Is the Sound Blaster worth today

Lucky75

Weaksauce
Joined
Jul 22, 2020
Messages
120
Hello guys,
I want to buy Sound Blaster AE-7 for daily use. What do you think ?
If the motherboard sound card is good enogh did we need Creative's one ?
When we use it not for proffesional taks probably not needed special hardware for sound.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
57,016
That's up to you, but in general, the answer would be no. It also depends on what motherboard you are using. Most use some form of Realtek audio CODEC, but the implementation varies wildly for those. Sometimes they are mediocre and sometimes they are well executed. If you care about audio quality though, most people either use a digital output to a receiver or use a USB audio DAC rather than the motherboard's built in audio.
 

Morphes

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jul 16, 2001
Messages
4,204
I would not go with that, its crazy expensive for what you are getting. Any sound card that is internal is going to have issues with noise, or at least more so than an external one. Not sure of your use case but for just audio quality, I would go with something like this iFi Zen Dac. The only downside is no input, but for just a standard mic, you can use the on board without issue.

The question is, why did you choose the AE-7?

Honestly it just depends on how picky you are with sound. Most people just use on board sound, hell I did for YEARS, but wanted more from my sound in the recent years. Too many EDM shows making me think "man, this song just sounds so different on my setup" lol
 

Lucky75

Weaksauce
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Jul 22, 2020
Messages
120
Because it is compromise between enthusiast and proffesional card. Sound Blaster AE-5 is also pretty good but not so good DAC and capacitors quality.
 

tungt88

2[H]4U
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Jan 14, 2008
Messages
2,070
Because it is compromise between enthusiast and proffesional card. Sound Blaster AE-5 is also pretty good but not so good DAC and capacitors quality.

It's not the DAC that counts, but the overall implementation.
With that being said, the AE-5 is "ok" for what it is, as per this review: Review
If you're neither doing pro tasks or don't require special "hardware", then no, you don't need the AE-7 (or for that matter, the AE-5).
Your motherboard's sound solution should be fine -- but, tell us the name & model number of your motherboard.
 

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
9,772
IMO, there are two things to consider, with whatever solution you go with.

-The quality of the DAC, the sound signature of the DAC, and how it's implemented. This isn't just about the DAC chip, but includes things such as OpAmps and susceptibility to electrical noise / interference.
-Features. This includes things such as how it handles downmixing a multichannel source (5.1, 7.1, etc) to a 2-channel source for headphone usage, as well as things like EQ.

External DACs are usually very good in terms of quality, but lack many if any features. They are very resistant to electrical noise since they are usually physically separated from sources of electrical noise (the computer, etc).
Soundcards are usually very good in terms of features. The soundcard's DAC may or may not also be good, but will be more susceptible to background noise as a result of being located inside the computer.
Integrated motherboard audio is generally in the same category as soundcards, but tend to be a lower-end implementation both in terms of features and DAC. Some motherboard audio is actually pretty good however.

One great option is to get a soundcard for it's features, and then connect it to an external DAC via optical digital output. It gives you what is basically the best of both worlds.

So you have to ask, what are you looking for out of your sound implementation? What is important to you?
 

Lucky75

Weaksauce
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Jul 22, 2020
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120
My motherboard is ASUS R6E and yes you are right for external DAC solution.
 

Zepher

[H]ipster Replacement
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Sep 29, 2001
Messages
17,708
I went with the SoundBlaster ZxR for my system since it came with a black control pod that sits under my monitor, has a mic as well as mic and headphone jacks and a volume knob.
It does take up to slots and unfortunately has no RGB on it.

IMG_1682.JPG IMG_1677.JPG
 

xmadror

Gawd
Joined
Feb 13, 2012
Messages
802
If you only need Stereo (or 2.1) I'd suggest going with an external dac, if you want 5.1 or 7.1 a sound card would do or maybe a receiver.
 

GotNoRice

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 11, 2001
Messages
9,772
If you only need Stereo (or 2.1) I'd suggest going with an external dac

It depends. If you simply don't care about surround-sound content, then that's fine. If you do care, many soundcards have rather advanced algorithms that will convert 5.1+ surround sound content into spacial surround sound that sounds extremely good when using headphones or even stereo speakers. The difference can be night and day.

if you want 5.1 or 7.1 a sound card would do or maybe a receiver.

The only issue with a receiver and surround sound is the connection from your computer to the receiver. Traditional digital connections such as Toslink / SPDIF are only good for stereo PCM unless you encode the output into a lossy format like Dolby Digital or DTS, which adds delay and compression side-effects. To get surround-sound from your computer to your receiver, you would have to use HDMI, but HDMI is primarily a video interface. There are major issues trying to use HDMI for audio only. If you have an HDMI monitor running through the HDMI ports on your receiver, it might work well, but your receiver might not support the latest HDMI version, which can result in limiting your monitor resolution and/or refresh rate. Trying to use HDMI only for audio involves using obnoxious, problematic, and unsupported workarounds such as setting up a ghost display, etc. You could run 5.1 / 7.1 analog outputs from your soundcard to the 5.1 / 7.1 analog inputs on your receiver, but at that point you're using the DACs on the soundcard rather than the DACs in the receiver.
 

tungt88

2[H]4U
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Jan 14, 2008
Messages
2,070
My motherboard is ASUS R6E and yes you are right for external DAC solution.

From what I've read, the ROG Rampage VI Extreme has a decent DAC (ESS 9018AQ2C) which is also used by SMSL and Sabaj in their under-$100USD "portable headphone amp dongle" offerings (in particular, the Sabaj Da3, which slaps the Audioquest Dragonfly Black silly). No idea about the implementation, though, as I'm not an electrical engineer (it is nice to see that ASUS elected to use good quality Nichicon caps).
 

IdiotInCharge

NVIDIA SHILL
Joined
Jun 13, 2003
Messages
14,712
It depends. If you simply don't care about surround-sound content, then that's fine. If you do care, many soundcards have rather advanced algorithms that will convert 5.1+ surround sound content into spacial surround sound that sounds extremely good when using headphones or even stereo speakers. The difference can be night and day.
Soundcards (mostly Creative) have their software, whereas the games themselves can have this too. I tried a SoundBlaster Z a few years back, had issues that seemed to be heat related, sent it back, and have been on external DACs and DAC/Amps since. Haven't really had an issue with positional audio on the few games I've played where it's a thing, and most of those are Battlefield games. For those where that isn't the case, a decent third-party solution would make sense.
The only issue with a receiver and surround sound is the connection from your computer to the receiver. Traditional digital connections such as Toslink / SPDIF are only good for stereo PCM unless you encode the output into a lossy format like Dolby Digital or DTS, which adds delay and compression side-effects. To get surround-sound from your computer to your receiver, you would have to use HDMI, but HDMI is primarily a video interface. There are major issues trying to use HDMI for audio only. If you have an HDMI monitor running through the HDMI ports on your receiver, it might work well, but your receiver might not support the latest HDMI version, which can result in limiting your monitor resolution and/or refresh rate. Trying to use HDMI only for audio involves using obnoxious, problematic, and unsupported workarounds such as setting up a ghost display, etc. You could run 5.1 / 7.1 analog outputs from your soundcard to the 5.1 / 7.1 analog inputs on your receiver, but at that point you're using the DACs on the soundcard rather than the DACs in the receiver.
It'd almost be nice if monitor makers started including eARC audio passthrough with their displays; of course, it'd be nice if video card makers could engineer a provision for an HDMI port to be audio only. Or hell, for Creative to build such a product!
 
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