Creative introduces the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Pure Edition in a white finish with added RGB effects

alxlwson

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The last add-in card I used was back when Battlefield 1942 was still in full swing. I remember picking up ~10 FPS or so. It was a Platinum something from Creative. An Audigy perhaps
 

Vashypooh

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What do you recommend for $130 that meets or exceeds the AE-5?

Something like a Fiio D03K ($22.95)+ a JDS Atom Amp($99) and a RCA cable ~$5. Would allow replacing the DAC in the future with something even better, but hits that price point.
 

kju1

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The SNR of Creative cards is hard to beat with an external DAC for the price AND it's internal. They still make sense.

...and if you are using onboard and can't tell the difference in audio when you are listening to music then...
1. You have some really crappy speakers/headphones. Are they bluetooth?
2. Your music is all from YouTube/streaming
3. You aren't actually comparing and are in denial

The SNR of a Creative card CAN be that good but for 90% of use cases the sound is clear and crisp enough to play games. The average person doesn't need studio quality sound on their pc. Even if you are a music lover. I mean you do listen to music on your phone right? Thats way shittier than onboard PC audio.

Honestly for the average person they are better off spending the money on something else. A good headset/speakers or even just another game.

Also the last 3 creative cards I bought had issues after 3 years to the point of causing system instability. Im now on onboard audio and the sound quality is "good enough" for gaming and I can keep $300 towards something else :).

Edit: Oh and some onboard audio uses creative chips...
 

LodeRunner

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I have a Creative Zxr (have now been using it for over 6 years) because the onboard Realtek had a hiss and ground isolation on my USB was not great, so any audio device powered by it had a nice ground hum. I have yet to encounter onboard sound by Realtek that qualifies as good enough. I use Sony MDR-V6 as my headset, not the highest end, I know. But still good enough with a little EQ work. Last time I had driver issues with Creative was the Windows XP and my old Live! card.
 

KD5ZXG

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"X Ash", or so I hear... Aside from V and XII, at least ten
other romanized siblings in this series have gone where?
This may be hard to explain on the back of a milk carton.

-edit- VII and IX found. Now about that reward money...
 
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D

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Apparently the original AE-5 measures quite well:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-ae-5.9114/

Competes with many external Topping DACs and DAC/amp combo units, which is quite impressive. There are options that measure better, but the differences would be inaudible.

I'd still prefer external for flexibility, and some options are cheaper, but Creative did good on these cards and there is no arguing that.
 

tungt88

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Apparently the original AE-5 measures quite well:

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-ae-5.9114/

Competes with many external Topping DACs and DAC/amp combo units, which is quite impressive. There are options that measure better, but the differences would be inaudible.

I'd still prefer external for flexibility, and some options are cheaper, but Creative did good on these cards and there is no arguing that.

"Pretty good", just like EVGA did with their Nu Audio sound card lineup (also reviewed by Amir on ASR -- Audio Science Review).

What mystifies me is Creative or EVGA not getting into doing more good external setups (I know, Creative has the Sound Blaster X7/LE, which I have & use) -- Creative's X3 & G6 are decent, and their AE-9 has an "ok" external periphery module connected, but still ...
From what I've seen, I have a hard time believing that the AE-9 is an "upgrade" over my X7 -- more like a sidegrade (even a downgrade).
 

criccio

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My theory is they pretty much have their segment of the market covered. Who else is really making internal gaming oriented audio solutions? If they moved into external solutions, customers searching for audio solutions would then see how many more options there are and Creative, at least, would lose market share.

They make a product that isn't necessary anymore and they want to hold on to the buyers still living in the past rather than compete in the present.
 

GiGaBiTe

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They make a product that isn't necessary anymore and they want to hold on to the buyers still living in the past rather than compete in the present.

The only reason crap labs still exists because they're slimy scum like Microsoft, Nvidia and Intel. I've refused to touch crap labs products since 2008 when they threatened legal action against a community driver modder who fixed their broken drivers and re-enabled advertised features on some of their cards in Windows Vista. I can't remember which cards it was, but they had working XP drivers, and the subsequent Vista drivers had many important features intentionally disabled or removed from the driver that people paid money and expected to have irregardless of which OS they were running.

http://nargalzius.com/blog/archives/2008/03/30/call-to-boycott-creative-labs
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080330/133233697.shtml

I was there the day it happened, the news spread like wildfire on a weekend and the thread on the crap labs forum exploded to literally hundreds of pages in just a few hours. Literally thousands of people saying they'd never touch a crap labs product again. Crappy labtards handled it the worst way possible and had some karen in their office create a public thread telling the modder to stop. I don't know if anyone else from that time kept their convictions, but I have not touched another crap labs product from that day forward. With how good onboard audio has become, there's literally no reason to ever buy a discrete sound card again, unless you need some fancy inputs or something.
 

