Creative Celebrates 30 Years of Sound Blaster with New AE-9 and AE-7 Sound Cards

Source: Creative 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 Celebrates 30 Years of Sound Blaster with New AE-9 and AE-7 Sound Cards - General Tech  1

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.

Creative Celebrates 30 Years of Sound Blaster with New AE-9 and AE-7 Sound Cards - General Tech  2

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.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

4 Comments

  1. funandjam

    Not going to lie, those cards do look nice, looks much better than the zx2 card that I have. Not that I need a new sound card, mine is a great experience, but pretty cool deal for the upgrade plan.

  2. razor512

    Interesting, 15% off of a sound card that is overpriced by at least $200.

  3. Subsailor

    FYI, the Audio Control Module on the AE-7 is not a separate amplifier, nor does it control the volume coming out of the card via software commands. It’s a variable resistor that when it’s turned all the way up, simply passes the current volume set in windows out to your headphones. You can turn it down from that volume.
    So in practice you have to set the windows volume to really high to give the ACM a range to work with.

    I have a ZXR card with the ACM.

  4. ipkh

    Good to see creative getting creative with their existing old technology. Sure is simple to slap on some extra filtering and high end capacitors. Kind of like how Motherboard manufacturers are doing it on the high end. EVGA at least doesn’t go for the crazy “multichannel” audio that Windows doesn’t really support anymore.
    Not that the average gamer/enthusiast even cares about it given how competent onboard sound is these days. With even good speakers most people won’t be able to tell the difference at reasonable volume levels.

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