Creative Labs Sound BlasterX AE-5

Discussion in 'Computer Audio' started by CrimsonKnight13, Jun 13, 2017.

  1. CrimsonKnight13

    CrimsonKnight13 [H]ardness Supreme

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    mhl1.jpg

    • 122DB DNR SABRE-CLASS DAC FOR UP TO 32-BIT/384KHZ HIGH-RES LOSSLESS AUDIO
    • BUILT-IN RGB CONTROLLER WITH 16 MILLION COLORS AURORA REACTIVE LIGHTING
    SCOUT RADAR LETS YOU PINPOINT YOUR ENEMY ON A RADAR DISPLAY ON YOUR SMARTPHONE OR TABLET
    • DISCRETE AMP FOR PRISTINE INDIVIDUAL HEADPHONE CHANNEL AMPLIFICATION WITH A DUAL-AMP DESIGN. ULTRA-LOW 1Ω OUTPUT IMPEDANCE FOR STUDIO-GRADE HEADPHONES AND IN-EAR MONITORS
    • BLASTERX ACOUSTIC ENGINE WITH INDUSTRY-LEADING AUDIO PROCESSING FOR IMMERSIVE 7.1 SURROUND SOUND, BASS BOOST AND CLEARER VOCALS

    Advertisement: http://view.ed4.net/v/20JBRYT/TTAJW/J6E6LNE/XH5XAG/

    Press Release: http://www.creative.com/corporate/pressroom/?id=13549

    Product Page: https://us.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blasterx-ae-5

    It's retailing at $149.99 for pre-order. For anyone with the Sound Blaster Z series, I'm not sure if the upgrade is worth it or not.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  2. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    That's what my sound solution was missing.....RGB LEDs! Thankfully SOME great manufacturer stepped up and provided a solution.
     
  3. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Even the Z series wasn't really an upgrade over what came before (X-Fi Titanium series). They have to continuously "re-invent the wheel" by creating new features that simply replace old features that did the exact same thing. X-Fi series had CMSS-3D for positional audio, Z series had SBX Pro Studio, now this series has "BLASTERX ACOUSTIC ENGINE". In the same way that SBX Pro Studio wasn't any better than CMSS-3D (worse in some ways), will this "BLASTERX ACOUSTIC ENGINE" be any better than either of the others? As far as the lights go, gimmicks make me sad :(
     
  4. thesmokingman

    thesmokingman 2[H]4U

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    Omg, RGB!!! That's what I've always wanted in my soundcard!
     
  5. michalrz

    michalrz 2[H]4U

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    Great now the RGB circuit (dimmable light?) can add yet additional source of whine.
    But yeah the low output impedance is decent. Objective2 has around 0.5.
    Of course the omg 122 db power is only mentioned for the DAC and not for the actual output.
    They will never learn to stop the bullshit and people will never learn to quit buying into bullshit.
     
  6. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    If the real world price with VAT is not utterly ridiculous... I might upgrade.

    Can someone explain why the 1 ohm output impedance is a good thing? Sensitive headphones don't blast your ears into oblivion? Currently that's a big problem with Zx... Headphone out and even line out are unusable without volume pot. My HD 595s are just way too loud.

    I hope that they would make a cheaper version without all that useless led crap. For those who care about sound. I don't want a light blaster.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2017
  7. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

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    Not touching another Creative product until it's a sound card with HDMI output, I'll even settle for one that requires a display attached since my receiver takes care of that.

    I would pay extra for an HDMI expansion card if I could be guaranteed the old EAX support plus whatever new tech they have as long as it supports the full range of sampling rates; Nvidia GPUs don't support 88.2 kHz so playing SACD rips over HDMI through WASAPI doesn't work.

    P.S. I have one of those HDAV 1.3 X-Fi cards in the attic, not sure if it works correctly anymore. Want something with new tech.
     
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  8. WhoBeDaPlaya

    WhoBeDaPlaya 2[H]4U

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    I might get some of these .... when they're clearing them out for $49 at Fry's :p
    Sticking with my varrious modded X-Fis for now (XtremeMusic, XtremeGamer, Ti, Ti Fatal1ty)
     
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  9. Ocellaris

    Ocellaris Ginger Ale, an alcoholic's best friend.

