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Sound BlasterX AE vs Sound Blaster Z

Discussion in 'Sound City' started by Baden, Nov 12, 2018.

  1. Baden

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 2, 2012

    Posts: 215

    Location: Perth, Scotland

    Hey guys,

    I currently have the Sound Blaster Z but thinking of getting the Sound BlasterX AE, is there much of a difference?
     
  2. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,461

    Location: Finland

    Are you using speakers or headphones?
    Difference in technical capabilities is bigger in headphone output.
     
  3. Baden

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 2, 2012

    Posts: 215

    Location: Perth, Scotland

    Both, I will be using a headset mainly for gaming and speakers for chilling.
     
  4. EsaT

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 6, 2008

    Posts: 4,461

    Location: Finland

    Well, AE-5 has overall pretty much the best headphone output of sound cards.
    Low output impedance, good current and voltage output capabilities.

    Though for gaming side Creative might be getting ready to release sound cards with head shape customizable HRTF, which could improve immersion if your head shape isn't average.
     
  5. ToTheMax

    Hitman

    Joined: Nov 28, 2012

    Posts: 529

    Personally upgraded from a Z to AE-5 and sound is definitely better for my AKG712's.

    But I also got the new G6 and that is better again, so imo get the G6 which is a similar price to the AE-5.
     
  6. Marsman

    Capodecina

    Joined: Oct 18, 2009

    Posts: 10,313

    I think it really depends on what the headset is. If it's a cheap headset, then I doubt the £120 cost would be worth it.

    The above post is a good example of when the AE-5 can be worth the cost, as the K712 headphones need a decent amp.

    The Z doesn't really have a proper headphone amp in the same way the AE-5 and other similar cards do, but it's more than enough for anything that can be considered easy to drive (most headsets with a microphone). K712 and other AKG headphones are a bit too demanding for the Z to get the best from them.
     
  7. Baden

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 2, 2012

    Posts: 215

    Location: Perth, Scotland

    I currently have Sennheiser Game Ones. I am looking to possible get a new headset as this one is pretty worn but not sure what yet. So would you suggest its worth the upgrade then with Game Ones?

    Is there another headset you would recommend that would go well with the AE-5 for gaming?
     
  8. Baden

    Gangster

    Joined: Oct 2, 2012

    Posts: 215

    Location: Perth, Scotland

    Had a little look at the G6, So you reckon the G6 is better for gaming instead of the AE-5? What did you find better with the G6 over the AE-5?
     
  9. ToTheMax

    Hitman

    Joined: Nov 28, 2012

    Posts: 529

    Couple of things;
    - It has better signal to noise ratio being an external unit, I find the AE5 has a very very slight background hiss at high volumes and quiet sound effects, the G6 doesn't. Normal volumes though you probably wouldn't notice.
    - G6 has an external control unit, finer volume control and much more convenient changing to different headphones.
    - AE5 only supports stereo over optical out, G6 does 5.1 dolby digital
    - G6 has optical in supporting 5.1 dolby digital

    Negatives
    - No LED strip support
    - No 5.1 analog out

    Apart from the above they are pretty much identical in features & control, in my opinion the G6 is the more flexible unit being external and works with more than just PC's (eg consoles and home theater setups, even phones although it will cane your battery).
     
  10. Rroff

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Oct 13, 2006

    Posts: 58,246

    One consideration - if you are using a mic for gaming I've never found an internal soundcard (even shielded ones) that you didn't need to noise gate or similar to get good results and the AE-5 in my experience is no exception - external ones other than cheap junk usually have cleaner mic pickup.
     
  11. ToTheMax

    Hitman

    Joined: Nov 28, 2012

    Posts: 529

    Good point, not tried a mic with the G6. I run a boom SLR mic on the AE5 with good results but do need to boost the audio gain in windows.
     
  12. james73

    Associate

    Joined: Jul 14, 2005

    Posts: 40

    How is the AE-5 WRT the Line-In connection? I like to have my hi-fi connected to my PC for late night listening from vinyl, etc.
     
  13. Bluntwrapped

    Mobster

    Joined: Jun 20, 2011

    Posts: 2,915

    Location: Livingston

    I haven’t owned a soundcard in years so when I bought my AE-5 I wasn’t sure what to expect. I only have onboard sound to compare it to, but for what it’s worth, the difference is absolutely incredible. I’m not a headphone user, I have the speakers under my TV in the living room for movies and games. Couldn’t be happier to be honest :)