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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb 'ultimate' Soundblaster card - but it's 5.1 only, has similar features to the Vx, and my Arcam rPAC sounds better
My gaming PC had an old Creative Xtreme Gamer XFi soundcard from a previous motherboard that starting crackling on both channels. So I decided to get this Soundblaster ZxR to replace it, as I love gaming and also have a massive iTunes collection ripped from CD to Apple ALAC lossless, plus my son and I are getting into video and sound editing. There are two cards in the...
Published 24 months ago by Charlie-CJ

versus
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Not suitable for purpose - mis-sold on Creative's Soundblaster site
I purchased this card, having researched the card on Creative's own site. I needed a card suitable for audio creation. According to the Soundblaster site this card is ideal. They say the card offers "Studio-grade content creation - Add studio quality audio sound tracks or voice tracks to your video clips or home videos created with hardware that uses only...
Published 15 months ago by Steve


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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A superb 'ultimate' Soundblaster card - but it's 5.1 only, has similar features to the Vx, and my Arcam rPAC sounds better, 12 May 2013
By 
Charlie-CJ (England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
My gaming PC had an old Creative Xtreme Gamer XFi soundcard from a previous motherboard that starting crackling on both channels. So I decided to get this Soundblaster ZxR to replace it, as I love gaming and also have a massive iTunes collection ripped from CD to Apple ALAC lossless, plus my son and I are getting into video and sound editing. There are two cards in the box, but only one requires physical connection to a PCIe slot (x1 or higher), with the other secondary 'card' simply needing a free backplane over any slot. The two cards are linked via the supplied proprietry black flat ribbon cable.

One thing saddened me, this 'ultimate' ZxR soundcard looks very classy from the side, but once fitted into the slots all that's visible is the smooth black metal top that is as dull as dishwater viewed from outside via my Perspex PC case window (the cheaper Zx/Z soundcards actually look far better in their bright red anodised finish). However I'm grateful there's no row of bright red LEDs on this card, as being located in the PCIe slot above the graphics card they would have blinded me. I fitted the card in minutes and installed the drivers from the CD, as it's far easier to automatically upgrade an installed set of Creative software than try and find the correct drivers/software on Creative's website. Other than fitting the main card into the PCIe slot, nothing else is required as the card gets all its power from the PCIe slot. The card works with Windows 7 & 8 (I use Windows 7 64-bit). I have a 5.1 speaker system which is all this ZxR card will support, so it's fine for me. However my teenage son's new Sabretooth X79 gaming PC has the cheaper SoundBlaster Zx card+pod and a great 7.1 speaker setup, and neither the Zx or this ZxR soundcard can drive them beyond 5.1 which is a real pain (his old XFi Xtreme Gamer soundcard supported the full 7.1 audio, but with the new Zx/ZxR two of his speakers are annoyingly left dead).

I couldn't use the header for my cases headphone/microphone socket, as there aren't any riser connections on the soundcard - the card provides external headphone and microphone sockets, in both 3.5mm and HiFi 6.5mm size, plus inbuilt quality stereo microphones, via the cabled volume control `pod' that plugs into the rear of the second ZxR `card'. This pods great, although it doesn't fully control PC volume - you turn up the PC sound and the pod volume controls to that level. Oddly the pod volume control only works with its headphone sockets and doesn't adjust the volume on my PCs 5.1 Logitech speakers, but as I only use headphones anyway that's perfect for me (besides my speakers have a decent volume control). Also supplied with the card(s) are a good quality twin phono to 3.5mm plug cable, an optical cable, and a short phono to 3.5mm converter to use with the central/front speaker stereo phono sockets out on the main ZxR card. Annoyingly the speaker/mic socket outs on the main ZXR card aren't colour coded, but it's `green' to the front (twin phono), `black `to the rear (3.5mm), and `orange' to the centre (3.5mm), with pink to microphone (3.5mm). I'm used to Creative's Control Panels and soon had my PC's 5.1 speakers running correctly and the headphones set up. Switching between headphones and speakers is very clunky via the PC software Control Panel, as there's no physical switch and removing the headphones doesn't autoswitch - which again is a another real pain for those regularly switching speakers/headphones. My son uses the freebie fan-mod 'SBZ Switcher' tool to speed up this headphone/speaker swap, but really Creative should have sorted this problem out themselves. Plus the SB software switch (and 'SBZ Switcher') aren't happy changing headphones/speakers during gaming. I always use Creatives `Crystalizer' sound enhancements that add clarity and dynamic range, and they work well with this card. There's also Creatives new CrystalVoice microphone enhancements:

