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Sound Blaster AE-5 Review - Long read grab an snack
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Post Sound Blaster AE-5 Review - Long read grab an snack - 08-08-2017, 03:12 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

I do have an video showing the different modes, but I can't get it to Embed let alone work Since I couldn't Embed it in the thread, It's right here https://youtu.be/4qFhwTzUfYM

For a while before I heard of the AE-5, i was looking around for something that checked all of the boxes in regards of the features and support as well including usability that I was looking for to use as a source with my Jotunheim. The Dac module inside of my Jotunheim didnít fit that bill, neither did the other external dacís in the price range I had set. Now I not saying they was bad, they just didnít offer what I wanted.

AE-5 uses a Sabre dac which is the ES9016K2M model. This card is a 5.1 card so those who was expecting a 7.1 card will be disappointed. While the card does have optical, it only decodes and pass the DD and DTS to your receiver.


The card it self uses WIMA for caps with some king of voltage regulars on the card, I donít know which ones they are using. But the WIMA are some very good caps. Both the headphones and the speaker path ways are design using discrete components, which is a surprised to see them using discrete at all on the card. If your curious about the op-amps that are being used on the AE-5, creative decided to use LME4562 for all of the channels on the card. Usually sound card makers use a single good op-amp on the front channel, while placing jrcs on the rest of the channels, I glad they decided to put it on all of the channels. If you expected to be able to swap op-amps, unless your manually remove op-amps and put your own dip-8 in there place, Then it wont be possible. I donít really see this as a downside but that's just me.

The first thing when you notice when you take the AE-5 out of itís packaging, is the molex connector and the 4 pin plug on the top of the card. The molex connector is not used to power the sound card it self, but the RGB lighting feature of the card. The molex sends power to the 4 pin connector on the top of the card where the RGB strip goes.


Creative was nice enough to include one with the card which can be daisy chained with more strips. I do not know if any kind of 5V RGB stripes will work, as I havenít tried. But creative does sell 3 more if you do not want to take the chance of using 3rd party strips. But they might be priced a little too much, but at around 30 dollars they give you 3 more. I havenít taken the chance to use other rgb strips my self so I do not know what brands work or not work.

The RGB Lights when in use are very bright which means they will lite up a dark room, If you have a case like mine the Air 540, you will realize the lighting cause your case exhaust holes and fan grills to be projected onto the wall. Some may find that interesting and others not so much. Sadly you can not change the brightness of the RGB lights which is a down side as that really should be a feature.

ASIO

Now asio support, before I got the AE-5, I was trying to use my jotunheim dacís drivers for asio, that didnít work as planned, never worked correctly either it glitches or donít work like it should.. With the AE-5 that problem is gone, asio works perfectly fine. No issues with it glitching, failing to play or simply not work. I even donít have under runs in FL studio in compared to the asio support of my Jotunheim dac. This is only a minor issue that I have with the AE-5, I donít know if itís because of Asio 2.2, or how its is coded. But with the jotunheim dac drivers, I was able to change the bit rate settings. With the AE-5ís asio the only thing I can change is the buffer settings. Its nothing major but minor really as some programs give you the option. FL studio case it doesnít, I hoping they add the option in a future driver.

DSD

There is not dsd support even when you use one of the direct modes to by pass the dsp to use the dac directly. The support simply may not be in the drivers, or because the way it used on the card. What you can do, is use a program like foobar 2k or another media player and simply convert your DSD to PCM. But for native DSD playback the card does not support it. Now I do not know how it would sound when you do the DSD to PCM conversion but that is the only option for now.

Software Suite/Driver

In the main dashboard, this is where the basic settings are for the BlasterX acoustic engine, scout 2.0, voice clarity, voice morph, EQ and the option to turn off the lighting. Not all of the settings are shown here. You will need to go to there own sections for the lighting, EQ, Scout and Voice Morph which I will go more into.

The audio presets are located in this section as well, they give you a wide range of options, including neutral which will turn off all of the settings. Each setting will bring up information telling what they are for to the right of them. My main issue with the presets comes from the fact, that you can not make more then one. Even though they made them for you, you should still have the option to make more then one.


