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Creative Sound Blaster AE-9: Old Name, New Ideas

Gavin Phillips 05-09-2019

Sound card pioneers Creative arrive at IFA 2019 with a fresh range of high quality audio products.


The Creative Sound Blaster AE-9 is their most advanced PCI-e sound card released to date, coming with a separate Audio Control Module with multiple input types. The AE-9 sound card itself features an ESS SABRE-class DAC Amp which offers 129 dB DNR & THD with 32-bit, 384 kHz playback to produce a crisp, clean range of sound.

creative sound blaster ae-9 front

The AE-9 has two standout features. First, the AE-9 comes equipped with Creative’s new CleanLine Technology. CleanLine Technology aims to drastically reduce power supply noise and other feedback while using the sound card, something that other PCI-e sound cards can struggle with. The addition of CleanLine Technology will, in theory, allow creators to leave behind additional desktop mixers, meaning you have one less piece of audio technology cluttering your desk.

Second, the AE-9 Audio Control Module is equipped with an XLR input with an integrated +48V Phantom Power Button to give you greater control over your audio input. Finally, the AE-9 also packs in Creative’s award winning Xamp, a fully discrete headphone bi-amplifier that amplifies each audio channel individually.

Creative’s new audio hardware doesn’t stop there. The Creative Sound Blaster X3 is a high resolution 7.1 multi-channel DAC Amp with 32-bit, 192 kHz playback complete with custom equalizers. But the biggest takeaway from the X3 is the introduction of Creative’s Super X-Fi, a personalized audio mapping tool that calibrates the audio output to match your head.


creative sound blaster x3

That’s right; a personalized head mapping tool that enables the X3 to create individual sound mapping based upon your head. Personalized audio mapping is prohibitively expensive for the most part, restricting it to only the most discerning audiophiles or those with a jolly large budget. Creative’s Super X-Fi brings the power of personalization into your home via a mobile app and better still, is completely free with the X3 and specific Creative headphones, such as the Creative SXFI Theater.

creative sxfi theater headphone

We had a hands on experience with the Creative Sound Blaster AE-9, the X3, and the SXFI Theater headphones at IFA 2019. Unfortunately, a noisy tech conference floor isn’t the best place to test audio technology, even if that tech is as exceptional as we saw. Still, the new audio hardware from Creative is pushing the boundaries of audio technology forward, very much in keeping with Creative’s rich audio hardware history.

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