Sound Blaster AE-5

General Information


Interface:


PCIe

Audio/DSP processor:
Sound Core3D

Channels:

5.1 discrete speaker out
7.1 virtual headphone surround

DAC:

ESS ES9016K2M SABRE32 Ultra DAC
Dynamic Range (Stereo DAC), DNR (SNR):

122dB
THD+N (Stereo, DAC)

0.00032%

Sampling Rate (DSP Playback)
16-bit / 16.0, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
24-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
32-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2 96.0kHz

Sampling Rate (Direct Mode Playback)

16-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz
24-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz
32-bit / 48.0, 96.0, 192, 384kHz

Sampling Rate (Recording)

16-bit / 16.0, 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
24-bit / 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, 96.0kHz
Headphone Amp (custom-designed discrete headphone amp Xamp)

Supported Headphone Impedance: 16 - 600Ω
SNR: 116dB
THD + N: 0.0009%
Output impedance: 1Ω
Headphone impedance range: 16 - 600Ω

Latest reviews

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Pros: 32bit/384khz when DSP bypassed with Direct/Direct HP

RGB is optional-don't plug in Molex or turn off in software

VR 7.1 headphone mode - can be config to be sent to line out instead of headphone out

Neutral preset - turns every software function off for you.

Edited aug 24th:Headphone gain now saves after turning on the option in newer drivers
Cons: Doesn't support DTS-HD or DD MA Audio formats for Blu rays,Blu rays will be down-mixed
to 16/48

No DSD support

There is no Headphone stereo mode other then Direct.Must change HP VR7.1 to
2channels from 5.1.

No op-amp socket for op-amp swappers
For a while before I heard of the AE-5, i was looking around for something that checked all of the boxes in regards of the features and support as well including usability that I was looking for to use as a source with my Jotunheim. The Dac module inside of my Jotunheim didn’t fit that bill, neither did the other external dac’s in the price range I had set. Now I not saying they was bad, they just didn’t offer what I wanted.

AE-5 uses a Sabre dac which is the ES9016K2M model. This card is a 5.1 card so those who was expecting a 7.1 card will be disappointed. While the card does have optical, it only decodes and pass the DD and DTS to your receiver.
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The card it self uses WIMA for caps with some king of voltage regulars on the card, I don’t know which ones they are using. But the WIMA are some very good caps. Both the headphones and the speaker path ways are design using discrete components, which is a surprised to see them using discrete at all on the card. If your curious about the op-amps that are being used on the AE-5, creative decided to use LME4562 for all of the channels on the card. Usually sound card makers use a single good op-amp on the front channel, while placing jrcs on the rest of the channels, I glad they decided to put it on all of the channels. If you expected to be able to swap op-amps, unless your manually remove op-amps and put your own dip-8 in there place, Then it wont be possible. I don’t really see this as a downside but that's just me.

The first thing when you notice when you take the AE-5 out of it’s packaging, is the molex connector and the 4 pin plug on the top of the card. The molex connector is not used to power the sound card it self, but the RGB lighting feature of the card. The molex sends power to the 4 pin connector on the top of the card where the RGB strip goes.
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Creative was nice enough to include one with the card which can be daisy chained with more strips. I do not know if any kind of 5V RGB stripes will work, as I haven’t tried. But creative does sell 3 more if you do not want to take the chance of using 3rd party strips. But they might be priced a little too much, but at around 30 dollars they give you 3 more. I haven’t taken the chance to use other rgb strips my self so I do not know what brands work or not work.

The RGB Lights when in use are very bright which means they will lite up a dark room, If you have a case like mine the Air 540, you will realize the lighting cause your case exhaust holes and fan grills to be projected onto the wall. Some may find that interesting and others not so much. Sadly you can not change the brightness of the RGB lights which is a down side as that really should be a feature.

ASIO

Now asio support, before I got the AE-5, I was trying to use my jotunheim dac’s drivers for asio, that didn’t work as planned, never worked correctly either it glitches or don’t work like it should.. With the AE-5 that problem is gone, asio works perfectly fine. No issues with it glitching, failing to play or simply not work. I even don’t have under runs in FL studio in compared to the asio support of my Jotunheim dac. This is only a minor issue that I have with the AE-5, I don’t know if it’s because of Asio 2.2, or how its is coded. But with the jotunheim dac drivers, I was able to change the bit rate settings. With the AE-5’s asio the only thing I can change is the buffer settings. Its nothing major but minor really as some programs give you the option. FL studio case it doesn’t, I hoping they add the option in a future driver.

