PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook

Creative's PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook

Photo Courtesy of Creative Labs

Owners of average notebooks (i.e. most of us) are generally happy with the Internet and office related functions our machines provide us. What about multimedia and gaming though? It tends to be the case that the audio we hope for is either at the mercy of highly inferior built-in speakers, or confined to limited stereo options through the headphone/portable speakers jack. To get around this, Creative thinks they?ve found a solution to get us the same high-end surround sound and dramatic audio quality we have on our souped-up desktops at home.

Enter the PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook.

With an experience equal to what one can get out of a PCI card on a desktop, according to Creative, the 2 ZS Notebook plugs directly into your laptop?s PCMCIA card slot and has input and output jacks for optical, line, headphones/speakers and microphone. It also has a speaker docking jack for connection to a home multi-channel speaker system.

The 2 ZS Notebook uses hardware-accelerated EAX 4.0 ADVANCED HD and 3D positional audio support to bring high quality sound to games. Creative has also added virtual surround for gamers, or anyone, through their Creative Multi-Speaker Surround 3D support.

For those wanting to listen to music, Creative has endowed the 2 ZS Notebook with a high audio clarity of 104dB SNR. They feel this is the best to handle 24-bit/192kHz audio content, including DVD-Audio. The card will also support the Sony/Philips Digital Interface format at up to 24-bit/96kHz, though not during playback of content authored with Microsoft Digital Rights Management technology.

Further expanding upon the above, the 2 ZS Notebook brings theater quality audio for movies, according to Creative. Listeners are able to enjoy THX-certified, 24-bit ADVANCED HD audio during DVD viewing. Support is provided for DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX decoding and can be enjoyed on 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound speakers.

Recording functionality is also available via the 2 ZS Notebook. Support is enabled for up to 24-bit/96kHz recording. Low latency ASIO 2.0 drivers are provided in the included software to help with music recording software. SoundFont support is also included.

The 2 ZS Notebook hardware, which has a power saving feature mode to conserve on laptop battery life, is backed up by a strong software suite. EAX tools, like Audio Clean Up, help to smooth over inferior sound problems in MP3s, while another application called Smart Volume Management normalizes the audio across multiple tracks. There?s also a bass boost and multi-band graphic equalizer.

Other software applications included besides the EAX tools are Smart Recorder, which provides automated recording of music sources into MP3 format, and MediaSource, which allows users the ability to rip CDs and organize music collections.

Accessories included with the PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook, which will have a suggested price of $129.99, are a speaker docking cable, clear carrying case for the card, and ?premium? earphones.

More information on the PCMCIA Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook can be found at http://www.soundblaster.com/products/Audigy2ZS_notebook/.