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    I liked my Z however I just found it too damn loud. I could only use between 0 and 24 in Windows before it was blowing out my ears. The range was so small I would often open new apps and the sound was crazy loud compared to the last app. The Z had no way to adjust the headphone amplification level. I stopped using the card because of this, really frustrating. If I adjusted the sound levels on a per app basis, I would just forget about it and then blow out my ears when I opened a new game that I hadn't adjusted down yet... I woukd totally buy this if the amp output level can be adjusted in the software.

    Update: Page 13 of the PDF makes it look like the level is adjustable this time. Ordering the card now, booyah!
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  10. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    Hey, that pretty good range... I can only use between 0 and 4 % if I don't use the ACM. With ACM I can do 10% when ACM is at 66% (it lowers the volume even at 100%). And I'm talking about line out, not the headphone out.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2017
  11. Nenu

    Nenu Pick your own.....you deserve it.

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    It looks like they want us to mistake DNR (Dynamic Range) for SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio).
    The raw Dynamic Range can be lost in the noise floor so means little without full specs of the circuits output signal.
    The DNR is of the DAC chip only not the circuit its used in, they havent given information about the product they make.
    The SNR isnt specified. It is the important figure.
    More info on DNR vs SNR http://www.prosoundweb.com/channels/av/the_differences_between_dynamic_range_signal-to-noise_ratio/
    "A system with wide dynamic range may have poor signal-to-noise due to the way that it is operated. Dynamic range can be used to describe the performance that is possible to achieve with a system or device, whereas signal-to-noise ratio might be used to describe what is actually achieved in practice.
    ...
    In designing systems, we choose individual components that have wide dynamic range, and then calibrate and operate the system for the maximum signal-to-noise ratio that we can achieve."

    The product page doesnt say which DAC chip they are using, its probably the Sabre32 9016 Ultra.
    Not bad for low cost devices but not the second coming.
    They know that EMI and electrical noise inside a PC precludes the use of a better DAC chip because its benefit wont be heard.
    fyi

    An external DAC with a better chip will give you more detail and more robust connections, but multichannel versions tend to cost a fair bit and will need to use HDMI audio in for uncompressed multichannel.
    If you dont care about serious detail this new card is worth a look.
    Being PCIe is convenient, no need to mess with HDMI and potential audio delays.

    I found a page with more info
    http://e3expo.vporoom.com/2017-06-1...-Sound-Card-with-Worlds-Best-PC-Headphone-Amp
    It uses the Sabre32 9016K2m Ultra DAC.

    It is a step up for general PC audio quality with internal cards.
    I'm interested to know if it can resolve the detail of 192KHz or 384KHz audio, listening tests using a good hifi system are needed.
     
  12. thedeuce53

    thedeuce53 n00bie

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    Okay, I'm sure this is a dumb question, but what is a better audio solution for gaming and movie watching: this new card, or the X7 external amp? Thanks in advance.
     
  13. ashmelev75

    ashmelev75 [H]ard|Gawd

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    Get an HDMI receiver and forget about the sound card nonsense for good. There's no good reason to buy this card or X7 amp.

    I've been using this one for a long time: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00V5VJ3TM/
     
  14. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What exactly do you need it to do? How do you intend to use it? It's been over 10 years since soundcards had an actual impact on the games themselves (EAX Hardware audio acceleration for example, which XP was the last to support). There are other features however that you might find useful. You can use features on the card to take a multi-channel source and down-mix it to stereo, or you can take a stereo source and up-mix it to multi-channel. Both can be convenient depending on the setup you are running.

    I would not go with the X7, but I don't personally like combo devices like that. If you are going to get an external DAC or a headphone amplifier, there are better choices available. A good route to go (assuming you use headphones) would be to get a creative soundcard for it's gaming features (can be a lower-end model, since you just want the features, not for it to have a good DAC or headphone amp of it's own), run optical output from there to an external DAC, and then have that connected to a separate dedicated headphone amplifier.

    HDMI into a receiver can be useful if your goal is a multi-channel speaker setup using actual speakers (not computer speakers), as HDMI allows for lossless digital multi-channel audio. That's not really what you want if you are going to primarily use headphones though, as you can easily get better DACs and headphone amplifiers compared to what is built-in to most receivers.
     
  15. RogueTadhg

    RogueTadhg Gawd

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    The sarcasm was palpable. Simply beautiful.
     