The sound section is where you can really configure the EQ to your liking including the separate bass and treble bars which lowers or raise them. The other option besides the BlasterX acoustic engine settings which are also here. Is the scout options that are not listed on the dashboard, the short cut option to set the off and on to your keyboard keys and the option to connect to another device in the network, to display the scout radar on another device. There is a second way to display the radar on your mobile device, creative has released a google play app allowing youíre phone to connect automatically after giving it the permission to connect with your computer.


Here is where you have the option to morph your voice using many of the different voice presets, including being able to clean up your voice and block the background noise.


The lighting section, here is where you are able to config the RGB with it different settings, It has 8 presets which when configured is saved as your personal preset. Solo displays a single color, Aurora moves through the section of colors in the way of an actual Aurora, Wave moves the RGB in a wave, which the direction can be set to left, right and Zig zag in either of those directions. You have Pulsate which glows like a heart beat, Mood which is like solo option with the only difference being that itís more then one color. Then Cycle which goes thru all of the colors. You can also change the speed, which ranges from 10 BPM to a super fast 240 BPM. The motion modes that included works very well, Not really an issue but I do wish you had more options to custom and more then 6 motion choices.


At the bottom of the panel, the setup section, this is where you can config your speaker configuration. You have the options for 5.1 Speakers, Stereo, Direct, Headphones 7.1 and Direct HP. When the Normal speaker modes are used, you are limited to 32bit/96khz due to the Core3D chip being used, But when you switch it to Direct mode, 32bit/384khz will be fully usable. Be warn when you use the Headphone Direct, the volume for the headphones will be loud at first, til you lower the volume bar down and up again. I donít know if this intended or not.

Next we have the Speaker type settings, they give you the option for Desktop, bookshelf, tower and custom. The custom lets you turn on bass redirection and change the cross over frequency for 5.1 speakers option.
The mixer allows you to send stereo thru out the optical. In the same spot, you have multi-purpose recording, the drop down menu give you the option to record from Line-in, Front and rear microphone.

Last on the list the headphone gain settings, The sound card uses a Discreet headphone amp design that they are calling the X-amp which each channel amps the channels separately. The gain settings are 16ohms(IEMs), 32ohms, 150ohms,330ohms and 600ohms. I have a pair of ATH-AVC400ís which works very well with the headphone jack. There is also a problem here too, there a glitch which stops the software suite from saving the gain settings. It always resets back to the default 16ohm when you reboot the computer, in fact closing the software suite in general causes it to happen including going to sleep. It doesnít bother me that much, But I hope that get fixed in a future driver release and not go unnoticed by creative.


The very last option settings, there nothing much here other then the language, distance units settings and the option to check for updates, starting up when windows starts and resetting to factory default.


The suite is kind of chunky due to a lot of the settings being in more then one place. If they removed duplicate settings, the panel would slim down. Right now settings exist in two places.

Blu ray Audio
Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM. I tried both normal DSP mode and Direct. The results was the same. I donít see why they didnít try to get the support. Maybe that will change in a future driver release.


Gear

For the review I will be using the AE-5 to drive both the Ath-AVC400ís and the ATH-R70xís. The Avc400s are easier to drive then the R70Xs. I will give results based on how well the X-amp headphone design can handle my R70Xís, which are 470ohms with a high power requirement.

I will also pair the AE-5 with my jotunheim to show you how well it works as a source for an, my JBL LSR 305 will be used for this. I will be using Stereo direct when using the jotunheim and direct hp when doing the music listening with my headphones.

When I doing the game test I will do both stereo and virtual headphone 7.1 mode with SBX at 67%, with none of other settings enabled.


Songs
The songs I decided to go with in this review, they are native flac.

MPIA3 Ė Your Orders (Techno)
Com Truise Ė Sunspot (Electronic)
Freeland Ė Under Control
reinier baas Ė Squalor (Fusion/Jazz-Rock)

Music

AE-5
ATH-AVC400(Direct HP)



MPIA3 Ė Your Orders

The song is mostly bass and snares with some electronic songs, the bass is not boomy or muddy, it does a good job of going deep. While at the same time it comes off as being clean as you are easy able to hear the different beats. The electronic instrument is a bit too detailed, but not bright. Could just be the song.


