Creative Labs shows high-end Sound BlasterX AE-9

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

  1. RavenMaster

    RavenMaster Maha Guru

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    Just sold my Sound Blaster AE-9 on ebay along with my Logitech Z906 speakers. I'm now getting audio directly from the HDMI socket on my graphics card and i'm using a Denon AVR-X1600 receiver with 5.1.2 Klipsch speakers. What a difference. The quality of the new setup is breath-taking. Movies/Games/Music all sound way better.
     
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  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    You can buy dedicated dac/amp like Topping a30/d30 for cheaper price that will outperform internal soundcard any day.

    also most soundcards got headphones amp on them.
     
  3. DmitryKo

    DmitryKo Master Guru

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    Top-end headphones are all you need for great surrond sound - in the end, you only have two ears, not seven or twenty one.
    The Sennheiser HD650/660S would be a good match for the BlasterX AE-9, and Sennheiser HD800 would be absolutely the best you can get - unless you move into active studio monitors territory.

    Topping A30/D30 combo is priced similarly to BlasterX AE-5 and AE-7, though it's much cheaper than AE-9.

    But the main selling point of the BlasterX AE-series is the discrete audiophile-grade Xamp headphone preamplifier, which easily outdoes most hi-end equipment on the market. This kind of solves the chicken-egg problem - once you have hi-end headphones and uncompressed/ lossless music library, you're only restricted by the quality of the source material.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2019
  4. warlord

    warlord Ancient Guru

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    Creative sound cards with expensive av receivers, analog multichannel inputs and expensive cables still, is superior than any digital connections. I could never drop my ae-5.
     
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  5. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    No it doesn't https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...and-measurements-of-sound-blasterx-ae-5.9114/
    Not even for the same price.

    However, the role of soundcard is working with the sound and features. I don't think it's fare to compare it against dedicated dac/amp.
    It offers more than simple dac/amp unit.

    It just doesn't make much sense to buy AE5 and only use it for pure stereo output (headphones). It wastes its all other potentials.
     
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  6. DmitryKo

    DmitryKo Master Guru

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    It looks like Creative has released a limited edition for some markets,
    Sound BlasterX AE-9 PE
    SKU# 70SB178000001

    The difference is the absence of both mic inputs, the 48V phantom powered XLR and the 3.5 mm jack, on the breakout box (hence PE == Playback Edition).
    It should retail for about $250 AFAIK.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2019
  7. DmitryKo

    DmitryKo Master Guru

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    All I see is that the Blaster AE-5 performs very well in the tests. Topping DX3 Pro is surely a nice device, and the latest top-level AK4497 DAC chip from Asahi Kasei Microdevices looks great - but DX3 Pro is still more expensive than BlasterX AE-5 and about the same as BlasterX AE-7, just like the Topping A30/D30 combo.
    BlasterX AE-9 shall perform somewhat better than BlasterX AE-5 and AE-7, since it has a higher-quality ES9038PRO DAC and low-noise power circuits. The replaceable preamps in sockets is just a gimmick that no-one shall ever seriously consider though.

    Either way, I can only greatly appreciate the fact that today's consumer audio cards come with audiophile-class quality without carrying the price tag typical for the hi-end audio market. Every consumer card Creative Labs introduced before BlasterX AE-5 / BlasterX G6 just doesn't perform even half as good.

    Nah. All this 'SBX Pro Studio' suite is not doing anything useful. Surround is a software plugin which somehow converts stereo to surround, but this cannot substitute for pre-mixed surround tracks and object-based sound rendering (in games). It can also apply headphone HRTF to surround sound - which is useless if your gamed or movie player software support native HRTF processing. The Crystalizer compander plugin looked promising back in 2005, but in practice it cannot magically undo the irreversible damage inflicted throughout the course of the Loudness War, it really does nothing to make 128KB MP3s sound the same as uncompressed WAVs ... and so on and so forth. The included software is basically only good for enabling the Direct Mode in the control panel, then it can be forgotten.

    And if you must use 5.1 AV receiver setup, there's little sense in using a sound card when you can just connect it with a HDMI cable, as most of these receivers use the same ESS Sabre DACs anyway.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2019
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  8. Vladimir Crnomarkovic

    Vladimir Crnomarkovic New Member

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    Hi all.

    I would like to complete ultimate audio chain for gaming... Currently I have Sennheiser HD 6xx that are plugged into onboard sound card.

    Would this improve my gaming experience in any way?

    Would this be a better choice than say Sennheiser GSX 1200 Pro ?

    How is it compared to Asus or Evga solutions?

    Thanks :)
     
  9. KissSh0t

    KissSh0t Ancient Guru

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    If you get no helpful response here, try asking in the following subforum : https://forums.guru3d.com/forums/soundcards-speakers-hifi-file-formats.23/
     
  10. Reddoguk

    Reddoguk Ancient Guru

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    I have Realtek ALC1220-VB Enhanced 114dB(Rear) / 110dB(Front) SNR in Microphone with WIMA Audio Capacitors on this gigabyte mobo and can honestly say it's a very good sound quality.

