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Wow, heard an Audigy 2 ZS today

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by ShinObiWAN, May 14, 2004.

  1. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    I must admit to being a bit anti-Soundblaster, simply dismissing them as low quality, gamer only cards. This isn't without justification though, since I owned an original Audigy card about 3 years ago and before that a Live 5.1. Both were Average at best and more often than-not, terrible with music reproduction.

    Having recently bought an RME HDSP 9632 I can tell you what a half decent sound card sounds like but just today I received a demo of friends HTPC system featuring an Audigy 2 ZS card connected to TAG amplification/Pro, B&W Nautilus range speakers and REL sub . WOW the surround playback via the analogue outs is actually better than my RME - no joking. I imagine that this because of the fact that it decodes the streams in hardware rather than software as the RME does. It really is a great choice for those wanting a pre/pro combination HTPC. Oh and it does EX and DTS ES in hardware too :)

    It also seems music playback is far better too, mainly thanks to the use of a Cirrus Logic DAC rather than the terrible SigmaTel rubbish they used in earlier generations. Its still not quite as good as the RME in this respect but then again its less than a third of the price. I was impressed enough though.

    Another highlight was my first experience with DVD-Audio today and again using the ZS. Creative saw fit to include a DVD-Audio sampler with around 18 tracks on there. Extremely impressive stuff listening to high quality 5.1 audio.

    I don't understand why DVD-A hasn't taken off but I imagine that its because 'traditionalists' see it as wrong to use anything more than 2 speakers when considering 'hifi'. I also imagine that some people think home cinema electronics are inferior to straight stereo when it comes to music.

    Anyway I retract my preconceptions of the Audigy 2 ZS and for anyone looking for a great and cheap soundcard the Audigy 2 ZS is phenomenally good IMO, especially for HT.
     
  2. rOAdeh

    rOAdeh
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    afaik though theres no way to force any of the audigys to output at 44.1khz for stereo playback because as you say in your post, they perform processing and sampling at a hardware level.

    once creative get this resolved then yes i agree the audigy cards could start to create some serious competition in the htpc market.
     
  3. sticker

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    IMO because most of the recordings are dire, old back catalogue items that have been "slapped" onto DVD-A with little thought given to re-engineering the original recording to work with the new medium.

    John
     
  4. beeblebrox12

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    I think that neither DVD-A nor SACD have taken off because there's not much interest in them. I recently read the sale stats and the numbers for both hi-def audio formats were ridiculously small (especially DVD-A). It's difficult to push something better than CD when the vast majority are happy even with MP3.
     
  5. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    Very true words.

    90% of the public really couldn't give a damn about sound quality as long as its loud and audable then they are happy.

    My brother is the perfect example, he shakes his head in disbelief at the amount of money I spend on components and I'm certainly only the owner of a midrange system.

    I also agree that the catalogue for DVD-A seems to be all about classical and rehashes of old stuff. Not much seems to be comming out thats coincides with a recent and popular band/group or artist. Its madness.

    Its funny but I couldn't have given a t*ss about DVD-A until I heard it today, I didn't even bother to think about getting a demo. But after hearing some well mastered recordings on a decent system I'm certainly interested.

    It seems like a catch 22 situation to me, nobody wants it because of the lack of titles and the titles aren't forthcomming because nobody wants it. Its all going around in circles at the minute.
     
  6. eviljohn2

    eviljohn2
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    Also consider that with multichannel surround you actually have to sit in the middle of the speakers and purposefully enjoy the sound all the time whilst with vanilla stereo you can have it on in the background and wander around without losing out too much.
     
  7. MRJAZZ

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    Are you sure that Audigy 2 ZS has *hardware* DD, and DTS decoder ?? If I'm not mistaken, Audigy 2 ZS does not have hardware DD, DTS decoder. They do software decoding for DD, and DTS - reply on CPU for decoding.
     
  8. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    Don't shoot the messenger.

    Thats what I was told by the owner of the card that demoed it to me. I'd have to agree with him as the output was better than my RME card using analogue outs and software decoding. I doubt it would beat the RME if it wasn't doing something in hardware.

    I could be wrong of course since I'm no expert when it comes to the in's and out's of Creative cards.
     

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