Com Truise Ė Sunspot
Right off the back the song has a feeling of a spacious type of sound, the drums kit is very accurate due to the fact you can hear exactly how hard hard and soft the drums are played, including the bass. Even the hit hats comes thru very well. Nothing is overlapping each other, you donít get that feeling that the drums or the snares trying to run each other over. Nothing like that, the bass is not in your face, it just there.

Freeland Ė Under Control

Song has a very good drum beat to it, similar to sunspot with the way the drum kits comes thru. You can hear the snap of the drums clearly. The voices is hard to say while being clear, it feels like the lead singer is in front of me on the stage. The backup singers are coming from the sides, with one on the far left center almost to the left of you. The sound image does sound a tad 3dish but mostly 2d, with a small to medium size sound stage. Even then the song still sound good to me. Its was hard to say how every thing sounded with these headphones.

Reinier Baas Ė Squalor

Almost exactly the same as freeland, only instead of voices, its instruments being projected from the front of me and the sides, with it even feeling like there's a second piano behind my right side. while a drum kit and all is behind my left side. Every thing is clear with no brightness any where with the right amount of details. With a 3dish type of sound image. Other then that, nothing sticks out at me.


AE-5 /w Jotunheim (JBL 305)

MPIA3 Ė Your Orders
The bass comes out very good in this song, itís not muddy at all, even when the song is nothing but bass with some electronic instruments. Both can be heard very clearly with good detail. None of the instruments are overlapping there is no brightness any where in the song, the highs are just as clean as the rest of the song with details too. Over all the bass is tight and goes deep, ae-5 did a very good job as a source with this song.

Com Truise Ė Sunspot

Details and cleanness is at the for front in this song, the highs like before is not bright at all, but have a lot of details. With the drums hitting hard at the same time they are not impactful or have that slam type of bass but controlled, snares in the song tell a different story and may are very detailed as you can hear how much they are hit.

Freeland Ė Under Control

The vocals in this song is very good and are projected from the center of the sound stage and spreads out, the backup singers are also clearly heard coming from the sides of you and re-verbs to the center of you. Almost feels like there in the room with you, including the guitar which comes off as being the front right of you, the drums are very accurate and control as you hear them snap. The snares still have details but unlike the last two songs they are perfect, no out of control details any where in the song. Even the bass sound good in this song as it goes deep while staying clear. The sound stage and image is very well done with great separation.

Reinier Baas Ė Squalor


Whoa this song sound really good, I canít put into words on how good this sound. Very similar to the results I heard from free land, but the highs has very good details while at the same time not being too detailed which came off as being smooth. The bass went deep as well but you could hear how deep it went, I donít know how to explain it. Every thing sound like I'm there listening, there was great sound imaging and separation, even the sound stage was a very good size.


I didnít expect the ae-5 to be a very good source for my jotunheim, results are even better then my jotunheim dac module which made every thing super bassy and 2dish and no where as clean as this, even the vocals came out better on the ae-5 with my jot. Bass is so much better on the ae-5 in compare to the jotunheim dac module.


AE-5 /w (ATH-R70X) (Direct HP)

MPIA3 Ė Your Orders

This song does bass really well, it doesnít over do it on the bass, there is a force to it, but its not of impact to it but enough. There is no static distortion any where, the synthesizer has a good amount of detail in its sound, but its not overly detailed only a hair to my ears. What I like most about this song is the way the bass sounds as the notes doesnít run into each other.

Freeland Ė Under Control

When I sit back and listen, I notice the main singer is in front of me, Sounds like hes on stage in front of me. The drummer is behind him as you hear him hitting on the drums, with the bass drum sounding like a bass drum with good accurately. The guitar has a deep feel, in front of me on the left center of the sound image. I can tell where the backup singers are as they sing there line behind the drummer. With a second singer to the left of me as his voice goes from my left to the right as it reverb. With electronic sounds moving around the sound stage. It doesnít have any brightness and itís not too detailed, but you can hear the snares without a problem. It sounds wonderful to my ears. Separation is very good too, none of the audio is merged into each other and can be heard as there own instrument and vocal.


