A New Creative Sound Blaster: X5 Hi-Res Dual DAC Sound Card


[H]F Junkie
Dec 19, 2005
A brand new Creative SoundBlaster card

"For a clear comparison I used the same testing tracks as with my Creative X7. I set the output to music and loaded up FLAC files from both Daft Punk and Pink Floyd. Its nice to put our custom Subwoofer to work! The audio is clear and warm with outstanding audio positioning. The sound is easily the equivalent of my aging X7.
One mystery is the lack of support for Super X-FI processing. This proprietary technology is supported on every other X Series product. I wonder if they are saving this technology for a future revision of the X7?
The Creative Sound Blaster X5 Hi-Res Dual DAC USB Sound Card is not only one of the most versatile Sound cards on the market, it’s also one of the best. With its dual DAC for balanced output and the surprisingly powerful Xamp bi-amplifier, the X5 easily handled both my gaming and audiophile headphones. Connectivity for my 2.1 setup only scratches the surface of what you can do."


Source: https://pcper.com/2023/05/its-a-new-sound-blaster-the-x5-hi-res-dual-dac-usb-sound-card/
The amplifier seems a bit undewhelming. 65mW at 33 ohms? My aging Stello HP100 headphone amp outputs roughly 1 full Watt at that load and I still have to turn it quite a bit up with low impedance but still low sensitivity planar headphones to get a good and loud volume out of it.

Sure this Creative rig is enough for most gamer-grade headphones and common high impedance Sennheisers but for anyone requiring more juice these days you can get quite a power houses in small packages from Topping or Schiit for ~100 bucks and have money left over for a good matching DAC. If this device does not even support X-Fi features then I do not see the point. You can do better for same money.
I'm curious. Of the thousands of different competent DACs available by companies dedicated to audio - why would you buy the gimmicky "gaming" one?
Software or amount of I/O for cost. Creative's microphone noise reduction is pretty good. I'm not sure about alternatives. If someone wants stereo output from their PC they're better off doing what Maza suggests and getting something from JDS, Schiit, or similar.
Last edited: