Installing the card was a breeze. I literally plugged it into a free PCI-E slot, booted up into Windows 7, and it had detected the card and installed some drivers that would at least make sound come out of the card. Then it was a simple case of installing the supplied software and drivers. Ahh yes, the dreaded Creative drivers! Actually they installed without a hitch, and are vastly improved as new drivers for a fairly new product. It seems like Creative are definitely taking this area very seriously these days; so much so that I had several driver updates in the time I’ve been using the Recon3D. Very encouraging.
Once everything was installed, it took a reboot and everything was setup as required.
Now you have a range of connection options, and I have tried both the analogue and digital outputs. In the end I found that the digital optical out, plus the headphone socket, offered the best sound on this card and this is what I mainly reviewed with. I had the digital optical out going into both my home cinema amp, and also into a Cambridge Audio DAC Magic digital-to-analogue convertor to really give it a thorough test.
There is a software suite gets rid of one of my most disliked features of the previous generation of Creative cards; the need to select gaming, entertainment, or music recording mode. This used to be really annoying as I didn’t want to have to remember to change modes everything I wanted to do something different on my PC. So having one mode that works for all scenarios is a big progression for Creative in my book.
There are a lot of settings to play with in the Creative software from controls to tweak sound or add additional processing to the sound. Through to changing your voice in various amusing ways on the microphone. There’s also a patented Scout Mode setting that will reduce all loud bass-heavy sounds while holding a hot key, so you can hear quiet footsteps in first person shooters. I tried this in Battlefield 3, which is a very loud game, and it actually works reasonably well!
Overall though very positive stuff from Creative, a vast improvement on where it used to be. Throughout all my time using the card I never had a single issue relating to the drivers or in fact the card itself.