shaolin95

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The only reason crap labs still exists because they're slimy scum like Microsoft, Nvidia and Intel. I've refused to touch crap labs products since 2008 when they threatened legal action against a community driver modder who fixed their broken drivers and re-enabled advertised features on some of their cards in Windows Vista. I can't remember which cards it was, but they had working XP drivers, and the subsequent Vista drivers had many important features intentionally disabled or removed from the driver that people paid money and expected to have irregardless of which OS they were running.

http://nargalzius.com/blog/archives/2008/03/30/call-to-boycott-creative-labs
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080330/133233697.shtml

I was there the day it happened, the news spread like wildfire on a weekend and the thread on the crap labs forum exploded to literally hundreds of pages in just a few hours. Literally thousands of people saying they'd never touch a crap labs product again. Crappy labtards handled it the worst way possible and had some karen in their office create a public thread telling the modder to stop. I don't know if anyone else from that time kept their convictions, but I have not touched another crap labs product from that day forward. With how good onboard audio has become, there's literally no reason to ever buy a discrete sound card again, unless you need some fancy inputs or something.
That was freaking 12 YEARS AGO...Dont you think its time to move on? but whatever, your loss.
 

criccio

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The only reason crap labs still exists because they're slimy scum like Microsoft, Nvidia and Intel. I've refused to touch crap labs products since 2008 when they threatened legal action against a community driver modder who fixed their broken drivers and re-enabled advertised features on some of their cards in Windows Vista. I can't remember which cards it was, but they had working XP drivers, and the subsequent Vista drivers had many important features intentionally disabled or removed from the driver that people paid money and expected to have irregardless of which OS they were running.

http://nargalzius.com/blog/archives/2008/03/30/call-to-boycott-creative-labs
https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080330/133233697.shtml

I was there the day it happened, the news spread like wildfire on a weekend and the thread on the crap labs forum exploded to literally hundreds of pages in just a few hours. Literally thousands of people saying they'd never touch a crap labs product again. Crappy labtards handled it the worst way possible and had some karen in their office create a public thread telling the modder to stop. I don't know if anyone else from that time kept their convictions, but I have not touched another crap labs product from that day forward. With how good onboard audio has become, there's literally no reason to ever buy a discrete sound card again, unless you need some fancy inputs or something.
Who hurt you?
 

alxlwson

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Increase in FPS? I remember using hardware accelerated EAX and what it did is tank frames. I was also on pentium4 2GHz, so that didn't help at all..

I don't remember if I was using the EAX. I think I just left it has the normal stereo audio and let the sound card handle all that instead of the CPU
 

travm

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Digital is digital and optical is just overkill with added latency.
This isn't entirely accurate.
When digital and analog (your speakers will always be analog) are combined, noise conducted from one place to the other via ground coupling (generally required for safety, among other reasons) the noise on the ground can couple to the analog connections.
The issue with optical is the cost, and the fact that the specification is so old. An updated optical specification would be nice. But back to the cost. And the fact that with proper filtering you can almost completely eliminate noise.
Soundcards often sound better because look at the cards. They are full of capacitors. Those are part of the filters.
 

travm

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Something like a Fiio D03K ($22.95)+ a JDS Atom Amp($99) and a RCA cable ~$5. Would allow replacing the DAC in the future with something even better, but hits that price point.
I have no experience with that, but am highly skeptical a $30 DAC would be any good at all... The DAC is literally the most important part.
In this scenario your $100 amp will be amplifying the trash signal it gets from the shitty DAC.

I would personally recommend a startech sound card over this recommendation.
 

GiGaBiTe

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That was freaking 12 YEARS AGO...Dont you think its time to move on? but whatever, your loss.

I don't see how time passing makes them any less of a terrible company. They single handedly destroyed the sound card market in the 90s through sabotage and litigation and spent the next decade doing quite literally nothing but releasing garbage with artificial feature limits and crap drivers, but got away with it because no competition was left. Sort of like how Intel kept the high end consumer CPU space at 4 cores 8 threads for a decade, they had no reason to innovate.

I've got along just fine with integrated Realtek audio since then. The drivers are far better and require no faffing about under Linux to get it working, because Realtek themselves provide drivers for quite literally anything. Creative is a lot like Broadcom under Linux, they don't support it at all and you have to make due with ugly hacks and community reverse engineered drivers to get some matter of functionality.
 

