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Sound BlasterX AE-5

Discussion in 'Soundcards, Speakers HiFI & File formats' started by angelgraves13, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. pimpernell

    pimpernell Master Guru

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    Bought the G6 at black friday. The surround is amazing. Even with a just ok headset the hyperx alpha i can pinpoint exact movement in games like cod and music is great with tidal hifi. The dac in that thing is better than anything at that price point.
     
  2. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Once you step into audiophile world, you will see more options and not just toys (G6) with surround ( AKA: "bathroom effects" ) that being advertised towards gamers.

    I guess you don't know even know brands like JDS Labs, Topping or even Schiit. Those got actually high quality components for cheaper price.

    EDIT: I don't say that G6 sucks, it probably gonna be the only DAC/AMP you ever need in your life (Unless there some crazy 800Ohms headphones exists).
    There just more options for potentially cleaner stereo sound output.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
  3. pimpernell

    pimpernell Master Guru

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    Yes , maybe for music. But is there really better dacs for gamers out there? the "bathroom effect" works wonders ( turning it off, it's like being half blind without the positional audio). After tested most of other surround headsets from dolby to physical elements, this is the best i ever tried.

    (Got a rotel rc-972 pre amp i use for music. That old thing bring wonderful sound to any headset, had it for over 20 years)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2018
  4. hakka69

    hakka69 New Member

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  5. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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  6. hakka69

    hakka69 New Member

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    I added both Schiit components at the same time, and had very limited experience with the DT-990 before adding the Schiits. Prior to this I was using the AE-5 with AD900x.

    I've just finished some A/B testing of the individual components. It's a bit difficult as I can't just flick a switch, I need to shutdown and pull cables due to the way I have my rig setup so there's a good 5 minutes inbetween listening tests.

    Testing was done in Battlefield 5, in game audio set to surround speakers, AE-5 in 7.1HP mode with SBX at 67%. Also a little bit of 2ch music in direct mode.

    With the AE-5 analog line out to the Magni 3 amp the bass sounds a bit cleaner and deeper, I can also push the volume a bit higher before it becomes harsh. Dynamics are better, explosions have more punch.

    Adding in the Modi 3 DAC bass gets a bit loose/boomy. This was a noticeable step back from just the AE-5 and Magni 3. This went against all the reviews I read before purchasing the Modi.

    Playing around with audio settings and I'm noticing some strange behavior from the SPDIF output on the AE-5. If I click on the volume icon in the system tray I have 2 AE-5 output devices available, SPDIF and speakers. Both of these output audio to the SPDIF but they sound different, when set to SPDIF the overall level is lower and the virtual surround steering doesn't seem right, especially for sounds behind me. When set to AE-5 speakers it all seems right.

    I ran some measurements using roomEQwizard with the AE-5 in direct 2ch mode:

    [​IMG]

    (I should point out that I wasn't using a calibration file for the external soundcard so the hi&low rolloff on the graph is slightly off, the magni line should be straighter than what the graph shows)

    The problem isn't with the Modi3, it's the SPDIF output on the AE-5.

    I get the same results using either the Modi or a Denon 3808 receiver. I've tried pretty much every setting I can find in windows and nothing changes the SPDIF output.
     
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  7. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    Thanks for detailed reply. Cant tell about SPDIF, maybe try optical if dac has it.

    I am still interested why you went for better source, instead of better headphones?
     
  8. hakka69

    hakka69 New Member

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    I bought the 990s because I wanted more bass than the AD900X.

    The Schiit stack is something I can take with me when I travel and run from my phone, I was also curious to see how it compared to running just the AE-5. The whole upgrade wasn't really planned out.
     
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  9. sverek

    sverek Ancient Guru

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    I see, yeah DT990 has some nice punchy bass to it. I got myself DT1990, those make other headphones I auditioned dull and boring ;)
     
  10. hakka69

    hakka69 New Member

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    Nice.