    I've had sound cards in the past and always had issues with them, one of them had leaking caps and squealed a high pitched noise that drove me mad. I thought it was coming from the power supply but once i removed the sound card and looked closer i realized it was indeed coming from the sound card.
     

  11. alanm

    alanm Ancient Guru

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    Way to go. I've been harping on the superiority of AV receivers + good hi-fi (not PC) speakers for last few years. Never convinced about virtual 5.1/7.1 surround thru headphones, it just can replicate the true scale and impact of dedicated 5.1/7.1 speaker systems with a decent size sub. I prefer the realism of my chair rumbling from a passing train at 30hz, something headphones can never do (vs a 12-15" sub).
     
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  12. DmitryKo

    DmitryKo Master Guru

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    Yes and Yes. The BlasterX AE-series have an audiophile grade headphone amplifier and DACs, vs. integrated DSP in GSX 1200, with a benefit of being a PCIe card for the lowest possible latency and WaveRT/ASIO drivers. You already have great headphones, so in-game HRTF surround processing is all you need - forget these stupid "Dolby Surround" 7.1 plugins and any other DSP effects.
     
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2019
  13. bobblunderton

    bobblunderton Master Guru

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    The loudness war! Finally, someone who knows this awful thing. Yes the "Crystalizer" that was a selling point on X-fi models really didn't do much except help youtube music sound a bit better, especially on lower-end models of the card (which were awful, mind you).
    That said, there is something you can use with your fancy sound card and speakers - or even just digital speakers alone - it's Stereo Tool for *WINAMP*.
    Yes. WINAMP, remember that thing? I still use it with Thimeo Stereo Tool. That's www.Stereotool.com (safe for work).
    I know it sounds like an advertisement, it really does, doesn't it? It's not, I love this thing. It processes the sound and gives that smoothness back, using compressor/expander routines, and fixing various bits. Now you'll have to pay a pretty penny to use ALL the features, but even using just some of them makes even the free version change your music a heck of a lot. I've been using this thing since the XP / WinAmp hay-days. It'll also give your music 'that radio sound' if you want it. Try it with all the free features and you'll see a big difference. Try it with some registered features to be wowed yet again - especially if you have invested to the tune of 500~1000$ into speakers / amp setup. Even over a 3.5mm Stereo jack (don't shoot me!) it STILL sounds so much better.
    Blast that loudness war, send it back to where it came from, removing clipping, bad bass sounds, cut-off highs etc and bring your music back to life.

    I swear, people that can just listen to music on cheap ear phones on some simple device with a Realtek audio chip and analog audio options (even if I use analog audio out sometimes here), makes me think they are DEAF. Like the Linus Tech Tips video saying sound cards are dead. Maybe they are for poor people (no offence) and deaf people (okay maybe mild offence, forgive me dear). I CANNOT STAND not having a sound card for anything more than cheap TV speakers. Even a cheap Audigy 5.1 / 7.1 sound card (not an Audigy SE / lowest X-fi model mind you), with the old EMU 10k chip or derivitive on it, sounds WAY better. People say 'I'd love to see the look on your face when...', I like the warm full sound of my Sound Blaster. I will take this to my grave with me. I love to see the look on their faces when they use Sound-Font Studio on their motherboard audio and it does not work! There's a generic version for them, however, if it must be so.
    Cheap is okay when that's all you can afford, or afford right now, and your bills are paid. There's nothing wrong with that. But some people demand better video or audio from their machine, and I for one am one of those people. Some people never even heard of the loudness war - but that's okay, they can keep buying (and listening to) distorted audio, too. Some folks just plain can't tell the difference. I tell you what though, each time I dump a ton of money into audio options every so many years, I hear things in my music and audio I didn't know where still there before, or there at all. To me there's no better satisfaction of money well spent.
    Thanks for cheering me up, knowing someone else knows about the loudness war.
     
  14. DmitryKo

    DmitryKo Master Guru

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    Yep, got a new motherboard with an Realtek ALC1220 and NE5553 discrete headphone amplifier for the front panel (an ASRock X570 Steel Legend), and indeed it does sound quite good with my Sennheiser HD580 headphones - I was easily able to tell the difference between 128 Kbit/s and 320 Kbit/s MP3 encoding in the blind test, though uncompressed WAV vs 320 Kbit/s was a bit harder (they did say you'd need external headphone amplifier/DAC).

    Headphone impedance detection on the rear is a gimmick though, the built-in amp is probably too weak for hese 300 Ohm phones.

    Thankfully most of my records were made before the Loudness War - otherwise I have car stereo for current 'radio friendly' music.

    It takes time and effort - you'd need to start with good speakers (or headphones) and spend quite a lot of time listening to quality records before you are starting to tell the difference. Mastering some real musical instrument might be a factor as well. And most people do not want to invest that much.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
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