Creative Labs shows high-end Sound BlasterX AE-9

Discussion in 'Frontpage news' started by Hilbert Hagedoorn, Dec 11, 2018.

  1. DarkQuark

    DarkQuark Member Guru

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    Long time reader but I rarely post. However when I saw this I felt compelled. I have used SB cards for YEARS. However, I won't anymore. As amazing as the hardware is the software is equally bad. I routinely have issues with my AE-5 and most SB cards before it although this one is the worst. As a matter of fact ,right now, I cannot use my headphones unless I reboot my machine with the driver set to headphones.
     
  2. aless83

    aless83 Master Guru

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  3. tunejunky

    tunejunky Ancient Guru

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    i'd mentioned the fact that digital signals can be moved from the noisy enviro.
    also...fiber optic is limited in bandwidth, the best sound will be from an asynchronous USB (or externally clock slaved) as you can then use 32 bit audio... and bit-perfect streaming which is amazing (i.e. Roon, Tidal) as well as MQA hardware decoding from the wizards at Meridien (they made the 1st separate dac, and there's no one better at audio algorithms)
     
  4. schmidtbag

    schmidtbag Ancient Guru

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    If your environment is noisy enough to affect digital signals within your livingroom, I think you have bigger things to worry about than pristine sound quality. Your computer would likely become unstable in such a scenario.
    Or, in another perspective, you're using really terrible quality cables, in which case audio quality couldn't possibly be a high priority.

    In some ways I'm a little surprised there hasn't really been a successor to fiber optic SPDIF (particularly for surround sound users) since fiber optic has the potential to carry more data than any other medium. But on the other hand, I have a real hard time believing even most audiophiles can tell the difference between 24-bit 192KHz SPDIF vs a 32-bit 384KHz USB DAC (and that's assuming you even have a sound source recorded at that level of quality).
     

  5. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    Many year's ago Asus and Auzentech made sound card's that did replace the fiber optic with HDMI, I had one of them the Xonar HDAV 1.3. They came out at a time that blu ray audio was getting started and people was making HTPC's. Since it was long ago, I don't think that onboard or Gpu's audio codec's supported it yet. The price of HDMI audio receiver's wasn't cheap then. So most likely that the card's didn't do that well because of HDMI receivers affordably at the time, or it could be that the market wasn't ready for them yet. So Asus and auzentech ended up EOL years later.

    While they could try again with sound card's with HDMI on them in the place of fiber, but I don't know how well they would work now, even tho both GPU's and most motherboard's having HDMI audio. The only exception would be the socket's which doesn't have HDMI audio, Such as the X299. But even then the GPU would do audio. The only reason it would work now is if they offered feature's that both GPU audio codec's and Onboard codec's didn't offer for HDMI audio.

    HDMI is still a logically replacement for Fiber optic spdif, they just have to get around to trying there hand at it again. Also we don't know if the mini HDMI on the AE-9 is using a special layout design, or is using the HDMI audio spec, or using the I2S spec. We won't know til the card comes out.
     
  6. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    I agree with much of what you said.
    I would like to add my experience using different inputs on my Oppo 105 and 205, and some other things I came across.

    The problem with HDMI is the ground and power lines transfer noise, and noise from a PC is great indeed!
    Oppo knew noise/jitter on HDMI is detrimental even within their own machine playing audio and went to great lengths to minimise it on the Oppo 205 by using the 2nd HDMI out purely for audio with an almost blank video signal and many other optimisations.
    I didnt get to try HDMI out for audio because I wasnt using a receiver, I used the DACs inside the Oppos themselves. So that is an aside to demonstrate HDMI is a tricky transport for best quality.

    On the Oppo 105 I tested inputs of SPDIF RCA vs optical vs USB vs HDMI to see which sounded better.
    I couldnt go above 24/96 on optical.
    I found optical sounded best at 24/96 or lower. The sound was smoother, an easier listen without losing detail.
    Next was USB, then SPDIF RCA then HDMI.
    Above 24/96, USB was a bit better because of the detail but it wasnt quite a smooth.

    Throughout the tests HDMI in to the Oppo 105 sounded worse, a little brash, less detailed.
    But there was no substitute when playing multichannel hi res music.
    The Oppo 205 showed similar results to the 105.

