Categories: Reviews

Sound Blaster Z SE review: the necessary upgrade for gamers and more

Sound Blaster Z SE review. The high-performance sound card dedicated to gaming, with a strong value for money. Its offer ranges from profiles optimized for certain titles, up to some pre-calibrated. Let’s find out together!

Sound Blaster Z SE represents the successor of the previous sound card WITH. The differences with the younger sister are not so substantial, but in this new version there are several improvements in terms of optimization on the gaming front, thanks to the new integrated profiles. The sound card DAC PCI-e of new generation, has a mission, to position itself in the market as a dedicated option for those looking for a strong improvement of the integrated card of their PC, without spending too much. Both in the world gaming, that productive, or quite simply in the use of multimedia content.

The peculiarities of Sound Blaster Z SE touch on the practical field. L’special edition of the Singapore house Creative, arrives on the market full of new features and more, updated. Functions specially designed to create a product that will surely satisfy users. And winks at gamers because of the new features aimed at improving not only the audio in game but also the microphone equalizer at three hundred and sixty degrees, for a more crystalline vocal flow everywhere. Let’s get into the review for more details.

Unboxing and general quality | Sound Blaster Z SE review

The sound card shows a somewhat minimal package in which we find only a few leaflets, and the aforementioned sound card, protected by an envelope and a small carved sponge square to hold the product firmly in the box. Also on the latter, we find several illustrations and different technical specifications reported.

The quality is excellent, it is immediately perceived from the first impact. IS made of aluminum, even often, with a coloring and a design full of personality, while the transparent circle that reveals the beating heart of this product is made of plastic. As we specified at the beginning, in terms of design there are no substantial differences with the younger sister, and we also notice this in the design, which is practically the same. A design now typical for the series in question, e different from the X family, which we tested in this review.

Like traction for Creative products, too the entrance doors are well done and solid. In terms of dimensions we certainly have a compact product, and easy to install even in the most compact configurations. Talking about dimensions, we have: H9 × L12,5 × P1,4 mm.

The technical specifications | Sound Blaster Z SE review

Creative worked for this Special Edition on two fundamental aspects, profiles exclusively optimized for certain titles, and a greater qualitative experience for Microphone EQ, thanks to new profiles pre-calibrated.

The card boasts a signal to noise ratio, better known as SNR, until 116 dB, with a bit rate fino a 24 bit / 192 kHz. Values ​​that ensure excellent audio quality, above all constant, in various situations and scenarios. They don’t represent absolute values, but they certainly are an upgrade for the vast majority of motherboards on the market, regarding their integrated solutions.

Above all thanks to the processor, now consolidated by Creative, the Sound Core3D. A processor capable of returning faithful, high-quality audio, without “bothering” the CPU for processing the audio stream, so as to convey all the available resources of your PC, for the specific sector in which you are operating, for example the title you are playing at that particular moment.

Sound Core3D is a quad-core processor, which for daily operations is able to handle any audio stream without problems, while the main channel op-amp, consists of a chip 4556 of the manufacturer JRC.

Sound Blaster Z SE in the format PCI Express x1, will obviously take advantage of thebus power supply, an interesting choice for those who want to integrate a flow 5.1, and, as mentioned, much higher audio performance than a solution integrated into the motherboard.

Quality is given not only by the processor, an important role is played by i connectors, gold plated, e i double low-dropout capacitors that Creative has implemented. The logic board boasts a technology that is able to optimize the performance of the speakers, by encoding digital content more efficiently.

All this is perceived above all in thedaily use. Listening to music with this sound card becomes a real pleasure, both reproduced by the speakers and in headphones. The audio changes radically in its form, especially as regards the rendering of tones bass e medi, which become absolutely fuller and deeper. The use of the speakers only, without Sound Blaster Z SE implementation, it returns a decidedly flat sound in comparison. The switch of profiles and therefore audio outputs from headphones, speakers, and vice versa, is simple and intuitive being guided by the software. In headphones, the performance is exceptional, a significant leap in quality, to hear and feel sounds that simply, they weren’t played before. Watching a movie, or just listening to music with this card, definitely changes the experience. You can then manage different pre-set profiles, or indulge yourself in creating the profile suitable for every need. From the profile dedicated to watching movies, to that for music, and specific to genres. The possibilities are truly varied, and you can play with tones, or with advanced surround technologies, functions and possibilities that you can never get simply with just the integrated sound card of your motherboard. Whether you are an audience of gamers or professionals who work with audio, Sound Blaster Z SE changes the experience of everyday use, starting from the simple use of multimedia contents, fully enjoying them. In fact you can make the most of the potential of your peripherals.

