Creative recently announced two new Sound Blaster sound cards, the Sound Blaster AE-7 and Sound Blaster AE-9. These are the successors to the previous Sound Blaster AE-5 that we reviewed before. Aside from having a step-up in specs, like ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC for AE-7 and 9038 for AE-9, both sound cards will come with an audio control module. The previous AE-5 didn’t come with any external module, just RGBs. No more RGB lighting with these two new model. They look more serious and professional looking, especially the AE-9 with its control module. Both sound cards now supports DSD up to DSD64 and audio encoding like Dolby Digital Live and DTS. The Sound Blaster AE-7 comes with an MSRP of $229.99, while the AE-9 retails for $349.99. You can check out more details from the official news release below.
Creative Sound Blaster AE-9 and AE-7 Sound Cards Launched
Creative Technology Ltd continues its legacy of revolutionizing audio with the launch of its most advanced PCI-e sound cards ever – the Sound Blaster AE-9 and Sound Blaster AE-7. Built with only the most premium components, and complemented with the latest technologies from Creative, these sound cards are designed to define a new performance standard in this class for the ultimate PC entertainment experience.
Up till 1989, the only sounds coming out of the PC were mere beeps. The same year, Sound Blaster was born, and PC audio was transformed forever. Since then, over 400 million Sound Blasters have been sold; and the Sound Blaster brand has become synonymous with the term sound card and high-quality PC audio – first for gaming, and then movies and music. With experience and expertise refined over three decades of audio innovation, Sound Blaster has continued to reinvent itself with the development of digital audio processing technologies. Each new innovation served to redefine what the ultimate audio experience really means, such as when it evolved beyond the PC in the form of external sound cards for platforms like gaming and entertainment consoles.
“The Sound Blaster philosophy is simple yet demanding. With every new product, we aim to break new ground in four key areas: technology, performance, function and platform. In our 30th year, we will make greater strides than ever before in redefining the Sound Blaster experience. The AE series, which represents our biggest leap in PCI-e sound card innovation yet, is just the beginning. Later this quarter, we will be introducing our latest addition to the “X” series of multi-channel audio external sound cards; it will be the first Sound Blaster product featuring Super X-Fi, our game-changing and award-winning headphone holography technology. And in the next quarter, we will unveil our latest products under the “G” banner of gaming-focused sound cards with better console compatibility and ease of use than before. Simply put, Sound Blaster makes great sound, and never stops making it sound greater,” said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative.
Sound Blaster AE-9: In a Class of Its Own
Sound Blaster AE-9 is Creative”s flagship PCI-e sound card, and it more than delivers on its promise to gratify the needs of pro-gamers and pro-audio users. It uses audiophile-grade components such as the top-of-the-range ESS 9038 SABRE-class reference DAC that delivers up to 129 dB DNR, PCM 32-bit 384 kHz sampling, DSD64 playback of lossless audio with ultra-low distortion and jitter elimination, and boasts Nichicon Fine-Gold capacitors, WIMA film/foil audio capacitors and swappable op-amps.
What really makes Sound Blaster AE-9 stand out against the competition is its CleanLine Technology, a new breakthrough in filtering a microphone path for clear and uncompromised voice communication. This latest technology features specially-designed circuitry and components which eliminates voltage rail issues and isolates unwanted noise caused by power supply ripple from high-performance GPUs. Sound Blaster AE-9 is the first ever to integrate this technology in its core, allowing users to forgo the need for a desktop mixer while still enjoying the benefits of having one.
Sound Blaster AE-7: Next-in-line, Yet Still an Audio Beast
It may seem to sport slightly “lesser” specs compared to the Sound Blaster AE-9, yet Sound Blaster AE-7 is very much a powerful sound card in its own right, being equipped with a hi-res ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC that boasts up to 127 dB DNR, with 32-bit 384 kHz sampling and DSD64 playback. Audio clarity is the order of the day, with a THD of 0.0001% which represents an upgrade over its predecessor Sound BlasterX AE-5, and also the competition. At its price point, Sound Blaster AE-7 presents an excellent value proposition.
Common Features for Sound Blaster AE-9 and Sound Blaster AE-7
- The Best Sound Blaster Processing Yet: Enjoy the full spectrum of Sound Blaster audio customization and enhanced audio realism with immersive 5.1 and 7.1 surround virtualization along with Dolby Digital Live encoding and DTS Connect encoding.
- Award-winning Headphone Amplification: The custom-designed, award-winning fully discrete Xamp headphone amplifier with push-pull design ensures each audio channel is individually amplified to deliver a whole new level of pristine audio fidelity in an authentic, unaltered lossless model.
- All-new Audio Control Module (ACM): Both sound cards feature ACMs built with user-friendliness in mind. Sound Blaster AE-9’s ACM stands out with a display unit for direct and easy volume control, a headphone selector switch supporting different types of headphone impedance, a multi-function microphone input port with +48V Phantom power and a built-in amplifier.
- New and Streamlined Software Interface: The newly designed Sound Blaster Command software sports a revamped user-friendly interface which drives Creative’s signature Sound Blaster Acoustic Engine through achieving more audio control customizations with lesser clicks.
Upgrade Promo for Sound Blaster Users
As a gesture of appreciation for their support over the last 30 years, Creative is offering an exclusive promotion to its fans – the opportunity to upgrade from their old sound cards with an attractive 15% discount off the latest Sound Blaster products. This promotion will be valid for all upcoming Sound Blaster products launched between now and the end of the year.
Pricing and Availability
The Sound Blaster AE-9 comes with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $349.99 USD and will be released in the near future, August 12. It’s still on pre-order status to date. Meanwhile, the Sound Blaster AE-7 comes with an MSRP of $299.99 USD and it will ship starting July 22. Both can be (pre) ordered at Creative.com.