    You make an interesting point about the new card using HDMI.
    I2S needs as short an HDMI lead as possible with a certain structure of the cables for least jitter etc.
    I use I2S between my USB/I2S converter and my DAC to improve USB input with a silver plated 0.5m HDMI cable.
    Longer leads sound harsher/rougher. I really want a 0.3m lead but I'm not sure it will fit.
    Connecting a PC to an I2S input will need a longer lead and will be prone to more noise/interference.
    A PC might be too noisy to get the benefits.

    There are many devices on the market to isolate PC USB by converting it to higher speed optical and back to USB but they cost a lot and can be messy.
    Some people go as far as using 2 PCs, one to play the music which feeds it to the 2nd PC via optical or network.
    The 2nd PC does nothing else than send the signal to its DAC to minimise noise within the PC affecting the timing of audio signal pulses.
    The USB connection to the DAC is then isolated with high speed optical.

    I would like to see a new higher speed optical interface become a standard on hifi equipment so we can send full bit rate 24bit 384KHz+ 7.1 and higher without compression.
    And make it easier than using multiple converters/interconnects :)
    Perhaps give us a way to pass HDMI audio over high speed optical in tandem with video over HDMI. But this would need separate power supplies for video and audio on the receiving side to help completely isolate the HDMI ground plane + voltage rail noise from audio.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2018
  7. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    Overpriced...and under supported.....like all Creative products...
     
  8. warlord

    warlord Ancient Guru

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    Yeap. Lazy devs. Ae5 was my sixth and last creative sound card ever. Never gonna make a seventh mistake. Even if they manage to produce 64bit/768khz audio, I won't care.
     
  9. MegaFalloutFan

    MegaFalloutFan Master Guru

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    Nope, I meant 24Bit 96000Hz, i checked in audio settings before writing

    [​IMG]
     
  10. MegaFalloutFan

    MegaFalloutFan Master Guru

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    Gigabyte Z390 Master has ESS SABRE 9118 DAC
    http://www.esstech.com/index.php/en...acs/sabre-hifi-stereo-integrated-dacs/es9118/
     

  11. MegaFalloutFan

    MegaFalloutFan Master Guru

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    I been using hi-end motherboards in my last 3 builds. Z390 Master, Z370 Gaming 7 and X99 Sabertooth and no such options exists, even thou i actually needed them and actively searched for hacks, used SB Z for this reason until i moved from SPDIF surround headphones to USB-DAC that makes their own 7.1 surround
     
  12. MaxBlade

    MaxBlade Master Guru

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    Use to love sound cards.. that has really changed. SoundBlaster is not what they use to be. Sorry if your looking for sound.. be it games music.. as some KNOW.. SoundBlaster is not a choice.

    Please dont get me wrong.. but do a search DAC.. dig a bit.. search YOUTUBE,...you find some really great people that know about this.. and can point you in the right direction.. Starting low to VERY HIGH as in cost. But SO worth it..
     
  13. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    I've had several Creative cards over the years.
    Sound Blaster 16
    SB Audigy SE
    SB X-Fi XtremeAudio
    SB X-Fi XtremeGamer
    SB X-Fi Titanium HD
    SB Recon3D USB
    SB Recon3D PCIe
    SB-Z (current)

    I've got a $30 FiiO K1 that sounds just as good as my SB-Z does......but is very small, uses a USB connection and requires no drivers. I'm planning to replace the SB-Z with a FiiO E10K since I use mostly headphones anyway and I'm tired of dealing with Creative's crap drivers.

    I have a hard time justifying the price of Creative sound cards when they offer such limited product support.
     
  14. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    I don't know if this was aimed at me or some one else but.

    I lot of experience with external Dacs,Headphone amps, and combo Dac+Amp units. I owned so many of them over the years, ranging from Quinpu Q1(amp),Fiio E9(amp), Audio-GD 12,12(v2),15.32,Little dot 2 MK II 2.0, Matrix M-stage(dac), Schiit bifrost uber, asgard 2, Gustard X12 Dac +Gustard H10 HP amp, Fiio E7, and my current Schiit jotunheim /w AK4490 Dac module.

    At the same time I owned a lot of sound cards in the past way too many trying to list ranging from creative, to asus, to razer( The barracuda AC1 ,yes what nightmare) to Diamond, with the current one being the AE-5, which I currently use as a source for my jotunheim. It simply had features and functions that I needed, which the AK4490 Dac module inside my jot lacks besides and it also worked better.

    The option exist, it just isn't on every motherboard. Even today certain motherboard makers and model's have the feature, while another doesn't in all ends of the market pricing, low med high etc. I know the option exist from experience as I had a couple of motherboards in the past that had the option to do it. I mostly didn't see DTS interactive encoder as a option. It mostly been DD live.