DSD

There is not dsd support even when you use one of the direct modes to by pass the dsp to use the dac directly. The support simply may not be in the drivers, or because the way it used on the card. What you can do, is use a program like foobar 2k or another media player and simply convert your DSD to PCM. But for native DSD playback the card does not support it. Now I do not know how it would sound when you do the DSD to PCM conversion but that is the only option for now.

Software Suite/Driver
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In the main dashboard, this is where the basic settings are for the BlasterX acoustic engine, scout 2.0, voice clarity, voice morph, EQ and the option to turn off the lighting. Not all of the settings are shown here. You will need to go to there own sections for the lighting, EQ, Scout and Voice Morph which I will go more into.

The audio presets are located in this section as well, they give you a wide range of options, including neutral which will turn off all of the settings. Each setting will bring up information telling what they are for to the right of them. My main issue with the presets comes from the fact, that you can not make more then one. Even though they made them for you, you should still have the option to make more then one.

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The sound section is where you can really configure the EQ to your liking including the separate bass and treble bars which lowers or raise them. The other option besides the BlasterX acoustic engine settings which are also here. Is the scout options that are not listed on the dashboard, the short cut option to set the off and on to your keyboard keys and the option to connect to another device in the network, to display the scout radar on another device. There is a second way to display the radar on your mobile device, creative has released a google play app allowing you’re phone to connect automatically after giving it the permission to connect with your computer.

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Here is where you have the option to morph your voice using many of the different voice presets, including being able to clean up your voice and block the background noise.

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The lighting section, here is where you are able to config the RGB with it different settings, It has 8 presets which when configured is saved as your personal preset. Solo displays a single color, Aurora moves through the section of colors in the way of an actual Aurora, Wave moves the RGB in a wave, which the direction can be set to left, right and Zig zag in either of those directions. You have Pulsate which glows like a heart beat, Mood which is like solo option with the only difference being that it’s more then one color. Then Cycle which goes thru all of the colors. You can also change the speed, which ranges from 10 BPM to a super fast 240 BPM. The motion modes that included works very well, Not really an issue but I do wish you had more options to custom and more then 6 motion choices.

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At the bottom of the panel, the setup section, this is where you can config your speaker configuration. You have the options for 5.1 Speakers, Stereo, Direct, Headphones 7.1 and Direct HP. When the Normal speaker modes are used, you are limited to 32bit/96khz due to the Core3D chip being used, But when you switch it to Direct mode, 32bit/384khz will be fully usable. Be warn when you use the Headphone Direct, the volume for the headphones will be loud at first, til you lower the volume bar down and up again. I don’t know if this intended or not.

Next we have the Speaker type settings, they give you the option for Desktop, bookshelf, tower and custom. The custom lets you turn on bass redirection and change the cross over frequency for 5.1 speakers option.
The mixer allows you to send stereo thru out the optical. In the same spot, you have multi-purpose recording, the drop down menu give you the option to record from Line-in, Front and rear microphone.

Last on the list the headphone gain settings, The sound card uses a Discreet headphone amp design that they are calling the X-amp which each channel amps the channels separately. The gain settings are 16ohms(IEMs), 32ohms, 150ohms,330ohms and 600ohms. I have a pair of ATH-AVC400’s which works very well with the headphone jack. There is also a problem here too, there a glitch which stops the software suite from saving the gain settings. It always resets back to the default 16ohm when you reboot the computer, in fact closing the software suite in general causes it to happen including going to sleep. It doesn’t bother me that much, But I hope that get fixed in a future driver release and not go unnoticed by creative.

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The very last option settings, there nothing much here other then the language, distance units settings and the option to check for updates, starting up when windows starts and resetting to factory default.


The suite is kind of chunky due to a lot of the settings being in more then one place. If they removed duplicate settings, the panel would slim down. Right now settings exist in two places.

Blu ray Audio
Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM. I tried both normal DSP mode and Direct. The results was the same. I don’t see why they didn’t try to get the support. Maybe that will change in a future driver release.


