At the intersection where today's cutting-edge audiophile technology meets 30 years of Sound Blaster processing experience, we set out to redefine the best of PC audio. Paying homage to our audio enhancement legacy and our never-waning thirst to explore the possibilities of audio, the Sound Blaster AE-9 is quite simply the best PCI-e sound card we have ever made.
Marrying the best of hardware with a 129 dB DNR and 32-bit / 384 kHz playback from the hi-res ESS SABRE-class reference DAC and our very own Xamp fully Discrete Headphone Bi-amplifier, together with our critically-acclaimed Sound Blaster audio processing technology that has been refined and perfected over the last 3 decades, the AE-9 can be described with a single word — pristine.
And it's not just specifications. We have put in thought into every single aspect of the product, including the launch of a brand-new feature — the CleanLine Technology, engineered from ground up to eliminate voltage rail issues and isolate noise along the mic path for crystal clear voice communications.
The Sound Blaster AE-9 is built with the absolute best components to deliver pristine, detailed audio quality that would satisfy even the most demanding audiophile.
The core of the Sound Blaster AE-9 is the flagship audiophile-grade hi-res ESS SABRE-class 9038 DAC. It delivers an ultra-high DNR of 129 dB, 32-bit 384 kHz playback over PCM, DSD64, and an incredibly low Total Harmonic Distortion of -120 dB (0.0001%).
Our newest innovation — CleanLine Technology — is set to overthrow the need of an external desktop mixer that takes up the desktop's valuable real estate.
The CleanLine Technology is designed to filter and isolate noise along the mic path so you can truly enjoy crystal clear and uncompromised voice communications even while your GPU is pushing its limits.
High-performance GPUs pack heavy workload onto their boards, causing power supply ripple noise that manifests into audible noise and distortion when the microphone signal is amplified.
The AE-9's CleanLine technology features a specially designed circuitry and components that eliminates voltage rail issues and isolates noise along the microphone path that typically plagues internal audio cards. In addition, we utilize a differential drive for the mic signal to reduce the common mode noise that may be induced by other electronic sources.
The Sound Blaster AE-9 is designed to bring out the best in any headphone.
It boasts the fully discrete Xamp Headphone Bi-amplifier that amplifies each audio channel individually, delivering pristine audio in an unaltered lossless mode to each earcup regardless of demand.
The Sound Blaster AE-9 works with all kinds of headphones, driving audiophile-grade headphones up to 600Ω, all the way to sensitive in-ear monitors with its ultra-low 1Ω headphone output impedance.
The Xamp discrete headphone amplifier uses a dual-amp design to amplify each audio channel individually for pristine, uncompromised audio. It utilizes a push-pull output stage design to achieve good amplification.
Each audio channel (Left and Right) goes through 3 stages of separate amplification circuits:
Ready for an unfair advantage? The Sound Blaster AE-9 comes with Scout Mode, a technology that enhances important in-game audio cues such as footsteps and weapon switching sounds. This means you can pinpoint your opponent's location and predict their moves before they even know where you are.
The Audio Control Module lets you quickly control your audio settings. The large multifunction control knob lets you control your volume and switch between headphones and speakers. Users of different headphones will enjoy the convenient knob that allows users to switch between normal headphones, high gain headphones, or in-ear monitors. The SBX button lets users turn on and off Sound Blaster processing, which the large LED display allows for easy reading of headphone or speaker volume.
The Sound Blaster AE-9 is a pricey card but it does everything it sets out to do incredibly well.
The AE-9 is the sound card that made me believe in sound cards again on a conceptual level, and if that's not enough of a recommendation I don't know what is.
The built-in audio on your PC motherboard is usually just good enough, but sometimes you want to really get immersed in games and enjoy movies how the production teams intended. That's where something like the Sound Blaster AE-9 really makes a difference.
Easy to setup well performing card
I have had this card for a few weeks now and it still amazes me! I went from a WAY older soundblaster card to this and its a night and day difference. I do everything from listening to music to playing games with the occasional watching a movie and everything sounds so rich and clean. I do have the DAC paired with a pair of Sennheisers HD660S AND HD650. I thought the headphones were awesome before....
What sets this PCIe sound card apart from others is the addition of the Brown-Burr Op amps. After a comparative listening test, I found that the AE-9 possesses a pristine acoustic clarity across the full sound spectrum, which can be refined even more to the users tastes by swapping out Op Amp pairs. The included Audio Control Module means no more fiddling with cables behind the desktop. Top tier capacitors and gold connectors round out a superior feature set, yet at an attractive price point compared to other high-end PCIe cards. The AE-9 meets my DAW needs while exceeding my audio expectations.