Sound Blaster E5 Review – 192khz external USB sound card for PC, Mac, iOS, and Android

Buy it on Amazon – (affiliate link) – The Sound Blaster E5 is a high end USB external audio adapter with 192khz output capabilities. It is compatible with the PC, Mac, iOS (iPhone, iPod, and iPad) as well as Android devices.

This device does a lot. It can play back super high definition audio files, it records with internal microphones or line in, is has a headphone preamp with support for high impedance headphones, it acts as a bluetooth audio device with aptX support, it can act as a line input for iOS and Android devices, and a whole bunch of other things I’m leaving out. In short there is little that this device DOESN’T do in relation to PC audio.

The key reason for owning one is to improve sound output quality from a computer. And it sounds great – very clean audio with no noticeable noise even with high end headphones. It sounds so good the lousy compressed music files you’ve been buying for the last 10 years or so will sound terrible running through it :).

This is one of those items someone who appreciates lossless audio will want to have. Although it does a lot of things the key feature is the output quality.

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DISCLOSURE: Creative, the manufacturer of this device, sent it to the show to review.


Ben Champlin says:

Great vids. Just found your channel. Does the DAC work when bluetoothed to an android phone or is it just using the amp?

FQrever Gaming says:

Awesome reviews!

Ashman Malhotra says:

i want solution for recording vocals/tuts. how is its quality or some other alternatives?

MrBrymstond says:

USB Audio usually has some kind of lag and can be a problem with recording software… When you’re overdubbing several tracks it’s hard or not so easy to sync the music when it’s out of time, so I’m wondering if you can sync this device with most recording software?

Al Newman says:

Excellent Review very detailed

Amretjeet Singh says:


Photon Torpedoes says:

Maybe list the dac and other actual component related info if it meant to be aimed at audiophiles. If there is no info on that than you can bet its just a pretty box with $5 worth of electronics in it.

David Restrepo says:

Hi, can it work fully with a 5.1 speakers system (Onkyo HT-S6500 5.1 + Win 10) ?

CrazyCoconut says:


Will Bloom says:

Can this dac/amp be used to create virtual surround sound for movies etc? I don’t play games on PC but I do use Netflix etc on my laptop PC. Will this device create a virtual surround audio environment in my headphones? Can I use the 3.5 mm audio jack or do I need to use the usb output, assumingly with the software suite? Has anyone tried this?

TheBurton says:

Very nice in-depth review , great work! 🙂

DTSocietyTV says:

you sound exactly like ZackScottGames…its crazy lol

geopornos777 says:

Headphone outputs provide better quality sound than optical out?

acrid Axid says:

One of the problems you’ll encounter with a device like this is that Windows uses DirectSound by default, which is a sort-of ‘buffer’ that programs can send audio streams into.  DirectSound then resamples all audio to 44.1kHz/16-bit audio before sending it out.  To get high resolution audio out of Windows, you need to use an alternate method called Windows Audio Session API (WASAPI).  Only a few players can do this; Kodi can do it out of the box, and foobar2000 is more traditional media library manager/playback application for desktops, though you need to install an additional plugin.

Most high-end DACs have some way of showing you what bitrate it is receiving. My Cambridge Audio Azur 551r receiver shows it on its display when you press ‘Info’ on the remote, while my Sony UDA-1 has some LEDs that turn on when a high-resolution audio stream is detected.  It doesn’t seem like this device does, so you might be a bit in the dark about what the device is seeing (for example, your player software will display “88kHz/24-bit” as the file’s bitrate, but if your configuration is wrong, Windows might be resampling that back down to (worst case) slightly less than CD quality!  What’s the point!  🙂

It might be really interesting for you to make a video that demonstrates correctly configuring some software to use WASAPI, and also doing a comparison to see if you can tell a difference between the two configurations.

