REVIEW: The SOUND BLASTER AE-7 is a Sonic Revelation

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Specifications

MSRP: $229.99

Audio/DSP Processor: Sound Core3D

Channels: 5.1 discrete speakers out, 7.1 virtual headphone surround

Interface: PCIe

DAC: ESS Sabre-class 9018

Max Playback Resolution: PCM: 32-bit/384kHz. DSD: DSD64

DNR: 127 dB

THD + N: -120dB 0.0001%

ADC: Sound Core3D

Encoding: Dolby Digital Live / DTS

Headphone Amp (600Ω): Custom-designed discrete headphone bi-amp (Xamp)

Output Impedance: 1 Ω

Headphone Impedance Range: 16 – 600Ω

Connectors: 1x TOSLINK Optical Out, 1x 3.5mm Mic/Line In, 1x 3.5mm Headphone/Headset Out, 3x 3.5mm Line Out (Front, Rear, Center/Sub)

Aesthetics and Build Quality

Everything from Creative just screams the absolute highest of quality and the AE-7 is no exception. From the dark yet sleek and edged design to the gold plated highlights and edges, this is not only a gorgeous product but one of the best looking sound cards to date.

The looks are gorgeous but the quality is also solid with no issues in construction or in our testing whatsoever. This is a top notch sound card and for the price, you get what you pay for and then some. The control module is especially handy and well-designed.


Performance

Even though I appreciate the sleek and profession looks of the AE-7, the sound quality and performance is far and above the most important for me and anyone remotely interested in a high end card like this. I am proud to say that the AE-7’s stunning looks matches it’s pristine quality in the sound department. Whether blasted baddies in Battlefield V, listened to the heart pounding soundtrack of Avengers: Endgame or listening to the quiet sounds of some relaxing instrumental tracks, the AE-7 handled it all with ease.

Also, setting up, installing and using the card was a breeze as Creative’s drivers have improved immensely over the past several years.

Verdict

Overall, I can find very little to complain about when it comes to the AE-7. On the contrary, I absolutely love it and encourage all gamers, movie watchers, and music listeners (So.. everyone) to pick one up ASAP, The only reason for the ding in my score is due to the price. In a world of “motherboard sound quality is good enough”, the MSRP can be a bit of a pill to swallow and that’s about the only thing that may push consumers away. That being said, if you want the utmost sound quality in your games and media, the AE-7 is one of the best cards out there.

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