1. CrystalVoice NoiseReduction that eliminates background noise
2. CrystalVoice Smartvolume that ensures even a whisper is heard on-line
3. CrystalVoice Echo-cancellation to remove feedback from speakers
4. CrystalVoice Focus creates a sound beam so that you are the only one heard
5. CrystalVoice effects to morph your voice into munchkins, elfs or orcs etc.

You can walk around the room and the ZxR's pod microphones should pick you up anyhwere (provided Focus is switched off). My son uses the microphone on his old Tritton AX720 gaming headset rather than the twin mike's on his Zx Pod, and he felt voice quality via the Trittons was better with CrystalVoice enhancements turned off, although he was amused by the CrystalVoice voice morphing effects and said his female voice morph was very convincing. In addition to CrystalVoice, there's loads of audio enhancements:

1. Studio DialoguePlus enhances voice clarity for movies/videos
2. SmartVolume controls audio so that tracks are all similar loudness or to reduce fatigue when gaming for hours,
3. StudioBass increases bass without recessing voices/treble
4. Studio Crystalizer brings out details without affecting vocals, good for games and video
5. 3D Studio surround creates a 3D surround effect for stereo headphones and speakers, good for gaming/videos
6. A gaming `Scout' mode to help you hear enemies creep up on you

Via speakers the sound quality is far better than my old PCI Xtreme gamer, and via headphones the sound is in another league quality wise - particularly as all the noise and crackles I got with the old card are now gone. That's the Soundblaster ZXR main big sell over the cheaper Soundblaster Zx, a 124db signal to noise compared to the Zx's 116dB, all brought about by more expensive electronics and shielding. The sound quality from the ZxR really is miles better than my old XtremeGamer for both sound and features, and it was well worth the upgrade. The ZxR also offers an extra twin phono line in over the Zx, with both the ZxR and Zx having optical in/out sockets. The ZxR also sounds very good with my 5.1 PC speaker system (it is a 5.1 soundcard). However I was surprised the ZxR doesn't match the superb sound quality from my £150 ARCAM rPAC USB2 headphone amplifier with my HiFi Grado SR125i's, and ZxR tonal/crystalizer adjustments didn't close the gap, so I stick with the rPAC/Grados for iTunes music (but I always use the Soundblaster ZxR with separate lightweight headphones for gaming, movies, PC bangs and whistles or with the PC speakers). Another annoying thing is that Creative's useful Media Tool Box 6 that brings in things like noise and crackle clean-up on analogue music, various recording/editing options, and auto segmentation of recorded vinyl records into tracks, costs another US $40. I have a Sony HiFi CD recorder deck for recording vinyl records which offers some of this via hardware, but for the extra £90 over the Zx card I would have thought Creative Toolbox 6 software could have been bundled in for free, as it's so useful for the ZxR card.

