PC Components

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus: When good sound looks good

Creative is the worldwide specialist for sound cards and has been for decades. And with the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus Creative wants to show that great sound and exciting looks are not automatically mutually exclusive. Because with this card not only the hearts of every audiophile beat faster. The integrated RGB lighting, which can of course also be switched off, fits perfectly into any gaming system.

Features

The SABRE32 Ultra DAC is the heart of Creative’s Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus. It delivers sound with up to 32 times more clarity than a standard motherboard onboard audio chip, with a signal-to-noise ratio of 122 dB and a maximum lossless playback rate of up to 32-bit / 384 kHz. The Sound Core3D responsible for the recording can process audio data at a data rate of up to 24-bit / 96 kHz. And for movie lovers, there is finally support for DTS and Dolby Digital Live again.

For the use of headphones, Creative has built in a headphone amplifier called Xamp. Not just one, but two, one for each of the two stereo channels. Headphones with a resistance of up to 600 Ohms can be used with the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus. Additionally, all relevant components are electrically shielded. A stylish backplate provides additional protection and offers a much nicer look than a bare PCB.

Technical details

Product name Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus
DSP processor Sound Core3D
Channels 5.1 Surround Sound (speakers, separate connections)
7.1 Surround Sound (headphones, virtual)
DAC ESS ES9016K2M SABRE32 Ultra DAC
Dynamic range 122 dB
Interface PCIe
Scanning rates playback 32-bit / 384 kHz
Recording 24-bit / 96 kHz
Support headphone impedance 16 – 600Ω
SNR 116 dB
Connections 1x Intel HD Audio Front Panel
1x TOSLINK Optical Out
1x 3.5 mm Mic/Line In
1x 3.5 mm Headphone Out
3x 3.5 mm line out (center/sub, front, rear)
1x RGB LED header
1x 4-Pin-Molex
Special features RGB illumination (Aurora)
Price € 96.90 *

Software and RGB

With the Sound Blaster Command software you can customize all the options this sound card offers.

These functions include, among others, the selection and setting of the so-called SBX audio profiles. These can be adjusted for different events such as specific games or movie sessions. The built-in equalizer allows an even better individualization of the listening experience. The Scout Mode allows an enemy in intensive gaming sessions to hear and locate even more precisely.

But what should a hardware for gamers not lack? Exactly, the RGB lighting. This is not only located on the card itself and uses digitally addressable RGB LEDs to illuminate two strips and the AE-5 Plus logo. If you want to let your entire housing shine in all the colours of the rainbow, you can also connect and control other RGB products thanks to the integrated ARGB connection. For example, the ARGB strip included in the scope of delivery. However, this requires an additional power supply via a 4-pin Molex connector directly on the card. However, this is not required for the internal RGB lighting.

sound

The sound quality, especially in comparison with an onboard sound card of a mainboard, is outstanding. No matter if music, movies or games, the sound is clear and without noise at all frequencies. Also the virtual spatial sound representation via headphones leaves hardly any wishes unfulfilled and works perfectly. In games like Counter Strike: Global Offensive, Overwatch, Call of Duty and Battlefield, sound sources could be precisely located without any problems. The presets, which can be set for each game or were already available in part, were also very helpful.

To enjoy this high-resolution sound experience, however, you also need relatively high-quality headphones or an appropriate headset.

Those who want to use the sound card without headphones with a 5.1 or even stereo speaker system will of course get their money’s worth. Clear mids, rich basses and precise highs can also be heard here. The connection to e.g. a home cinema system via the optical TOSLINK connection is also possible without any problems.

Conclusion

The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus is the sound card for players who want to take their gaming experience to the next level.

Not only the RGB-illumination helps here. In fact, it’s the SABRE32 Ultra DAC that produces excellent sound in any situation. The only drawback is that the 7.1 surround sound is unfortunately only generated virtually. However, a 5.1 system can be connected via the connections on the sound card. With the software all settings can be easily made.

And in addition the processing is excellent. Everything looks robust and makes a solid impression. Only the external RGB port is somewhat out of place and could have been placed in a somewhat less conspicuous place.

For almost 150 euro (current: € 96.90 *) you get a not quite cheap sound card, but an extremely good overall package, which not only gamers will love. Especially when you see in which price ranges similarly powerful sound cards can be found.

In conclusion, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus from Creative is definitely a recommendable upgrade for anyone who doesn’t just want to listen, but really wants to experience the sound.

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus

Workmanship
Sound quality
Usability
Ports
Value for money

88/100

Next Level Gaming for the ears

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Plus price comparison


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Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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