Features & Specifications
Just to tickle your curiosity the Sound BlasterX AE-5 is a Saber32 Ultra Class High Resolution sound card with DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) with Xamp. Xamp is a new headphone amplifier that drives a dual channel amplifier for headphones that use a 2 channel (Bi-Amplification) amp for both right and left earphone cups. We ran the Sound BlasterX AE-5 on a high end set of Sennheiser HD 660S, the original HyperX Cloud and a Razer Kraken V2 we had around the lab. Of the 3 the Sound BlasterX AE-5 excelled at the 3.5mm connection headphones and performed well with the USB Kracken but the Kraken being USB was a little muddied by the connection (Not the Sound BlasterX AE-5). We went full out 7.1 channel with Pyle 7.1 Channel Home Theater System we borrowed and the 7.1 (used in 5.1 mode) speakers blew our minds in combination with the Sound BlasterX AE-5. You forget the quality of good 7.1 surround sound with a set of headphones on. We do have to say the ultra-low 1Ω output impedance drives 16-600Ω headphones perfectly and takes headphone sound to a new level.
Aurora Reactive Lighting System
We were playing with the Aurora RGB system on the Sound BlasterX AE-5 and synching up colors with the system and placing the LED strip discretely and it dawned on us that for $29.99 we could add 3 more strips and literally have a Disco inside our computer controlled from the Sound Connect 2 software. When we say Sound Blaster stepped into RGB elegantly we mean it. The only thing we didn’t like about it was the RGB connector placement which makes it hard to hide the wire. With 3 more strips, we don’t think that will be a problem and the 16.8 million color combinations won’t hurt your feelings any.
BlasterX Acoustic Engine
Sound Blaster has a long history of bringing almost endless option software to bear on its products allowing everything from one click acoustics to fine tuning the sound for your particular preferences and the Sound BlasterX AE-5 is no exception. We’ll cut that short here and cover it more a little later.
Frankly, Scout 2.0 took us by surprise and floored us! Scout 2.0 is an accessory system that connects to your Droid device and gives you directionality on your immediate threat enemies. Yes, you heard it right it’s an Enemy radar that helps pinpoint upcoming threats and allows you to plan better pathing to get the drop on those sneaky buggers! Cheating? No, the technology actually exists to pinpoint enemies on real battlefields using an array of microphones connected to a computer; this is merely gaming catching up to reality. We’ll be covering PR more in depth later.
Unlike some previous generations, this is a single piece sound system with a single slot footprint so if you want to go small footprint HTPC chassis it’s entirely doable. The Sound BlasterX AE-5 is geared for gaming and we did plenty of that but we are entirely happy with its music abilities and precise sound reproduction.