Still overall this is a great soundcard and worth the money for those wanting top rate gaming and video sound, so 5* for features and 4* for value. However much of what the £200 ZxR offers, including the neat volume/headphone/microphone pod, can be found with the far cheaper £110 SoundBlaster Zx Soundcard, so that card is better value (the even cheaper £90 SoundBlaster Z lacks the neat headphone volume pod though so I would avoid that card as I live on headphones). The Zx has the same negatives though, 5.1 speakers max supported and no auto-switching to speakers when you unplug the headphones from the pod, plus it isn't as 'low background noise' as the ZxR. However with the cheaper SoundBlaster Zx, you could use the money saved to get an Arcam rPAC headphone amp as well if you like listening to iTunes music on your desktop Windows PC and have a pair of top notch HiFi headphones - this Soundblaster ZxR PCIe card scores more heavily when gaming, recording, watching video or using the PC speakers.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The richest sound I've had from my PC with a large range of inputs and outputs, one for the audiophile, 21 April 2013
By 
Kevin Trebell (Cornwall, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
The ZxR is the top of the range soundcard from Creative at the very top of their Z range of soundcards.

I made the jump from the soundblaster recon to the "Z" last year and was hugely impressed with the jump in clarity of the sound. That card has now gone into my sons PC and he has been equally impressed with the jump in quality.

The ZXR builds on that, providing even clearer and louder sound over my 5.1 Logitech speaker system and also over optical to my 5.1 JVC Amp (that I use for when I'm gaming and enjoying media on my main TV and for playing music in the living room) but provides additional features and functions, including a second "daughter" board providing a range of sound inputs (including optical input) for those who wish to input high quality sound (e.g. for sound mixing and recording) and a high quality optical output, perfect for outputting sound to my main surround system in my lounge alongside my hdmi link to the main TV when watching movie streaming or for watching Blu-Rays.

I should add that I am no audiophile and no expert and am really going only by what I hear and giving a judgement based on that. I would defer to the many expert reviews when it comes to judging the quality in technical terms but this card has been well received and the pro reviews seem to back up my sense that it's even clearer and even better sound than the already impressive z series card.

This also comes with a control module that allows you to plug in headphones and microphones and to use it's software suite to easily switch between sound outputs (making switching from headphones to my speakers a doddle). This module also has a built in microphone The software suite itself is comprehensive and enables you to easily adjust and tweak your sound and voice outputs to meet your tastes.

Overall I'm highly impressed with this sound-system, it's very high quality but clearly aimed at the high end audiophiles, hence the high price that matches the quality of components. If you're a normal gamer or media user like myself then the Z or ZX cards (which includes the handy control module) might well be enough for your needs. If you're looking for more and want all that this offers including it's input and "studio grade" sound capabilities then this might well be for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creative Sound Blaster is Back!!!, 17 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Ok, so, perhaps you belong to one of those people who have been buying sound cards (especially from creative, even) for 15 years or more?

Perhaps you don't really care about the quality of sound from your pc and did without? Or maybe since motherboards more recently offer half-way decent sound chips, opted for that instead?

One thing is clear, if you are reading this then you are considering to go up a couple of notch's with your sound (just want more out of life perhaps?). And the good thing is, you are at the right place.

This card is amazing; whilst I have to say that I have been disappointed in Creative for the last 6 years (likely more). Especially when it comes to their sound drivers. Because they always seem to pull of at least acceptable hardware...

This card is different in many ways. Whilst the drivers could still have been better yet (in my world there's almost always room for improvement), the card delivers on all fronts. Here's what you really care about and what should swing you to buy this card:

- premium components inside and out, Creative did not use inferior parts. Everything is on point - there is a lot of gold plating used. A lot of high capacity employed. A lot of the good stuff you'd expect if you really go the extra mile for clear, crisp, 3d sound
- there is no static. 0%
- peripherals are exactly what I was always missing, an external headphone control unit with premium feel. Two cards inside, one for inputs and one for outputs but you only occupy one slot; typically Creative. The outputs are separated into Mic and Surround Sound output jacks; the ins include optical, which is nice
- The drivers work, they just do. Once installed you can tweak the sound to what you like. Enough bass. Enough highs. Tender mediums
- A gaming monster. Period!
- Exceptional surround sound for high definition movies, et al...