Bum Booz says:

This guy is amazing. I’m not dumb but this guy just explains stuff so straightforward and plain it makes my life so much easier. I can’t count how many times I decided to buy some stuff because of his video. Like(again) but not subscribed(already did :))

Hedgehog's Right of Passage says:

-I’m confused. My whole audio system is listening to music on youtube with Sennheiser RS 195 headphones on my pc which has a Asus soundcard. I had bought an Asus 7u external soundcard but after re-uploading to Windows 7 it somehow made the u7 useless as thousands of us know….My 2 year old pc doesn’t have optical input or output which I had on the Asus u7. So I connect the Sennheiser wireless into the pc and OPTICAL would make a better audio connection. Does someone know what I could or should use to make the optical connection being that it’s wireless? Thanks

Gaurav Singh says:

can i use in raspberrypi pi3 with android OS lollipop

Kappi1997 says:

How can i find out if my phone works with this dac(over micro usb)? I’am using an honor 7 from huawei

Al X says:

I love soundblaster stuff.

Artur Wieczorek says:

Hi. I want to make little multimedia room. I need equalizer and all these stuff Sound Blaster offer like Crystalizer etc. I want to plug device to Nvidia Shield Tv. This device have option to save setting from PC, coz i dont know if i will be able to get Sound Blaster E5 software to Nvidia Shield TV. Did it works with Nvidia Shield Tv? Sorry for my crapy English 🙂

Algirdas K says:

Could i connect this device to my stereo amp? why a 3,5mm output jack means “optical”?

Julian Stanelle says:

Comprehensive, detailed, professional, helpful review. Subscribed 🙂

Charlie Andrews says:

Hi Lon,
Great video and thanks for posting.
Just want to ask, I’m using a mac and I’ve installed windows in order that I can use Paltalk chat program.
Nowadays, a lot of people are playing music through their soundcard via stereo mix and talking through a mic port at the same time.
Would Sound Blaster E5 support stereo mix within Recording/Playback devices within windows or is the USB port to connect to a pc just for charging?
Hope I’ve explained it well.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.

HeyGuysHave121 says:

Hi, Kindly help me and explain. what I want is to get the audio from the laptop via USB cable and put the audio into that sound blaster than take the sound out from the sound blaster and send it to the amplifier using RCA cables, as I have RCA ports at the back of my amplifier. I want to use it for Karaoke, currently I am using 1/8 Inch jack from Laptop to RCA in my amplifier, but today I saw a video on you tube, and someone said that if you use the sound card that would enable you to use USB cable instead of 1/8 Inch jack therefore you the quality of the sound will improve, so please advise me whether this product suitable for that purpose, would I be able to use it with RCA cable to send sound to my amplifier with it?

Terrance Peterson says:

I think I saw an NFC icon. What does that do when you tap it with a smartphone?

Mac G. says:

Is this recognised as a standard USD DAC or do you need to use the utility?
If it is, this should also work on Linux

Archangel Gabriel says:

Thanks for the video, i have a siberia v2 heat orange, and it has a usb port, does it work with this device? and what’s the use of the usb host socket please? thanks

Eric Brunhammer says:

I have always been a Sound Blaster fan too.  But one of the selling points to the motherboard that I bought for my i5-4960K build was that it has a Roland sound chip on a secluded section of the board with proper EMI shielding and filtering.  It probably doesn’t sound as good as this Sound Blaster device, but the best sounding onboard sound I have ever heard.

Gaspare says:

i want to plug it with USB to my pc and listen to music and mix it with vdj etc… is it good for what i’m looking for? sorry for my english i’m italian

Adam Galambos says:

Thanks Lon, Your videos are informative, clear and persuasive. I always come back to check what you’ve uploaded. Thanks!

saki2789 says:

Este tío es agobiante, lo siento no puedo terminar de ver el video.

ricky stewart says:


Digiphex Electronics says:

OPPO does all this and also plays DSD. This won’t play DSD.

RSakkia says:

Thanks for the review Lon, I’m curious about the day to day portability of this. What’s the battery life like? And would it worth it to lug around or just stick with your regular mobile device?

Anwar Hussain says:

Great review…

Patrick Lorenzen says:

I just bought a pair of Sennheiser PXC550’s with built-in mic. If I plug my phone into the E5 via usb, will the phone-mic go to the headphones? So I can recieve calls?

Crusader Skillz says:

Hi! Great review!
How will you say the E5 performs against its competition in terms of pure soundquality(specially music)?
Thanks in advance! 🙂

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