PDA

View Full Version : Audigy 2 ZS - wow!


Pages : [1] 2

saturnotaku
02-01-04, 11:31 PM
I was feeling a bit impulsive today and I picked up an Audigy 2 ZS. It will be the sound card I use when I eventually replace my NF-7 with an Athlon 64 Socket 939 machine.

I'm amazed at how solid this sound card is. Great sound from my admittedly crappy $50 Creative 2.1 speakers. And my games are benchmarking better. Quake 3 at 1280x1024, 4xAA, 8x aniso went from 156 fps w/Soundstorm up to 171 with the Audigy 2.

Great sound card. Props are definitely in order for Creative on this one.

stncttr908
02-01-04, 11:43 PM
Noes! I want reasons not to order one! :D

CWB
02-02-04, 12:20 AM
I know. I wasn't all that impressed with my Audigy vs. my Live, and there was so little difference between the Audigy and Audigy2 that I took the 2 back.

But the ZS...damn! I noticed an immediate quality improvement in both music and games, and all my games seemed alot smoother as well.

I was so impressed I bought some new T5400s to replace my 5300s... :)

Sazar
02-02-04, 12:51 AM
Originally posted by saturnotaku
I was feeling a bit impulsive today and I picked up an Audigy 2 ZS. It will be the sound card I use when I eventually replace my NF-7 with an Athlon 64 Socket 939 machine.

I'm amazed at how solid this sound card is. Great sound from my admittedly crappy $50 Creative 2.1 speakers. And my games are benchmarking better. Quake 3 at 1280x1024, 4xAA, 8x aniso went from 156 fps w/Soundstorm up to 171 with the Audigy 2.

Great sound card. Props are definitely in order for Creative on this one.

gaming benchmarks would have improved no matter what pci sound card you used v/s soundstorm :)

no cycles being dedicated to the onboard sound == more work being done on the benchmarks themselves == higher score...

if creative ever gets its drivers in order I might be more inclined to give them kudos... but that seems unlikely to happen...

sytaylor
02-02-04, 02:19 AM
The more good testomonials i hear about this thing, the better i feel about having bought it.. besdies the awesome sounbd quality of course :D

SnakeEyes
02-02-04, 08:22 AM
Originally posted by Sazar
gaming benchmarks would have improved no matter what pci sound card you used v/s soundstorm :)

no cycles being dedicated to the onboard sound == more work being done on the benchmarks themselves == higher score...

if creative ever gets its drivers in order I might be more inclined to give them kudos... but that seems unlikely to happen...
Soundstorm is a hardware sound solution too, Sazar, at least if you make use of the DD5.1 / digital outputs and not the analog outputs. And the Soundstorm has fairly low CPU overhead, unlike most integrated software-based sound setups on other motherboards. (BTW, some PCI sound cards are still really software-based, just like some PCI WinModems are, so they'll use more CPU cycles to process the sounds.)

Anyway, as far as the ZS goes, that's probably the route I'll be taking next upgrade cycle too, especially reading your feedback saturnotaku. Thanks! :cool:

Sazar
02-02-04, 09:33 AM
Originally posted by SnakeEyes
Soundstorm is a hardware sound solution too, Sazar, at least if you make use of the DD5.1 / digital outputs and not the analog outputs. And the Soundstorm has fairly low CPU overhead, unlike most integrated software-based sound setups on other motherboards. (BTW, some PCI sound cards are still really software-based, just like some PCI WinModems are, so they'll use more CPU cycles to process the sounds.)

Anyway, as far as the ZS goes, that's probably the route I'll be taking next upgrade cycle too, especially reading your feedback saturnotaku. Thanks! :cool:

snake... it is expected integrated solutions consume more cycles than an addon card... which is shown by saturn's results..

not all sound card solutions will perform like that.. no doubt but I doubt any of the decent ones are going to consume more cycles than an integrated solution (ie tutle beach or other CL options)

netviper13
02-02-04, 01:19 PM
Originally posted by Sazar
snake... it is expected integrated solutions consume more cycles than an addon card... which is shown by saturn's results..

not all sound card solutions will perform like that.. no doubt but I doubt any of the decent ones are going to consume more cycles than an integrated solution (ie tutle beach or other CL options)

If you use the digital out (which makes full use of SoundStorm) CPU usage will not be high. It's when the analog out, and thus the crappy onboard software DAC, are used that you eat up CPU cycles.

Dazz
02-02-04, 01:52 PM
The sound storm has 800m/sec bandwith Vs the 133MB/sec.

Sazar
02-02-04, 02:15 PM
just wish they had decent nforce3 integration :(

150 is a POS... 250 shoulda been out sooner...

PsychoSy
02-02-04, 04:01 PM
$50 Creative 2.1 speakers.

How long have you had them? Reason I ask is about 18 months or so ago, I nabbed some Creative Inspire 4.1s for $55-60ish at Wal-Mart. Considering the sub in my existing Altec Lansings was blown (too much Yes :p), I couldn't pass them up. They sound excellent on my Audigy1 so they probably sound 5x as good on that A2 ZS.