Gear

For the review I will be using the AE-5 to drive both the Ath-AVC400’s and the ATH-R70x’s. The Avc400s are easier to drive then the R70Xs. I will give results based on how well the X-amp headphone design can handle my R70X’s, which are 470ohms with a high power requirement.

I will also pair the AE-5 with my jotunheim to show you how well it works as a source for an, my JBL LSR 305 will be used for this. I will be using Stereo direct when using the jotunheim and direct hp when doing the music listening with my headphones.

When I doing the game test I will do both stereo and virtual headphone 7.1 mode with SBX at 67%, with none of other settings enabled.


Songs
The songs I decided to go with in this review, they are native flac.

MPIA3 – Your Orders (Techno)
Com Truise – Sunspot (Electronic)
Freeland – Under Control
reinier baas – Squalor (Fusion/Jazz-Rock)

Music

AE-5
ATH-AVC400(Direct HP)



MPIA3 – Your Orders

The song is mostly bass and snares with some electronic songs, the bass is not boomy or muddy, it does a good job of going deep. While at the same time it comes off as being clean as you are easy able to hear the different beats. The electronic instrument is a bit too detailed, but not bright. Could just be the song.


Com Truise – Sunspot
Right off the back the song has a feeling of a spacious type of sound, the drums kit is very accurate due to the fact you can hear exactly how hard hard and soft the drums are played, including the bass. Even the hit hats comes thru very well. Nothing is overlapping each other, you don’t get that feeling that the drums or the snares trying to run each other over. Nothing like that, the bass is not in your face, it just there.

Freeland – Under Control

Song has a very good drum beat to it, similar to sunspot with the way the drum kits comes thru. You can hear the snap of the drums clearly. The voices is hard to say while being clear, it feels like the lead singer is in front of me on the stage. The backup singers are coming from the sides, with one on the far left center almost to the left of you. The sound image does sound a tad 3dish but mostly 2d, with a small to medium size sound stage. Even then the song still sound good to me. Its was hard to say how every thing sounded with these headphones.

Reinier Baas – Squalor

Almost exactly the same as freeland, only instead of voices, its instruments being projected from the front of me and the sides, with it even feeling like there's a second piano behind my right side. while a drum kit and all is behind my left side. Every thing is clear with no brightness any where with the right amount of details. With a 3dish type of sound image. Other then that, nothing sticks out at me.


AE-5 /w Jotunheim (JBL 305)

MPIA3 – Your Orders
The bass comes out very good in this song, it’s not muddy at all, even when the song is nothing but bass with some electronic instruments. Both can be heard very clearly with good detail. None of the instruments are overlapping there is no brightness any where in the song, the highs are just as clean as the rest of the song with details too. Over all the bass is tight and goes deep, ae-5 did a very good job as a source with this song.

Com Truise – Sunspot

Details and cleanness is at the for front in this song, the highs like before is not bright at all, but have a lot of details. With the drums hitting hard at the same time they are not impactful or have that slam type of bass but controlled, snares in the song tell a different story and may are very detailed as you can hear how much they are hit.

Freeland – Under Control

The vocals in this song is very good and are projected from the center of the sound stage and spreads out, the backup singers are also clearly heard coming from the sides of you and re-verbs to the center of you. Almost feels like there in the room with you, including the guitar which comes off as being the front right of you, the drums are very accurate and control as you hear them snap. The snares still have details but unlike the last two songs they are perfect, no out of control details any where in the song. Even the bass sound good in this song as it goes deep while staying clear. The sound stage and image is very well done with great separation.
Reinier Baas – Squalor


Whoa this song sound really good, I can’t put into words on how good this sound. Very similar to the results I heard from free land, but the highs has very good details while at the same time not being too detailed which came off as being smooth. The bass went deep as well but you could hear how deep it went, I don’t know how to explain it. Every thing sound like I'm there listening, there was great sound imaging and separation, even the sound stage was a very good size.


I didn’t expect the ae-5 to be a very good source for my jotunheim, results are even better then my jotunheim dac module which made every thing super bassy and 2dish and no where as clean as this, even the vocals came out better on the ae-5 with my jot. Bass is so much better on the ae-5 in compare to the jotunheim dac module.


AE-5 /w (ATH-R70X) (Direct HP)

MPIA3 – Your Orders

This song does bass really well, it doesn’t over do it on the bass, there is a force to it, but its not of impact to it but enough. There is no static distortion any where, the synthesizer has a good amount of detail in its sound, but its not overly detailed only a hair to my ears. What I like most about this song is the way the bass sounds as the notes doesn’t run into each other.

