The Sound Blaster X5 is a new USB sound card for Mac and other platforms to deliver high-quality audio with two DACs.
A digital-to-analog converter (DAC) can enhance audio from a Mac by converting the digital ones and zeroes into an analog signal. As a result, it offers better audio quality in a broader range of sound.
The X5 is the first Sound Blaster to have a dual-DAC design from Creative Technology. Two Cirrus Logic CS43198 DACs deliver high-resolution lossless playback in 32-bit / 384 kHz over PCM with an ultra-high dynamic range of up to 130 dB DNR.
The DACs can also decode audio formats in DoP128 and DSD256 for high-fidelity audio streaming. The Sound Blaster X5 also reduces audio distortion and offers a Total Harmonic Distortion rating of 0.00018%.
The device can drive headphones with an impedance of up to 600 ohms and in-ear monitors with a one-ohm output impedance. Another feature is a design upgrade for the Sound Blaster's Xamp discrete headphone bi-amplification technology.
With a dual-DAC and dual-Xamp configuration, the Sound Blaster X5 amplifies the left and right channels separately in isolation throughout the entire amplification chain, effectively eliminating in-circuit interference, noise, and cross-talk for headphone output.
Aud audiophiles can customize audio signatures using the Creative app, which requires macOS Catalina or later. Users can make adjustments with a 10-band equalization frequency graph, add on Acoustic Engine effects like Surround, Crystalizer, Bass, or Dialog+, or use CrystalVoice to improve communication quality.
The Sound Blaster X5 has two-way RCA and TOSLINK Optical connectors, one port each for USB-C and USB-A, and a 3.5mm microphone-in port with a mic gain knob.
It also has a 4.4 mm port for studio-grade balanced headphones and a 3.5 mm port for regular headphones. For wireless audio transmitters, the X5 also has a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver and a dedicated USB-A host audio port for connection to wireless audio transmitters, as well as external USB speakers, headsets, and microphones.
Pricing & Availability
The Sound Blaster X5 is available for $279.99 through the Creative online store.