Software Bundle from Creative
While Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro cannot boast any dramatic changes in its hardware (compared with Platinum eX), the software department of Creative did a much better job. Well Creative is known to be paying due attention to the quality of its own software. The release of a new product series is usually accompanied with a release of a revised software pack including support of numerous exclusive technologies. So I will only dwell upon the changes in the software since the previous versions.
So, the exclusive software bundle from Creative for Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro sound card includes the following components:
- Creative MediaSource Go!;
- Creative MediaSource Go! Launcher;
- Creative MediaSource Player;
- Creative MediaSource Organizer;
- Creative MediaSource DVD-Audio Player;
- Creative EAX Console;
- Creative Surround Mixer;
- Creative Speaker;
- Creative Speaker Settings;
- Creative MiniDisc Center;
- Creative SoundFont Bank Manager;
- Creative Audio Stream Recorder 2;
- Creative Wave Studio;
- Creative THX Setup Console;
- Creative Graphic Equalizer.
MediaSource Go! toolbar
For the user not to get strayed among the components, they are all grouped together in the MediaSource Go! toolbar.
Some of the card properties are set up from the Device Control AudioHQ panel. The window is divided into six pages:
- Digital Input. You control the digital inputs in this tab. The SPDIF Bypass mode means that there is no processing of the digital stream, while the Dolby Digital/DTS SPDIF-In decode turns on decoding of the corresponding formats of DVD audio;
- Headphones. You can optimize the surround effects for your headphones here or mute the speakers when using the headphones;
- Sampling Rate. Set up the sample rate for the digital input of the sound card;
- Decoder. This section allows adjusting the decoder properties or disable it (when you use an external hardware decoder);
- Bit Accurate Mode. When this mode is enabled, you can record audio signal from the SPDIF input directly, without any changes.
- Options. You use this page when there are several sound cards in the system.
The software pack from Creative now includes a ten-band (octave) graphical equalizer (I saw it first reviewing the Sound Blaster MP3+). Its interface looks very professional, save for the lack of such components as indication of clipping and adjustment of the volume by arrow keys (for better precision). But there are numerous presets with an option of creating your own ones.
The speaker system configuration window is divided into three topical sections:
- Speaker Selection: This is where you select the type of your speaker system, calibrate it and test each of its components;
- Bass Management: You can choose the crossover frequency and set up the subwoofer volume in this section. This is the most important thing for cheap speakers that suffer from total lack of low frequencies.
- Bass Boost: to set up the level of bass and the cutoff frequency.