Creative Sound blaster E5 - Headphone amp + USB DAC with OTG + Toslink + aptX + recording + more.

Discussion in 'Portable Headphone Amps' started by clieos, Aug 27, 2014.
  1. thefitz
    I'm using this unit at my office with IEMs and an external microphone, for conference calls and music listening. It's been fantastic with an insane amount of power.

    I was initially worried when I saw an output impedance of 2.2 ohms, which may be a little high for BA IEMs (especially multi-driver). My Shure SE530 paired fantastically, without reducing the treble beyond it's normal timbre in any appreciable way.

    My real surprise is how well it pairs with pairs with my Campfire Orions! The Orion has impedance on the bass that's super low (4-7 ohms range!!), so almost any impedance whatsoever can really thin up the sound (although that's not necessarily a bad thing to a certain extent). However, 2.2 ohms seems like a magic balancing point.
  2. illram
    Tried searching the thread, apologies if this was answered already: can the E5 transmit SBX surround processing via its optical out (like the X7?)
  3. gunwale
    maybe there is an option to enable that in the app. i will try it out once i get my mojo.

    i used to like my e5 alot because i can do many things with it but one day i suddenly woke up and crave for uncolored neutral profile...

    the e5 has alot of hiss from the 2 front ports and it sounded weird compared to like just laptop or phone.

    today i just found out that by maxing the internal software volume (need to use app under mixer tab), you can actually get the back the full dynamics.

    the line out port has no hisses at all. (perfect for iem)
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2017
  4. maddbomber83
    As a note, the line out defaults to have the Headphone Surround disabled; which may be preferential for music anyway.

    I've actually read through the majority of this thread and have a few questions. I own the E5. My headphone is a Denon AHD-2000.

    The March 1st 2017 version of the user manual states the following for SBX Pro Studio Surround:
    Provides immersion control of sounds not just around you, but also above and below for a full 3D audio experience. Hear the natural sense of audio depth, spaciousness and stunning 3D surround effects from your audio content. Enjoy an unbelievably true-to-life audio experience, whether it's over stereo speakers or headphones.
    To me this is essentially saying the E5 does Spatial Sound aka Windows Sonic / Dolby Atmos.
    [?] Does anyone know of a good test file / app that handles height data? I already have a 7.1 WAV file to test traditional surround.
    [?] How does Windows Sonic / Dolby Atmos play into people's settings on the PC? I use Dolby Atmos on the XBOX to output surround sound via the controller.

    I have a significant difference (1:3) in hearing between my Left and Right ears.
    On the PC you can set Left / Right Headphone Volume. I can't find where to do this on the Android APP. To make matters worse, changing the volume when not connected to a PC resets the L/R fader to neutral. Does anybody know of a workaround for this?
    [?] Expanding on that, anyone know of an Android App that allows you to adjust L/R balance?
    [?] Expanding on that, anyone know of a physical device that allows you to adjust L/R balance? I have the Sennheiser HZR-62 Stereo Volume Control; but that 21' cord is just insane. I also have an Alto Professional ZMX862 Mixer; but that is way to bulky. An uber small passive 2 channel mixer could also do the trick. All that I've searched for only have Mono Outputs. What I'm left with is Splitting the L/R channels, 2 inline volume controls, connected to recombine them.

    Some advice is needed on Audio Settings:
    I'm getting a bit flustered figuring out the best Audio Settings in various scenarios.
    [?] In a game like Diablo III there is sometimes a Headphone / Dolby Pro Logic option. Would this offer better sound quality than the 7.1 option? Diablo III is specifically hard to decide simply because positional audio is almost always chaotic.
    [?] I'm having difficulty getting 7.1 to actually sound like 7.1. Using my test file, I can clearly hear the difference between Side and Back channels when processed by Razer Surround Sound. Using various combinations of SBX/Control Panel, the Side/Back sounds either identical or, different but not positionally so. Any advice? Right now my best sound is using Razer for the DSP and placing the E5 in Direct Mode as an Amp only. I would really like to simplify the setup and take full advantage of the E5.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this. Any advice is appreciated.
  5. thefitz
    The USB host doesn't work with my OnePlus 5 Android phone - anyone having issues with the E5 and Android 7?
  6. siberianmoon
    Sometimes the device or the software goes bonkers and you need to reboot both your phone and the E5...
  7. thefitz
    I just got a Massdrop Pinnacle PX, and was somewhat underwhelmed when plugging it into my Fiio setup. However, using at the office with the E5 is a magic little setup that I can't quite explain! Plus, I like being able to turn the volume half way and not to 7 out of 50, like on most BA in ears....
  8. illram
    I also just got the PX's and in my E5 they sound pretty damn good. Better than in the E3. These are the first IEM's I have ever had where I can really hear a soundstage outside my head. For instance on the bus I occasionally heard things in my music that at first I thought were sounds from people or things around me at a distance. Very cool.

