Creative Labs Sound BlasterX AE-5

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

  1. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    I personally wonder if they'll ever get their shit (read: driver) together. Good hardware that won't be utilized to its full potential, as usual.
     
  2. trentchau

    trentchau [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2015
    So what's the "Used it for a few weeks" verdict? I've been wanting to try one.
     
  3. Tzeh Pesh

    Tzeh Pesh n00bie

    Messages:
    30
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2008
    Curious about this as well trentchau. Have a Xonar DX slowly giving up on me, and was looking at my options for replacing it.

    AE-5 doesn't appear to have availability here in Australia yet, but was wonder if it was worth waiting on, or just going out and getting a Sound Blaster Z or another ASUS card.
     
  4. CrimsonKnight13

    CrimsonKnight13 [H]ardness Supreme

    Messages:
    6,796
    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
    I might eventually get this but I'd prefer the price to be closer to $100 USD.
     
  5. tungt88

    tungt88 [H]ard|Gawd

    Messages:
    1,692
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2008
    I have the Sound Blaster X7 Limited Edition (no complaints on my end, it's very good and reliable) paired with my Beyerdynamic Amiron Home -- works like a charm.

    My backup is my ASUS Strix Raid DLX -- great card, but seemed to have occasional electrical noise issues (my rig is pretty old, though, so that might be the origin of some of those issues).

    I'm not really sure where the Sound Blaster AE-5 fits in (except for the LED bling). It's nice that they're using the well-regarded ESS Sabre ES9016 (which, according to its THD+N, actually is slightly superior to the X7 LE's Burr-Brown PCM1794, at least in terms of distortion).
    But, for cheaper, you can get the sturdy (and software mature/stable) Sound Blaster Z line (excepting the ZxR).
    Software, as others have stated, is Creative's weak link (I have heard that Creative really cheaps out, in terms of getting top software engineers).
    The pricing is awkward, since if Creative priced it any lower, they would be cannibalizing sales of 2/3 of their Z line (Z and Zx). But since the Zx is essentially the Z with a desktop volume knob, Creative should:

    Cut the price of their Z/Zx to: $69/89 respectively (since they are already competing with many good standalone DAC/AMP lines, including Schiit, who have essentially taken much of Creative's business over the last 2-3 years; that is, what the integral sound chips on motherboards haven't already nabbed).
    Price the AE-5 at: $109.99
    And do whatever it takes to fix the software problems with their AE-5 (heck, even if it means swallowing their pride and getting Daniel_K on board to fix that crap, since he seems to be more competent than 75% of Creative's driver team).
    If (and this, given Creative's track record, is a very big if) Creative can implement this, with the right publicity and reviews, they can even get back a chunk of the market that they've already lost to the competition.
    At this stage, profits matter less than reclaiming market share -- and someone needs to get this message through to Creative's top management.
     
  6. zzz

    zzz Gawd

    Messages:
    777
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    I exclusively used Creative since the AWE64...until I got monitor speakers that output every last detail. All the sudden, CPU usage and mouse movement became audible noise through the output of my Audigy 2 ZS. So you gotta keep in mind, you could have a 128-bit 1536kHz 400dB SNR card, but if it's tied to a noisy power supply and the card doesn't have great power supply rejection, noise will go onto the output. External DACs solve this (my $80 UMC204HD is noise-free).
     
  7. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    I've never had issues with electrical noise on an internal PCI or PCI-E soundcard and I've been through quite a few: SoundBlaster 16, Audigy, Audigy 2 ZS, Titanium HD, ZxR, Essence STX II but I've always had a high quality PSU as well.
     
  8. zzz

    zzz Gawd

    Messages:
    777
    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    RPG, but you didn't mention your speakers. My noise was inaudible on the original Klipsch Promedia but obvious on a $700 JBL.
     
  9. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

    Messages:
    626
    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2009
    None, I'm a headphone user.