Sound Blaster AE-9 Review


 Sound Blaster AE-9 Review

Our Sound Blaster AE-9 review has all the vital information to know if this sound card is worth the purchase.

In the past, sound cards were necessary to enjoy media and games on your computer. But as motherboard manufacturers began to include improved onboard audio, these cards have become less vital to PC owners today.

Today, these are still considered niche, and selected only by serious audiophiles or people requiring advanced features. Often this is only necessary when certain aspects and features are not present on the motherboard.

The latest Sound Blaster AE-9 follows suit and packs some serious hardware, but is quite expensive. This PCIe sound card can handle 32-bit audio, while its ACM (audio control module) comes with a built-in mic amplifier.

If you're wondering if installing this sound card is necessary, read our Sound Blaster AE-9 review to learn more.

Sound Blaster AE-9 Packaging
This Sound Blaster AE-9 review will focus on the contents and packaging of the AE-9. When it arrived, the sound card came in a simple, clean-looking cardboard box. It sports a white and brown theme that is quite minimalist and easy on the eyes.

The front of the box features a picture of the main board and audio control modules. In the upper left corner, the unit name is in large brown letters, while Creative is in the upper right.

Below the image you will find a brief description of the product and its functions. Besides that, you will find a list of some key features below the description.

The sides of the box provide more information about the AE-9. Additional images are also present, but from different angles to display each part.

Inside the box you'll find the Sound Blaster AE-9 and an audio control module. There are also two stereo to RCA cables, a TOSLINK optical cable, a quick start leaflet and warranty leaflets.

Sound Blaster AE-9 Review – Design and Functionality
This is the part of our Sound Blaster AE-9 review where we look at the features and design of the sound card.

If you take a look at the Sound Blaster AE-9, you'll see that there's a lot going on with it. For the sound card itself, it's usually a PCIe protected by a metal casing, which makes it look cool and interesting. Despite this, its design is functional and designed to reduce EM interference.

It would be better if your chassis came with a transparent window. Indeed, the Sound Blaster and AE-9 logos on a metal case will light up wonderfully. Beneath the metal shielding, the sound card houses ESS' flagship ES-9038-PRO SABER DAC.

To make things easier, this means that the sound card supports eight channels of 32-bit audio at 384 kHz. On top of that, it comes with a total harmonic distortion of 120 dB (0.0001%), which makes for some impressive specs.

The board has a few operational amplifiers often called operational amplifiers. These elements control the right and left headphone channels separately.

Additionally, ¼” and ⅛” headphone inputs are available, as well as 3-position impedance switches. These can handle a variety of things, from headphones to high-impedance and high-end headphones. Its ⅛” input supports headphones with built-in microphones, so the port serves as an additional potential input.

Finally, a huge versatile volume knob is present, which rotates continuously and smoothly without bumps. A quick press mutes the sound, while a long press switches between headphones and speakers. Hold this position for more than four seconds to turn off the light ring surrounding the button.

Key Features of the Sound Blaster AE-9

This part of our Sound Blaster AE-9 review focuses on the unique features of the sound card.

Clear and detailed audio
The Sound Blaster AE-9 features the best components to produce the highest quality sound. This sound card will satisfy even the most demanding audiophiles.

Technologie CleanLine
CleanLine technology isolates and filters noise along the mic path to deliver crystal-clear sound with uncompromised voice conversations. Even if your system's GPU pushes its limits, you can enjoy high-quality audio.

This technology includes circuits and components with a unique design to avoid voltage rail issues. Creative used a differential drive for the mic signal to achieve less common mode noise that other electronic sources can induce.

Incredible sound processing
Sound Blaster has been in the audio processing market since 1989. For the AE-9, it features Sound Blaster's full suite of audio enhancements. These include Surround for immersive sounds, Crystallizer for dynamic range, and Bass for greater bass punch.

Crystal Voice technology enhances voice for clear recordings and in-game voice chats. In addition to this, the AE-9 also supports Dolby Digital Live and DTS Connect encoding.

