Along with your first day at school, and (for the boys at least) growing your first peach fuzz mustache, many of you might also never forget your first Sound Blaster soundcard. In the present day (unless you're blessed with youth) only the Sound Blaster can be enjoyed again, and today Creative introduces its new Z-series. The latest PCI-Express cards use the firm's Core3D quad-core sound and voice processor and come in three variants: the Sound Blaster ZxR, the Zx and the Z. As you might have guessed, the more letters, the higher up the food chain it is. The flagship ZxR ($249.99) boasts a 127dB SNR, sockets for swappable Op-Amps, 80mW into 600 ohm headphone pre-amp, plus RCA / optical connectivity (via additional daughter board) and an external "ACM" control module for less fiddling around the back of your machine. You can save yourself $100 with the Zx model, if you don't want the ZxR's "DBpro" daughter board, and the Z edition saves a further $50 at the expense of the external controller. Want to dive into the full specifications? Plug in to the PR after the break.