Creative Labs rolls out EVO Zx gaming headsets with Axx processing, NFC

Creative is no stranger to the gaming headset scene, but it operates in a very crowded field -- it needs more than just big earcups and a mic to stand out. The company's new Sound Blaster EVO line of Bluetooth headsets may do the trick. Both the EVO Zx (40mm drivers) and EVO ZxR (50mm drivers) have the same Sound Blaster Axx processing as the company's sound cards, which lets them clean up low-grade audio and fine-tune effects through desktop and mobile apps. They'll also pair quickly with NFC-based devices, and players can still switch to a headphone jack or USB port when only wired sound will do. Creative hasn't dished out US launch details, but it expects to ship the EVO Zx to the UK in July for £200 ($313), followed by the EVO ZxR in August for £250 ($392). Those willing to live Axx-free can also buy the EVO Wireless and EVO in July at respective prices of £150 ($235) and £100 ($157).

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Creative Introduces the Sound Blaster® EVO™ Series – The Most Intelligent Headsets on the Planet

The Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and EVO Zx Cleverly Feature an Integrated SB-Axx1 Audio Processor and Advanced Bluetooth Wireless Connectivity for Enhanced Audio On-The-Go

June 12, 2013 – Creative Technology Ltd today announced the Creative Sound Blaster® EVO™ ZxR and Sound Blaster® EVO™ Zx – the world's first wireless headsets that utilise a built-in multi-core Sound Blaster SB-Axx1 processor for enhancement and customisation of audio quality for playback of music, movies and games and for voice communications.

The audio-enhancing capabilities of the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx fill a dire need in an age where mobile device users tolerate the sound quality from compressed sources of audio played on smart devices – such as MP3 files, YouTube and other video sharing sources, streamed music or mobile games – as a primary source of entertainment on-the-go.

"The Sound Blaster EVO Series represents the next step in the evolution of the headset. Before this, headsets were designed to play any audio as it is, regardless of its quality. The Sound Blaster EVO Series, however, intelligently enhances audio in real-time. The headsets can even enhance the dialog clarity of movies with our proprietary SBX Dialog Plus™ technology. With their integrated SB-Axx1 processors and SBX Pro Studio™ technology, the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx deliver detailed, immersive audio that was previously only enjoyable with a Creative Sound Blaster PC sound card. These are the only headsets you will ever need, no matter what kind of digital entertainment you enjoy. For music, movies and games, the Sound Blaster EVO Series far surpasses the capabilities of other headsets on the market. The headsets are also marvellous for phone and video calls, as well as gaming communications," said Low Long Chye, General Manager for Sound Blaster Audio at Creative.

Communications

Beyond enhanced audio playback quality, the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx headsets are ideal for communication usage with today's smartphone and tablets. Users can experience crystal clear communications. Even in noisy environments, they can communicate clearly. These two headsets feature a dual microphone array cleverly concealed in their ear cups, which work in perfect harmony with the SB-Axx1 processor and CrystalVoice Focus™ technology to create an acoustic zone around the user's mouth to suppress surrounding noise, enabling clear voice pickup – perfect for making phone calls, Skype calls, and for gaming communications. These two top-of-the-range headsets also come with the inNoiseReduction™ feature, which suppresses unwanted background noise from an incoming call so that the caller can be heard clearly. Users can also transmute themselves into various fantastical characters by applying various fun voice effects (CrystalVoice FX™) in their calls or gaming communications.

Connectivity

The Sound Blaster EVO Series comes with a full range of connectivity options:

1. High Quality Wireless

The wireless headsets utilise the aptX and AAC Bluetooth audio codecs for the highest-quality audio and lowest possible latency.

2. NFC – Tap to Connect and Play

They can also quickly and easily connect to Bluetooth devices using Near-Field Communication (NFC), requiring only a simple tap from an NFC-enabled smart device to the headset to establish a connection.