All this thanks above all to the protocol support Audio Stream Input / Output, known by the acronym ASIO, synonym of low latency. It is clear, however, that Creative has thought above all to players, or to those who work in the professional sector, optimizing the performance of the headphones. And precisely in this last figure, we talk about the power supply support, which for this model stands at 600 Ω for professional headphones. And so we see here, Creative’s attention to create a versatile product, able to satisfy even the professional sector.

The software that makes the difference | Sound Blaster Command

Both in gaming and in the professional sector, performance is ensured by pre-calibrated headphone EQ profiles and presets. In fact Creative declares full support to famous models such as; Sennheiser HD 280 Pro, Corsair HS50 e Philips Fidelio X2HR. And always the EQ profiles, can be exploited through different games, at the moment we find in the library; Apex Legends, Fortnite, Overwatch and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds.

These presets work is just that adjust and optimize the stream based on the digital content we are listening to. So as to offer, based on the peculiarity of the single product, the maximum yield. But we also have the ability to create profiles from scratch. This is thanks to the customization that the Sound Blaster Command software allows. At this link you can download the management software we are talking about. Remember that the software contains the drivers updated to the latest version for this single model, for this reason, we advise you to install the program after uninstalling the old drivers on the PC. So as not to create conflicts with the software.

Also from the software then, we can choose the different systems of surround virtualization. We will be able to access with Sound Blaster Z SE virtual surround up to 7.1 on speakers and headphones, and discrete 5.1 on speakers. All supported by coding Dolby Digital Live e DTS Connect, with the possibility of additional output options on external audio devices. What not we advise against activating, is Scout Mode, which tends to amplify the ambient noises of the title we’re playing too much, even those it shouldn’t amplify. The risk is that to obtain the opposite effect to the desired one, that is to emphasize the noises of footsteps, or, precise origin of the gunshots. At least that’s the impact it has returned with FPS titles, for example Call Of Duty: Cold War.

Making ai driver that make up the dedicated software, will also go to act on what is the microphone equalizer. Thanks to a series of presets that Creative has developed, the microphone audio will be balanced, for soften the tone of the voice, e reduce ambient noise. A technology that Creative calls CrystalVoice, and that precisely by eliminating the echo and ambient noise, it takes the audio stream, and makes it more balanced. We have tested this feature during several calls on various platforms, and the difference is really noticeable when ambient noise is important.

Here are the complete specifications;

  • Speaker Output: 3 x 3.5mm Jack
  • Optical output: 1 x TOSLINK
  • Optical input: 1 x TOSLINK
  • Headphones: 1 x 3.5mm Amplified Jack
  • Line / Mic Input: 1 x 3.5mm Jack
  • Max output power of channels: 5.1 channels, virtual 7.1
  • Tecnologie audio; CrystalVoice, Scout Mode, Codifica DTS Connect, SBX Pro Studio,
  • Dolby Digital Technology
  • Audio Fidelity: Up to 24-bit / 192kHz
  • ASIO: ASIO 2.0

Conclusions and price

Anyone who wants to significantly improve the performance of their integrated sound card (motherboard), this new sound card Creative is a safe choice.

Both in the gaming world, as well as in production operations, up to the simple use of multimedia content in everyday life, will be able to significantly change your user experience, but above all to improve the performance of your peripherals. It is certainly not the manufacturer’s flagship sound card, if you are looking for something more professional, you have to focus on other devices, but if you are looking for a good card that is not the integrated one and has a great value for money, this is for you.

Net of the quality of the sound card, what makes the difference, however, is always the software, and in this case we have a very good support in these terms. Software that above all does not show a complex interface, and which therefore seems to be accessible to all, very intuitive. Despite this, the more experienced will be able to work on sounds, on impedances and any audio facet available. For “domestic” and semi-professional uses, it represents a good starting point, certainly superior to any integrated sound card. That was all for the Sound Blaster Z SE review, if you want to keep getting to know the latest hardware news keep reading …

Published by
Walker Ronnie

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