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RejZoR

New Sound Blaster AE-9 and AE-7 audiophile sound cards coming soon

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20 hours ago, UnrelatedNDA said:

Sound has been my biggest hang up with upgrading. I have been using my Sound Blaster Audigy 2 Platinum with the front panel for every single PC I have purchased or built since 2003 and I want to continue to use the thing or find something better.

On board sound just isn't good enough for me and newer Sound Cards don't have the front panel that I am so very used to. Hopefully this new card has all, or at least most of, the same front panel inputs.

The nu audio has front panel coneectors, but rear is still better quality unless it has an amp for front audio


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I may consider getting the Sound Blaster AE-9, mainly for the external box which I can hook up my mic and headphones to.

 

I've used Creative's Sound Blaster products in the form of a pair of headphones (think it's called the Sound Blaster Alpha), and I liked what you can do with them software-wise. Sure it may not be the best (the headphones were USD ~$70) you can get, but the software was fun to play around with.

 

Not only do I use headphones, but every now and then (on extended runs), I like to fire up my HT system. My on-board audio only has an optical connection which I currently use to hook up my PC to my receiver.


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Posted · Original PosterOP
53 minutes ago, Jurunce said:

I may consider getting the Sound Blaster AE-9, mainly for the external box which I can hook up my mic and headphones to.

 

I've used Creative's Sound Blaster products in the form of a pair of headphones (think it's called the Sound Blaster Alpha), and I liked what you can do with them software-wise. Sure it may not be the best (the headphones were USD ~$70) you can get, but the software was fun to play around with.

 

Not only do I use headphones, but every now and then (on extended runs), I like to fire up my HT system. My on-board audio only has an optical connection which I currently use to hook up my PC to my receiver.

If you use headphones a lot you may want to check out their Super X-Fi. It's their specialized processor for headphones and allegedly it's out of this world insane thing. Creative demoed it some time ago and people were blown away by it. It works in way that it models the sound image specifically to your head and ears shape using phone app (strangely only for Android apparently) as external scanner to do the head and ears scanning. I don't know the specifics how it works or how it sounds, but people who tried it say it's amazing.

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1 hour ago, NumLock21 said:

As I sort of figured, the XLR isn't so hot.  I'll be testing that as a line in vs mic in when I get mine.  If it doesn't produce as well as the RCA line ins on the back of the ACM, then I'll just keep using RCA for input.

 


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Hi guys,

 

First time poster, long time lurker.

 

I am eyeing the ae-9 too. Could someone check my logic please? I know little about audio though I can easily tell the difference between even good onboard solution vs a separate soundcard. Currently have the ae-5.

 

So all the analog outputs on the back of ae-9 are meant for powered speakers essentially and I can't really connect headphones there. For headphones I need to use the breakout box which has the dual Xamp amplifier. But the breakout box lowers the quality of the sound looking at the specs (e.g. snr goes down from 129 to 123). Then, if I want to use headphones, I could as well go with the ae-7 but then again ae-7 does not look like a significant enough upgrade over ae-5. Or am I missing something and you can connect headphones directly to the ae-9 card?

 

I also don't like the design of the breakout box and if I wanted another device on my desk, I'd go with an external DAC. 

 

Long story short - is ae-9 usable for headphones without the breakout box?

 

Thanks a lot!

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2 minutes ago, Majek said:

Hi guys,

 

First time poster, long time lurker.

 

I am eyeing the ae-9 too. Could someone check my logic please? I know little about audio though I can easily tell the difference between even good onboard solution vs a separate soundcard. Currently have the ae-5.

 

So all the analog outputs on the back of ae-9 are meant for powered speakers essentially and I can't really connect headphones there. For headphones I need to use the breakout box which has the dual Xamp amplifier. But the breakout box lowers the quality of the sound looking at the specs (e.g. snr goes down from 129 to 123). Then, if I want to use headphones, I could as well go with the ae-7 but then again ae-7 does not look like a significant enough upgrade over ae-5. Or am I missing something and you can connect headphones directly to the ae-9 card?

