Creative Labs Sound BlasterX AE-5

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

  1. RPGWiZaRD

    RPGWiZaRD Gawd

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    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

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    So what's the "Used it for a few weeks" verdict? I've been wanting to try one.
     
  3. Tzeh Pesh

    Tzeh Pesh n00bie

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    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

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    I might eventually get this but I'd prefer the price to be closer to $100 USD.
     
  5. tungt88

    tungt88 [H]ard|Gawd

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    None, I'm a headphone user.
     
  10. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    Me neither. Only with pisspoor, ancient onboard audio I've managed to hear some interference (though that could have been just shit DAC showing that it really is shit).

    With speakers... There are many things that can cause interference. Phones, wlan and even displays (especially old CRT monitors). And the speaker amplifier too.
     
  11. daglesj

    daglesj [H]ardness Supreme

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    Any of you guys run your PCs through decent main filtering before going into the PC's PSU? I've always felt that smoothed clean power going into the PC cant hurt. Yes I know the PSU has filtering but if you can lessen the crap going in...

    I run the mains through one of these - http://uk.farnell.com/roxburgh/pmf6/filter-in-line-6a/dp/1101097 which then feeds a Tacima 6 way mains filter. I just run the main PC unit and a few USB hubs off it. Monitor etc. runs off a separate mains socket.

    I also clamp large ferrite cores to all the power cables (to the motherboard, HDD/SSD and GPU) inside my PC to remove some more junk if it's there.

    Doesnt appear to do any harm.
     
  12. Tup3x

    Tup3x [H]ard|Gawd

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    I have this:
    [​IMG]
    but I doubt that it makes any difference.
     
  13. MaverickSY19

    MaverickSY19 n00bie

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    I got my AE-5 on Thursday along with my Rampage VI Apex board and i9-7900X. Seems to work great for me thought I agree the software is a bit weird. I liked the software they had with the 3DRecon and Z cards better. I noticed it doesn't auto detect headphones now when you plug them in. You have to change to headphones in the Connect tool. I used to like to do that mid game when I was bugging people in the house without having to tab out and change it. I also noticed the card doesn't have a SPDIF In anymore, only has the Out. The Z and the Recon3D Fatality Pro card I have both had the Inbound as well. I tested the AE-5 through both my 5.1 speakers and my SoundBlaster X Pro headsets and I think it sounds great. Was playing back some fight scenes of The Force Awakens to get a good surround sound going. If they clean up the software I think its going to be a great card.

    One drawback I see though is the RGB lighting doesn't work without the power cord it seems. I was hoping that the card itself would at least light up, I was hoping the power cable was only required for the additional track lighting but it seems its needed for all lighting. Really think it sucks having to run a power cord to it for just that so I might just leave it off unless I can get that big Molex plug into it without it looking crappy.