After the somewhat disappointing performance with music, we tried out the Creative Evo Zx with movies. As mentioned earlier, the range of features made available thanks to SBX Pro Studio technologies should put the headphones on a level above ordinary cans. With features such as Smart Volume, Dialog Plus and Surround Sound Control, you would expect to find them on a sound bar rather than on a pair of headphones.
Starting off the movie test suite with the opening sequence of Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring, we stuck with the default settings for the Movie profile and were quite pleased with the results. The battle sequence had great impact thanks to the proficiency of the Creative Evo Zx with the lower frequencies. The ambiance of the almost whispered dialog narrating the origins of the One Ring was also spot on. Similarly for Swordfish, John Travolta's opening monologue was delivered with clarity. The surround sound effect also earned its keep by deftly handling the strafing ball bearings for the explosion found at the start of the movie.
We also decided to play around with the settings and features available with the Evo Control Panel and find out if they are worth using. Bumping up the Dialog Plus slider to 100 percent did bring John Travolta's dialog into greater prominence; this is certainly a useful feature for those who have trouble following speech. The effect was not as extreme as when we have encountered it on other audio products though. Surround sound settings did increase the width of the soundstage but at the cost of accurate directionality. In the end, whether the surround function is of benefit greatly depends on on individual's preferences and the listener's ability to find the right balance.
Gaming headphones should not only increase the enjoyment of the in-game audio, but also give you an edge when it comes to actual gameplay. With the Gaming profile switched on in the Sound Blaster control panel, we tested out the Creative Evo Zx with a few rounds of Battlefield 3 and Starcraft II.
The headphones did a commendable job with the soundtrack and game effects for both titles. In particular, the explosions and the underlying mood music of Battlefield 3 stood out as high points of the Creative Evo Zx's audio performance. The bass heavy characteristics of the headphones really helped deliver the impact of Battlefield 3's carnage and chaos. Unfortunately the flipside of prominent low frequencies was subdued highs and trebles. The crack of gunshots was not as prominent as we would have liked it to be. The in-game alerts for Starcraft were also not as evident in the mix delivered.
The surround sound effects remained the same as before. Increasing the slider for surround sound meant that the soundstage was widened as it tried to simulate 7.1 virtual channels. But as we pointed out earlier, this came at the cost of accurate directionality. When it comes to gaming, the Creative Evo Zx did indeed increase the enjoyment of playing the title. And while it's definitely a step up from vanilla headphones, it does not improve gameplay to a degree we have experienced with prior gaming products.
|Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring||8.0|
|Starcraft II: Heart of the Swarm||7.5|