I am planning to buy a Sound Blaster Z or Zx (sound card) for my computer (which will run both Windows 7 and Linux Debian 7/8 or Fedora 21/22), but I heard it does not have a good support on Linux.

Is it possible to use a Sound Blaster Z/Zx on Linux nowadays?

If not, can someone give me similar sound cards options (around $120-ish) that work on Linux Debian or Fedora?

3 Answers 3


Creatives external USB sound cards marketed to gamers have worked as well as all the other more professional/audiophile interfaces and sound cards when I tested them. If it absolutely has to be one from Creative or Asus then it should be USB. This way you'll only have to deal with USB Audio Class, which is in good shape on Linux and other operating systems*, instead of any broken drivers or features which internal gaming sound cards have become known for since the 2000s. There has been no benefit in having a internal (gaming) sound card for years. I hope this message finally reaches the remaining few users who still think they need to have such a device in their computer because of the superiority of the company and product (and be able to run Linux/non-Windows OS).

*Except for USB audio devices which have to be loaded with a firmware by the host every time they are connected to work correctly.


Support has finally been added in kernel 4.18, but I'm not sure if all features are working.

I'm currently using Sound Blaster Zx in Debian 10 which has kernel 4.19. Card requires non-free firmware from firmware-misc-nonfree to get it working at all.

I'm using headphones and stereo speakers. Automatic switching between them doesn't work, so must switch manually using alsamixer.

I havn't tried many other features yet.


It won't work, I bought mine on black Friday and it only works with 32 kernels and only the front audio, it is a good card but only for Windows, for Linux try this one ASUS PCI-Express x1 Sound Card XONAR ESSENCE

  • Yes, that is what I heard. The problem with the Xonar Essence is the price... Haha Thanks for the answer, tho
    – Xaphanius
    Aug 7, 2015 at 15:36

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