A Closer Look
There's a third main component of the Sound Blaster ZxR bundle, and that's the Audio Control Module (ACM). It boasts a built-in beamforming microphone array that does a capable job of picking up your voice as you move around. It also has microphone and headphone I/O connections, and a large volume knob.
Not all of Creative's past sound cards came with protective covers installed. The Sound Blaster ZxR and DBPro daughter board both do, but in addition to adding a stylish aesthetic and a bit of protection for the delicate components underneath, they also serve as EMI/RFI shields to prevent outside noise interference.
Other noticeable parts including replaceable OP amps, high-quality capacitors, Burr-Brown Digital to Analog Converters (DACs), multi-layer PCBs, and the crown jewel of the Sound Blaster ZxR -- the Sound Core3D chip. This is where much of the musical magic happens, as the multi-core processor is tasked with processing audio and voice technologies. It's directly responsible for powering Creative's CrystalVoice technology and SBX Pro Studio. According to Creative, the Sound Core3D is the industry's first sound and voice processor to integrate an array of high-performance digital signal processor (DSP) cores and an HD audio codec on a single chip.
Much of what you're seeing here are billed as being "studio grade" or "professional quality," and we won't dispute either claim. As we mentioned earlier, the Sound Blaster ZxR is a serious sound card solution that goes beyond the realm of gaming and into musical content creation and playback. More on that later.
- 6.3mm Microphone In jack: Connects to microphones with a 6.3mm (1/4-inch) plug.
- 6.3mm Headphone jack: Connects to stereo headphones with a 6.3mm (1/4-inch) plug.
- RCA Line Out 1 jack (Front L): Connects to the Front Left inputs on powered analog speakers or an A/V receiver.
- RCA Line Out 2 jack (Front R): Connects to the Front Right inputs on powered analog speakers or an A/V receiver.
- 3.5mm Line Out 1 jack (Rear L/R): connects to the Rear Left and Rear Right inputs on powered analog speakers or an A/V receiver.
- 3.5mm Line Out 2 jack (Center/Subwoofer): Connects to the Center and Subwoofer inputs on powered analog speakers or an A/V receiver.
And on the DBpro Daught Board (also from top to bottom):
- RCA Aux-In 1 jack (L): Connects to the Left output line-level sources (for example, MP3 players) with an RCA plug.
- RCA Aux-In 2 jack (R): Connects to the Right output line-level sources (for example, MPG players) with an RCA plug.
- Optical S/PDIF Out jack: Connects to recording devices with optical connectors (for example, Digital Audio Tape recorders, MiniDisc recorders, or external hard disk recorders).
- Optical S/PDIF In jack: Connects to playback devices with optical connectors (for example, Digital Audio Tape recorders, MiniDisc recorders, or external hard disk recorders).
Savvy? Let's dive into our test setup and various software accoutrements.