Com Truise Ė Sunspot

Similar sounding to freeland but has a spacious type of sound at the start of the song, While you can hear all the detail of the hit hats maybe a tad tiny, with the accurately of the drums and the deepness of the bass drum, yes it bass is there and you can hear it, but its not impactful, I know I keep using the world accurate for the bass, but its there when the song calls for it. It doesnít add it self to the songs. Meaning if the song has bass in it, it will be there, if it doesnít then it wont.

Over all it has the same good separation to it as the other songs had.


Reinier Baas Ė Squalor

I canít think of any thing to say other then it sound exactly the same as the other two songs, it is very enjoying to listen to. Very relaxing to sit back and listen. Nothing is out of place or wrong with the song.

AE-5
ATH-AVC400
(Stereo)
Doom 2016

The first thing I notice was the bass, even in the game it goes deep while having power behind it. itís never too much bass to the point of it static. Which is what I was glad to hear. While I was playing the game, I was able to hear where every thing was. The gun fire from the shotgun sounded like a shotgun and not a peashooter. I heard every thing clearly including all of the sounds on the map. Nothing came off as bright. I def notice the sound stage being some what small, but that was due to the headphones.

Dying light

The results was very similar to doom, only this time I really felt I was in the game, I was actually scared running and panicking, even know I knew it was a game, the infected sound like they was really there. The sound image was really good in this game. The shotgun has power behind it sound. Ae-5 did a very good job with immersion factor.

(VR 7.1 Headphone /w SBX 67%)
Doom 2016

While I was running around the map shooting, the positional sounds was much better then they where with just stereo. I heard every thing coming from every where it was more accurate, at the same time the audio sound just as good as it did when I had it off. Nothing was messed up.

I only had sbx on and none of the other settings, I donít know what they did, but I donít recalling sbx working this good before. But that was 6-7 or so months ago when I had an zxr.

Dying light
The results was the same, it was just much more immersion then without it. I it was far more easier to hear where every thing was. I was even able hear a zombie walk up on me while I was picking a lock as I heard it got closer and closer til I heard it right up on me. It was more enjoyable using this function when I was gaming then without it.

AE-5 /w Jotunheim (JBL 305)

Doom 2016
when I was using my dac module, It made doom not enjoyably due to the bass being way too much causing static and other issues with the game audio. The ae-5 is another story, I didnít have any none of that bass issue that the jotunheim dac module had. The bass had similar sound signature as the songs in regards to sounding good, it still went deep without causing issues with static, it was also controlled. The rest of the game sounds was very good, but the bass was the main reason why I did doom.

Dying light

Every thing was clear while sounding just as good as the songs did, I donít know what else to say here. The bass was the same way too, the bass from the shotgun was well done. Again the AE-5 worked very well with the jotunheim and my jbl 305s.

AE-5 /w (ATH-R70X)


Games
(Stereo headphone) (Direct HP)
Doom 2016
Sounds really good, with good sound imaging, all of the audio was clean nothing was dirty sounding at the same time it was clear. I didnít find the game audio to be bright at all or be too detailed. Nothing sounded tinny or too warm.

I used to have bass problems in this game with all of the other sound cards including my USB dac module in my jotunheim. This is the first time the bass doesnít come out all distorted and clipping. I notice the bass goes deep just like it did in music. As I was shooting demons, it felt very immersion. The guns sounds like guns, you heard every thing as the sounds go off, no game audio was merged together.

Dying light

As I play the game, throwing grenades and hearing them explode without being muddy or statically. You are granted with deep bass, while every thing is so clear. I can hear every sound detail, fire arms have power behind there shots, so they sound like guns and not peashooters. Itís not too much bass or too little, it just right. Sound image is very good, I knew what was coming from me, as well when I was running with zombies behind me. There wasnít a hint of brightness any where.

(VR 7.1 Headphone mod /w SBX %67)
Doom 2016

The sound imaging and positional audio is much better then it was in stereo, I find it to be a much more immersion experience then it was without it. Every thing still sound good, as the audio is not outta whack. It was more accurate on where all the demons was. I donít know what going on, but I found it to work better then what I remembered. It could be the VR headphone 7.1 speaker mode being used along with SBX. I enjoyed game more then I did without it. As I was also able to hear overhead audio better too. It didnít have some form of echo to me either.

