Creative has released the Audigy 2 ZS Notebook, which is actually the first Sound Blaster sound card specifically for notebook computers. While the Extigy was an external device that could be plugged into a notebook's USB board, the Audigy 2 ZS Notebook is a PCMCIA device that will fit snugly into a PC card slot.
The Audigy 2 ZS Notebook is a welcome arrival, as while notebook users have enjoyed great advances in processor and graphical ability, audio has been pretty much ignored. Good news then that the new sound card is the world's first THX-certified notebook audio solution and provides a cinema-style experience during DVD viewing with 5.1 or 7.1 speakers using its on-board DTS-ES and Dolby Digital EX decoding or when connected digitally to a home cinema receiver system. it also offers a 104dB Signal to Noise Ratio and supports 24-bit/192kHz Advanced Resolution DVD-Audio.
For gamers, the ZS notebook provides hardware acceleration of EAX 4.0 Advanced HD, and DirectSound 3D. These can be heard to their full benefit thanks to a docking cable that enables the sound card to be hooked up to a surround sound speaker set. Gamers can also experience virtual surround sound over stereo headphones thanks to Creative Multi-Speaker Surround (CMSS 3D) support.
The bundled software includes Creative's new Smart Recorder software. This provides easy, automated recording of audio sources such as Internet radio, vinyl, cassette or MiniDisc, directly to MP3 format. Its track splitting feature detects silences between tracks and automatically divides a recording into separate songs.
The ZS Notebook is available now and has a SRP of £100.