Creative Celebrates 30 Years of Sound Blaster with New AE-9 and AE-7 Sound Cards
Premium PCIe Sound Cards with Low Distortion and High DNR
While a retrospective on Sound Blaster and Creative’s importance to the development of PC sound would not fit within a short news post, it’s still pretty safe to say that as Sound Blaster turns 30 there’s reason so celebrate. Creative certainly thinks so, and to mark this anniversary they have released a pair of premium sound cards.
“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.”
First up is the Sound Blaster AE-9, which is Creative’s latest flagship PCIe sound card. It features high end “audiophile-grade” components (Nichicon Fine-Gold capacitors, WIMA film/foil audio capacitors, swappable op-amps) and is powered by the ESS 9038 SABRE DAC. It offers native playback of LPCM files of up to 32-bit/384kHz, up to DSD64, and boasts a DNR of 129 dB.
Creative is also introducing a technology they call “CleanLine”. The company explains:
“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.”
This flagship sound card will have a price to match at $349 – though this price does include the discrete Xamp Headphone Bi-amplifier.
Next up is the lower-cost Sound Blaster AE-7, which still offers impressive specs and is a high-end solution in its own right.
The AE-7 represents an upgrade to the existing AE-5 sound card with a 127 dB DNR (up from the AE-5’s 122 dB), and it offers the same 32-bit/384 kHz and DSD64 playback capabilities of the flagship AE-9 from its ESS SABRE 9018 DAC.
The Sound Blaster AE-7 is $229, and includes an Audio Control Module that offers a built-in mic array and both 3.5 mm and 1/4 inch headphone/mic connectivity. Could this card best the EVGA NU Audio card, which is also selling for $229 currently? We will have to wait for the reviews.
And to help sweeten the deal on these new sound cards, existing Sound Blaster owners can save 15% by providing proof of purchase. More info on the this offer at creative.com/upgrade.