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Creative Sound Blaster E Series is an External Sound 'Card'

By - Source: Creative | B 12 comments

Here are two external sound card solutions.

Sound Blaster E1Sound Blaster E1On Wednesday, Creative Technology launched the Sound Blaster E Series, which includes the Sound Blaster E3 and the Sound Blaster E1. Both are external solutions that can be used with PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets.

"With the Sound Blaster E Series, we are not only able to enhance the PC audio experience, but have gone beyond it. These devices capitalize on our high-end audio expertise, and give smartphone and tablet users the opportunity to experience uncompressed audio quality while on the go," said Long Chye Low, general manager for Sound Blaster Audio at Creative.

According to the company, the Sound Blaster E3 is a USB-based external sound card solution that packs Sound Blaster audio processing in a small form factor device. Customers merely plug the device into a USB port and then download the Control Panel software, which includes SBX Pro Studio audio enhancement technologies.

Sound Blaster E3Sound Blaster E3This device includes Bluetooth connectivity, allowing customers to pair it with a smartphone or tablet for up to eight hours of audio playback. The device can also serve as a USB-based Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) for uncompressed digital audio streaming from select smartphones or tablets. Two headphone jacks allow the user to share audio with another listener.

As for the Sound Blaster E1, this version is similar in specs, although it doesn't feature Bluetooth, and it's a bit more compact. This version also has a max recording quality of 16-bit / 44.1 kHz whereas the E3 model has a max recording quality of 24-bit / 48 kHz. However, its battery promises up to 25 hours of play on a single charge.

The cheaper model has a Signal-to-Noise Ratio of 106 dB while the Sound Blaster E3 has an SNR of 110 dB. However, both models sport a headphone amp capable of up to 600 Ohms, are compatible with Windows Vista and newer, and Mac OS X v10.6.8. and newer. Both support Audio Stream Input/Output (ASIO) for high fidelity and low latency playback.

For more information about these two new products, head here. The E3 model will be made available in July for $129 USD, and the E1 is available now for $49 USD.

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  • -2 Hide
    HumdrumPenguin , May 14, 2014 7:10 PM
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....
  • 1 Hide
    jimmysmitty , May 14, 2014 7:27 PM
    Quote:
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....


    I would believe it. Both my motherboard sound card (Asus Maximus VI Formula) and my SB Z both have a 600 Ohm headphone jack amp. My board uses a Ti TPA6120A2 and my SB Z uses a MAX97220A for the headphone jack. Both op-amps provide 600 Ohms and are pretty tiny chips.

    Everything gets smaller. If you compare a XB ZxR to a SB X-Fi Titanium, the ZxR has less components yet offers equal to or better sound quality and features.
  • 0 Hide
    chaosmassive , May 14, 2014 10:34 PM
    the link that you provided is 404
    can you put the picture here instead?
  • Display all 12 comments.
  • 2 Hide
    BadBoyGreek , May 14, 2014 11:44 PM
    Quote:
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....


    600 ohm sound cards are kind of old news, they've been around a while now. I have the Asus Xonar Essence STX which is rated for 600 Ohm headphones, and combined with my very expensive Beyerdynamic headphones which are rated for 600 Ohms, I experience severe pain in my ears once the volume goes above 50%.

    What I don't like about Creative is how they keep shying away from 1/4 inch headphone jacks, as very few of their cards, even high end ones, don't have them. Almost all high end headphones (and no, anything Beats by Dre is NOT high end) don't have 3.5mm jacks. It's stupid to have to use an adapter.
  • -1 Hide
    HumdrumPenguin , May 15, 2014 3:37 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....


    600 ohm sound cards are kind of old news, they've been around a while now. I have the Asus Xonar Essence STX which is rated for 600 Ohm headphones, and combined with my very expensive Beyerdynamic headphones which are rated for 600 Ohms, I experience severe pain in my ears once the volume goes above 50%.

    What I don't like about Creative is how they keep shying away from 1/4 inch headphone jacks, as very few of their cards, even high end ones, don't have them. Almost all high end headphones (and no, anything Beats by Dre is NOT high end) don't have 3.5mm jacks. It's stupid to have to use an adapter.


    I use the same Stx card, but I pair with the HD 598. I don't think it can drive much more than that. And I'm 100% sure this thingie from creative is far from powering up 600 ohm headphones.

