Creative is one of those big names that have been around for the longest time. They have been in the sound business market for more than thirty years, and continue to thrive until today.
Today, the company continues its legacy by creating a sound card – Creative Sound Blaster AE-7. Designed with top-notch and premium components, it also includes the latest technology from Creative, which ensures that this is a top-notch product. The sound card defines a new performance standard in this category to give you the ultimate PC entertainment experience.
Featuring clean audio fidelity together with Sound Blaster’s audio processing tradition, the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 takes things up a notch. It will also put everyone in awe with its top-quality components. The product also has notable playback that massively exceeds popular desktop DACs and amps.
Today, we’ll learn more about the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 and see just how well of a performer it is. Let’s first look at what’s inside the box.
Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Review – What’s in the Box?
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 comes in a sturdy and nice-looking cardboard box that guarantees to protect the product while in transit. The front part shows an image of the AE-7 itself, and the upper-left corner displays “Sound Blaster AE-7”.
Underneath the photo are a few details about the features and specifications of the product, while the sides display other parts of the AE-7. There are more details written at the back of the box, providing you with more information about the product’s main features.
Inside, you will find the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 itself. But aside from this, there are other items included in the package. These include the audio control module, a quick start leaflet, and a warranty leaflet.
Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 Review
When we unpacked then installed the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7, it became apparent that the company listened to all the feedback from their community. Creative removed the Molex power connector and RGB implementation, leaving an appealing LED-lit logo that displays sheer class.
You also won’t find a front panel audio connector which can be a bit surprising to some. It isn’t until you realize that cheap jacks and cables are often used and are prone to interference and noise. Generally, it makes for a beautiful upgrade within the case.
Instead, the company decided to bundle the AE-7 with an audio control module. It is a separate breakout package with 1/8 and 1/4-inch jacks for the stereo headphones and microphone inputs. The module also has its microphone collection if you have some cans, as well as a smooth volume knob that is different from the output levels of Windows.
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 makes use of a Sound Core 3D audio/DSP processor and uses a PCIe interface. Its channels include 5.1 discrete speakers out, 7.1 virtual headphones surround sounds, while maximum playback resolution PCM is 32-bit | 384kHZ, DSD: DSD-64.
This sound card uses the ESS sabre-class 9018 DAC, 127 dB DNR, and -120 dB 0.0001% – THD + N. It’s also integrated with the Sound Core3D with the Dolby Digital Live / DTS encoding.
Creative used a custom-designed headphone bi-amp (Xamp) with an output impedance of 1 ohm while the headphone impedance ranges from 16 to 600 Ohms.
For its connectors, the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 has a TOSLINK optical out, a 3.5-millimeter headset/headphone out, a 3.5-millimeter mic/line-in, three 3.5-millimeter line-out for the rear, front, and center/sub. Not only that, but the AE-7 also comes with an external audio control module that plugs into the card’s mic-in and headset out.
Pleasant, Crisp, and Clear Audio Quality
Enhanced audio will only sound good if the components of the device are of high-quality. With the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7, you can ensure that every single element is excellent. This sound card has an ESS SABRE-class 9018 DAC that brings a clean 127 dB DNR audio stream that reaches up to 384 kHz / 32-bit DSD64 Playback and PCM. If you’re someone who demands pristine audio, the AE-7 will exceed your expectations.
The headphone output impedance is extremely low at only 1 Ohm. It supports 16 Ohm to 600 Ohm studio-grade headphones, as well as exclusive planar-magnetic headphones.
Encoding and Surround Sound
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 features 5.1 discrete surround sound for speakers. It sports Dolby Digital Live, 7.1 virtual surround sound for headphones and speakers, DTS Connect Encoding, and Surround Virtualization from Sound Blaster.
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 can take stereo and multiple stream sources to transform these into immersive theatrical audio. It does not matter whether you are outputting to speakers or headphones since the sound card supports discrete 5.1 on speakers and 7.1 virtual surround sounds for headphones and speakers. Switching between speakers and headphones requires no effort. For additional delivery choices to your external audio devices, DTS Connect Encoding and Dolby Digital Live are also available.
New and Improved Customization
With the enhanced Sound Blaster Command Software, you can do more audio customization. With a simple on & off toggle switch, you can enable or disable audio processing effects.
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 comes with the Audio Control Module which is ideal for quick access to the control knob for adjusting volume, 3.5 and 6.3-millimeter headphone and microphone I/O connectors. It also has an integrated mic array for perfect communication.
Take advantage of a complete suite of audio enhancements. You can customize the EQs and Sound Profiles, Bass, Crystalizer, Surround, Dialog Plus, and Smart Volume to improve the quality of your audio further. Gamers should not miss the Scout Mode.
Hardware Accelerated Audio
Adding the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 to your rig allows you to enjoy pristine and enhanced audio without stressing your CPU. It does audio processing on the card itself to reduce the tasks of your CPU.
With Creative’s 30 years of experience in audio processing, the AE-7 comes with Sound Blaster’s complete line of audio enhancements. You can enjoy Crystallizer to improve the audio’s dynamic range, Surround for maximum immersion, or Bass that delivers added punch to the audio’s low end. CrystalVoice is a technology that enhances voice for clear in-game communication and recordings.
Using the Product
When we used the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7, listening to music and gaming was incredible. It was easy to hear all the differences between the on-board sounds and the AE-7, which was great. The audio was clear and clean regardless of the stage presence in the track. Its precision and clarity were outstanding since we heard more detail and texture, which is the hallmark of Creative’s products, specifically their sound cards.
Despite the different music genres, variations are evident, especially with excellent quality speakers or headphones. With that, we recommend purchasing a quality pair of headphones or speakers if you’re planning to get the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 for your rig.
When it comes to gaming, results that we received were similar to the AE-5, but we did notice a more uplifting feel with the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7. Music was powerful, crisp and clear whilst also providing a rich listening experience. Plus, combat sounds were clear instead of sounding like the usual noise in games.
All in all, the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 worked well and performed flawlessly. We didn’t encounter any issues with it, and all the sounds produced, whether it was from gaming, music, or videos, was excellent. With that, we’d recommend the AE-7 to everyone, and we’re giving it two thumbs-up for its notable performance.
Creative do listen to their users and community since their freshly designed software, the Sound Blaster Command, received notable enhancements based on their feedback and suggestions. Now, this software suite is more user-friendly, allowing you to customize your audio easily and quickly based on your needs.
The Sound Blaster Command software comes with equalization profiles that are pre-configured for a variety of music and game genres. We aren’t huge fans of such effects, but we’re delighted that Creative included an option to switch these off in the app if you don’t want to use them.
There’s a Scout mode available which gives every gamer a one-up on their opponents. It happens by improving the audio cues such as footsteps by dynamic range compression without affecting the louder sounds. CrystalVoice is the brand name for Creative’s vocal boosting and input noise reduction technology, and these are also present, which makes things better.
The Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 is an unparalleled sound card that delivers more than what you paid for. It comes with all of the excellent features to provide high-quality audio that will make your gaming experience more enjoyable. Aside from that, it also makes music sound better, which is perfect for audiophiles.
A lot of people think that having a high-end sound card like the AE-7 is unnecessary, but we highly recommend this. For those who want to improve the immersive quality of your media and gaming audio, this sound card can do the job excellently. So if you’re looking for the best sound card in the market, we believe that the Creative Sound Blaster AE-7 is definitely for you.