I have a range of headphones as well as a Yamaha sound set up: AX 1080 + Tune and CD/DVD with very decent speakers. I have the Logitech Z top of the range surround sound 5.1 set up for gaming. The sound is jaw-dropping on all:

- regardless of headphone type: razer blackshark and a couple of other razer ones; Sennheiser, Beyerdynamic, Audio Technica and AKG, the sound fills and impresses
- amps are sufficiently/efficiently powered, bass is deep with heavy pressure
- mediums are clear. classic music sounds completely clean and full; I can hear all the instruments individually and can locate the source direction precisely
- tweets are round and present, never overpowering the delivery but present

I cant fault this card as yet. I do not understand how they could pull it off at Amazon to sell this at the price. Else where you easily see it for > GBP 200 - 350

If you can, buy this card. If not get the little brother but get away from on-board mediocre-ness. If you have an Asus, stay put. You would not justify the move to this unless you produced music.

Would I buy it again, in retrospect? Regardless of from no-sound, on-board sound or from another board? Yes. Please :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Any skepticism about spending this much has gone. Do it already!!, 15 Aug. 2014
By 
M. Glynn - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
At first I was disappointed with this as my excitement was drained almost instantly to find a very dull small brown package; a stark difference to the glittery 'check me out style' packaging I had expected this item to come in. Fears were confirmed on opening and finding what was an OEM Creative Soundblaster Z. Devastated :(
Amazon sorted everything out as per the norm and a real version has turned up today. WOW!

I have Sennheiser PC360's and Klipsch THX Pro speakers for my sound, and was recently using an Asus DG (Which was frankly a terrible soundcard for many reasons not worth going into here).

Software was an absolute breeze to install, and had both speakers and headphones working in a matter of minutes. Interchanging between speakers and headphones is consistently good and works everytime.
I feel like I've bought new cans the sound has improved so much.
If you are as skeptical as I was about spending this much on a soundcard, but took the plunge anyway you will not be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Solid performance, 20 April 2015
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Its a nice piece of kit. Very expensive for a soundcard but the quality is excellent. The sounds I get through my Corsair SP2500 2.1 stereo speakers is very solid and loud. Even at high volumes the clarity stays. Using my Tritton Pro+ headset I get good sounds from the Dolby Digital and the 5,1 surround is great. Volume is loud and again even at high volume the sound clarity is constant.

My only criticism is that it was tough to fit as its quite wide and due to the fact I have SLI GPU cards I am limited in the available PCi slots. The fans from one of my GPU rubbed against the soundcard initially and I had to pop a small cut off of sponge into the gap between the cards to create enough clearance to stop the fan rubbing. Once this was done though the noise went away and all my GPU temps seem normal.

I would strongly recommend this card but be aware that it does need a fair bit of space in your rig.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Creative ZXR., 20 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Just got mine today it arrived on time the courier was great and the packaging was in perfect shape thanks Amazon.

As soon as i got the ZXR installed and working which took about 15 minutes i could tell the difference right away the sound quality from this card as to be heard yourself through decent speakers it's truly amazing.The drivers have been streamlined as well they installed with no fuss and they load nothing you don't need which is great with creatives bad record for bloaty drivers.
I upgraded from the Recon 3D which in all honesty was rubbish i had an Xfi Elite Pro before that which wiped the floor with the Recons and the recons did'nt support ASIO which i really needed so i've been looking to upgrade for sometime.
Out of the box the ZXR'S are a lot louder than the Recons and a lot more clearer especially the midrange and bass,you will need a spare slot for the daughter card though and i could'nt get it to work in a pciex16 slot they only work in a x1pcie slot, check your motherboards first mines the little slot above the first pcie x16 where the graphics card goes on an X58 pro motherboard.
The only downsides i can see are the price if you are only going to use them for gaming i would go for the models without the daughter boards they are basically the same but a lot cheaper,also the way the two cards are joined could of been done a lot better it looks untidy having a big grey lead going over your graphics card but i can live with that.
I have had it running all day there's not been one pop or crackle just pristine sound and bassline goodness, i've tried all styles of music from drum and bass to chillout and it plays them all beautifully,i'm hearing things on tracks i have never noticed before bearing in mind i have got it running on professional studio speakers.
All in all a great upgrade from the Recon 3d sound is excellent,the installation was easy and quick,there is a couple of flaws in design but they don't deter from the sound quality which is all i wanted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Sound, 20 April 2013
By 
Captain Awesome (England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Aside from the ZX (which I reviewed recently) I don't have much experience of expensive sound cards. However, this is definitely the best I've used.