    I do notice a slightly less "full" sound--maybe a little more sibilant, and less warm, not sure why that is--via BT than via wired. It's very minimal though and via BT the sound is still excellent.
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017
  9. MoSXS
    Just wanted to stop by and say the E5 is working (so far) with the iPhone 8 Plus. There was a major issue with the iPhone 7 Plus and the E5 having all kinds of fun sounding distortion, skipping, etc. But so far it's working great. iPhone 8 Plus 256GB Verizon/Qualcomm version running iOS 11, E5 running the most recent firmware.
    trellus likes this.
  10. illram
    OK so I wanted to edit my prior comment by saying I AB tested the E3 and the E5's bluetooth using a FiiO HS2, and they sounded exactly the same. (Haven't tried wired yet, curious if my comment above that E5 is better wired holds up. I'm assuming it will!) This was on an HD800S. I really can't definitively say one was different than the other beyond me psychologically sort of wanting the E5 to sound better. I did it for about a half hour, I really tried to hear a difference but it was really difficult to find one. This was with by-ear volume matching mind you but it's fairly easy to volume match these via the software. (I own two identical phones and paired them to each.) Anyone else tried this?

    Just in case anyone is curious. I still love the E5 and its added functionality of phone EQ'ing and SBX pro studio capabilities. (For fun I also AB tested the E5 with my preferred HD800S preset vs the E3 stock and then it sounded superior.) Maybe I'll also try AB'ing both on the PC as then I can apply the same EQ preset to each....these are fun toys.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
    trellus likes this.
  11. siberianmoon
    I've tried to test my amps that I seem to have accumulated way beyond my own needs. Currently I own a Fubar IV, Denon DA-300USB and a DAC-less Aune X7s. And of course the Sound Blaster E5.

    In my opinion every amp sounds the same. Maybe some über class fake hifi is engineered to sound different just for the sake of sounding different, but every decent solid-state amp will probably sound just like any other.

    At first I thought I was hearing the E5 being 'dirty' i.e. my ears were picking up weird distortion that made the music sound sharp. This I noticed just by listening to music while doing other stuff, so I thought my perception might be reliable. Then I put the unit away and later on couldn't really pick up the same feeling. I think there is an actual minor bass boost with the E5, though, but that I'm willing to put down to Creative trying to please the gamer generation. Or maybe the E5 has a high-ish output impedance due to it's portable design, I don't know. I am under assumption that this would cause the bass to be more boomy.

    I don't think any desktop-size gear has any excuse not to have minimal output impedance except for swindling customers into thinking that the amp sounds different because it's freakin' HIFI.

    I haven't used my E5 for months now as I don't have any use for it. I got it from a sale and thought that I could use a portable unit to be able to test drive other headphones while visiting shops. For actual portable use I already own a pair of wireless Bose cans.
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017
  12. thefitz
    Bluetooth is a standardized lossy protocol - were we expecting a difference?
  13. illram
    I was curious if the amp in the E5 made any difference at all to the one in the E3. For BT at least it seems no.
  14. iL15hts
    After updating to the latest firmware (October 13, 2017) the volume knob doesn't work on any of my iOS devices. It works well with my PC and Mac. I don't know how to send a report to support team of Creative since I lost the box where the serial number is written. If anybody knows how to contact hem will be appreciated.
  15. Netdiver

    I am new, so I hope to do my best in not asking stupid or ten times question.
    So, I have a motherboard Asus Maximus IX Hero with an onboard sound card.

    Is that sound card "better" than Sound Blaster E5 in term of audio quality, surround, ... ?
    here are its specs :
    ROG SupremeFX 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC S1220
    - Supports : Jack-detection, Multi-streaming, Front Panel Jack-retasking
    - High quality 120 dB SNR stereo playback output and 113 dB SNR recording input
    - SupremeFX Shielding Technology
    - ESS® ES9023P
    - Supports up to 32-Bit/192kHz playback *6

    And, can I link E5 to the sound card then connect my Headset (Sennheiser HD 598) and does it make sense to use onboard sound card with its software then E5 to with DAC capability ?
    PC >>> onboard sound card >>> Headphone Splitter For Computer 3.5mm Female to 2 Dual 3.5mm Male Headphone Mic Audio >>> (line mic in) Sound Blaster E5 headset out) >>> Headset


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