Prime-end audio enthusiasts after all were given the eye they craved this week when Ingenious Labs confirmed off its upcoming $300 Sound BlasterX AE-Nine sound card.
Geared toward a extra discriminating elegance of audio listeners, the AE-Nine options such audiophile options as replaceable operational amplifiers, or opamps, to music the flavour of sound from the cardboard.
Following the creation of the gaming-focused Sound BlasterX AE-Fiveand Sound BlasterX AE-Five Natural remaining 12 months, the AE-Nine kicks it up a notch or two.
Even though nonetheless according to the similar Sound Core three-D chip because the AE-Five and AE-Five Natural, the AE-Nine jettisons the on-chip virtual analog converter, or DAC, in choose of an exterior DAC. The idea being high-end DAC will make the sound much more pristine.
Ingenious officers stated the cardboard is rated at a 129dB signal-to-noise ratio and makes use of an ESS Sabre 32 virtual analog converter. For the reason that AE-Five and AE-Five Natural each use an ESS ES9016 DAC, we determine the AE-Nine is a step as much as possibly a Professional ESS DAC.
Audio-fidelity other people will recognize how the AE-Nine provides them regulate over the operational amplifiers, which will also be combined and paired for desired tuning.
Just like the AE-Five playing cards, the AE-Nine options XAMP, which amplifies each and every stereo channel of headphones out one at a time as smartly.
In a primary for a valid card—the AE-Nine is determined by a 6-pin PCIe connector for energy. That’s as much as 75 watts of energy for the AE-Nine. But even so direct energy being cleaner, the added energy for the cardboard is to lend a hand run the ports at the new breakout field.
The new breakout box features a single combo jack that supports both TRS and XLR connectors for microphones and 48-volt phantom power. The mic jack is a nod to musicians and likely YouTubers who prefer very high-end microphones.
The front features a 3.5mm mic and headphone port along with a quarter-inch headphone jack. There’s a button to enable 48-volt phantom power and what looks to be a switch for high-impedance headphones. The SBX lets you control the 3D virtualization technology without going into software. The knob, obviously, is for volume.
The back of the breakout box features a pair of RCA-style connections that we’d guess are analog-in for those times when you want to record audio from, say, FM radio, which is how people used to do it.
The cable that connects the breakout box to the sound card looks like it appropriated a mini-HDMI connector. We suspect it’s not electrically the same (since it doesn’t carry video) but it’s not uncommon for companies to use existing parts as a shortcut to avoid creating something new. Since mini-HDMI pretty much went nowhere, it’s unlikely to ever get mixed up.
At $299, the AE-9 is a pricey sound card. With a decent video card selling for the same or less, this card isn’t for the typical gamer. Officials said to expect the card on store shelves by the end of the month.
If you want to see the unofficial world-wide debut of the card, tune in to our video show The Full Nerd to see Creative Labs’ Ryan Schlieper unveil the card and talk about the company’s highly touted Super X-Fi too.