3. Wired – USB and Analogue

Wired connectivity options are also available. Users are able to enjoy clear 24-bit digital audio by connecting their headsets to PCs and Macs via a USB connection. Each headset in the Sound Blaster EVO Series can also be connected to smart devices via a standard analogue 3.5mm jack.

Customisation

The user can also look forward to full customisation of audio settings. The SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice software suites are completely customisable by Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx users via the Sound Blaster Central™ application, available for iOS and Android devices. Users can also calibrate and customise settings on the PC/Mac with the included Sound Blaster EVO Control Panel software. Users can also conveniently activate SBX Pro Studio technologies and volume levels with buttons located on the ear cups of the Sound Blaster EVO Series headsets.

Design

The Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx boast a striking design that personifies high-performance, style and attitude. Red and black accents and brilliant ear cup illumination mixed with a rugged yet comfortable construction adorn these technologically advanced headsets. Both headsets are designed for easy stowage, with the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR sporting a fold-flat design and the Sound Blaster EVO Zx being fully collapsible.

Intelligent Technological Highlights of the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Zx

On top of the standard explosive audio that Sound Blaster provides, users can enjoy enhanced audio while they are out and about - the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR and Sound Blaster EVO Zx feature an advanced, integrated SB-Axx1 processor that enhances all music, movies, games and calls in real-time.

Users can further customise and control their audio through the Sound Blaster Central app, downloadable via the Apple App Store or Google Play, and Sound Blaster EVO Control Panel, a PC/Mac based software suite.

Pairing and connecting a smart device to a wireless headphone via the manual Bluetooth pairing method involves multiple steps. However, users with NFC-enabled phones can simply tap their phones on these headsets to connect and play via NFC technology.

Users can enjoy crystal clear calls while on-the-go. This is because each headset features a high quality dual microphone array that works amazingly well at picking up users' voices while suppressing background noise. This is further enhanced with audio processing, available through the built-in SB-Axx1 chip, including the CrystalVoice inNoiseReduction™ feature.

Users can transmute themselves into a various fun and fantastical characters with CrystalVoice FX™.

SBX Pro Studio Features:

SBX Crystalizer™ – Restores the "highs" and "lows" that are compromised during audio
compression to create and audio experience as the original artist intended
SBX Smart Volume™ – Intelligently minimises abrupt volume changes by automatically adjusting the loudness of audio playback
SBX Dialog Plus™ – Intelligently enhances voices in music and movies for drastically clearer vocal range
SBX Bass™ – Dramatically improves the sound experience by expanding the low frequency tones
SBX Surround™ – Creates unprecedented levels of audio realism by producing virtual speakers around, above and below the listener

CrystalVoice Features:

CrystalVoice Acoustic Echo Cancellation™ – Eliminates echoes that interfere with voice communications
CrystalVoice Noise Reduction™ – Eliminates unwanted background noise from conversations
CrystalVoice inNoiseReduction™ – Eliminates the other parties' unwanted background noise so that they can be heard clearly
CrystalVoice FX™ – Morphs voices into different characters and accents
CrystalVoice Focus™ – Suppresses noise outside a specified acoustic zone to enable voice communications to be heard with amazing clarity

Sound Blaster EVO ZxR wireless headset – GBP249.99

The ultimate headset for music, movies, games and communications,
the Sound Blaster EVO ZxR features the built-in SB-Axx1 audio chip to provide hardware-accelerated SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice audio technologies, while delivering stunning audio fidelity through powerful 50mm drivers. Active Noise Cancellation™ detects background noise and cancels it out, providing the listener with the clearest possible sound.

Sound Blaster EVO Zx wireless headset – GBP199.99

Powered by the SB-Axx1 chip for outstanding audio playback and
voice communications, the Sound Blaster EVO Zx features hardware-accelerated SBX Pro Studio and CrystalVoice audio technologies, while delivering stunning audio fidelity through 40mm drivers.