Vashypooh

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I have no experience with that, but am highly skeptical a $30 DAC would be any good at all... The DAC is literally the most important part.
In this scenario your $100 amp will be amplifying the trash signal it gets from the shitty DAC.

I would personally recommend a startech sound card over this recommendation.

I would think then with your inexperience, it would be good to research the combination I gave, then make a decision. The price point given will only yield a single device like what Conman provided, or something with a compromise somewhere. Increasing the budget slightly would yield a far better DAC, but for entry level AMP, the JDS Atom is near top of the field and going with a split dac and amp allows the device to be further upgraded to a better DAC.

Your inexperience is showing with these comments.
 

dark_reign

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Using a cheaper Creative AE-5 sound card. Sounds miles better than any onboard junk. Onboard audio has come a long way, but still not good enough for my ears.
 

stamsek

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Comparing onboard audio to a soundcard. Both when idle and under load. The soundcard comes out ahead:

 

IdiotInCharge

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Comparing onboard audio to a soundcard. Both when idle and under load. The soundcard comes out ahead:
These comparisons are... mostly useless. One of the reasons for an external solution is that internal implementations vary literally from one build to the next. With respect to the onboard solutions... those vary significantly on their implementation as well as everything else that's plugged in around them. One Realtek setup can sound different (or better or worse) than another using the exact same components in a different configuration. Digital is fairly standardized, once stuff gets to the analog section, it's simply too low on the list for motherboard manufacturers.

Move it outside, and you drop the variables.
 

Ready4Dis

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Good RGB LED's don't generate much noise at all its actually one of their nicer qualities so there is no real downside to placing them on a sound card for this sort of thing. The amount of noise they generate is completely insignificant compared to that of your CPU cooler or water pump or any number of other electronics within the computer case itself even after taking distance into account. So I am more curious about what kind of shielding they have on the card to protect it from those components instead. That said I highly doubt my ears still have the range required to actually hear any difference between using this card or the standard USB software stuff that Logitech & Corsair are using for their headphones.
Sure LEDs don't generate a lot of noise... It's normally the circuit driving them with PWM that generates the noise. That and I don't care for LEDs in general ;). As mentioned, some sort of digital output to an external DAC is much better than the noise in the case, LEDs or not. I'm not an audiophile in any sense, so as long as my onboard is putting out sound, I'm happy enough.
 

travm

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judging by reviews, you would be wrong. apparently its a great bang for buck little DAC.
What reviews exactly? The only one I read that appeared scientific called it garbage. The others are mostly Amazon reviews where they applaud the fact it only costs $30. Or plug it in and talk about sounds like colors.
I might actually just buy one and an AE-5. I have two PC's that I would like to get off the onboard.
 

pendragon1

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What reviews exactly? The only one I read that appeared scientific called it garbage. The others are mostly Amazon reviews where they applaud the fact it only costs $30. Or plug it in and talk about sounds like colors.
I might actually just buy one and an AE-5. I have two PC's that I would like to get off the onboard.
lol stick to you bullshit audiophile science then. ignore the thousands of people that are happy with it.
 

Soulstorm brew

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Another one who wont touch them after the Daniel.K fiasco. They even hosted his files on their site as a very late damage control measure, but pretty much had them scrubbed from existence since. They were actually very nice cards with those drivers.
 

tybert7

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I don't understand how they're still in business. The only people who would buy a soundcard today are enthusiast builders.People that know keeping a DAC/Amp outside of the computer is the way to go.

I've never heard noise on any half decent dedicated sound card going back 20 years. I have not bought a sound card since the early 2000s, but I definitely remember not having to deal with system noise interfering with sound a mortal being was able to detect.

The only question is does the dac in this sound better than most external usb dacs for similar money, if not then there is no reason to bother.
 

German Muscle

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Another one who wont touch them after the Daniel.K fiasco. They even hosted his files on their site as a very late damage control measure, but pretty much had them scrubbed from existence since. They were actually very nice cards with those drivers.
Same here. Went to Asus and use a 3rd party driver.
 

UltraTaco

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If anyone is I interested, taco did a google:

https://www.wired.com/2008/04/daniel-k-who-fi/

Screenshot_20200605-075357_Opera.jpg


Very interesting btw, what he explains actually looks very similar to what taco has experienced with his x-fi xtreme gamer card after going from vista to win10; even with proper drivers from creative.com, everything appears to be intentionally broken.
 
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Something like a Fiio D03K ($22.95)+ a JDS Atom Amp($99) and a RCA cable ~$5. Would allow replacing the DAC in the future with something even better, but hits that price point.