Brings out the best in headphones

The Sound Blaster AE-9 features the Xamp headphone bi-amplifier that individually amplifies each audio channel to deliver clear sound. It works with all kinds of headphones. This feature uses a push-pull output stage design for excellent amplification.

Powerful sound at every level

The AE-9 sound card supports discrete virtual surround channels 5.1 to 7.1. Its Surround virtualization technology is fully customizable and you can also turn it off.

Scout mode support
Scout Mode is a technology that enhances in-game audio cues, such as weapon switching sounds and steps. This feature allows you to easily spot your opponent's location and predict their movements, giving you an advantage.

Power at your fingertips
Many of the Sound Blaster AE-9's features are found in the audio control module, which sits on your desktop. The sound card works best with phantom-powered condenser mics, making it ideal for streamers and content creators.

Control and convenience with audio control module

The audio control module allows quick control of audio settings. The large multifunction control knob allows you to control the volume and switch between headphones and speakers or vice versa. Users of different headset models will appreciate the convenience offered by the audio control module.

The SBX button turns Sound Blaster processing on or off. A large LED display is also present for easy reading of speaker or headphone volume.


This time in our Sound Blaster AE-9 review, it will all be about the product specifications.

The AE-9 measures 178 x 22 x 127mm and weighs 230g for the main board. As for the audio control module, it measures 150 x 128 x 65 mm and weighs 480 g. The headphone amp has an output impedance of 1 Ω, while its supported impedance is 16 to 600 Ω.

The sound card uses Sound Core 3D audio technology and a PCIe platform.

Key connectivity options include TOSLINK optical input/output, ⅛” center/sub output, and ⅛” rear output. Additionally, it has a 6-pin PICe power connector needed for ACM.

For connectivity options, its line input has a ⅛″ RCA (L & R) microphone input (Mono), a ⅛″ speaker output (3 poles) and a ¼″ speaker output (3 poles) .

Finally, Creative has included a one-year warranty for the Sound Blaster AE-9.

Hands-on with the Sound Blaster AE-9

Now in our Sound Blaster AE-9 review, we are going to get more familiar with the Sound Blaster AE-9. However, before checking its performance, let's take a look at the software of the Sound Blaster AE-9.

SoundBlaster AE-9 – Logiciel

To take full control of the PCIe sound card, you will need to install the Sound Blaster command. This is an optimized version of the Sound Blaster Connect app.

The ACM only gives you the option to enable/disable SBX audio profiles. But if you need to select different movie, music and gaming profiles, you will have to go to the app. The app comes with user profiles for several games like Call of Duty, Global Offensive, Counterstrike, etc.

Here you will be able to create and personalize your profiles, while you can modify the characteristics according to your preferences. Items you can customize include dialogue amplifiers and virtual surround sounds. Plus, you'll have access to a full parametric EQ, which is cool.


In our performance test, we noticed noticeably cleaner and crisper sound compared to using our card's built-in solution.

Along with its other new features, the Sound Blaster AE-9 sounded excellent. Using this with our speaker and headphones only resulted in louder, fuller sound without distortion.

When listening to music, we heard enhanced bass that resonated and rumbled, but the sound was not distorted. Although the bass is boosted, it does not overpower the audio percussion.

For SBX, it worked better than expected. This feature placed emphasis on footsteps, gunshots, and other sounds that allowed us to easily detect opponents in games. When we turned it off, these sounds weren't as loud and pronounced.

Overall, the Sound Blaster AE-9 significantly improved our audio, so we give it five stars for its performance.

Sound Blaster AE-9 Review Summary

If you're looking for an affordable sound card for your movies, games, and music, the Sound Blaster AE-9 isn't the product for you. But if you're looking for a unique audio package that works efficiently, the AE-9 is your best option. Plus, it's a great choice when you're creating music or podcasts because it's the so-called jack of all trades.

That said, the Sound Blaster AE-9 sounds wonderful, performs efficiently and wonderfully.

To conclude our Sound Blaster AE-9 test, we highly recommend this sound card from Creative. If you want to get your hands on it, it's available on the company's official website.