 

I also don't like the design of the breakout box and if I wanted another device on my desk, I'd go with an external DAC. 

 

Long story short - is ae-9 usable for headphones without the breakout box?

 

Thanks a lot!

I think that external module on the AE-9 is a DAC?


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Posted · Original PosterOP
41 minutes ago, Majek said:

Hi guys,

 

First time poster, long time lurker.

 

I am eyeing the ae-9 too. Could someone check my logic please? I know little about audio though I can easily tell the difference between even good onboard solution vs a separate soundcard. Currently have the ae-5.

 

So all the analog outputs on the back of ae-9 are meant for powered speakers essentially and I can't really connect headphones there. For headphones I need to use the breakout box which has the dual Xamp amplifier. But the breakout box lowers the quality of the sound looking at the specs (e.g. snr goes down from 129 to 123). Then, if I want to use headphones, I could as well go with the ae-7 but then again ae-7 does not look like a significant enough upgrade over ae-5. Or am I missing something and you can connect headphones directly to the ae-9 card?

 

I also don't like the design of the breakout box and if I wanted another device on my desk, I'd go with an external DAC. 

 

Long story short - is ae-9 usable for headphones without the breakout box?

 

Thanks a lot!

That is correct. You cannot use headphones directly on AE-9 card as it doesn't have any outputs for headphones there.

 

Here are the images of the outputs (top left side of webpage):

https://us.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blaster-ae-9

 

Going with AE-7 doesn't feel like significant upgrade for me either as I'm on AE-5 as well. AE-9 does to a degree.

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19 minutes ago, RejZoR said:

That is correct. You cannot use headphones directly on AE-9 card as it doesn't have any outputs for headphones there.

 

Here are the images of the outputs (top left side of webpage):

https://us.creative.com/p/sound-cards/sound-blaster-ae-9

 

Going with AE-7 doesn't feel like significant upgrade for me either as I'm on AE-5 as well. AE-9 does to a degree.

Thank you for the confirmation!

 

Then for me personally ae-9 makes no sense. The highest audio quality is required for headphone listening and the breakout box degrades it. You end up with better quality on ae-7. The 123 db snr itself is close to what I already have on ae-5.

 

If I am getting this right, then I will definitely not be getting ae-9. Dd live and dts encoding are the only things that may push me towards ae-7 as I doubt there will be any discernible difference in audio quality, compared to ae-5. Looks like I will not be upgrading...

 

Thanks again!

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Posted · Original PosterOP

@Majek

I'd really have to hear both, AE-7 and AE-9 to see characteristics of the output sound compared to AE-5 that I have now. But given that's basically impossible as I have to order these things from abroad, I'll probably just do a leap of faith and try AE-9. Creative has yet to disappoint me from hardware side of things so I'm optimistic about it.

 

If headphones are are important, you should try Super X-Fi I've mentioned few posts back. It's specialized thing for headphones and people say it's badass.

 

Thing about sound that sucks is it's hard to describe and compare it. It's not like with graphic cards where you just compare framerate and price and call it a day.

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11 hours ago, jasonvp said:

The mistake you and a bunch of others are making is that you're focused purely on the DAC.  There are, obviously, far more to the entire sound card than just the DAC itself.  There's the driver interaction, the external connectivity, the DSP, as well as how the DAC "colors" the sound.  All of these things can make a difference in gaming; perhaps less so with music consumption.  I've used a bunch of sound output devices on my various rigs: on-board, discrete PCI(E), and external USB.  For gaming, I always come back to the Creative line because I like the configuration options they provide, I like how their DACs color the sound output, and: the damned games just sound good through them.

 

I'm not consuming music with them; nor am I watching movies.  My PC is a gaming rig, and that's all it does.  And for that, I find Creative's sound cards far more enjoyable (there's that subjective thing) to use.  I like that I can connect my mixer up to actual line ins and line outs.  I like that I can run a true surround sound output through said mixer and use the 5.1 studio monitor setup for single-player campaigns.

