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  • Sound Blaster X5 Hi-Res Dual DAC USB Sound Card review
  • Sound Blaster X5 Hi-Res Dual DAC USB Sound Card review



    As an audiophile and gamer, I have long been a fan of the Creative Sound Blaster line. While many prefer an internal sound card, I love the versatility of a good external setup to swap between headphones and my desktop speakers. I have depended on my Sound Blaster X7 for almost 7 years waiting for the next generation of external sound cards to arrive. 

    The wait is over.

    Today we will be looking at the new Sound Blaster X5 Hi-res External Dual DAC USB Sound Card with Fully Balanced Xamp Headphone Bi-amplifier for Audiophiles.  The X5 is the current top of the Creative external DAC/Amp line and offers a fully featured solution for all your PC and console audio needs.

    The Sound Blaster X5 features dual Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs and a custom, fully balanced Xamp headphone bi-amplifier all in an attractive black and gold package. The overall look is clean with every function clearly labeled.

    Unlike my X7, the new X5 design looks like a miniature home audio component. It measures in at just 216 x 170 x 72 mm (8.5 x 6.69 x 2.83 in) and weighs only 879g (~1.9 lbs.).  I now have visions of stackable system of amps and DACS direct from Creative?!?


    Headphone Output Power (Unbalanced)

    • 98 Vrms (60 mW) @ 16Ω
    • 47 Vrms (65 mW) @ 33Ω
    • 11 Vrms (112 mW) @ 150Ω
    • 14 Vrms (52 mW) @ 330Ω
    • 15 Vrms (29 mW) @ 600Ω

    Headphone Output Power (Balanced)

    • 18 Vrms (86 mW) @ 16Ω
    • 90 Vrms (109 mW) @ 33Ω
    • 86 Vrms (313 mW) @ 150Ω
    • 25 Vrms (206 mW) @ 330Ω
    • 28 Vrms (114 mW) @ 600Ω

    Remote Control (BLE): Android devices, iOS devices

    Headphone Amp: 16–600Ω

    Dynamic Range (DNR): 130 dB

    Audio Technology: Sound Blaster Acoustic Engine

    Connectivity Options (Main):

    • 1 x TOSLINK Optical In
    • 1 x TOSLINK Optical Out
    • 1 x RCA Line-in
    • 1 x RCA Line-out
    • 1 x 3.5 mm Headphones-out (Unbalanced)
    • 1 x 4.4 mm Headphones-out (Balanced)
    • 1 x 3.5 mm Mic-in
    • 1 x USB-C port of PC/Mac/PS4/PS5
    • 1 x USB-A Host Audio-out port

    Headphone Amp: 16–600Ω

    Max Channel Output: Stereo

    Audio Technologies:

    • CrystalVoice
    • Scout Mode

    Supported Operating Systems:

    • Mac OS X v10.5 and above
    • Windows® 11
    • Windows® 10 Ver 1703


    • 2 x Cirrus Logic CS43198 high-resolution DAC
    • PCM 32-bit / 384 kHz playback
    • DoP 64, 128 support, DSD 64, 128, 256 support
    • THD: -115 dB, DNR: 130 dB
    • ADC: DNR: 114 dB, THD+N: -105 dB

    Power: USB-C

    Recommended Usage:

    • Gaming
    • Home Entertainment

    Creative is the worldwide leader in digital entertainment products. Founded in Singapore in 1981, Creative started with the vision that multimedia would revolutionize the way people interact with their PCs.

    Famous for its Sound Blaster sound cards and for launching the multimedia revolution, Creative is now driving digital entertainment with cutting-edge audio solutions, premium wireless speakers, high performance earphone products and portable media devices. The company's innovative hardware, proprietary technology, applications and services enable consumers to experience high-quality digital entertainment - anytime, anywhere.

    Since launching the phenomenally successful Sound Blaster sound cards and setting the de-facto standard for PC audio in 1989, Creative has been able to leverage on its leading-edge audio technology, a huge user base of 400 million, and strong brand name to expand into the exciting lifestyle Personal Digital Entertainment (PDE) market.