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Creative teases Sound Blaster E5 USB DAC

Creative teases Sound Blaster E5 USB DAC

The Creative Sound Blaster E5 includes USB, optical and Bluetooth DAC capabilities along with what the company claims is audiophile-grade components.

Creative has unveiled the latest entry in its Sound Blaster E-Series, an external USB digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) which it claims offers audiophile-grade specifications.

The Sound Blaster E5 is based around a Cirrus Logic CS4398 120dB DAC chip, offering support for high-definition 24-bit 192KHz sampling rates and a Texas Instruments TPA6120A2 600Ω amplifier capable of driving high-end headphones without difficulty. Input is handled by a Cirrus Logic CS5361 114dB analogue-to-digital converter (ADC), again offering support for 24-bit 192KHz sampling. Naturally, the line-in and dual headphone output jacks are gold plated, while the unit also includes an optical input.

The Sound Blaster E5 isn't just designed for desktop use, however. An integrated 3,200mAh battery allows it to be used for up to eight hours per charge while away from a mains supply - great news for laptop users - and it supports both USB and Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy connectivity for iOS and Android devices, including AAC and aptX Low Latency codecs. A near-field communication (NFC) radio allows one-touch Bluetooth pairing on supported devices.

'We have always believed that everyone and anyone should have access to great audio quality and be able to share it, while supporting audio source from various devices - including iOS and Android devices, PC, and Mac,' claimed Creative's Low Long Chye at the unveiling. 'While the video experience of many users today have greatly advanced from HD to 4K resolution, the audio experience on the other hand is still sub-optimum - if 4K TV is four times clearer than Full HD, CD-quality audio, which many listen to today, is at least six times poorer than what 24-bit/192kHz high-resolution audio can offer. This is why we have introduced a top-notch audio solution featuring only the best audio components to provide the "4K TV" experience of audio.'

Creative has also packed some of its own hardware into the design, including a multi-core digital signal processor (DSP) supporting the company's SBX Pro Studio reprocessing system - designed, it claims, to improve the quality of audio compressed using a lossy algorithm and easily disabled when listening to lossless streams. The unit also includes built-in CrystalVoice beam-forming microphones, which can be used with a bundled desktop prop or mounted onto any standard microphone stand.

The Creative Sound Blaster E5 is due to go on sale in October, priced at £169.99. More details are available on the official product page.

7 Comments

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jrs77 1st September 2014, 12:49 Quote
Not too bad. Just the price is a little too steep.
ChaosDefinesOrder 1st September 2014, 13:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Not too bad. Just the price is a little too steep.

My first thought as well (actually, first thought was "ooo that looks interesting" then "HOW much?!")

Also, have you seen the size of it? official product page has a photo of it to scale and it looks a lot bigger than I was expecting!

USB Host capability by flipping the included USB cable around for second port is a pretty neat idea that I haven't seen before (not to say it's not used elsewhere already of course)
jrs77 1st September 2014, 13:15 Quote
Don't forget the 3200mAh battery that's included, so the size is pretty much spot on, especially in comparison with a FiiO Alpen E17.
ChaosDefinesOrder 1st September 2014, 14:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrs77
Don't forget the 3200mAh battery that's included, so the size is pretty much spot on, especially in comparison with a FiiO Alpen E17.

yep, sizable battery = sizable device certainly makes sense!

I guess I just haven't really seen one of these to-scale before so imagined them being about half to two-thirds the size of this...
GuilleAcoustic 1st September 2014, 19:39 Quote
Price for 1 of each chipsets CS4398 (10€) + PA6120A2 (10€) + CS5361 (5€) = 25€. I guess that bulk order drastically reduce the price. If you add the well-known "Creative lack of support" then it's far too much.

Bought one of their music player and 2 sound cards in the past and I'll never buy something from them again. Fed up with their buggy drivers and lack of update / drivers.
SexyHyde 2nd September 2014, 00:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GuilleAcoustic
If you add the well-known "Creative lack of support" then it's far too much.

Bought one of their music player and 2 sound cards in the past and I'll never buy something from them again. Fed up with their buggy drivers and lack of update / drivers.

THIS! I've had two mp3 players, two sets of speakers, a sound card and a Fatal1ty headset. Mp3 players went to mush numerous times and involved loads of time fixing, speakers lasted a little over warranty then fail/deteriorate, sound card was so unsupported I felt conned. The headset is still going strong as a backup / phone headset but 1 out of 6 satisfaction means they are on my avoid/boycott list.
Fizzban 2nd September 2014, 01:11 Quote
I've been lucky with Creative. I own 3 things, headphones (over the ear), mp3 player and surround sound speakers and they have all worked without issue for years.

I know to avoid their soundcards though due to lack of support.
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