 

In the end, I'd recommend easing back on the "snake oil" references and calling those out that buy these cards.  Some of us have actual reasons for it and can appreciate the differences they bring.  Even if you can't.

 

 

I do use many different sound devices for music and music production, it is not a mistake I or anyone is making,  if the device changes the sound signal in any noticeable way then it is failing at it's job. effects products are supposed to to do that but dacs and amplifiers are not.   The basic DAC and buffer amp setup in most onboard, AIB or external devices does not need to cost more than about US$70-80 (A$130).  After that they are charging for something that does not improve sound quality. 

 

EDIT: and changing out the OP does boarder on snake oil.  Having designed and built hundreds of op ampo circuits for everything from headphone amps to line level controllers, buffers for eq etc I can attest that you would be pushing shit uphill to hear a difference. It's a feature that adds nothing but they charge for it.


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4 minutes ago, mr moose said:

 

I do use many different sound devices for music and music production, it is not a mistake I or anyone is making,  if the device changes the sound signal in any noticeable way then it is failing at it's job. effects products are supposed to to do that but dacs and amplifiers are not.   The basic DAC and buffer amp setup in most onboard, AIB or external devices does not need to cost more than about US$70-80 (A$130).  After that they are charging for something that does not improve sound quality. 

I think what I wrote went right by you.  We're talking past one another here.  Step back from your "holier than thou" please.  You don't know as much as you think you do about this specific subject.  Read that sentence carefully a couple of times before responding, please.

 


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5 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

I think what I wrote went right by you.  We're talking past one another here.  Step back from your "holier than thou" please.  You don't know as much as you think you do about this specific subject.  Read that sentence carefully a couple of times before responding, please.

 

Holier than thou?  How about you  just quote the exact thing I said that you think is wrong and explain why. 

 

 


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

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19 minutes ago, mr moose said:

The basic DAC and buffer amp setup in most onboard, AIB or external devices does not need to cost more than about US$70-80 (A$130).  After that they are charging for something that does not improve sound quality.

There was an article years ago on Tom's Hardware where they tested the then-high end offering from Realtek and a couple of audiophile setups (https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733-19.html) Surprise surprise, the Realtek audio chip was fine enough in quality that the author, a self proclaimed audiophile, recommended it, despite costing $2. Then again the target audience was probably not hardcore audiophiles, but people who care a little more than the usual Average Joe.

 

In my situation, I don't really listen to music down to the quality of the physical waves themselves. 99% of my enjoyment is "is the actual music pleasant to listen to?" Because I'd rather listen to Yes over a phone line than nails on a chalkboard at 32-bit 384KHz.

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5 minutes ago, mr moose said:

Holier than thou?  How about you  just quote the exact thing I said that you think is wrong and explain why. 

 

OK, how about your entire paragraph:

 

Quote

I do use many different sound devices for music and music production, it is not a mistake I or anyone is making,  if the device changes the sound signal in any noticeable way then it is failing at it's job. effects products are supposed to to do that but dacs and amplifiers are not.   The basic DAC and buffer amp setup in most onboard, AIB or external devices does not need to cost more than about US$70-80 (A$130).  After that they are charging for something that does not improve sound quality. 

 

You blathered on after quoting my entire post, and you didn't acknowledge one bit of what I wrote.  You're too focused on music (re)production and aren't bothering with any of the connectivity aspects of the device, nor the specific bits that Creative adds for gaming.  Their DSP trumps anything provided by <insert USB DAC here> and so does their software

 

 FOR GAMING!

 

Further, since this is a brand new product, it's priced accordingly.  Creative is going to want to recover R&D as quickly as they can, and the price will likely fall in a few years.


You clearly don't like it, so: don't buy it!  But please stop thinking your background in "music production" somehow gives you some sort of insight into this whole topic.


