Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Discussions › Creative Sound Blaster E3 mod / adaptation (?)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Creative Sound Blaster E3 mod / adaptation (?)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

** quick impression on the SQ (bluetooth connection):

- sound is a bit bright, presentation is rather layback, sound stage not very open. Output power is pretty ok, some distortion at max volume when running hard-to-drive ortho phones (32 ohm SFI drivers), but definitely have enough juice for average movie/videos watching. Maybe the brightness will subside a little after some burn-in.



Picture of the internals


To open the plastic case, first pop open the end panels:



then pop off the top panel:



... move the board out of the way.... the battery is underneath. Battery capacity is 850mAH, 35x50mm, 5mm thick. The bottom panel thickness is about 1.6mm.  (which means if the battery is moved else where, the total thickness of the case can potentially be reduced to around 10mm)



the underside of the board has a piece of thick paper (insulator layer?).....



.... close up, after removing the paper insulator piece....



.... close up of the top side of the board....

Edited by AudioCats - 2/26/17 at 4:47pm
post #2 of 4
Thread Starter 

Might as well add some info about the Audio Technica AT-PHA50BT here, since they are similar type of devices.


Size comparison: overall, the A50 is about half the size of E3:







Edited by AudioCats - 4/8/17 at 5:35pm
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

Sound impression of Creative E3 vs AT-phA50bt

* Bass: E3 has deeper and cleaner bass, without the boominess (which the A50 displays from time to time, especially with tracks like Katie Melua's Red Ballons).

* E3 has better clarity and better details, by quite a bit.

* Voice: E3 has more intimate and more realistic voice, more engaging and demands attention. E3 also displays less glare/ sibilence.

* The A50's presentation is very layback. It might be voiced toward earphone/IEM use, sounds quite nice with my Earsonic SM3 IEM, no "in the head" feeling.


** A50's "virtual surround" effect: turn on the effect and the sound becomes a lot more spacious, probably from all the micro-reverbs added into the sound, a nice feature for playing back-ground music while performing other tasks.


*** distortion: the E3 starts to distort around volume 13 (total is about 16 clicks), this doesn't change whether it was a 250 ohm or 32 ohm phone. I suspect it might have something to do with the input of the headphone amp being over saturated after a certain level; the A50 is relatively distortion free up to step-15 (16 steps total), and the distortion at max volume is not very noticeable either --> the A50 has a wider usable volume range.


Functionality-wise, the A50 wins hands down, though

* A50 has a display which gives direct visual feedback on what is going on, plus the artist and the song title; E3 has no display.

* A50 (designed as a purely bluetooth device) goes to sleep by itself when not playing for a while, and the standby time is supposedly up to 100hrs, which is greatly convenient since you don't have to remember to turn it off;  the E3 (designed to be used as a USB dac), on the other  hand, doesn't go to sleep at all, if you forget to turn it off it will drain the battery all the way down in about 7 hours (Li-ion battery will not last too many of this kind of deep cycles).



*** impression update: after about one week of daily use (at work), the A50's sound opened up a bit though the E3 is still more clear. I really like the virtual-surround effect of the A50.

The main complain about the A50, at this point, is the battery life, the battery warming signal turns on after around 6 hours of playing. It might become necessary to piggy-back a larger battery on the bottom side.

Edited by AudioCats - 4/7/17 at 6:41pm
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 

The DAC chip is PCM5122, pin20/21 are connected together for clock input, 22 for Data, 23 for WS / LRCLK.  (in the photo below, brown wire= clock, blue wire=data, white wire = WS/LRCLK)



I will link the signals to a TDA1543 later and see if it works.

Edited by AudioCats - 4/15/17 at 3:35pm
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Misc.-Category Forums › DIY (Do-It-Yourself) Discussions › Creative Sound Blaster E3 mod / adaptation (?)