Dying light

The results was the same as Doom while still sounding good, it worked even better in the game then it did in doom. I even heard the infected walking under me when I was standing on a light pole. Game audio still sounded good including the voices. I didnít have any issues at all with the way it sound. It was all clear.


Conclusion


I been enjoying this card every since I got it, the performance surprised me as I didnít know what to expect. It sounded very good with my jotunheim even paired very good too. I not gonna lie, I liked it a lot better then I did the dac module inside my jotunheim.

It even sound good with my R70Xís plugged directly into the card it self along with the AVC400. I went in thinking that I may not like the card and that it might get sent back. But none of that is gonna happen as I def keeping this card.

The X-Amp designed headphone amp perform very well with my AVC400s and surprised me when I tried my R70x with it. I donít know the power ratings it supplies for each of the ohm settings. But it handled the R70X which I had set to 600ohms, because there wasnít an ohm setting for 470ohm. I also had to use around 15% volume. Of course it not on the same level as my jotunheim, but I still liked how it performed on the AE-5.

Even as I tried other songs then what I mentioned in the review, and I really enjoying it.

The VR headphone 7.1 used along with SBX at 67% did a very good job in the games I tested. I havenít tried the VR headphone 7.1 speaker mode by it self, I only assume it worked with SBX on.

There are glitches in the software but that kind of effected when something new just come out, Hoping creative fixes it, so the ohm settings will stop resetting, maybe add a 3rd headphone setting for Stereo, so one wonít have to use Direct Headphone and lower and raise the volume each time before use so they don't get blasted out there chair from the volume.

Until they fix the setting with the headphone gain, I would wait on the card if your plan is to use headphones only, unless changing the gain on reboot doesn't bother you. But if your the type that uses speakers only, or looking for a source to run into your external headphone amp. Then this issue wont be a problem. Being able to send the VR hp 7.1 to the line out is a great plus. In my view they have something even with no DSD support, All they need to do is work out the glitches in the software and what not and they be set.

Last edited by GenClaymore; 08-08-2017 at 04:12.
   
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Ieppo
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Videocard: GeForce GTX 1080 GameRock
Processor: 5820k
Mainboard: Msi x99a raider
Memory:
Soundcard: Sound Blaster ZxR
PSU: Strider 1200w
Default 08-08-2017, 11:11 | posts: 7

Nice review and thx for your hard work. I am glad someone finally made one. Ordered this card last week so i hope i can get to play with it this week
   
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Hilbert Hagedoorn
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Videocard: AMD | NVIDIA
Processor: Core i7 5960K
Mainboard: X99
Memory: 16GB
Soundcard: X-Fi - GigaWorks 7.1
PSU: 1200 Watt
Default 08-08-2017, 11:16 | posts: 29,510 | Location: Guru3D testlab

Good read mate


Follow Guru3D on twitter - facebook and Youtube.
   
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Dragondale13
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Videocard: ZOTAC 1070 AMP! ē H75
Processor: 3930k @ 4.5Ghz ē H100i V2
Mainboard: GBE X79-UD3 ē F21E Mod2
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Soundcard: X-Fi Ti.Champ ē Z-5300
PSU: Corsair HX850
Default 08-08-2017, 15:06 | posts: 1,020 | Location: Imagination Land

Very good in-depth review, thank you!
   
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Mufflore
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Default 08-08-2017, 15:54 | posts: 10,243 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Nice review

Its worth evaluating it again after a few hundred hours of use.
This doesnt matter much for DACs that dont produce much detail but in this case it might.
I find new high end DACs tend to sound a bit bright, tizzy and lack focus they later gain.
It will be interesting to see if it does improve.

If I were still using internal DACs I would probably get this card (and mod the voltage to the LEDs).
They could have included a brightness switch at least.
From what you have said it appears to be a step up for PC audio with internal cards.

I've had to ditch using Oppo as my soundcard due to being treated badly by them. It has been returned.
I'm on the prowl for my next stereo DAC

Last edited by Mufflore; 08-08-2017 at 15:57.
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default 08-08-2017, 22:22 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Thanks, yea I do plan on evaluating it again after more usage to see how much it improved. I usually sabre based dacs to be more detailed an tad bright before they tone down.

