PC & Console Peripherals

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Review – Maximum Sound Quality for Players and RGB Fans

As a world-renowned supplier of digital consumer electronics products, Creative now offers a new audio solution for RGB enthusiasts and gamers with its Sound BlasterX AE-5 sound card. The manufacturer is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the sound card with this model. Dedicated sound cards often say you don’t need one, but the Sound BlasterX AE-5 makes you want one.

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Features

The core of the Sound BlasterX AE-5 from Creative is the ESS-Sabre-DAC in combination with the Sound Core3D DSP processor. The DAC (Digital Analog Converter) offers a signal-to-noise ratio of 122 dB and 384 kHz playback at 32 bits. The sound processor with its four ARM cores manages to process 96 kHz at 24 bits.

On both sides, the sound card offers an amplifier for controlling the headphones. Creative calls this Xamp. The headphones are supported by a resistance of 16 to a maximum of 600 ohms. The Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 can already offer a high playback quality. An EMI shield is included to protect the components from electrical interference frequencies.

Product name: Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5
DSP Processor Sound Core3D
  • 5.1 Surround Sound
  • Virtual 7.1 Surround Sound
  • ESS ES9016K2M SABRE32 Ultra DAC
    • dynamic range: 122 dB
    • THD + N: 0.00032 %
Interface PCIe
Sampling rates
  • DSP playback
    • 16-bit / 16.0, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
    • 24-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
    • 32-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2 96.0kHz
  • Direct Mode Playback
    • 16-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz
    • 24-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz
    • 32-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz
  • Recording
    • 16-bit / 16.0, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
    • 24-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
Headphones Amp
  • supports headphone impedance: 16 – 600Ω
  • SNR: 116dB
  • THD + N: 0.0009%
  • Output Impedance: 1Ω
  • Headphones Impedance range: 16 – 600Ω
  • 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 € 117.99 *

Software and RGB

In the revised driver software you can make different options if necessary. These include

    • Adjust Voice Clarity, e.g. remove echo and background noise
    • Adjustable RGB sound card lighting (RGB headers and logo, various lighting modes and RGB color space)
    • Selection of prefabricated lighting and audio profiles
    • EQ selectable or create your own EQ profile
    • Create individual lighting and audio profiles
    • personal audio settings for
      • Bass: Surround sound strength
      • Crystalizer: Refinement of compressed audio files
      • Dialog+: Compensation possibilities for intelligibility and voice volume
      • Smart Vol.: Compensates for fluctuations in the volume range
      • Surround: Extent of the surround sound
    • Voice morph

Furthermore there is a corrected sound radar on board. This function adds a radar to the user interface of games. This can locate shot and movement noises and represent them in an optical way. Top current is also the function that you can now display the Scout Radar on your smartphone with the help of a special app.

With the new Sound BlasterX AE-5, Creative has of course not missed the current RGB trend. For this reason there are individually adjustable LEDs in the sound card. Practically we find the RGB header, which makes the connection of an LED strip possible. However, this could sit a little lower in order to be used less inconspicuously. To use the additional lighting, the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 needs a Molex power plug. If you only want to use the sound card with the integrated RGB lighting, the power supply via PCIe slot is completely sufficient. Class: the scope of delivery already includes an LED strip with a length of 30 cm.

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 RGB Lighting Connector
Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 RGB Lighting Connector

Sound the Sound BlasterX AE-5

In our test, we were particularly impressed by the surround mode. The spatial sound representation works perfectly. For Counter Strike: Global Offensive, DOTA 2, Overwatch, Call of Duty and other games there are even own profiles with which the opponents can be located particularly well. The profiles for the games contain not only audio but also lighting presets. Especially in combination with a high quality headset or headphones we were impressed by the high functionality of this technology. But if you use cheap headphones from the crawl box of the local supermarket, you won’t get much out of it. Anyone who invests in this sound card should also invest in good headphones.

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Audio Connectors
Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 Audio Connectors

Even when using a loudspeaker system, the sound card from Creative could convince us completely. Intense basses, clear highs and clean mids characterize the sound. Audio fans will get their money’s worth with the Sound BlasterX AE-5. Onboard sound chips can by no means keep up with this.

When using the equalizer or preset profiles, however, you should be careful at all times, as music with a game profile of course sounds very different. For example, height can disappear and bass can be amplified.

Conclusion on the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5

The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is currently the best internal sound card for RGB fans and gamers on the market. Thanks to the included audio chip in combination with the ESS-Sabre-DAC, an outstanding sound experience is guaranteed. To enjoy the highest sound quality, you need a high quality sound system and excellent sounding headphones. Please note, however, that 7.1 can only be displayed virtually, so only a 5.1 sound system can be connected.

However, the internal sound card did not only convince us on the technical side. The comprehensive software package is also a source of enthusiasm. In the driver you can easily make all fine adjustments. Even the already prefabricated audio profiles are professionally designed.

The workmanship is excellent, and the Sound BlasterX AE-5 also has a wide range of connection options. However, we were disappointed with the connections for the additional RGB lighting, as these could have been placed a little lower to make them less conspicuous.

Although the current price with € 117.99 * is relatively high, you get a very high quality technical audio product. That’s why we can recommend the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 to any gamer with a clear conscience.

Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5


With the Creative Sound BlasterX AE-5 gamers and RGB fans get a very good internal sound card at a good price-performance ratio.

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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