It may seem we cannot expect a sound of good quality from so small a form-factor, but I knew I was wrong as soon as I listened to this card in my headphones. The card produces a transparent sound giving a new feel to compositions you seemed to know everything about and combining this with power and drive, especially in the low-frequency range. If your speaker system is not high quality, you can do frequency correction in a number of ways, from the Bass and Treble sliders in the Surround Mixer and the Bass Boost tab in the Speaker Settings panel to the 7-band Graphic Equalizer. The THX Setup Console is going to be helpful, too, in setting up a multi-channel speaker system.
So, the sound of the Audigy 2 ZS Notebook is subjectively no worse than that of the PCI card Audigy 2 ZS. In other words, the notebook version of this audio card sounds as good as the desktop one.
As usual, I checked the card’s analog circuit (Line Out – Line In) using the SpectraLab suite. I didn’t limit myself with 16-bit formats, but included all popular combinations of resolution and sample frequency. The results are rather interesting, especially for the 16bits/48kHz format, and even impressive if you compare them to the performance of an integrated AC’97 codec from Realtek.