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20 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

 

OK, how about your entire paragraph:

 

 

You blathered on after quoting my entire post, and you didn't acknowledge one bit of what I wrote.  You're too focused on music (re)production and aren't bothering with any of the connectivity aspects of the device, nor the specific bits that Creative adds for gaming.  Their DSP trumps anything provided by <insert USB DAC here> and so does their software

 

 FOR GAMING!

 

Further, since this is a brand new product, it's priced accordingly.  Creative is going to want to recover R&D as quickly as they can, and the price will likely fall in a few years.


You clearly don't like it, so: don't buy it!  But please stop thinking your background in "music production" somehow gives you some sort of insight into this whole topic.

Yeah, for gaming. For gaming, gaming headsets with an included USB DAC are much more common, those definitely aren't "audiophile grade" although likely more than enough for most people, and much cheaper than a soundcard.

You're claiming its better sound quality than a DAC, a DSP and software EQ'ing is only personal preference, it doesn't make the sound quality any better than a sub $100 DAC that has the same quality of hardware.

The cost of these soundcards aren't really justified other than they're throwing a ton of "BUY THIS FOR GAMING" marketing behind it as excuse for the card to cost twice as much as it really should.

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7 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

 

You blathered on after quoting my entire post, and you didn't acknowledge one bit of what I wrote.

You addressed stuff I never said, and you accused me of blathering on?  please, either work out how to discuss without the derision and I'll address whatever it is you are trying to say.

 

Suffice to say I feel I have been very specific in defining what I think is snake oil and what the function of the dac and op amp is.


QuicK and DirtY. Read the CoC it's like a guide on how not to be moron.  Also I don't have an issue with the VS series.

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57 minutes ago, jasonvp said:

Their DSP trumps anything provided by <insert USB DAC here> and so does their software

Edit: Ignore

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Is it really a gaming product if there's no RGB🤔


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29 minutes ago, DildorTheDecent said:

Is it really a gaming product if there's no RGB🤔

It's Retro GamingTM.

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4 hours ago, Mira Yurizaki said:

There was an article years ago on Tom's Hardware where they tested the then-high end offering from Realtek and a couple of audiophile setups (https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733-19.html) Surprise surprise, the Realtek audio chip was fine enough in quality that the author, a self proclaimed audiophile, recommended it, despite costing $2. Then again the target audience was probably not hardcore audiophiles, but people who care a little more than the usual Average Joe.

 

In my situation, I don't really listen to music down to the quality of the physical waves themselves. 99% of my enjoyment is "is the actual music pleasant to listen to?" Because I'd rather listen to Yes over a phone line than nails on a chalkboard at 32-bit 384KHz.

 

GIGO applies here too. The average joe computer/smartphone owner is not listening to 24bit-96khz lossless 7.1 channel audio, they are listening to essentially mono, 16-bit, 22khz audio files (eg spotify.) 

 

The audiophile (music listener/recorder)'s needs are FAR different from that of someone playing a smartphone game/listening to spotify. The person watching a movie has completely different requirements from the audiophile and the gamer. An audiophile is going to balk at listening to compressed audio due to the low-frequency distortions and the high-frequency's being lost entirely. 

 

The gamer, let's be honest, nearly all audio input in games today is garbage. Over compressed mp3/ogg 16-bit mono audio files, bitstream, that is software mixed into a stereo experience, and if you're lucky maybe a surround experience if you're playing on a TV with a home theatre. Smartphone games are king of this, as you don't really need your character's voices to be 24bit 96khz FLAC files, you need them only to be 16-bit 48khz ogg files and when mixed with the equally compressed background music, the average gamer won't know the compression artifacts from the noise in the listening environment. 

 

The film watcher, probably isn't watching on their PC unless they are an avid pirate, since PC's do not come with ODD's (optical disk drive) anymore. If they are watching something legally they are likely using iTunes or Netflix which dials back the video and audio bandwidth by selecting higher compressed streams depending on your connection.

