Testing and Final Thoughts
The Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus is an excellent sound card. The AE-5 Plus looks great. I was never really a huge fan of RGB lighting but the lighting on the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus is subtle and I do like the addition of the external RGB strip. The design of the card is sleek and fits well into any system. Especially with the use of neutral colors. But looks aside, the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus also performed great. The sound quality was amazing and the AE-5 Plus powered my TMA-2’s with absolutely no issues.
The Sound Blaster Command Software is easy to use and very in-depth. I especially love the Scout Mode feature on the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus. It is a great feature for gaming. Especially in stealth games such as Theif. It allowed me to hear the guards’ footsteps from the direction they were coming in, giving me time to hide and prevent detection. Scout mode was also great for use with games such as Call of Duty. Again, it allows you to hear your enemies before you see them. Playing online, I was actually able to get a few kills with assistance from Scout Mode. I love the inclusion of both Dolby Digital Live and DTS encoding. I love playing GTA V with either 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound as you can hear some rather amusing conversations you’d not hear listening in stereo mode. That and during gunfights, you can hear bullets flying by your ear.
The AE-5 Plus is very similar to the original AE-5. So similar that if you had purchased the original Sound Blaster AE-5 directly from Creative with-in 90 days of the AE-5 Plus launch, Creative will allow you to return it and put the cost towards upgrading to the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus. This upgrade program is still in effect at the time when this review went live. For more details, go to the product page for the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus. https://us.creative.com/p/sound-blaster/sound-blasterx-ae-5-plus. So, if you’ve purchased the AE-5 in the last couple of months, it’s well worth the upgrade as you can still return the AE-5 towards an upgrade to the AE-5 Plus. However, if you have owned the AE-5 for longer than the upgrade program allows for, I can’t see spending an additional $149.99 on a new sound card just for Dolby Digital Live or DTS Connect.
But, if you’re not happy with your onboard audio and are in the market for a sound card, the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus is an excellent option. As for a score, Thinkcomputers gives the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus a score of 9 out of 10 and our Recommended Award. This reason for this not being a 10 out of 10 is the Creative undercut themselves with the release of the X3 external sound card that includes Super-Xfi for $30 less. But, if you’re looking for an internal sound card, the Sound Blaster AE-5 Plus is a great option. It won’t leave my PC until the release of the AE-5 Super-Xfi model that I hope to see one day.
- Amazing Sound
- Easy Setup
- 5.1 and 7.1 Surround Sound
- Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect
- In-depth Software
- Only works on Window 10
- No Super-Xfi