Freeland – Under Control

When I sit back and listen, I notice the main singer is in front of me, Sounds like hes on stage in front of me. The drummer is behind him as you hear him hitting on the drums, with the bass drum sounding like a bass drum with good accurately. The guitar has a deep feel, in front of me on the left center of the sound image. I can tell where the backup singers are as they sing there line behind the drummer. With a second singer to the left of me as his voice goes from my left to the right as it reverb. With electronic sounds moving around the sound stage. It doesn’t have any brightness and it’s not too detailed, but you can hear the snares without a problem. It sounds wonderful to my ears. Separation is very good too, none of the audio is merged into each other and can be heard as there own instrument and vocal.


Com Truise – Sunspot

Similar sounding to freeland but has a spacious type of sound at the start of the song, While you can hear all the detail of the hit hats maybe a tad tiny, with the accurately of the drums and the deepness of the bass drum, yes it bass is there and you can hear it, but its not impactful, I know I keep using the world accurate for the bass, but its there when the song calls for it. It doesn’t add it self to the songs. Meaning if the song has bass in it, it will be there, if it doesn’t then it wont.

Over all it has the same good separation to it as the other songs had.


Reinier Baas – Squalor

I can’t think of any thing to say other then it sound exactly the same as the other two songs, it is very enjoying to listen to. Very relaxing to sit back and listen. Nothing is out of place or wrong with the song.

AE-5
ATH-AVC400
(Stereo)
Doom 2016

The first thing I notice was the bass, even in the game it goes deep while having power behind it. it’s never too much bass to the point of it static. Which is what I was glad to hear. While I was playing the game, I was able to hear where every thing was. The gun fire from the shotgun sounded like a shotgun and not a peashooter. I heard every thing clearly including all of the sounds on the map. Nothing came off as bright. I def notice the sound stage being some what small, but that was due to the headphones.

Dying light

The results was very similar to doom, only this time I really felt I was in the game, I was actually scared running and panicking, even know I knew it was a game, the infected sound like they was really there. The sound image was really good in this game. The shotgun has power behind it sound. Ae-5 did a very good job with immersion factor.

(VR 7.1 Headphone /w SBX 67%)
Doom 2016

While I was running around the map shooting, the positional sounds was much better then they where with just stereo. I heard every thing coming from every where it was more accurate, at the same time the audio sound just as good as it did when I had it off. Nothing was messed up.

I only had sbx on and none of the other settings, I don’t know what they did, but I don’t recalling sbx working this good before. But that was 6-7 or so months ago when I had an zxr.

Dying light
The results was the same, it was just much more immersion then without it. I it was far more easier to hear where every thing was. I was even able hear a zombie walk up on me while I was picking a lock as I heard it got closer and closer til I heard it right up on me. It was more enjoyable using this function when I was gaming then without it.

AE-5 /w Jotunheim (JBL 305)

Doom 2016
when I was using my dac module, It made doom not enjoyably due to the bass being way too much causing static and other issues with the game audio. The ae-5 is another story, I didn’t have any none of that bass issue that the jotunheim dac module had. The bass had similar sound signature as the songs in regards to sounding good, it still went deep without causing issues with static, it was also controlled. The rest of the game sounds was very good, but the bass was the main reason why I did doom.

Dying light

Every thing was clear while sounding just as good as the songs did, I don’t know what else to say here. The bass was the same way too, the bass from the shotgun was well done. Again the AE-5 worked very well with the jotunheim and my jbl 305s.

AE-5 /w (ATH-R70X)


Games
(Stereo headphone) (Direct HP)
Doom 2016
Sounds really good, with good sound imaging, all of the audio was clean nothing was dirty sounding at the same time it was clear. I didn’t find the game audio to be bright at all or be too detailed. Nothing sounded tinny or too warm.

I used to have bass problems in this game with all of the other sound cards including my USB dac module in my jotunheim. This is the first time the bass doesn’t come out all distorted and clipping. I notice the bass goes deep just like it did in music. As I was shooting demons, it felt very immersion. The guns sounds like guns, you heard every thing as the sounds go off, no game audio was merged together.

