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.