Any info/reviews of the Soundblaster E3 and E1?

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by daegalus, Jun 29, 2014.
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  1. Daegalus
    So I am very particular about the way I want to setup my on-the-go setup. I have a pair of Sennheiser HD598s and I just purchased a cable + mic for them that connects to the single jack connection on most portable devices and laptops nowadays. I want to use them on my desktop when I game/listen to music + voice chat and I want to be able to take them on the go and use them with my phone and still be able to pick up calls or control the audio. Which puts me in a predicament as most of the quality DAC/Amps don't have mic. I would love to get into things with an E07K or E17 or even an E18, but none have a good mic passthrough. I am also a newbie to the whole audiophile scene and I am not as hardcore about sound as most.
     
    So enough of the preamble. I was just looking through Creative's site, maybe planning to get another X-Fi Go! (gave my other one to my GF) when I saw 2 new products, the E1 and the E3. The E3 doesn't seem to be out just yet, but hte E1 is, and they are directly poised to replace the X-Fi Go! especially the E1 which seem like a direct replacement. Also the E3 looks great, a bit pricier and probably not as good as a proper FiiO, but just from what I understand it seems good. It can function as a DAC/AMP if plugged into the USB or be a Bluetooth DAC/AMP for phones or PCs.
     
    The key to the E3 is it can be used to handle calls when in bluetooth mode from a phone. and on a PC function as a Audio Card replacement, especially if you use onboard integrated chips like Realtek.
     
    Question though, has anyone tested these, or tried them? They really look like the ideal middle-ground and compromise for a mobile setup. the E1 is out now, and it seems the E3 is on the verge or releasing but not quite out yet. I am tempted to buy both (I can give the E1 to my gf later to replace the aging X-Fi Go! I gave her that she uses for a pair of G230's from Logitech for gaming to connect to her laptop because she is too lazy to get a joiner cable to convert her separated Mic + headphone jacks into a 4 connection single jack.)
     
    http://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-e3
    http://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blaster-e1
     
    This would be my first AMP, and I can at least compare it to th X-Fi Go! as a dac. But even if I get these and try to do a review, it won't be worth much because I don't have much to compare to.
     
  2. ClieOS Contributor
    Have the E1 with me and will write a review soonish. Yes, it doesn't quite compare to FiiO in SQ, but I am truly wowed by the set of features Creative is able to build into the little device. E1 is an USB DAC, a standalone amp, has a build-in mic for PC / smartphone, supports for PC headset with mic and recording, and a set of software feature that will likely to please PC gamer.
     
  3. Daegalus
    Well that was enough to convince me to buy an E1 (hell I used the x-fi go for half a year as my primary card). Plus I had $30 in gift card value on Amazon, so I just bought one for $17. They are going for $40 on amazon.
     
  4. sleepykm
    Any real reviews would be much appreciated.

    Opinions comparing these amps to the Fiio E6, CMoy Amd PA2V2 are also welcome.
     
  5. sleepykm

    So how does the E1 compare to the Fiio E6?
    Looking to buy my first amp, so I'm asking. :grin:
     
  6. ClieOS Contributor
     
     
    The performance is roughly in between E6 and PA2V2, more or less, and lesser than cmoyBB. Just to give you some idea, the headphone driver chip inside E1 is the same one found in E07K. However, Creative is good enough to have two of this chip individually driving both headphone-out, so connecting two headphones won't degrade the overall SQ.
     
    sleepykm likes this.
  7. sleepykm

    Thanks. :smiley:
    That sounds like good news.
    Fiio is probably feeling the heat because of this... MicroUSB, PC DAC and ~20 hours of battery life are all points in favour of the E1.
    They should probably design an E6 successor now.... Portable sources like the One M8 and the G3 make micro amps look redundant...

    Hopefully the E1 will be easily available here in India as Creative has a robust distribution network here...
     
  8. Daegalus
    I just got the E1 and tested it out with a few songs I tested with when I modded my 558s the other day. I can already tell the difference. There are certain things I couldnt hear before that I can now. And it doubles as a great audio card on my PC. I just need to find my OTG cable so I can connect it to my phone. (it does not come with one). So far its a great buy for $40. I can't wait for the E3.
     
    I also noticed just now it has a built-in microphone, and with the option of plugging in a proper 4 pole microphone connection. And it can amp with a line-in source using a 3.5mm jack, so you can use it with any phone even if you dont plug in an usb and handle calls that way
     
  9. Pensel
    Any hiss noise on IEMs?
     
    I'm interested in getting the E1 but what wondering if there are any other good alternatives. It would be plugged to my laptop most of the time.
     
  10. Pensel

    Thanks. I have a Xonar U1 which hiss and it's so frustrating to use an IEM with it.
     I hope this won't be the case for the E1.
     
    Btw, how's the sound quality of the E1? As good as PCM2704?
     
  11. ClieOS Contributor
     
    You need to figure or why your Xonar U1 hiss. If it is hissing due to poor SNR of teh U1 itself, then upgrading will help. But If it is hissing due to dirty USB power, your next USB DAC might likely get affected as well.
     
    PCM2704 is the lowest end USB DAC in TI's line-up. The DAC inside E1 is at least as good. Of course it also depends on the implementation of PCM2704 that will affect is SQ.
     
  12. Pensel
    Thanks. I did some research on the Xonar U1 and quite a few reviews mentioned about unit hissing. So it might be a common problem with the U1 itself?
     
  13. ClieOS Contributor
     
    Maybe, never used one myself to know about it.
     
  14. Korso
    Not an audiophile, but I've recently bought an E1. No hissing for me with Asrock H77M-ITX and OCZ PSU (Tested in W8.1 and Ubuntu 14.04 with HD600)
     
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