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  16. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Limp Gawd

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    I still don't see myself replacing my X-Fi Titanium HD with this thing. Creative killed hardware OpenAL support with Sound Core3D, and thus killed my interest in all their later products. The software OpenAL implementation, even with the claims of EAX and EFX, just doesn't sound right at all compared to proper X-Fi hardware, to say nothing of how THX/SBX Pro Surround has nothing on CMSS-3D Headphone (which, in turn, doesn't quite touch Aureal A3D).

    Also, I'm not really sold on this RGB LED meme that's been making its way through the PC industry as of late. Putting it on a sound card isn't going to change that.

    Headphone amp? Anyone serious about that gets a dedicated external amp anyway, and that goes double for electrostatics since they require specialized, high-voltage amplifiers.

    There's only two sound cards I know of with HDMI output: the Auzentech X-Fi HomeTheater HD, and the Xonar HDAV, which obviously isn't an X-Fi. Which is it?

    Alas, both are indeed limited to the old HDMI 1.3 standard.
     
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  17. rtangwai

    rtangwai [H]ard|Gawd

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    I totally agree - that damn bright red-only LED on my Zr ruins the blue lighting of my setup.

    Everything else on my rig (GPU, RAM, fans, etc.) are blue lit or have multiple colours, but Creative *HAD* to go only red.

    The LED is so bright it actually shines a red spot thru my case window onto the floor, acting as a constant reminder to me how I screwed up the ambiance of my case.

    Been seriously thinking about cutting one of the leads of the red LED and wiring in a blue one - the LED circuit has no other function so as long as I put something in with the same voltage I should be fine (most blue LEDs require higher voltage but I found one that is reasonable). By cutting one lead only it would be easier to wire back in if I ever sell the card.
     
  18. Bandalo

    Bandalo 2[H]4U

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    I clipped the LED on my old "Z", pulled the bright red EMI shield off and painted it blue. I liked the card, but it was a bit much in my mostly black/blue case.

    Since then I've tossed the card and got an external Soundblaster DAC/amp. Runs off USB, works great for music & games. The positional audio in games is better than the Z, IMO. And the drivers are far less intrusive.
     
  19. Stanley Pain

    Stanley Pain 2[H]4U

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    Every time someone mentions A3D I shed a tear. I will never, EVER forget playing Half-Life w/ A3D enabled. That intro tram ride was nothing short of incredible. Scary how nothing in the last decade or two hasn't even come close to doing what A3D did.
     
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  20. TypeO

    TypeO [H]ardness Supreme

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    I had a Z but thought it sounded terrible. Really wasn't fair as I was comparing it to my Schiit setup. I did compare it to my other rig with the STX in it and liked the STX much better.
     
  21. GotNoRice

    GotNoRice [H]ardForum Junkie

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    It wasn't really "fair" because the Z is the worst card of the whole Z lineup, with the worst DAC. Really intended for those who wanted a gaming card but didn't really care what DAC the card had.

    Of course, that opens up a great possibility. I assume you are using the Schiit via USB? You could run digital output from your Z into your Schiit, make use of all features on the Z while making use of the DAC in the Schiit. No reason that digital from your Z would sound any worse than USB, and if you use Optical S/PDIF, there are actually reasons why it could sound better than USB.
     
  22. TypeO

    TypeO [H]ardness Supreme

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    I buy a lot of stuff just to see it/check it out. It was cheap so I thought I would try it. I sold it later on. I realized I simply had too much audio stuff and sold what I wasn't using. Yes, I'm going USB on the Gungnir into balanced monitors and then also into the Cavalli Liquid Carbon for headphones. I just need to stop. :) I do have eyes on some new headphones but not sure yet. Would like to hear a pair of Ethers.
     
  23. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2017
  24. sparks

    sparks 2[H]4U

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    are there any games that even use positional audio any more?
    Most just go bang or boom.
    I am still using my XtremeMusic, XtremeGamer and it might be better to add something like the
    Sennheiser GSX 1000 instead of buying a $149 soundcard.

    Hell I need new headset too....it never ends
     
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  25. Evil Scooter

    Evil Scooter [H]ard|Gawd

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    ^^^ I'm reading this just as the amplified headset jack on my SB-z just gave up the ghost and stopped producing any king of sound. Luckily the unamplified jack still works and should get me by (if it does nto die as well)until I can lay hands on one of these AE-5's. In for 1 when I can get it...
     
