Creative Labs Audigy2 ZS Review

Soundcards and Speakers 105 Page 4 of 10 Published by


Software & Installation

Installation & Software 

The Audigy2 ZS comes with a minor revision of the driver.  One of the significant problems for the Audigy2 was the relative instablility of the drivers.  It has been rock solid in this machine, but your system may not be so lucky.  The most significant addition is the software graphic equalizer.  This is a step up from the hard-wired EQ presets on previous versions.  Everything else in the driver set is the same.  It still takes just this side of forever for the panels to load.


14 presets, and a nice look.

EQ at last.


It's not 1/3rd octave, so it may be hard to get precise.  It does cover the ear's most sensitive region however.  Kudos.


Are you experienced?

I think that dude is naked.


There is also a new THX console.  It gives you a nice at-a-glance view of what's plugged into your Audigy2 ZS, and reminds you of the port order.



That's 8 speakers to you, bub.



Of course, I use a DAT.  But this is great.


It would be wise to update all the Audigy2 ZS software to the latest versions, as feature-creep tends to become bug-creep.  Thankfully, Creative has bundled fairly recent builds of its drivers, including EAX 4.0, and just about everything worked fine out of the box.


As always with Creative software, you'll watch in slight horror as at least 6 new processes are added at startup.  Why the remote control program, RcMan.exe, even installed with the base ZS is a bit of a mystery.  You may want to stop the process from loading if you're using bluetooth peripherals.


Looks pretty.


Alpha blending on menus.



Is it just me, or is this kina Mac-ish?


The MediaSource Player is tied deeply into the features of the Audigy2 ZS, but it still can't match WMP 9.0 or WinAMP 5.  So, basically I left it alone.  The AudioStream Recorder 2 didn't appear to work, or at least I could not get it to.


Embarrass yourself at home.

Ah, the promise of American Idol at home.  It needs an 'anti-suck' filter.


If you need some of the features offered, like the Karaoke or the Time Scaling, you can just use the driver for playback without firing up the whole MediaSource Player.


Metallica on DVD-Audio.  Scary.

Advanced Resolution growling.  In 5.1 surround or 2 channel.


DVD-Audio promises the thrill of listening to high-resolution 6 channel (5.1) 24 bit/96kHz audio.  You may also be aware that the Audigy2 series are the only sound card that support DVD-Audio out of the box.  Intervideo does support DVD-Audio in their WinDVD 5 product, but it'll cost you a $30USD upgrade.  The DVD-Audio player with the Audigy2 ZS can't play video that comes with some DVD-A discs.


Just a few pixels up...

You know where it's going.


There are still the annoying AOL links on the desktop, links bar, and favorites.  I even found an AOL file in MyDocuments.  How hard would it be for the installer to check for broadband and then just not bother installing?  Marketing-by-carpet-bombing ain't going to win them any awards, sister.


On with the show.

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