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PCB Design

ZS Platinum Pro features a PCB of almost the same size as that of Platinum eX. It’s made of umber fiber-glass plastic and features gold connectors (for better electric conductivity). Colored connectors (and this is a requirement for a sound card that wants to comply with the Microsoft specification) are for simpler models. You can color-code the connectors of the ZS Platinum Pro yourself using the special stickers thoughtfully put into the package by the manufacturer.

When reviewing the Platinum eX sound card, I criticized Creative for not having implemented internal auxiliary audio connectors in the card for connection of such devices as optical drives or TV-tuners. I guess I was not the only one who grumbled about this fact and Creative’s engineering team seems to have heard our calling. Now the Platinum Pro has an onboard analog audio input (AUX_IN) and a digital CD_SPDIF. That’s quite enough to satisfy a user like me :).

The bracket of the card carries:

  • Three mini-jacks for analog outputs;
  • AD_LINK 1 and AD_LINK 2 for connecting the card to the I/O unit.

Internal connectors include:

  • 15-pin MIDI/Joystick connector;
  • Additional power supply connector;
  • AUX_IN analog connector;
  • CD_SPDIF digital connector.

Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS features a potent digital signal processor - CA0102-ICT (Platinum eX has a CA0102-IAT chip). All the analog stuff is deposited in the I/O unit. That’s the same solution as we saw on the previous “top model”. The PCB only carries an eight-channel DAC - Cirrus Logic CS4382 (192kHz/24bit) and an additional converter from SigmaTEL aka STAC9721T (Platinum eX doesn’t have this chip).

Cirrus Logic CS4382 DAC is responsible for the analog outputs of the sound card

The CS4382 DAC:

  • 24 bit resolution;
  • 192kHz maximum sample rate;
  • 8 channels;
  • 114dB dynamic range;
  • -100dB THD+N.

By the way, eight-channel speaker systems should be only attached to the analog outputs of the card. The digital output in the I/O unit can only work with 2.1 – 5.1 systems equipped with a digital input.

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