Two DACs Are Better Than One
The Creative Sound Blaster X5 looks more like a high end DAC or headphone amp than your usual external soundcard, and there is a good reason for that. Inside it’s 216 x 170 x 72mm (8.5 x 6.7 x 2.8″) body are two CS43198 DACs as well as a balanced headphone amp capable of 16-160 ohms, and it can be connected to just about any device you might desire. It can even send out an unbalanced headphone signal, if you prefer.
The connectivity includes just about anything you can think of including RCA, optical, 3.5mm, 4.4mm, USB A + C and even Bluetooth 5.0. You control it using the Creative App, which comes in desktop and mobile versions. The software offers the usual output switching and audio profiles for games and applications but also includes what used to be SBX Profile. Your headphones also get some special love, CrystalVoice gives you filters and effects while Smart Volume looks to finally solve your microphone’s level problems.
At $300 it isn’t an impulse buy, but for the features it offers it is not a bad value compared to the competition. Hear more about the Creative Sound Blaster X5 at TechPowerUp.