Audio has never been the top reason for having a computer — it’s always been about what you see on the monitor screen. But thanks to movies and music and mobile devices, the quality of what you hear every time you stand or sit in front of a screen has become more important. Too bad then that the audio hardware hasn’t kept pace with what’s being seen. Which is why the Sound Blaster E5 is the perfect audio choice to have on hand.
The E5 is an external sound card in that you don’t use it inside your computer — instead you just place it nearby and plug it in to the device you want to use. Being portable and obviously having a lot going on, the E5 isn’t going to be taking its power from a USB port. There’s an internal battery that won’t need recharging until about 8 hours of use has gone by. Android mobile devices can even gain a charge directly from the E5 as well.
The E5 is outputting high fidelity audio, thanks to a top-of-the-line Cirrus Logic CS4398 Digital-Analogue Converter (DAC). That means a very high signal to noise ratio (120dB), with minimum distortion and “noise.” This also means that sampling rates reaching 24 bit/192kHz resolution is easy for it to attain. The E5 is decoding audio files, be they CDs, MP3 or others and what you hear supports the value of all that. Should you want, instead of sending the sound out, plug in a pair of headphones. Since there’s a 600 ohm headphone amplifier built in, that mean’s audiophile-quality headphones can be used. And since there’s another headphone output, you don’t have to listen alone.
Portability also means Bluetooth, so why shouldn’t it be included? It is, it’s Bluetooth 4.1 with NFC for quick and simple pairing. Plus aptX and AAC tech is there to improve on the quality of the sound. And while there’s SBX Pro Studio furthering the audiophile experience, the E5 allows for this to be easily turned off so that high quality lossless audio playback is not being affected. There’s even support for Virtual 7.1 surround, so those looking to “hear” from a lot more angles won’t be disappointed (gamers will enjoy the “Scout mode” which enables them to hear enemies from further away too). Want to record to a phone or tablet? Then employ E5’s dual mics. It not only has audio tech built in to smooth out voice recordings and calls, but automatically corrects for the mic’s placement for stereo, depending on whether the E5 is horizontal or vertically positioned. And there’s a mount for when it’s staying at home.
The portability of the Sound Blaster E5 allows for its use anywhere you might be: your laptop could be working in a library (hence the need for headphones), out at the park using a smartphone or tablet to pull down some tunes, or even in front of a desktop computer. The E5 has the inputs/outputs needed to take an audio signal and treat it right (it even saves audio EQ settings). The price also treats those looking for convenience, portability and most important of all, audiophile-quality handling of audio right too — it retails for $199.99.