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Hardware Review:Audigy ZS 2 PCMCIA

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  • Hardware Review:Audigy ZS 2 PCMCIA

    My requirements:
    • First and foremost, I needed optic out (tos-link, not the digital RCA)
    • Since I'm not using a case, I have no where to secure a PCI card to, and with the location of my computer, I don't have the height for one anyways
    • This left me with PCMCIA
    • High quality

    My list was short, especially since I'm using the optical out on this unit.

    I needed this optical out because I was planning on running from the sound card to the Alpine PXA-H701 processor brain as an optical signal. This would help to eliminate any possibility of induced noise by running an analog signal from the computer.

    While reading the specification on the Sound Blaster web site:

    Linky

    I was a bit confused as to how they were claiming an optical signal was possible from this card that only had 1/8" phono outputs.

    I called up customer support and was told that the signal was in fact optic, it was just put into a 1/8" phono (headphone) jack because that was a format that was more widely needed. They told me that I would just need to get a 1/8" phono to Tos-link adapter and I would be running that little beam of light in no time.

    So I went to Radio Shack and purchased the device for a whopping $2.95. I've since searched their web site but have been unable to find it any more unfortunately.

    Here are some options using Froogle:

    Link

    So far the card has been outstanding. It does everything perfectly. I do not use any of the Audigy software as I have no need for it, so I cannot vouch for any of it. All of my processing is being done by the Alpine processor.

    In my quest for extreme Sound Quality, I learned about Bit Perfect and Kernel Streaming. I was reading up a bit in the HTPC forums about how to go about achieving this when I found that the ZS cards are actually capable (most SB cards are not). While with most cards you have to download a few programs and play with the buffers, with this card all you have to do is click in a box and you're set to go from the hard ware side of things. No need to run some of the bulky, confusing buffering software that the other cards required. Big +1 there for the card.

    So far I have had no issues with this card, drivers installed without issue and the card was up an running within minutes.

    Highly recommended.
    Jan Bennett
    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

  • #2
    I am jumping in only to say the same thing. I have the Phoenix R5.1MT amp and run from my PC to that amp and I used the Audigy as well. I had it for my laptop but got a new machine and no longer needed it. So, it went into the carpc. It is an awesome device and works great. The sound quality is just awesome. I have MII10000 with 512MB and a 100GB drive, running Audigy PCMCIA to the Phoenix amp and that runs out to an Xtant X603 powering a set of Dynaudio components, clarion center channel speaker, JL 12W6V2 sub and it is just great.


    PS - Your Alpine PXA-H701 processor required an Alpine Control Unit/HU correct? Just wondering.

    PSS - Never Mind I found it. You need one of the selected Alpine HU or the RUX-C701 Control Box.

    Brent
    1999 Nissan SE-L - turbo toy
    1993 Nissan NX - Turbo Racer

    Standalone fuel management (AEM EMS) on both
    carPC

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    • #3
      Anyone has an experience using Linux (preferably Ubuntu or Gentoo)?

      Comment


      • #4
        I am curious how you have this card interfaced with the PC? Is it a laptop with a pcmcia slot? Or do you have some sort of adapter?

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        • #5
          the MII12000 has a PCMCIA slot built onto it...there are other mobos that have that as well.
          Jan Bennett
          FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

          Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

          Comment


          • #6
            Awsome, I am just learning about notebook audio. I was wondering if someone could give me some direction.

            I saw this card on Newegg for like $90, paving a better way than 3.5mm audio. I was looking for a s/pdif output to use with a RCA converter (SIIG CE-CTC012 Converts S/PDIF signals from Toslink optical to RCA coaxial - Retail ) HERE for $20 on Newegg, but it might lack quality (temporary solution at best if my headunit's RCA isn't good enough for optic sound). My Headunit is a cheep 7" lcd w/ RCA inputs and S-video, as well as a external CD player plug (Specs posted here).

            I am in the process of hooking up my really good gaming labtop up to my car, and I was thinking this notebook audiocard hooked up to some sort of audiobox, then from there to the headunit. Is that the best idea? What kinda of "box" do I need to change optic to rca?

            This project is one of those "upgrade along the way" type things, and I don't like wearing out my 3.5mm audio plug like I did on my Toshiba. I want good, crisp, digital audio on my stock speakers . From there I can upgrade to some sort of amplifier, speakers, wires, etc. But first I would like a solid media center platform to work with.

            Thanks,
            -Eric Schrader

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            • #7
              You'll need a signal processor. You can find them on ebay under signal processors in the consumer electronics area (car audio of course)
              Celeron 2.53 Ghz Processor
              512M ddr memory
              Mimo 7" USB Display
              XM Direct Tuner
              mp3car.com XM Direct USB interface box

              1999 Mustang GT Convertible Supercharged

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              • #8
                Originally posted by miwise View Post
                You'll need a signal processor. You can find them on ebay under signal processors in the consumer electronics area (car audio of course)
                Ebay link

                Theres 14 and some are expensive. What do I need to go from this audio card, to the signal processor, out to RCA Front LR and RCA Rear LR? These have sub outputs and stuff which is nice but I don't have a sub (not enough room).

                Thanks a lot man

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                • #9
                  is it overkill to use an Audigy ZS 2 card when you can actually get SPDIF -> optical adapter at around $20? most motherboard already has build-in SPDIF out

                  i dont think there will be much different in terms of sound quality, as it is the H701 that do all the processing

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                  • #10
                    all digital is not created equal.

                    not to mention, the Audigy has the capability of running bit perfect. Not all onboard audio chipsets have that ability.
                    Jan Bennett
                    FS: VW MKIV Bezel for 8" Lilliput - 95% Finished

                    Please post on the forums! Chances are, someone else has or will have the same questions as you!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kwchan View Post
                      is it overkill to use an Audigy ZS 2 card when you can actually get SPDIF -> optical adapter at around $20? most motherboard already has build-in SPDIF out

                      i dont think there will be much different in terms of sound quality, as it is the H701 that do all the processing
                      My labtop doesn't have S/PDIF I also run Windows XP MCE.

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                      • #12
                        I'd like to add that this thing is no good at coming out of hibernation. Sometimes the sound comes out completely corrupt and sometimes its silent for a few seconds and then ok, and sometimes its corrupted for a few seconds and then its ok. I can't disable and enable using devcon cuz there's no HWID.

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