I would really like to know what the designers at Creative Labs have in mind when they design sound cards. Their cards seem to be broken by design. The Live card was bad enough with its random collection of DACs and DPS’s, but the Audigy 2 ZS seems no better. Aside from the fact that it’s advertised as 96 kHz and 24 bit, which it isn’t, it has serious design issues. I had some sound anomalies, so I decided to measure and test. I found:
- The output for LFE and center actually should output LFE and center on separate channels, but it outputs them mono, in the center channel… This makes it impossible to connect to an external amplifier and have it apply the proper 10 dB boost on the LFE signal.
- The LFE and Center channel distort at maximum gain (or minimum attenuation: 0 dB), which is easily heard by sine testing. I had to reduce all channels by 3.2 dB to avoid distortion.
- The center and LFE channels are 6 dB quiter than the other channels when they’re all the same in the mixer. With a test tone, all channels measured 0.78V, while LFE or center measured 0.39V. That is, LFE measured 0, center measured 0.39V with both center and LFE signal.
- The LFE/center output has a significantly louder noise floor than the other channels.
Really, what monkey designs this?