Image: Creative

Despite the ubiquity and convenience of DACs, receivers, and other standalone audio products, the PCIe sound card lives on. The latest release is Creative’s Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus, an improved version of the original that can convert audio into surround streams via Dolby Digital Live and DTS encoding.

“The celebrated Sound BlasterX AE-5 was a double CES 2018 Innovation Awards honoree in ‘Computer Hardware and Components’ and ‘Computer Accessories’,” wrote Creative Labs. “Backed up with Sound Blaster’s long legacy of audio processing technology such as the award-winning Xamp discrete headphone bi-amplifier, and powered by a 122 dB 32-bit / 384 kHz ESS SABRE32 Ultra-class DAC, it was the also world’s first sound card with an integrated RGB controller and already a stand-out gaming fan favorite in its own right.”

The Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus also supports the Sound Blaster Command software and its acoustic engine, which allows for a variety of sound enhancements and other processing options, such as Scout Mode (a technology that “enhances important in-game audio cues—such as footsteps and weapon switching sounds”). It is now available to purchase at Creative.com for $149.99.

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14 Comments

  1. Comes with dual channel amp, has no balanced output… Why bother wasting your money on building a discreet path that literally can’t be used properly. Ugh.

  2. You almost want to laugh at Creative’s attempt to stay relevant in 2020 with a product that people largely quit buying 15 years ago. I’ve been using cast off receivers from my home theater setup for my PC audio needs for almost ten years now and I never looked back.

  3. I may have asked this question on another forum, but what exactly makes this “gaming” in a post DirectSound 3D HAL world? The RGB lighting? :p

  4. [QUOTE=”JosiahBradley, post: 11750, member: 199″]
    Comes with dual channel amp, has no balanced output… Why bother wasting your money on building a discreet path that literally can’t be used properly. Ugh.
    [/QUOTE]

    What consumer audio products utilize balanced connections?

    I mean, I can see it in professional setups, but for someting that is intended for consumers, and especially gamers, not the audiophile market, anything balanced seems kind of overkill.

  5. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 11763, member: 6″]
    You almost want to laugh at Creative’s attempt to stay relevant in 2020 with a product that people largely quit buying 15 years ago. I’ve been using cast off receivers from my home theater setup for my PC audio needs for almost ten years now and I never looked back.
    [/QUOTE]

    I’m still using a Sony STR-K740P from like 2002 as my DAC and headphone amp. Works perfectly. I can’t see getting something else until this dies.

  6. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 11767, member: 203″]
    What consumer audio products utilize balanced connections?

    I mean, I can see it in professional setups, but for someting that is intended for consumers, and especially gamers, not the audiophile market, anything balanced seems kind of overkill.
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah that was my point, but I misread the marketing diagram and thought they were bi-amping each channel not just one amp per channel, my bad. The thing with Pro audio is that you need(not really) 2 paths /per/ channel to prevent interference.

  7. I am still rocking an X-Fi Titanium HD sound card and Corsair SP2500 speakers. I have been looking around for a newer high quality sound card with RCA connectors for the SP2500 in case Creative does not release drivers that will work with upcoming Windows 10 builds. I will not go the external route because I have no space on or around my tiny desk.

  8. [QUOTE=”Storm Nobleheart, post: 11773, member: 71″]
    I am still rocking an X-Fi Titanium HD sound card and Corsair SP2500 speakers. I have been looking around for a newer high quality sound card with RCA connectors for the SP2500 in case Creative does not release drivers that will work with upcoming Windows 10 builds. I will not go the external route because I have no space on or around my tiny desk.
    [/QUOTE]

    Corsair SP2500 are hidden gems, it’s a shame they don’t make them anymore. They are still going strong on my desktop right now.

    Honestly regarding Soundcards with a DAC, I’ve been considered EVGA’s NU Audio.

  9. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 11742, member: 96″]
    They sold me at RGB. This will go great with that HDMI cable
    [/QUOTE]
    Best post here by far haha.
    Also I have not used a sound card in years. I normally like to go all out with my PC but its really hard to justify when I cant pickup on the difference with any consistency. Would happily be proven wrong though.

  10. [QUOTE=”{NG}Fidel, post: 11784, member: 246″]
    Best post here by far haha.
    Also I have not used a sound card in years. I normally like to go all out with my PC but its really hard to justify when I cant pickup on the difference with any consistency. Would happily be proven wrong though.
    [/QUOTE]

    Last sound card I used was a Creative X-Fi Xtreme Music (I believe). Was a great card for many years, but their driver support faded. Ended up selling it.

  11. [QUOTE=”Storm Nobleheart, post: 11773, member: 71″]
    I am still rocking an X-Fi Titanium HD sound card and Corsair SP2500 speakers. I have been looking around for a newer high quality sound card with RCA connectors for the SP2500 in case Creative does not release drivers that will work with upcoming Windows 10 builds. I will not go the external route because I have no space on or around my tiny desk.
    [/QUOTE]

    I still use my Titanium HD as well, but only for it’s optical output to my external DAC. My motherboard has an optical out, but Gigabyte just totally screwed up the audio on these boards. They just barely work under Windows, and don’t work at all under Linux, so since I still had the Titanium HD I just threw it in for the optical out.

    I encourage openmindedness about the external solution. External dacs can be really tiny (mine sits under and behind my monitor and doesn’t really take up any of my usable desk space) and there is a reason why external is preferred.

    You want the analog stage of the DAC as far away from all that GHz noise inside the PC as possible. I decided to use optical so there was no electrical connection at a between the PC and the DAC to minimize noise transfer.

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