Maybe its possible for them to add it in an future update. Because it seems like you could, as there was another slider which made say the color green opacity, only that it made it darker, even tho the color box showed it doing something else. I curious if more lighting patterns will show up in the future.

Also there is one thing I forgot to add about Direct/Direct HP modes, by default they are set to 24bit/192kkhz. I know doom doesn't like that, and will transform into chipmunk doom, with Fast music and game audio with the rest of the game going at normal speed. I did laugh a bit when I played it like that. due to the way the shotgun sound with it going pew. So if it happens to any one in the future,you will know the reason behind it.

EDITI emailed creative about the headphone gain setting resetting and they said it was for safety reasons, for those who have more then one headphones. So they don't forget to set the gain back, when they decide to use an 32 gain headphone instead of the 600ohm gain one they was using.

So I asked them if it was possible for them to make an option to make this safety feature optional for users of single headphones.

Last edited by GenClaymore; 08-09-2017 at 12:45.
   
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kx11
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Videocard: Titan Xp
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Memory: G.skill Trident Z RGB
Soundcard:
PSU: EVGA 1000 g2
Default 08-10-2017, 17:33 | posts: 2,373 | Location: Qatar

than you for the review , i think i'll stick with my ZXR for now


Q: is it ok to enable 32bit sound format all times or do you need to lower a bit for old games ... etc


i have few albums in flac 24bit 192khz that my ZXR plays slow and weird when i chose to put the sound to ASIO via Musicbee however the sound is normal when using WASAPI
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default 08-10-2017, 20:59 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Quote:
Originally Posted by kx11 View Post
than you for the review , i think i'll stick with my ZXR for now


Q: is it ok to enable 32bit sound format all times or do you need to lower a bit for old games ... etc


i have few albums in flac 24bit 192khz that my ZXR plays slow and weird when i chose to put the sound to ASIO via Musicbee however the sound is normal when using WASAPI
I haven't had tried older games, but Doom(2016) was the only one to give any issues when the khz was set higher then 48khz.Besides that game, I haven't had any others give me any issues at all.

I have tried Asio in music bee and it did not cause any issues for me as I used flac songs during the review.

Last edited by GenClaymore; 08-10-2017 at 21:15.
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default 08-11-2017, 04:14 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

I found out how the 7.1 Virtual headphone surround mode work from the email with creative, it works automatically, But if one wishes to, they can enable SBX with it at there own discretion for more added effects.

Also I explained to them the option of being able to turn off that headphone gain protection which will allow people to set the gain and not have the protection kick in and reset it on next boot. so maybe they take it into a account and give us an option to disable the gain protection.
   
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kx11
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Videocard: Titan Xp
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Mainboard: ASUS Rampage V 10th ed.
Memory: G.skill Trident Z RGB
Soundcard:
PSU: EVGA 1000 g2
Default 08-11-2017, 11:09 | posts: 2,373 | Location: Qatar

well i have a Asus x99 mobo and man it sucks when we talk sound cards , this Mobo will shutdown the soundcard sometimes for no reason , ifeel it's a trick from Asus so i would be forced to use the Mobo's soundcard instead

last night ZXR just stopped working and i restarted my PC ( a verified working solution ) at least 3 times and the zxr didn''t send any signal to my Headphones not even to my monitor's speakers

even Asus sound cards like STX ii will get the same treatment by the mobo
   
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-Tj-
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Soundcard: X-Fi Titanium HD @Bose A5
PSU: Nitro88+ 650W 52A
Default 08-11-2017, 12:03 | posts: 13,826 | Location: Proxima \/82

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenClaymore View Post
I haven't had tried older games, but Doom(2016) was the only one to give any issues when the khz was set higher then 48khz.Besides that game, I haven't had any others give me any issues at all.

I have tried Asio in music bee and it did not cause any issues for me as I used flac songs during the review.
Issues like disappearing sound?

I used 192/24 and had that but wasn't sure, atm at 96/24 and its ok. I think will need to test again.


Btw great mini review!
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default 08-11-2017, 12:46 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Quote:
Originally Posted by -Tj- View Post
Issues like disappearing sound?

