Creative Labs Sound BlasterX AE-5 Review

A sound card dedicated to gaming.

Computers have come a long way and manufacturers continue to make big strides annually leaving some technology behind in the dust. One of those pieces of technology seemed to be sound cards, something that are more or less normally found left out in the latest gaming builds.

For the most part, gamers have used whatever came bundled together in their build, leaving plenty of gamers to not second guess the quality of their audio. That said, one of the companies known to bring out sound cards regularly years ago is back once again with a brand new release. Creative Labs has launched their Sound BlasterX AE-5 and the company is aiming the soundcard for gamers.

That’s right, you’re video games could have a dedicated sound card powering up the audio you’ll hear from your favorite headset. While the sound quality is preference, Creative Labs has tweaked the Sound BlasterX AE-5 to be a 32-bit DAC and we’re pretty thrilled about it.

Everything sounds full and crisp, but best of all, the software attached to the sound card helps fine-tune your audio to match whatever video game you’re playing. You’ll find a list of video games to the even genre to choose from, such as Battlefield 1 to a more generic FPS genre.

There’s even a feature known as scout mode which essentially allows users to pick up footsteps from a further distance away. If that doesn’t help out, an application which can be used through a smartphone or tablet could offer visual radar, allowing players to clearly see just where an enemy is approaching.

Of course, this may be considered a bit of a cheap option to run with competitively, but the feature does come in handy if desired.

We’re in the age of RGB, everything from keyboards, mice, graphics cards, fans, RAM, motherboards, you name it and there’s probably an RGB edition available to bling out your PC build. With that said, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 also comes with some RGB highlights which can be controlled by the software. In fact, there’s an included RGB strip available to attach and power up through the software. If you want to go one step further, you can opt to run four total RGB strips, though they are powered through molex.

What more can we say, the AE-5 supports 5.1 analog surround sound and can drive 600-Ohm headphones, all of which are catered to gaming. This may not be the most top of the line sound card available, but if your PC is dedicated towards gaming then you’ll be amiss to not consider the sound card.


Specifications Rundown

Power

  • PCIe bus power, +5V for Aurora lighting (requires 4-pin molex peripheral connector from PC power supply)

Audio Technology

  • BlasterX Acoustic Engine

Dynamic Range (DNR)

  • 122dB

Connectivity Options (Main)

  • 1 x TOSLINK Optical Out, 1 x 1/8″ (3.5mm) Mic In/Line In, 1 x 1/8″ (3.5mm) Headphone/Headset Out, 1 x 1/8″ Front Out, 1 x 1/8″ Rear Out, 1 x 1/8″ Center/Sub Out

Connectivity Options (Accessory)

  • 1 x Front Panel Header, 1 x RGB LED Header (support 5V RGB strips)

Supported Headphone Impedance:

  • 16 – 600 Ω

Audio Technologies

  • CrystalVoice, Scout Mode

Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows® 7, Windows® 8, Windows® 8.1, Windows® 10

Dimensions

  • 145 x 20 x 128 mm