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Performance

Sound Quality

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.

SpectraLAB Results

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.


THD (total harmonic distortion) and IMD (intermodulation distortion) spectrograms
taken in Advanced Feature Mode, 16-bit/44kHz


THD and IMD spectrograms taken in Advanced Feature Mode, 16-bit/48kHz


THD and IMD spectrograms taken in Advanced Feature Mode, 24-bit/48kHz


THD and IMD spectrograms taken in Advanced Feature Mode, 24-bit/96kHz


THD and IMD spectrograms taken in Advanced Feature Mode, 24-bit/192kHz

 
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