    My mark 2 X299 doesn't have but I knew that it didn't, when I was motherboard shopping last year, I seen a couple of motherboard that did come with DD live.

    There are modded drivers out there that do give the option, as I got curious and tried it on my motherboard to see the mod really worked.

    While I not having any drivers at all with the AE-5 now due to driver updates fixing them, now I admit I did have some issues back when the card was first released. Currently the only thing that annoying me, is the fact that Asio driver only works when in DSP mode and not Direct mode.

    I don't recall if I had driver issues with the Titanium HD, Recon3D, or X-Fi Xtreme music/gamer.I think I may had issues with the Audigy2, I just don recall what it was. On Asus side I had plenty of issues with there Xonar series of cards but not there Strix soar.

    sound wise for me was the AE-5 done a much better job then the Ak4490 dac module in my jotunheim. But only because the jotunheim orginal dac module sound awful from the start. But still the AE-5 paired better as a source then the dac module ever did, leaving me disappointed with the AK4490 Dac module.

    Yea I also planning to move back to a external dac also, while I do love my AE-5, it simply no longer fit my needs or wants, Since I mostly been using Direct mode. So I do have plans to move back to a external dac as a source in the form of the SMSL SU-8, as it has balanced XLR, which what I to move back to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
  15. BangTail

    BangTail Ancient Guru

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    Looks good, I'm going to pick one up.
     

  16. Noisiv

    Noisiv Ancient Guru

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    If I may comment...
    Mid/high-end capable product with great on-paper specs made by the mid/lowish rate Chinese company is a bit weird choice... in my opinion.
    I've owned SMSL's cheap external DAC, and it was great. Part of its greatness being it was cheap.
    It measured great and it was a joy to use. There were some issues with coax input, but it didn't bother me since I used SPIDF instead. Also minor issue with headphone output. Still - a great $50 product.

    If I am buying cheap, I'll take a dive into unknown(READ: our Chinese overlords), but if I am dishing out decent money, then I want wholly reputable company and not lottery, is what I'm saying.
    Not trying to dissuade you. For all I know it might be the best buy ever.. just something to consider.
     
  17. sykozis

    sykozis Ancient Guru

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    My Recon3D USB, I had no driver issues with. Unfortunately, it failed after only a few months use and since it was EOL, I moved onto a Recon3D PCIe. The Recon3D PCIe is still functional and had few driver related issues. My X-Fi Titanium HD had more driver issues than I care to detail. It was replaced by the Recon3D USB after it developed a severe issue with static and popping noises. The XtremeGamer, driver wise, was near perfect....but, as did the X-Fi Titanium HD, it developed static and popping noises. The only card I've used that had no driver or hardware related issues, was a Xonar DG.....but the audio always sounded like something was missing. At this point, my SB-Z doesn't exhibit static but does produce a popping sound on boot up and experiences random loss of audio.....which is driver related. I could deal with the popping sound on boot up, if it wasn't for the random loss of audio.

    Anyway, I sent you a PM to avoid derailing this thread or getting unwanted input.
     
  18. mikeysg

    mikeysg Ancient Guru

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    Whoa, I didn't know mobo audio support DSD! That's great to know, but that bit of news comes a tad late for me as I've bought, over the years, many external DAC stack/combo that support this DSD format since I've bought and accumulated a good collection of DSD tracks (both DSD64 and DSD 128). I've not used a soundcard since I'd gotten a Creative ZX, I still have the card somewhere but am using iFi Micro iDSD BL, Oppo HA-1 and a Gustard H10 + X12 stack.....no more soundcard for me!
     
  19. Dragondale13

    Dragondale13 Ancient Guru

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    I've resorted to using default WIN10 1809 audio drivers for my X-Fi Titanium Fatal1ty Champ, no issues and no outdated drivers or services hogging the cpu.Now if only Windows came with a built in EQ, I'd be alright, but yea, no more Creative sound cards for me.
     
  20. MegaFalloutFan

    MegaFalloutFan Master Guru

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    Personally I hope they start selling a edition of top-end mobo without sound so people that use their own cards could buy hi-end mobo cheaper.
    Im sure these chips are not cheap and for me its completely useless feature that I disable.
    The only feature i want to come to mid and high-end motherboard not just ultra high-end like now is the OLED screen, im sure it costs them less then audio chip.
     

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