I used 192/24 and had that but wasn't sure, atm at 96/24 and its ok. I think will need to test again.


Btw great mini review!
Chipmunk sound where every thing was high pitch and moving at warp speed while the game moved normally.
   
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drac
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Videocard: MSI Gaming X GTX1080 8GB
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Mainboard: Asus Maximus VIII Hero
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Soundcard: STX 2|Swan M50W|Game One
PSU: Corsair AX1200i
Default 08-11-2017, 13:07 | posts: 1,575 | Location: Australia, QLD

Looking to swap out my STX II for another card with a more neutral and detailed sound but still musical. Also with a better head amp that has a lower output impedance than the STX II. The AE-5 is 1 ohm vs STX II at 10 ohm, so it's looking like a solid option. The problem with the 10 ohm output impedance of the STX II is I feel it smothers detail and adds more bass, which isn't ideal since I have 50 ohm and 12 ohm headphones. So following the 1/8th rule (output impedance should be less than 1/8th the headphone impedance), the AE-5 should be an improvement.

GenClaymore have you used the STX II before? Would be good to hear from someone who has compared the two...
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default 08-11-2017, 13:49 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Quote:
Originally Posted by drac View Post
Looking to swap out my STX II for another card with a more neutral and detailed sound but still musical. Also with a better head amp that has a lower output impedance than the STX II. The AE-5 is 1 ohm vs STX II at 10 ohm, so it's looking like a solid option. The problem with the 10 ohm output impedance of the STX II is I feel it smothers detail and adds more bass, which isn't ideal since I have 50 ohm and 12 ohm headphones. So following the 1/8th rule (output impedance should be less than 1/8th the headphone impedance), the AE-5 should be an improvement.

GenClaymore have you used the STX II before? Would be good to hear from someone who has compared the two...
sadly i haven't only the original STX but that was years ago.
   
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drac
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PSU: Corsair AX1200i
Default 08-12-2017, 06:21 | posts: 1,575 | Location: Australia, QLD

Quote:
Originally Posted by GenClaymore View Post
sadly i haven't only the original STX but that was years ago.
Fair enough, thanks mate.

I wonder if this is the new top end card or if another will be released with additional features, etc?
   
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Ieppo
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Default 08-12-2017, 08:01 | posts: 7

Quote:
Originally Posted by drac View Post
Fair enough, thanks mate.

I wonder if this is the new top end card or if another will be released with additional features, etc?
Atleast for me they said that they do not have information about any plans to release another sound card in the future.

But hey...it's customer service...what do they know anyway ;p
   
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drac
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Videocard: MSI Gaming X GTX1080 8GB
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PSU: Corsair AX1200i
Default 08-12-2017, 08:09 | posts: 1,575 | Location: Australia, QLD

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ieppo View Post
Atleast for me they said that they do not have information about any plans to release another sound card in the future.

But hey...it's customer service...what do they know anyway ;p
Heh yeah, probably want people to buy this and not wait on other hardware too.
   
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BangTail
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Videocard: EVGA GTX 1080Ti SLI
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Soundcard: SB ZxR
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Default 08-12-2017, 12:53 | posts: 2,299 | Location: Canada

Should be getting mine next week, thanks for the in depth review, very helpful and informative.

   
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harkinsteven
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Videocard: GTX 1080
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PSU: XFX PRO 850W
Default 08-12-2017, 13:13 | posts: 2,778 | Location: Ireland

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Originally Posted by BangTail View Post
Should be getting mine next week, thanks for the in depth review, very helpful and informative.

Let us know how it compares to the ZxR, I'm thinking of getting one too.
   
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BangTail
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Default 08-15-2017, 20:03 | posts: 2,299 | Location: Canada

Ok, nice card but it wont be replacing the ZxR, the lack of the desk pod annoys me and this f**king infuriating focus on RGB bullsh!t is equally ridiculous.

The card sounds great but the software needs more time (fair enough with a new product).

If you are on a Zx or a ZxR, I would stay where you are. I don't feel this brings anything dramatically better to the table.

My ZxR is staying in my main box, this will either go in my Sim box or get returned, haven't decided yet.

Again, not a bad card by any stretch but I wish these companies would focus more on features and polished software than on f**king RGB lighting.