However, Creative recently released updated drivers for the Audigy1 that adds EAX 4.0 support ... and I despize them with a passion. First complaint? All the presets in the Surround Mixer were nerfed - if you use one, no sound whatsoever. I could only get sound by using "Custom" and then I added the "Heavy Metal" Preset EQ via the properties. That brought me to my second complaint - in terms of sound quality with my MP3s, they couldn't hold a candle to my trusty Compaq drivers CD I hacked and burned a while back. The only reason I tried the drivers in the first place was because I was curious about EAX 4 and hoped that it would solve my stuttering sound problems in BF1942 single player (it didn't :( )

Sazar
02-02-04, 04:14 PM
as I said... creative labs holds teh crown for best hardware with worst driver support... the gap between the 2 is ridiculous...

saturnotaku
02-02-04, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by PsychoSy
How long have you had them? Reason I ask is about 18 months or so ago, I nabbed some Creative Inspire 4.1s for $55-60ish at Wal-Mart. Considering the sub in my existing Altec Lansings was blown (too much Yes :p), I couldn't pass them up. They sound excellent on my Audigy1 so they probably sound 5x as good on that A2 ZS.

However, Creative recently released updated drivers for the Audigy1 that adds EAX 4.0 support ... and I despize them with a passion. First complaint? All the presets in the Surround Mixer were nerfed - if you use one, no sound whatsoever. I could only get sound by using "Custom" and then I added the "Heavy Metal" Preset EQ via the properties. That brought me to my second complaint - in terms of sound quality with my MP3s, they couldn't hold a candle to my trusty Compaq drivers CD I hacked and burned a while back. The only reason I tried the drivers in the first place was because I was curious about EAX 4 and hoped that it would solve my stuttering sound problems in BF1942 single player (it didn't :( )

I've only had my speakers for a couple weeks because a bad headphone jack blew out my Altec Lansing speakers. These Creative ones are OK for the price. Nothing special, but I don't need any fancy speakers for my use, especially when I have me Sennheiser headphones. :drooling:

Anywho, I did notice the advanced and special FX in the control panel are indeed "nerfed." The environment and studio effects work, though. But I don't use 'em so it's not that big a deal to me. But all the graphic equalizer presets work for me. Weird. :confused:

Skuzzy
02-02-04, 04:48 PM
The drivers Creative is currently shipping are worlds better than previous drivers. They finally expose hardware buffers in DirectX, which they never did before.
We can finally manage sound better in software with the hardware exposed the way it is in the newer drivers.

Oh,..the ZS is definately one of the best sound cards I have ever plugged into a computer. You would have to spend upwards to a $600 to get better and it would only be marginally better.

The Baron
02-02-04, 05:39 PM
Skuzzy, with the M-Audio Delta 410 sitting downstairs, I kinda doubt that.. but now I'm curious about the ZS.

Skuzzy
02-03-04, 07:45 AM
Baron, I know the M-Audio cards well. Check the ZS out. Bang for the buck, it wins, hands down.

EDIT: I have the ZS Platinum (internal). Got spoiled by the Augidy 2 Platinum. Cannot go back to not having that front access panel plus the digital-in fiber connector is worth it for me.

Smokey
02-03-04, 07:47 AM
Originally posted by The Baron
Skuzzy, with the M-Audio Delta 410 sitting downstairs, I kinda doubt that.. but now I'm curious about the ZS.

Maybe he means gaming soundcards ;)

Anyways, I love my Audigy2, drivers are great, Ive never used presets, and RavenShield sounds really nice on this soundcard :)

saturnotaku
02-03-04, 07:53 AM
I would never buy an M-Audio card for a gaming rig as that lineup has no DirectSound hardware acceleration. If you thought SoundStorm used up CPU cycles, wait until you see the Revolution in action.

sxotty
02-03-04, 11:22 AM
Originally posted by Sazar
as I said... creative labs holds teh crown for best hardware with worst driver support... the gap between the 2 is ridiculous...

I am sorry, but this was just so funny to me... the best way to put it...:D but I like my digital encoding and am very sad that I will be screwed on my next upgrade since no one seems to want to have dolby surround...

sytaylor
02-03-04, 01:35 PM
hmm, where can one procure a digital audio lead from my audigy 2 to my z680s? i wanna push them all the way :cool2:

sxotty
02-03-04, 02:03 PM
sytaylor you realize if you do this you will have stereo sound only correct?

And in that case it will be a downgrade, I am just telling you so you don't waste money, the only digital connection that has surround sound on an audigy card is when it comes from a DVD, or with their proprietary digital connection which only works with their (creatives) speakers. There is only one... that can make digital surround and you know what it is :)

Skuzzy
02-03-04, 02:29 PM
sxotty, the Platinum card has a fiber digital input connection which allows external sources to send Dolby Digital to the card. Just FYI.

It also has a fiber digital output which allows you to connect to an external processor, if you want.

The flexibility of the Platinum card is cool.

druga runda
02-04-04, 08:18 AM
How much is this card? 100?

sxotty
02-04-04, 08:30 AM
Originally posted by Skuzzy
sxotty, the Platinum card has a fiber digital input connection which allows external sources to send Dolby Digital to the card. Just FYI.

It also has a fiber digital output which allows you to connect to an external processor, if you want.

The flexibility of the Platinum card is cool.

The game theater XP that was like 2 years old has the exact same features, but it is called pass thru so who cares?


The digital output isn't in surround sound, that is all there is to it. My hercules game theater XP had fiber out and it sent a stereo signal unless you were watching a dvd, that is the same way all creative products work, garbage in garbage out, errr... dolby in, dolby out :)...


I just did not want anyone to buy a digital cable connection and expect to get surround sound b/c they won't except in rare cases, and if you are going to pass digital signals into the card what is the point? You could just send them straight to a receiver or your speakers, unless you want to record the audio stream of course, which many people are trying to force sound card makers to disable btw...

sytaylor
02-04-04, 08:55 AM
Originally posted by druga runda
How much is this card? 100?

mine set me back 75 quid..

my speakers have a fibre connector, just wandering how to get the absoutle most perfect sound out of my setup.