05th Jan2014

Review: Creative Labs SoundBlaster EVO Zx Headphones

by Phil Wheat

Soundblaster-EVO-Zx

Product: SoundBlaster EVO Zx Headphones
Manufacturer: Creative Labs
Input: Wireless (NFC) and/or 3.5mm jack
RRP: £199.99

I’ve reviewed and road-tested plenty of different makes and models of headphones and earphones over the years and for the longest time I kept on going back to my trusty pair of iLuv earphones that I’ve had almost three years. That was until I tried out the Sol Republic headphones back in March. Since then I have been a total convert to over-the-ear headphones rather than in-ear headphones that I have been using since I was a teenager. But, as is any gadget lovers wont, I’m always on the lookout for the next good pair of earphones and/or headphones to use with my iPhone out and about and my iPad in the house (usually for a spot of pre-bedtime gaming and/or YouTube watching).

As I state in EVERY headphone/earphone review I do, I always have the same two main criteria: 1) how comfortable are they to wear for a long period of time; and 2) how good the bass sounds. And on those two criteria, the SoundBlaster EVO Zx’s pass with flying colours. In terms of comfort, the EVO Zx‘s features large cups (big enough to cover my massive earholes!) with really comfortable leather cushioning that both cupped my ears and held in a lot of the sound. The only issue I had was with the left headphone – whenever I moved my head the leather(?) cushion on the left ear would creak, giving out a rather high-pitched squeak. However as a test of comfort – how the headphones feel sat on the ears – the SoundBlaster EVO Zx‘s are superb, no doubt due to what I can only describe the “loose” joint that connects the ear pieces to the headset, allowing for a 135 degree range of motion which means the headphones both sit parallel to any shape of ear and move freely when you turn your head (or lay down on your side for that matter).

So what about the sound quality? Well, the SoundBlaster EVO Zx headphones should, for the price, sound superb and they do – especially in terms of very quiet, almost ambient, noise. The Evo Zx’s give voices a clarity that lesser headphones don’t, be it singing or speaking voices, and they’re leaps and bounds above other similar priced headphones. Paired with my iPod the sound reproduction – in terms of music – is incredibly well-rounded. The bass feels meaty, with plenty of earthy tones; whilst the treble manages to convey a real crispness and clarity, undoubtedly because of the 40mm audio drivers which are capable of reproducing the full audible range of the audio spectrum.

And whilst I didn’t have an NFC compatible phone to test it out, Creative Labs state that users with NFC-enabled phones can simply tap their phones on these headsets to connect and play via NFC technology. For those of us in the luddite pre-NFC days, the SoundBlaster EVO Zx headphones also come with the standard audio cable with 3.5mm jack and controls built right onto the left ear piece – on/off, skip forward, skip back etc. You can also enjoy clear 24-bit digital audio by connecting the headphones to PCs and Macs via a USB connection – which then also gives you access to a full customisation of audio settings via the Sound Blaster Central application for iOS and Android devices or the Sound Blaster EVO Control Panel software for PCs and Macs. Plus for those gamers out there, the SoundBlaster EVO Zx‘s are compatible with the Playstation 4 via USB and/or 3.5mm jack.

Providing excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit and portability (the headphones can be folded to 70% there original size with ease) Creative Labs’ SoundBlaster EVO Zx headphones are hard to beat. The only thing that would stop me buying these in an instant is the price!

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