone
- Voice Focus - Beam-forming creates a zone and suppresses noise outside it to enable whoever is speaking to be heard with clarity. Multiple microphones are used to focus, enhance voice, and eliminate sounds outside the zone
- VoiceFX - Enables alteration of voice with a variety of effects, which can be used to enhance the tone of a voice, create interesting accents, or enable someone to sound like a completely different person

Sound Blaster Zx - High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$149.99)

The Sound Blaster Zx incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster ZxR except for the DBpro daughter board.

The Sound Blaster Zx leverages Sound Core3D processing with external DACs that deliver 120dB SNR. Other features include support for 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, gold-plated I/O connectivity, and SB Speaker-Calibration, which calibrates speakers to take advantage of room acoustics. The Sound Blaster Zx also includes the convenient external ACM (Audio Control Module) with a built-in dual microphone array and mic/headphone I/O connections. To enhance digital entertainment capabilities, DTS Connect and Dolby Digital Live encoding are included. The product also includes high-quality optical and stereo cables.

Sound Blaster Z - High-Performance Gaming and Entertainment Audio (SRP US$99.99)

The Sound Blaster Z incorporates all the hardware and software features of the Sound Blaster Zx except for the ACM. Instead, an external dual-microphone array comes standard with this card.

The Sound Blaster Z comes with 120dB SNR and supports 192kHz direct pass-through to analog out. It also features glowing LED lighting, a 600 ohm headphone amplifier, an EMI-free analog input and output path, SB Speaker- Calibration and gold-plated I/O connections.

The Sound Blaster ZxR and Sound Blaster Zx will be available in December 2012 and the Sound Blaster Z will be available in October 2012 at the online store at in Asia and authorised dealers in Asia at the following suggested retail prices:

Sound Blaster ZxR - US$249.99
Sound Blaster Zx - US$149.99
Sound Blaster Z - US$99.99

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