Performance - Part 1
For all the fancy features and nice design of the Creative Evo Zx, the comfort quality of the headphones can make or break it even without giving it a chance to show its capabilities. The Creative Evo Zx, with its gaming mode and Bluetooth wireless playback, is definitely positioned as a pair of cans that users intend to use for long periods of time. As such, comfort matters become an even more critical element for this product.
As mentioned earlier, the Creative Evo Zx has a three-piece adjustable headband in addition to swivel ear-cups. The cushions on the ear-cups are quite soft and plush although the material seems to be low on breathability. Thankfully in actual usage, over-heating of the ears was not an issue even after extended use.
Unfortunately the fit of the headphones leaves a lot to be desired. Our primary problem with the Creative Evo Zx was the size of the ear-cups. From the looks of it, the cushioning should be wide and large enough to provide a circumaural fit. But when the headphones were put on, we found the fit to fall somewhere between over-ear and on-ear. As such, even with the three-segment adjustable headband, the Creative Evo Zx felt clampy and strained our ears somewhat.
Music Test Suite Performance
As per the norm, we have laid out our usual music, movie and gaming audio obstacles for the creative Evo Zx to surmount.
The first thing that hit us when we started our listening tests with Melt My Heart To Stone were the extremely strong and prominent mid to low registers. In our opinion they were too strong. The single note bass parts for the chorus of the song overpowered the rest of the instrumentation. The tone of the organ in the composition was also not up to scratch. We found it to be 'wobbly' as opposed to the gentle dissipating tone expected. The Evo Zx was off to a rocky start.
Obviously we went directly to the profile settings to see if the shortcomings of the Creative Evo Zx could be rectified with some manipulation within the Sound Blaster Evo Control Panel. Unfortunately the overly strong bass could not be corrected and it seemed to be a part of the headphone's characteristics. Bumping up the Crystalizer setting did help mitigate the concerns and brought the high notes somewhat back to the fore. Despite these tweaks, the overall reproduction of this music track was nowhere near what could be considered a neutral tone.
Moving on to our live, acoustic version of The Eagles classic Hotel California, good surround sound was on show. The width of the soundstage helped detract slightly from the overpowering bass. But like Melt My Heart To Stone, we found the trebles to be subdued. The guitar parts were missing clarity and did not cut through the mix. Sub-par transient response also meant that the instruments sounded slightly off and lacked their individual timbre.
On Elements Of Life, the bass heavy characteristics of the headphones become its ally. Coupled with the aforementioned good surround sound of the Evo Zx, we got both the atmospheric elements and the powerful bass melodies delivered well. Perhaps the low frequencies could have benefited from a tad more definition, which would have helped the headphones chalk up a few more marks.
Sail On Soothsayer was unfortunately the low point of our testing with the Evo Zx. We actually had to completely max out the Crystalizer settings and turn the bass down to zero - and even then, the overall audio from the headphones for this track still sounded muddy and sloppy, specifically for the low registers. The unique attack of Buckethead's guitar-work was completely absent and the song came across as flat and one-dimensional.
|Melt My Heart to Stone - Adele||7.0|
|Hotel California - The Eagles||7.0|
|Elements of Life - Tiesto||7.5|
|Sail on Soothsayer - Buckethead||6.5|