Dying light

As I play the game, throwing grenades and hearing them explode without being muddy or statically. You are granted with deep bass, while every thing is so clear. I can hear every sound detail, fire arms have power behind there shots, so they sound like guns and not peashooters. It’s not too much bass or too little, it just right. Sound image is very good, I knew what was coming from me, as well when I was running with zombies behind me. There wasn’t a hint of brightness any where.

(VR 7.1 Headphone mod /w SBX %67)
Doom 2016

The sound imaging and positional audio is much better then it was in stereo, I find it to be a much more immersion experience then it was without it. Every thing still sound good, as the audio is not outta whack. It was more accurate on where all the demons was. I don’t know what going on, but I found it to work better then what I remembered. It could be the VR headphone 7.1 speaker mode being used along with SBX. I enjoyed game more then I did without it. As I was also able to hear overhead audio better too. It didn’t have some form of echo to me either.

Dying light

The results was the same as Doom while still sounding good, it worked even better in the game then it did in doom. I even heard the infected walking under me when I was standing on a light pole. Game audio still sounded good including the voices. I didn’t have any issues at all with the way it sound. It was all clear.


Conclusion


I been enjoying this card every since I got it, the performance surprised me as I didn’t know what to expect. It sounded very good with my jotunheim even paired very good too. I not gonna lie, I liked it a lot better then I did the dac module inside my jotunheim.

It even sound good with my R70X’s plugged directly into the card it self along with the AVC400. I went in thinking that I may not like the card and that it might get sent back. But none of that is gonna happen as I def keeping this card.

The X-Amp designed headphone amp perform very well with my AVC400s and surprised me when I tried my R70x with it. I don’t know the power ratings it supplies for each of the ohm settings. But it handled the R70X which I had set to 600ohms, because there wasn’t an ohm setting for 470ohm. I also had to use around 15% volume. Of course it not on the same level as my jotunheim, but I still liked how it performed on the AE-5.

Even as I tried other songs then what I mentioned in the review, and I really enjoying it.

The VR headphone 7.1 used along with SBX at 67% did a very good job in the games I tested. I haven’t tried the VR headphone 7.1 speaker mode by it self, I only assume it worked with SBX on.

There are glitches in the software but that kind of effected when something new just come out, Hoping creative fixes it, so the ohm settings will stop resetting, maybe add a 3rd headphone setting for Stereo, so one won’t have to use Direct Headphone and lower and raise the volume each time before use so they don't get blasted out there chair from the volume.

Until they fix the setting with the headphone gain, I would wait on the card if your plan is to use headphones only, unless changing the gain on reboot doesn't bother you. But if your the type that uses speakers only, or looking for a source to run into your external headphone amp. Then this issue wont be a problem. Being able to send the VR hp 7.1 to the line out is a great plus. In my view they have something even with no DSD support, All they need to do is work out the glitches in the software and what not and they be set.

Edit Aug 9th
I emailed creative about the headphone gain setting resetting and they said it was for safety reasons, for those who have more then one headphones. So they don't forget to set the gain back, when they decide to use an 32 gain headphone instead of the 600ohm gain one they was using.

So I asked them if it was possible for them to make an option to make this safety feature optional for users of single headphones I will give an update if there will be any plans for this.

EDIT Aug 24th: Creative released new drivers which now gives you the option to toggle on the safety feature. Meaning you can save your gain settings now. Also they made it easier to understand with the settings.

Comments

freshmind

New Head-Fier
Very good review indeed.

I have a ZXR in my main rig... you had it too. So can you compare these two a bit ? (pure stereo performance, sbx etc.)

Thanks in advance.
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Very good review indeed.

I have a ZXR in my main rig... you had it too. So can you compare these two a bit ? (pure stereo performance, sbx etc.)

Thanks in advance.
It really hard to try to compare the two without having the ZXR again, But I do remember that I had to swap op-amps on the ZXR before I could enjoy it back then. I don't have the ZXR in hand to give you an comparison that would give you what your looking for

SBX wise I finding i to work very well on the AE-5, I used it on the ZXR but I didn't use it that much, due to it not working that well for me on the ZXR, regardless of the op-amps I was using. With the AE-5 it was mainly due to using both VR 7.1 Surround headphone function along side SBX which gave me better results then using SBX alone did.

The only thing that i can def tell you is the Headphone amp performance on the AE-5 was very good in compared to the ZXR's headphone amp.