The software is borderline-perfect and setup was a breeze. Audio was clear and loud. Unlike my computer's built-in audio, sound from this card was perfectly clear, even at the loudest volume.

From what I understand from some Googling, this is a step-up from the Z and Zx. Both are good solutions for listening to music or playing games, if you're prepared to spend some cash for something better than what came with your computer.
The ZxR, though, is for audiophiles. This audio system would also be great for those in audio production.
If cost isn't an issue (or much of one) and you want the best, get this. If you just want to improve your average music or Netflix experience though, this is definitely overkill.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great sound - not so easy to fit for anyone less "handy", 25 April 2013
By 
Su (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
I am definitely not technologically minded and the thought of taking the outer casing off my desktop tower and fitting a sound card was not something which filled me was joy - in fact it was the complete opposite. So I called in a friend who is really very good at these kind of things.

Installing (or rather watching the installation of) the new hardware was an extremely nerve wracking process.

You have to remove case (remember to disconnect the computer from the mains) and then locate the soundcard. Once you have found the soundcard you must disconnect it and then replace it with the new one and make sure that it is connected in all the right places. Once you have done this (and I must thank my little helper) you need to put the casing back on the computer.

You can then connect up the control unit and, once completed, you can power up your computer, put the disc in the drive and load the program.

I play a variety of games and my "fixer" told me how much better they sounded to him. I even started to feel sorry for my worker imps (Dragon Keeper 2) who were squeaking and mumbling about the amount of work they were doing; the battle field manoeuvres were clearer (Command and Conquer); the ambient sounds of birds chirping and the waves on the shore were now apparent in Sims3 where I had never heard the before and the sound effects while diving are amazing; and the sounds within my other games seemed improved.

The playback on the Dragon Naturally Speaking is clear, so I can check through what I have written I can hear the difference between words.

Audio book clarity seems to be improved and the sound effects and background noise on movies also seems improved.

I have to admit if I didn't have a "helping hand" I would never try doing this myself, but it has been well worth it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars good soundcard probable the best I had the asus top ..., 5 Feb. 2015
By 
A. S. Walker (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
good soundcard probable the best
I had the asus top of the range before and I think this is the better soundcard,
The software is miles better and it has more better bass and setting adjustments
I've had a problem though with my computer not recognizing it sometimes if I switch my psu switch off at the back and becomes a nightmare for the computer to see it again, but overall it has good sound,
I changed the op amps for metal version with the adaptors and made it even better!
I like the little volume and headphone jack thing it comes with saves me going round the back of the computer if I want to change my headphones from my amp to direct to the soundcard.
I use sennheiser hd600 and a headphone amp called bottlehead crack and it sounds very good
I payed over £200 when it 1st came out and now its £165!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Replaced my old Titanium HD, which ceased to work, 11 Dec. 2014
By 
Mr. B. "Bryan" (South London. England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Creative Sound Blaster ZxR PCIe Audiophile Grade Gaming Sound Card with High Performance Headphone Amp and Desktop Audio Control Module (Accessory)
My old (five years 'ish') gave up a couple of days ago...it was a Titanium HD...served me well. I was disappointed that the card is no longer produced, so opted for this card and glad I did. I have a DAB tuner connected via an optical cable - that sounds much clearer...and the ripped CD's I have on the hard drives (in WAV format) are not only cleaner & clearer, but carries more 'punch'...I had contemplated buying a new set of speakers in the new year...but now, not too sure. I was concerned about the cost..but, if you like quality sounding music..then this is the card for you...you do need quality loudspeakers​ to appreciate it.
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