Sound Blaster X5 from Creative Technology is the company's latest USB DAC and amplifier sound card, and it has everything an audiophile could want (says Creative)
Sound Blaster X5 personifies the best of Creative's audio engineering and design expertise, equipped with audiophile-grade components to achieve exceptional audio quality. It is the first Sound Blaster to feature a dual-DAC design - 2 Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs deliver high-resolution lossless playback in 32-bit / 384 kHz over PCM with ultra-high dynamic range of up to 130 dB SNR. These DACs can also decode audio formats in DoP128 and DSD256 for high-fidelity audio streaming. Audio distortion is practically non-existent with an oversampled multi-bit modulator for an incredibly low Total Harmonic Distortion rating of 0.00018%.
From studio-grade headphones with impedance of up to 600 ohms, including the most demanding planar-magnetic headphones, to sensitive in-ear monitors with 1 ohm output impedance, Sound Blaster X5 drives them all effortlessly. The award-winning Xamp discrete headphone bi-amplification technology, which is found in the high-end Sound Blaster AE series and Sound BlasterX G6, receives a design upgrade that, coupled with a dual-DAC and dual-Xamp configuration, delivers a fully-balanced headphone output and experience on the X5. A next-level design for audio fidelity makes its debut, using 2 dedicated Xamp circuits that amplifies the left and right channels separately in isolation throughout the entire chain of amplification, effectively eliminating in-circuit interference, noise and cross-talk. What makes the X5 stand out even more is the fact that this type of audio design is a rare find in its price category (sub-US$300).
Audiophiles with a lean to customize their own audio signatures can do just that with the Sound Blaster X5. When connected to the Creative app, they can make adjustments with a 10-band equalization frequency graph, add on Acoustic Engine effects like Surround, Crystalizer, Bass or Dialog+, or use CrystalVoice to improve communication quality. When in the mood for gaming, Scout Mode enhances in-game audio cues to highlight details for a competitive edge.
Sound Blaster X5 is a competent audio hub in its own right; its versatility means it is also compatible with various devices, including gaming consoles, DVD players and other living room entertainment systems. There are two-way RCA and TOSLINK Optical connectors, a convenient USB-C audio and power port, as well as a 3.5 mm microphone-in port with an easy-to-access mic gain knob. There is also a 4.4 mm port for studio-grade balanced headphones, and a 3.5 mm port for regular headphones. All 3 ports use premium gold-plated connectors for better performance. It features a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver and a dedicated USB-A host audio port for connection to wireless audio transmitters, as well as external USB speakers, headsets and microphones.
With a set of controls designed for an intuitive user experience, Sound Blaster X5's front-mounted buttons and switches are easy to access and right at the fingertips for the audiophile's convenience.
Pricing and Availability
Sound Blaster X5 is priced at S$369 and is available at the Creative online store.