On the ZXR my Audio Technica R70X didn't pair well at all, I didn't enjoy it like I, where with the AE-5 it did an much better job with the R70X then the ZXR did. I remember this clearly as it was doing the time I was waiting for the jotunheim to come into stock, after getting the R70X.
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
I mentioned that in the review that the blu ray audio was down-mixed, But I reworded it in the con section just now so it will be more clearer.
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
Thanks for clarifying. I have confirmed in PowerDVD that playback sample rate is 48khz. How did you determine that the sample size was 16 bit and not 24 bit? I'm just curious how you determined this. Are there other sound cards that output 96 kHz or 192 kHs at 24 bits on the 5.1 outputs?

Another thing I would like to point out is that I am able to play back DSD (DSF) files. This might have changed since you wrote your review. With PowerDVD I'm able to playback any DSD file I have tried. I tried a stereo DSD 256 file and PowerDVD indicated that the sample rate was 11,289 kHz and bitrate of 22,578 kbps. Is that even possible or is there some down conversion going on?

I was also able to play back with JRiver Media Center 23. This program informed me when playing a 64 bit DSD file that playback could not be at higher sample rate but could be played back at 176.4 kHz 64 bits (up to 6 channels).
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
Yea it still doesn't do it, if it works then it's doing down conversion in the player. Because I tried again just now thinking that they added it in there newest drivers. But sadly no, it still doesn't play back DSD, only quietness.

The DSD files are being converted into PCM, which why there are playing.
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
Thanks for your continued replies. How are you determining that card does not play back DSD files? What software are you using? Edit: I discovered how to confirm in JRiver MC23. It is converting to PCM.

Also you did not reply to some of my other questions:

With Blu-ray playback how did you determine that the sample size was 16 bit and not 24 bit?

Are there other sound cards that output 96 kHz or 192 kHs at 24 bits on the 5.1 outputs? I'm trying to determine if this is a limitation of the outputs and if the only way to do this might be via HDMI.

Thanks!
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
I used power DVD 12, when you play an movie, there is the option to see what bit rate and format that is outputting as you play it. By right clicking and selecting stats. That's where I saw that it was being down-mixed to 16bit/48khz during the movie it self and not the trailers.

If creative added the blu ray DD-MA and DTS-HD decoding function to there drivers. Then the card would be able to do it, It just that they haven't done it yet. I have hope that they would evidently do it, since they just added Filter options to there latest drivers that they just released.

Since creative been listening to feedback and adding functions due to it, Then really that may be what will get both DTS-HD and DD-MA decoding added to the drivers, after creative pays the license to use it. Maybe DSD support too ,since the sabre dac that they are using has it in the spec, all it needs is drivers design to decode the format so DSD be played back with sound instead of silence. If onboard audio can have DSD even if its DSD 128 then there no reason why creative can't do it either.

I had an sound card in the past that could do it from asus, but they had to pay for the license so they could add the support to the card.
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
This is the reply on got from Creative on their forums when I questioned DTS-HD or DD MA support of the AE-5:
"The decoding of the DTS-HD and Dolby Digital audio codecs is done by the software on the computer like PowerDVD.

The media playing software will convert the audio files from different formats to PCM.

If you are seeing that the bit rate and sample rate are 16bit/48kHz on the software, the bit rate and sample rate of the audio file are recorded at 16bit/48kHz. When you select 24bit/96kHz on Windows Sound, the Sound BlasterX AE-5 will up-sample the audio to 24bit/96kHz."

I'm not really sure about the up-sample bit at the end. I don't want to up-sample from 16bit/48kHz...

I have been digging into this a bit and apparently PowerDVD only supports higher res sound formats over HDMI. This sucks if true.

I have WinDVD Pro 12 as well and in this program it claims it outputs a bitrate of 6,912 Kbps, a sampling rate of 48 KHz, and 24 bits.

Have you ever tried Aiseesoft's Blu-ray player? I'm trying the demo and it lets you choose audio output. I picked DTD-HD and it works but I have no way of confirming if it is at higher sample rate or sample size...
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
That's not true because my on-board audio does higher bit rates with my blu ray movies over analog when I tested it with power dvd 12. Sadly Power dvd was the only one I tried, since it is the only one I have.

