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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sound Card
Who needs a separate soundcard these days? You read that all the time online. Well the true answer is anyone who cares about music, playing PC games or watching films definitely needs a dedicated, separate soundcard. The onboard sound built into your motherboard can never come close. I have a top of the range ASUS motherboard and the Realtek sound built in to that is...
Published 22 months ago by Roger Bradley

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Card is ok. Drivers are terrible
The card gives good performance, but the driver support from creative is awful. With the creative drivers the card just kept making a horrible hissing noise, I switched to some community made drivers and the problem was solved. But it took some digging to find the community drivers. I'm not going to buy a creative sound card again.
Published 17 months ago by Jake Kelday


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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Sound Card, 15 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
Who needs a separate soundcard these days? You read that all the time online. Well the true answer is anyone who cares about music, playing PC games or watching films definitely needs a dedicated, separate soundcard. The onboard sound built into your motherboard can never come close. I have a top of the range ASUS motherboard and the Realtek sound built in to that is nowhere near as good as a separate.
Over the last six months I've been trying to find a satisfactory one. I was lead astray by reviews online and tried two different high end ASUS Xonar cards. Neither provided what I was expecting. Plus their software was dreadful!
So I decided to try this SoundBlaster Z. At last I've found what I was looking for. This card blows the £150 Xonars away, for me.
The quality of the sound is perfect. Clear, immersive, well separated with solid bass. Gaming and playing music is a joy!
For the price this has to be the sound card bargain of all time. This is the same card as the version that costs £40 more for a pointless red cover and a microphone. You get the card and a software disk. That's all you need. There's a complete PDF manual on the disk. The Creative software is first rate.
Uninstall your current sound card first - remove drivers and software. If it's an onboard job, remove the drivers/software first, restart and as the PC is booting press Del or F2 to get into your BIOS setup. Find the onboard sound and disable it. Press F10 and select the YES option to save changes. Shut down and fit this soundcard.
On booting up Windows will find the new card and automatically install its own drivers. Then insert the Creative CD and install their software and drivers. You'll almost certainly have to update them, but that's handled for you by the Creative update service.
Set up your speakers in the Creative Control Panel, put on your favourite music, or play your favourite game and enjoy!
I can't rate this soundcard highly enough.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent quality for the money, 2 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
I purchased both this card and the much more expensive ZXR and I could say that the price difference between the two is definitely not worth it.
Yes, the Audio Control Module on the ZXR is nice and somewhat useful and yes, ZXR has more I/O options but the software however, is the same for both cards, the much cheaper Z has all the adjustments that ZXR has. From the sound quality perspective for home entertainment, I would say that the OEM Z sound card card is worth every penny with no noticeable difference between the Z and the ZXR card.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High hopes dashed <Fixed>, 31 Jan. 2015
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
When it works it is fantastic and really is an improvement over any on board sound, but unfortunately I cannot guarantee that It will work. At present the only way I can get it to work is to drop it down to 16 bit 41.0Khz, if I go to any of the 24 bit settings it goes haywire. Its connected to a 5.1 system by the 3.5mm jacks, it plays OK for about 10 mins and then gets all the speakers mixed up and distorted something chronic , front coming out the rear, rear out the sub woofer, centre channel flitting between any of the 5, it is really a mess. I've tried all 3 of my available pci-e slots but it makes no difference, I've used every version of the drivers and again all for naught. I'm upgrading my motherboard to an AM3+ 990 so will see if that makes a difference, I hope it does otherwise that's £50 down the drain.

UPDATE 5/2/15

Took delivery of a new motherboard,Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD3 - 990FXA-UD3 AMD 990FX (Socket AM3+) DDR3 Motherboard and the problem with the Soundblaster Z has been eradicated! Just goes to show in the wonderful world of self build PC's sometimes components just don't get along.
No hesitation in giving this 5 stars now as the audio is stunning, crisp, and clear.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Massive improvement over onboard audio!, 21 Jan. 2015
By 
Skypilot "Skypilot" (Sedbergh, Cumbria) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
I've had a Creative soundblaster card in a previous PC and loved it. My new PC (now 1-yr old) had only on board Realtek sound which Dell claimed was good enough for most people. After buying a new set of 2.1 PC Speakers I decided to shell out and see what difference putting a soundcard in a spare PCIe slot would make.

Installation was a breeze. Nothing to uninstall (don't remove the Realtek drivers as the soundsystem will stop working) and found the new card detected by 'plug and play' once followed the instructions on the Creative Technical Support Site:

http://support.creative.com/Products/ProductDetails.aspx?catID=1&subCatID=1005&prodID=21402&prodName=Sound%20Blaster%20Z&subCatName=Z-Series&CatName=Sound+Blaster&VARSET=prodfaq:PRODFAQ_21402,VARSET=CategoryID:1

Once all was up and running I plugged in my speakers, set everything up from the Soundblaster Z Control panel (from the Tray or the Creative folder in the All Programs Start Menu) and, as they say, was 'blown away' by the amazing sound improvements over the on board audio.

I listen mainly to allsorts of music from Rock and Jazz to Classical, especially now so much high definition music is available for download. Even 'flat' these sound good but tweaked with the equalizer software they sound amazing. Elite Dangerous (about the only game I ever play) also sounds fantastic with loud and immersive sound effects. I use the card with a set of Microlabs Fc360 Speakers which I real;ly recommend, although they don't have an optical input to take advantage of the optical out from the card.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Microlabs-MICROLABFC360-Fc360-Speaker/dp/B006812VRA/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ... was until I got this - it is seriously good. I have gone from vinyl - to cd ..., 25 July 2014
This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
I did not realize how sh*te my on board sound (good old realtek) was until I got this - it is seriously good.

