(February 1, 2023) Creative's latest offering promises to be the audio equivalent of a Swiss Army knife. It's small form factor is packed with technologies to power your headphone experience. Whether its Hi-Res playback, demanding headphone power requirements, or compatibility with gaming consoles and entertainment systems, the X5 is designed to accommodate. And with a price of $279, your wallet will be just as happy as your ears.
Sound Blaster X5 is equipped with audiophile-grade components to achieve what the company calls "exceptional" audio quality. It's the first Sound Blaster to feature a dual-DAC design - 2 Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs deliver high-resolution lossless playback in 32-bit / 384 kHz over PCM with ultra-high dynamic range of up to 130 dB DNR. These DACs can also decode audio formats in DoP128 and DSD256 for high-fidelity audio streaming. Audio distortion is practically non-existent with an oversampled multi-bit modulator for an incredibly low Total Harmonic Distortion rating of 0.00018%.
From studio-grade headphones with impedance of up to 600 ohms, including the most demanding planar-magnetic headphones, to sensitive in-ear monitors with 1 ohm output impedance, Sound Blaster X5 promises effortless playback. Its Xamp discrete headphone bi-amplification technology, which is found in the Sound Blaster AE series and Sound BlasterX G6, receives a design upgrade that, coupled with a dual-DAC and dual-Xamp configuration, delivers a fully-balanced headphone output. A next-level design for audio fidelity makes its debut, using 2 dedicated Xamp circuits that amplifies the left and right channels separately in isolation throughout the entire chain of amplification, effectively eliminating in-circuit interference, noise and cross-talk.
Audiophiles with a lean to customize their own audio signatures can do just that with the Sound Blaster X5. When connected to the Creative app, they can make adjustments with a 10-band equalization frequency graph, add on Acoustic Engine effects like Surround, Crystalizer, Bass or Dialog+, or use CrystalVoice to improve communication quality. When in the mood for gaming, Scout Mode enhances in-game audio cues to highlight details for a competitive edge.
Sound Blaster X5 also supports ASIO 2.2 for low-latency playback and recording, as well as easy access to multiple audio inputs and outputs.
Creative's new DAC/amp is a competent audio hub in its own right; its versatility means it is also compatible with various devices, including gaming consoles, DVD players and other living room entertainment systems. There are two-way RCA and TOSLINK Optical connectors, a convenient USB-C audio and power port, as well as a 3.5 mm microphone-in port with an easy-to-access mic gain knob. There is also a 4.4 mm port for studio-grade balanced headphones, and a 3.5 mm port for regular headphones. All 3 ports use premium gold-plated connectors for better performance. It features a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver and a dedicated USB-A host audio port for connection to wireless audio transmitters, as well as external USB speakers, headsets and microphones.
The Sound Blaster X5 is priced at US$279.99 and is available at the Creative online store. For more information, visit creative.com/SBX5.