Last edited by BangTail; 08-15-2017 at 20:06.
   
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Dragondale13
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Videocard: ZOTAC 1070 AMP! ē H75
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Soundcard: X-Fi Ti.Champ ē Z-5300
PSU: Corsair HX850
Default 08-16-2017, 16:08 | posts: 1,020 | Location: Imagination Land

Quote:
Originally Posted by BangTail View Post
Ok, nice card but it wont be replacing the ZxR, the lack of the desk pod annoys me and this f**king infuriating focus on RGB bullsh!t is equally ridiculous.

The card sounds great but the software needs more time (fair enough with a new product).

If you are on a Zx or a ZxR, I would stay where you are. I don't feel this brings anything dramatically better to the table.

My ZxR is staying in my main box, this will either go in my Sim box or get returned, haven't decided yet.

Again, not a bad card by any stretch but I wish these companies would focus more on features and polished software than on f**king RGB lighting.
I'm beginning to feel the same way.
 Click to show spoiler


Last edited by Dragondale13; Yesterday at 06:47.
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default Yesterday, 20:31 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Update after using it for an while now I have notice that it has improved, but I can't pinpoint it but I know it sounds different in the over all sound. I know it not just my imagination, I just hard to explain if you get what I mean.

Looks like I will never touch the usb dac module inside my jotunheim again, lucky I didn't pay the full price for it any way. It's an shame that this worked better in my setup then the module.

Software still working very well on my end, at random on boot up the RGB strip gets turned off but minor. After some driver updates the software side should improve more so, besides making that hp safety function optional. I hoping they take my advice about it.

Last edited by GenClaymore; Yesterday at 20:52.
   
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Mufflore
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Videocard: 1080ti @2GHz+ air silent!
Processor: 6700K @4.6GHz
Mainboard: Maximus VIII Hero
Memory: 16GB LPX 3000 @3600
Soundcard: UMC-1, TL+Ribbon spks
PSU: Corsair AX750
Default Yesterday, 21:07 | posts: 10,243 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Neat.
More precise placement of voice/instruments and better focussed micro detail/air, smoother sound?
There is an element of getting used to it which doesnt make it any easier to describe.

My new DAC is on its way.
First impressions will be in the High End Audiophile thread probably next week.
   
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GenClaymore
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Videocard: GTX 1080 FE @ 2ghz
Processor: I7 3930k @ 4.6ghz @ 1.4v
Mainboard: Asus X79 Sabertooth
Memory: G-skill 4x4GB @2133
Soundcard: AE-5>Jot> BAL>JBL305/R70x
PSU: Cosair RM850
Default Yesterday, 21:31 | posts: 5,919 | Location: Southfield,MI

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mufflore View Post
Neat.
More precise placement of voice/instruments and better focussed micro detail/air, smoother sound?
There is an element of getting used to it which doesnt make it any easier to describe.

My new DAC is on its way.
First impressions will be in the High End Audiophile thread probably next week.
Yea I do hear improvement in the details,bass, the sound stage and imaging and more including the placement of the voices, it just hard like you said to explain it. Both Directly with my ATH-AVC400 and into my jotunheim with the R70x.

I bet you can't wait to get your hands on it.

Last edited by GenClaymore; Yesterday at 21:37.
   
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Mufflore
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Videocard: 1080ti @2GHz+ air silent!
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Memory: 16GB LPX 3000 @3600
Soundcard: UMC-1, TL+Ribbon spks
PSU: Corsair AX750
Default Yesterday, 22:06 | posts: 10,243 | Location: United states of Kingdom

Sweet, I'd really like to hear it.
Not so likely in my circles unfortunately as everyone is either into external DACs or isnt bothered about sound quality.

lol yep, pretty excited about the new DAC.
Its purely valve driven apart from the DAC chips. It has no other solid state devices.
I was going to wait a month to verify how good a new mod is for it but couldnt bear it.
If reports of the mod are good I'll get that as well

Please can you report back how the AE-5 settles in say a month.

ps another review of the AE-5
https://hothardware.com/reviews/soun...ne-aficionados

Last edited by Mufflore; Yesterday at 22:55.
   
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