I have gone from vinyl - to cd - then to archiving on my PC. Buying this card was a bit of a 'punt' but I guessed -ah why not.

I listen to a LOT of music - I have been buying albums since I was 14 and I am 56 now - I have a vast collection - music is important to me - so I expect a reasonable sound - I had no idea how poor onboard sound was until I got this card - if you have a good sound system (amp and speakers) you will reap huge rewards.

I couldn't give a flying f**k about gaming so its performance in this respect is of no interest to me - I just want good quality audio - this does it in spades.

My best component purchase ever.

EDIT - well after a fair few weeks now I am just more and more impressed with this product - the other PC's in the house sound pants compared to the pc with this card. All my sound systems are good quality (amps and speakers) so it is clear that the Blaster Z is making the difference. This is without doubt the best PC component I have ever bought!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perfect sound card, 29 July 2013
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
Excellent SnR, coupled with a nice cable like a QED one can get the best of any stereo amplifier (considering they are properly grounded), Microphone functions are impressive, full blast with my speakers and they mute any other sound that it isn't my voice, plus you have fun with the effects included for it and it doesn't have red leds that would otherwise not fully match a full black and blue setup.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent with surround speakers, 10 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
I can only echo what other have said. The difference between this and onboard sound is tremendous. With 5.1 speakers, the bass is deeper and more focused, with left/right separation and clarity noticeably better than before. I can highly recommend this.

(One note of caution, I installed this directly next to my graphics card and picked up odd low level sounds when using the mouse scroll wheel and through skype. Moving my graphics card to the next slot seems to have solved this issue. I suspect the more expensive version of this card with the fancy red shielding would have better resistance to this kind of thing)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love the sound? Pay for the sound delivery method!, 24 April 2015
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
If you've even looked up replacement soundcards I reckon you care somewhat about the sound quality that comes out of your computer, no? I'm the same! I used to use my on-board sound mindlessly, but it started playing up so I looked around for plug in version, bought a relatively inexpensive Creative PCI 5.1 thing and it worked, it was okay, it sounded all right, you know. I was happy with it. Then as a throw back to 2002 someone gave me a CD and instead of putting it straight in my computer I happened to put it in my old and pretty high quality CD player that i have connected as I've got a space in my hifi rack and I remembered just how good music could sound. So I tried the CD in my computer and it, for want of a better phrase, sounded gash. Sound quality is only as good as it's weakest link, I have good speakers, good amp, good interconnects all round and I decided the £10 sound card was the culprit. I researched and read and googled and looked at all the reviews for all the cards, even considered a £150 quid asus one (if you're reading this for so long, you've done the same). Now, budgets and quality compete, and I thought about buying that £20-£30 asus version... but there was a certain lack of enthusiasm to the reviews for the cheaper models, a certain perfunctory nature to what people had to say... they didn't care I realized, sound to them was a adjunct, not a central concern... I like the sound, love it, I will pay for the sound (but not stupid amounts, it's true)... and I bought this. A (mid-level) expensive punt you might say (though an informed punt). And my feelings now? Money well spent. It's great, a massive a difference as one can imagine to the sound quality. Easy to install, sounds better. It's worth it. There's too much low rate sound now-a-days... don't allow it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly brilliant soundcard best ive ever heard 5 stars is not good enough, 14 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
Utterly brilliant soundcard, built to a very high standard with a good strong pcb, sound quality this produces has blown me away easily the best soundcard i have ever heard to date, its so crisp, sharp and bassy all at the same time, a good full range set of speakers are a must for this card, dont ruin it with cheap ones.

My primary purpose for this card was to record digitally from my synthesizers using an analog to digital converter box coming from my mixer and going into the spdif, did a quick test and again WOW really amazing clarity and depth to the soundstage.

If you are not aware of this, this pcie x1 card will indeed fit and work in any x4 x8 or pcie x16 slot of any generation.

save yourself a few quid and get this oem version that doesnt have the red plastic cover or red led, they are pretty pointless imo.

the card has a HDA front panel case header, so now i can completely disable the onboard audio and plug the case into the card directly.

the card fully supports ASIO a godsend for music production in FL studio

the software is really neat and does everything you could want and more.

the cards audio processor takes the strain off your main cpu in turn the pc runs faster throughout, especially while gaming.

all the line ports are gold plated and really high quality, also easily cleaned when they get dusty

this card is better than a friend of mines that cost twice as much

beautiful black gloss pcb looks great in my corsair carbide spec 03 case

creative have packed a hell of a lot of features into this tiny soundcard, it amazes me actually, it is hardware based unlike other brands. creative claim thats it clarity and soundstage are over 34 times better than onboard audio and i really can believe it from what ive heard so far. Im trying to think of something negative to say about it but i cant and thats rare for me.

This soundcard absolutely flies on virtual dj, fastest reaction time ive seen ever, instant playback, dts and d digital decoders are flawless in every way, its imaging is so good it doesnt need 7.1 channel.

comes supplied with official software disc so tweak away in minutes!

bloody brilliant!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars drivers, 18 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Creative OEM PCI-E Sound Blaster Z Soundcard (Accessory)
for all windows 8 users please look here for the right drives for this sound card windows 8.1 users driver updates will be out at the end of this month 12/2013

[...]
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