  • 0 Hide
    Haravikk , May 15, 2014 5:23 AM
    I'm a bit disappointed at this only being stereo; I know a lot of motherboards these days come with built-in surround sound, but for Macs and other SFF systems a good, affordable USB surround sound device would be a huge benefit. The Omni Surround is nice, but it's not as compact and is overkill for more casual users who are most interested in good output (rather than mixed recording and output).
  • 2 Hide
    HumdrumPenguin , May 15, 2014 8:15 AM
    Quote:
    I'm a bit disappointed at this only being stereo; I know a lot of motherboards these days come with built-in surround sound, but for Macs and other SFF systems a good, affordable USB surround sound device would be a huge benefit. The Omni Surround is nice, but it's not as compact and is overkill for more casual users who are most interested in good output (rather than mixed recording and output).


    The main purpose of this device is for you to listen to better music, and for music you go stereo.
  • -2 Hide
    dstarr3 , May 15, 2014 8:32 AM
    I would love it if this works as a DAC for an iPod classic.
  • 0 Hide
    belardo , May 15, 2014 9:14 AM
    There is so little market for these things. With ATX standards and decent audio since 2001+... the Audio Card market has been dying for years. I have bought several Soundblaster cards in the past since Windows 3.1.
  • 0 Hide
    BadBoyGreek , May 18, 2014 11:14 PM
    Quote:
    I'm a bit disappointed at this only being stereo; I know a lot of motherboards these days come with built-in surround sound, but for Macs and other SFF systems a good, affordable USB surround sound device would be a huge benefit. The Omni Surround is nice, but it's not as compact and is overkill for more casual users who are most interested in good output (rather than mixed recording and output).


    Surround sound is only good for the movies. It's true that multichannel music has been around for years now, like DVD-Audio etc. but nobody at the high end goes with surround sound. Check out any super audiophile's setup, and you'll see that even those with the deepest pockets who can afford the best, most expensive equipment out there all use 2 channel setups.

  • 0 Hide
    BadBoyGreek , May 18, 2014 11:19 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....


    600 ohm sound cards are kind of old news, they've been around a while now. I have the Asus Xonar Essence STX which is rated for 600 Ohm headphones, and combined with my very expensive Beyerdynamic headphones which are rated for 600 Ohms, I experience severe pain in my ears once the volume goes above 50%.

    What I don't like about Creative is how they keep shying away from 1/4 inch headphone jacks, as very few of their cards, even high end ones, don't have them. Almost all high end headphones (and no, anything Beats by Dre is NOT high end) don't have 3.5mm jacks. It's stupid to have to use an adapter.


    I use the same Stx card, but I pair with the HD 598. I don't think it can drive much more than that. And I'm 100% sure this thingie from creative is far from powering up 600 ohm headphones.



    I previously had a pair of Sennheiser HD 650s paired with the STX card, and the difference when I hooked up the Beyerdynamics and set the gain on the sound card to the extra high gain setting for 600 Ohm headphones was like night and day. If you think they can't power much more than that, you really should get a 600 Ohm pair and see for yourself. Even reviews on high end audio review sites have all confirmed that the STX can power pretty much any pair of headphones out there, save of course for electrostatic headphones that need their own transformer.
  • 0 Hide
    HumdrumPenguin , May 21, 2014 12:51 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    600 Ohms? Nonsense....


    600 ohm sound cards are kind of old news, they've been around a while now. I have the Asus Xonar Essence STX which is rated for 600 Ohm headphones, and combined with my very expensive Beyerdynamic headphones which are rated for 600 Ohms, I experience severe pain in my ears once the volume goes above 50%.

    What I don't like about Creative is how they keep shying away from 1/4 inch headphone jacks, as very few of their cards, even high end ones, don't have them. Almost all high end headphones (and no, anything Beats by Dre is NOT high end) don't have 3.5mm jacks. It's stupid to have to use an adapter.


    I use the same Stx card, but I pair with the HD 598. I don't think it can drive much more than that. And I'm 100% sure this thingie from creative is far from powering up 600 ohm headphones.



    I previously had a pair of Sennheiser HD 650s paired with the STX card, and the difference when I hooked up the Beyerdynamics and set the gain on the sound card to the extra high gain setting for 600 Ohm headphones was like night and day. If you think they can't power much more than that, you really should get a 600 Ohm pair and see for yourself. Even reviews on high end audio review sites have all confirmed that the STX can power pretty much any pair of headphones out there, save of course for electrostatic headphones that need their own transformer.


    Well then, that's good news for me then. I was thinking about going for Audeze LCD 2 (3 is too damn expensive). Seems like there won't be a need for an external DAC/Amp