They misunderstood your question, they think you're talking about native 16bit/48khz audio and not 24bit/48 or so audio from blu ray movies. Emailing them would be better, as a lot of times there volunteers forum mods on the forum, tend to not know that much about the product. In fact I saw a lot of that whenever i go to there forums.

When you email them, your question would get an answer from there engineers or the software Developers that work on the card it self after they relay it to the support. Some times they will message you them self.

You can message them from here https://us.creative.com/contactus/technicalassistance directly, instead of asking there forum volunteers
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
This is what I put on my post on Creative Forum:
"It does appear that the AE-5 is down-mixing to 16bit/48khz LPCM when playing Blu-rays. I'm a bit disappointed that the card cannot playback at 192kHz/24bit on its 5.1 outputs given its specs.
Am I missing something? Shouldn't this card be capable of this? I'm able to playback 5.1 Surround 96kHz/24bit flac files and 2 channel 192kHz/24bit flac files."

I thought this was fairly clear. How would you recommend I phrase the question when sending an e-mail to Creative?

If I'm doing my math correctly looking at output bitrate it does appear that PowerDVD 17 is playing back at 16bit/48khz and WinDVD 12 is playing back at 24bit/48kHz. This tells me that some of this could be related to the software.

Thanks for all your help on this!
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
Then that odd, you made it pretty clear what you was asking on the forums, and they still didn't understand your question. I message creative directly about it at the online contact page. Maybe I get an better answer since I made sure to word it better, so they get what i meant.

It could just be powerDVD17, I don't have winDvd 12 to check to see if it work on my end.

But I agree, there no reason for the AE-5 to not being able to do it, Unless they don't have the license to enable it.

I think your same post would give you an better response from the online contact, as long its under the 500 letter limit.
 

fliptwister

New Head-Fier
Can you explain your comment "Sadly there is no blu ray audio support as all the blue ray movies I tried, the audio was down-mixed to 16bit/48khz LPCM"

All Blu-rays I have played on my computer with PowerDVD 17 have 5.1 audio and they sound great. I'm going to my 5.1 speakers with the Front, Rear, and Center / Subwoofer outputs on the AE-5. Are you saying that Blu-rays are not being played at 96 kHz/24bit resolution? Thanks!
I have figured out quite a bit over the last day. Foremost, most Blu-ray movies only have a sample rate of 48kHz regardless of them being Dolby True HD, DTS-HD, or DTS-MA. Many of them are at 24bit but there are also a large number of Blu-rays that come only with 16bit/48kHz audio. This can be determined over at blu-raystats.com. There are only 33 movies in their database that have known 24bit/96kHz audio and only 6 that have known 24bit/192kHz audio. I happen to have one of each. Baraka is at 24bit/96kHz and the Japanese Audio on Akira is at 24bit/192kHz.

I played both movies with PowerDVD 17 and WinDVD 12. PowerDVD outputted at 48kHz with both movies and it would appear at 24 bits given the bitrates. WinDVD outputted 24bit/96kHz with Baraka and at 24bit/192kHz with Akira. I have screenshots of the audio/video information screens if you would like to see them.
 

bcschmerker4

That's bcschmerker4® to you!
Ye sure it hasn't 7.1? I've a Creative Laboratories® SB1550, and it supports 7.1 in a typically Creative way: Output 1 (TRS) feeds Front Left and Front Right; Output 2 (TRRS), Back Left, Back Right, and Side Right; Output 3 (TRRS), Front Center, LFE, and Side Left.
 

genclaymore

Headphoneus Supremus
Ye sure it hasn't 7.1? I've a Creative Laboratories® SB1550, and it supports 7.1 in a typically Creative way: Output 1 (TRS) feeds Front Left and Front Right; Output 2 (TRRS), Back Left, Back Right, and Side Right; Output 3 (TRRS), Front Center, LFE, and Side Left.
I'm 100% sure as I been using the card since the day I reviewed it. It's isn't an 7.1 based sound card, only 5.1 based. There is no option for 7.1 any where on the card, in the software or in windows, and the Virtual Headphone 7.1 output setting is still config to use 5.1 speaker settings. But that special headphone settings spreads the sound out to sound like 7.1. Other then that it isn't really 7.1.

The output's on the card are not design like the older creative cards that was designed in the way you mentioned. Simply an AE-5 isn't for some one who owns or wants to run an 7.1 speaker system, as they will be limited to just 5.1.
 
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