  26. Killahurtz

    Killahurtz Gawd

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    after spending almost 18 years traveling parts of the country running front of house sound for various bands and 1000's of shows...I can unequivocally tell you that RGB lights is the single greatest improvement you can make in your sound system...disco baby...nice
     
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  27. MavericK

    MavericK Zero Cool

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    Supposedly this is a decent solution instead of a desktop DAC/amp combo? Be interested to see some reviews...I love my SBZ but I have considered a separate headphone amp. Though, I do still use analog 5.1 speakers as well.
     
  28. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    I'd wait for the stripped down OEM version by the autumn.
     
  29. Nebulous

    Nebulous Gawd

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    I got a SBZ and an XFi and i like the XFi better. Anyone interested in a spare SBZ? The one I have is No RGB and no Red Coat.
     
  30. VulcaN

    VulcaN [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have a ZXR but it disappears from device manager every once in a while... I wonder if this would be a downgrade. It would be nice to have a card that always works.
    Think they will make a more expensive version of this with a daughter card like the ZXR?
     
  31. Ocellaris

    Ocellaris Ginger Ale, an alcoholic's best friend.

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    My AE5 showed up today, never got tracking information from Creative so this was a surprise. Will install the card tomorrow.
     
  32. Khahhblaab

    Khahhblaab Limp Gawd

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    I want to give creative a chance. Used to be the goto sound card manuf. Changed the playfield, now everything is new codecs. No place to really know if this codec is beter than that one unless you whitepaper them. Wanna see what it can do, nother use for a empty pcie slot.
     
  33. emmjawsX

    emmjawsX [H]Lite

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    The dolby atmos implementation in overwatch is top notch, doesn't require anything fancy hardware wise though - in fact they recommend you disable any virtual surround sound software/hardware/etc and just let it do it's thing.
     
  34. JRUHg

    JRUHg [H]Lite

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    its there sound card for pc more than 7.1 channels?
     
  35. djoye

    djoye 2[H]4U

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    Nothing current. If you're using speakers, as long as you put the surround speakers 90 degrees from your face (one pointed directly at each ear, this is the correct speaker position in a 5.1 config) you get an adequate surround effect that will simulate audio coming from the rear, you just need to ensure that all speakers' volume levels are consistent, that can be set in the Creative THX configuration or whatever they're using now days.
     
  36. B00nie

    B00nie [H]ardness Supreme

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    Too bad the game itself is utter crap lol.
     
  37. sparks

    sparks 2[H]4U

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    reviewers say its nice.
    daglesj has it right, wait for the stripped down oem. My guess is it should be around $100

    Right now I have a xfi and I don't know what is going on.Sennhauser and phillips headsets no matter what I set in sb software all sounds are from the left and right I get nothing like sound coming from in front of me.
    playing music is like standing on the stage with everything left and right
     
  38. NamelessPFG

    NamelessPFG Limp Gawd

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    I fully admit that I don't even play the Steam releases of GoldSRC games like Half-Life anymore because Valve REMOVED the 3D audio APIs during their big push for Steam on Linux.

    Thankfully, that's why I keep the old retail releases and my Win9x/XP gaming box with a Turtle Beach Montego II handy.

    There are some that do have good software mix implementations and aren't Overwatch, but the catch is that they all tend to be VR games, since they have head-tracking by default and surround speaker setups don't make much sense. I noticed a big difference when Onward suddenly had a proper positional audio update with the improved sense of directionality, and that's a game where sound design is pretty critical. (Mic's on by default, never mutes, and audio is spatialized in-game, thus it's perfectly possible to sneak up on people if they're speaking up.)

    Heck, it's because of VR that we're seeing new stuff like Oculus Audio pop up for developers to use, sometimes even free of charge, and it's something that would benefit even non-VR games if developers would just think to use the current headphone surround mixing stuff available to them.

    I tried Overwatch during a free weekend session quite some time ago, and the Atmos implementation was quite astonishingly good for what it was. I think I'm still used to CMSS-3D Headphone's sense of positioning even in that game, but Blizzard deserves some commendation just for all the thought they put into sound design.
     
  39. sparks

    sparks 2[H]4U

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    used to be the big pc games all used positional audio..now its all console ports and those people only want BOOM

    (requires 4-pin molex peripheral connector from PC power supply)

    it only uses this for leds....so we should unsolder it LOL
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2017
  40. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    Can you post screenshots of all settings pages?