 

Which means in the end, the PC sound card is of interest to people who are building a PC to game on first. Those Realtek ALC chips are still garbage when they are on the motherboard, and no amount of polishing is going to fix the fact that the MB manufacturers only put these on the board for the same reason they put HDMI ports on the board. There is a market for "no expansion cards" systems like $300-$600 PC's, and for them, this is good enough, and they probably aren't going to appreciate anything better.

 

I can absolutely tell the difference between the ALC1150 on the motherboard and the X-Fi Fatal1ty in my current system, but that difference was night and day with the front panel connector where the MB had a lot of white noise at all volume levels where the X-Fi had no perceptible noise at all. With the rear speakers connector, the difference was much less far apart, but the noise was still far more obvious on the Realtek part. 

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11 minutes ago, Kisai said:

An audiophile is going to balk at listening to compressed audio due to the low-frequency distortions and the high-frequency's being lost entirely. 

For the sole reason that they're elitist snobs that fall for placebo affect and snake oil products. Most """audiophiles""" are fools easily parted with their money that buy into marketing.


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8 hours ago, RejZoR said:

@Majek

I'd really have to hear both, AE-7 and AE-9 to see characteristics of the output sound compared to AE-5 that I have now. But given that's basically impossible as I have to order these things from abroad, I'll probably just do a leap of faith and try AE-9. Creative has yet to disappoint me from hardware side of things so I'm optimistic about it.

 

If headphones are are important, you should try Super X-Fi I've mentioned few posts back. It's specialized thing for headphones and people say it's badass.

 

Thing about sound that sucks is it's hard to describe and compare it. It's not like with graphic cards where you just compare framerate and price and call it a day.

Thank you, RejZoR!

 

I am still toying with the idea of buying AE-7. For me the whole concept of an internal soundcard is that it is actually, well internal, I appreciate that extensions or breakout boxes may give me additional connect-ability if I need it but still I don't want to be forced to have an external component on the desk. And for me the breakout box is an integral part of AE-9 and it becomes close to useless without it. And the fact that it degrades the audio quality adds to the insult though I understand that sound perception is so subjective that it may still sound better than the lower tier AEs.

 

As for Super X-fi - yes, I may try it one day but I still want to have an internal soundcard - I like the concept of PC as a single unit as opposed to tons of stuff connected to it. I guess I will wait for opinions/reviews on how AE-7 compares to my current AE-5.

 

I will also post on the official sound blaster subreddit - maybe someone will comment.

 

Thanks!

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I'm running an Auzentech X-Fi Prelude and love the software suite that comes with the driver package. I hope new Creative cards will have similarly expansive software suites to go with them.

 

The last official release of the software driver suite for old Creative chip-based cards was released ages ago, but, thankfully, a Creative community member kept updating the old Creative driver packages through several version of Windows 10, though they don't update them anymore. Unfortunately, the Creative control panel system tray icon has kept disappearing with the previous couple of version of Windows 10.

 

I wouldn't buy one of those new cards at those prices, but if they have good software I might be inclined to catch one on a big sale.

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2 hours ago, Kisai said:

 

The film watcher, probably isn't watching on their PC unless they are an avid pirate, since PC's do not come with ODD's (optical disk drive) anymore. If they are watching something legally they are likely using iTunes or Netflix which dials back the video and audio bandwidth by selecting higher compressed streams depending on your connection.

 

People still use optical disks hehe ;) 
 Anyway kidding aside.

 

I use an external receiver now and have done for about a year.. having something that can support all the latest audio formats is nice and sound cards just dont cut it these days. So audio out over HDMI to my receiver either to my ATMOS setup or to some headphones if I am gaming. 

You can pick up entry level ones for about the same price as the top end sound card here and for me its just a better option as I have everything connected to the same system.

Before that I was using one of the mid range Asus Xonar cards cant remember the exact model now but the audio from it was bloody good just lacked support for new audio formats mainly used for movies and so on. 
 

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