I know you were trying to hit the Creative price point, but if you are going to get an Atom, you might as well pay more and buy a Topping D10 to go along with it. End result would be exceptional (edit: for the price. approx $189 US)
 
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Bankie

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Comparing onboard audio to a soundcard. Both when idle and under load. The soundcard comes out ahead:

Yeah the numbers for the discrete card are better but they're so close that almost no one will be able to tell the difference with the headphones/speakers that are intended to be used with them. And the audio equipment that would show a difference is going to be far worse on either when compared to an external dac/amp.
 

power666

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Here is a recent audio card I picked up for work. Goes from various sources to a mixing console and then into the PC system. Neat piece of kit for the professional space.

For home, I picked up this that outputs to DSP cluster I've thrown together on the cheap. Technically it should be capable of 1024 audio channels at 192 kHz but the most I've move around with it is a mere 64 and that was just for testing and currently configured for 16 channels. I'm patiently waiting for more 802.3bt based speakers to arrive on the market before going really crazy. Regardless AQN-107 chips on a motherboard should be able to output the same figures in theory but drivers. Certain Intel i210 series also support network audio but only at 1 Gbit speeds and also suffer the driver issue for audio.
 

Elf_Boy

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M.2 NVME ate all my pcie lanes.

Couldn't use it if I wanted to.

Over the years I have felt burned by creative a few times due to really poor driver support. Move to a new OS - oops no driver but dont worry we will have a beta in 18 months. Wierd crashes and other problems as well.

My speaker system has optical in so I use: https://www.asus.com/us/Sound-Cards/Xonar_U3/ the sound quality is very good as far as I can tell and it has the dolby dts encoding I need for full surround.
 

Nebell

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I don't know about you guys but I love my SoundBlaster Zx.
Had ZxR before but sold the whole case to a friend who was like "OMFG the sound is so much better compared to my old integrated sound".
TBH I don't know what a DAC is and I'm not sure if I want something outside my computer. I already have 3-4 external HDDs + card reader...
 

Vashypooh

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I know you were trying to hit the Creative price point, but if you are going to get an Atom, you might as well pay more and buy a Topping D10 to go along with it. End result would be exceptional (edit: for the price. approx $189 US)

For sure the DAC I chose would be 'OK' and simply was chosen just to meet the price point, and I think the Atom and nearly any DAC to hit that price point would work great and few would complain.

Spending a bit more on a better DAC would make an improvement for sure, but I would say i've always noticed and felt like the amp used is always by far the most noticeable thing, and the Atom is pretty much king in this area right now at the price. I absolutely love mine.
 
D

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For sure the DAC I chose would be 'OK' and simply was chosen just to meet the price point, and I think the Atom and nearly any DAC to hit that price point would work great and few would complain.

Spending a bit more on a better DAC would make an improvement for sure, but I would say i've always noticed and felt like the amp used is always by far the most noticeable thing, and the Atom is pretty much king in this area right now at the price. I absolutely love mine.

I agree in general, but the specific DAC you choose only outputs 1.5V. That would sound like it was stuck at 75% volume versus countless other DACs.
 

IdiotInCharge

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TBH I don't know what a DAC is and I'm not sure if I want something outside my computer.
Your Zx is a DAC, and a headphone amplifier, among other things. Really it's an audio interface, clothed as a gaming sound card and bundled with software geared for that purpose.

A 'USB DAC' is simply a sound card -- a simple audio interface -- that connects via USB and provides line level outputs and potentially other outputs as well (and possibly inputs).

In most cases, the hardware uses a set of standardized drivers and works across all desktop and many mobile operating systems. This is even true for many of Creative's products as well; even with the generic drivers, all inputs and outputs are exposed via the operating system for application use.

For sure the DAC I chose would be 'OK' and simply was chosen just to meet the price point, and I think the Atom and nearly any DAC to hit that price point would work great and few would complain.

Spending a bit more on a better DAC would make an improvement for sure, but I would say i've always noticed and felt like the amp used is always by far the most noticeable thing, and the Atom is pretty much king in this area right now at the price. I absolutely love mine.
Just needs to be relatively quiet and distortion-free alongside the parts of the signal chain in the expected deployment environment. Assuming clean power and signal (potentially both from the USB source), this isn't really that hard to achieve. Pushing beyond that baseline largely revolves in accounting for uncontrollable variables like noise sources and to extend feature sets for stuff like high bitrate streams and Bluetooth and so on.
 

Vashypooh

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I agree in general, but the specific DAC you choose only outputs 1.5V. That would sound like it was stuck at 75% volume versus countless other DACs.

I agree, that's why I would recommend spending just a few more dollars to get a great dac to go with the Atom. If the budget was strictly to stay at creatives price point, it does become more tough to maintain a quality amp and add a dac too.
 
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