    In regards to the dodgy frequency response I was seeing from the SPDIF output on the AE-5, I've reinstalled the software and drivers and everything seems to be working correctly. I cannot hear any difference between the Modi3 and the Sabre DAC in the AE-5. Looking at measurements the Modi rolls off the highs very slightly, it's 0.5db down at 20khz.

    Still trying to work out what caused the issue.
     

  11. Octopuss

    Octopuss Master Guru

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  12. Mufflore

    Mufflore Ancient Guru

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    Better s/n.
     
  13. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    If it does take the juice from the 6-pin connector, there's a chance that the power is cleaner than what the USB powered devices get (or what random China bricks can provide).
     
  14. GenClaymore

    GenClaymore Ancient Guru

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    It was mentioned in the video that it does take power from the 6 pin connector and is for the card and the External box.
     
  15. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    I mean to say "because it takes the juice...". :D
     

  16. Anarion

    Anarion Ancient Guru

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    It might not be. External anything is not automatically better.

    It's not a USB dac. Getting 12V directly from PSU is much better than 5V routed through mobo (assuming that it's powered with usb power alone). Much more power available (for that mic for example). Also there's a limit how many and how large connectors you can stick in that card.
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2018
    Chess and BangTail like this.
  17. Chess

    Chess Master Guru

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    The break-out box connector is physically a mini-HDMI, not USB. Since the OpAmps are analog components and are located on the PCIe board, I don't think there will be a digital signal sent to the box, thus I don't think it has a external DAC.
    The PCIe card might... just might have it's own phase conversion like GPU's have, complete with choke/caps to clean the power signal. We don't know. In the past you paid a premium for the break-out box simply for expanded connectivity.

    I agree that I'd rather see a USB async. soundcard ( who knows, there might be a version in the pipeline? ) but already saying it's a failed product isn't quite fair.


    What irks me in the video is that first they advertise their Super X-Fi chip/tech as the next best thing, then they simply do the same for their AE9. But when asked if the gamers can enjoy the Super X-Fi tech on the AE9, he couldn't answer.

    That... makes me not buying a AE9. Don't get me hyped but guessing if I'll ever see it implemented. If you have something to prove, prove it.

    Till then, my Mobius keeps me happy, even if it has the 'inferior' Wave NX.
     
  18. alanm

    alanm Ancient Guru

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    Been out of the loop re sound cards lately, but checking the AE-5/9, G6 it seems Creative has gone all out for headphone users only. I cant/wont use headphones (need to hear door bells and other sounds in house). Have Zx optical out (analogue out = occasional dropouts) to Yamaha AV receiver which feeds 5.1 speakers. The main thing I appreciate about the Zx is the soundcore chip + Dolby/DTS encoding which works great for gaming, movies. Now I understand that none of these new options (AE5/9, G6) can do that for me. Or can they in some way or other that can take advantage of AV receiver + 5.1 speakers better than the Zx?

    Another option am thinking of is getting a 7.1ch Atmos capable receiver and feeding it via GPU/HDMI. Even this, while theoretically superior, have doubts it can do gaming as well as the soundcore 3d chip.

    Appreciate suggestions re the appropriate sound card for my needs or the GPU/HDMI out option to new receiver. Thanks.
     
  19. warlord

    warlord Ancient Guru

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    ΑΕ-5 still never been perfect and we are 6 months old software suite/drivers. That's it, abandonware already, new windows version and nothing from Creative. I will never buy a soundcard from them again, great hardware, crap/crap software as always for 20 years I use them. I feel like an idiot.

    Every hardware based in Sound blaster software for accessing settings is trash, keyboards, mice, soundcards. Without it are useless. Windows 10 cannot access settings for them at all, only base functioning. Unacceptable.
     
  20. warlord

    warlord Ancient Guru

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    You are wrong. Windows 10 is surround capable at 100%. If you set your speakers through HDMI at 7.1 you will have surround in all games that utilize more than 2 channels content, meaning all pure PC games will have perfect positional audio. Much superior than any creative's processor with baked surround. Creative's audio processor does wonders and works only with 2ch sources and abandoned EAX.
     

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