Creative SoundBlaster E5 Headphone Amp
I’m honestly not too sure how I could break this up into sections. This is the first time I’ve even used a headphone amp. Hell up until about a year ago I didn’t even know such a thing existed, at least not a portable option.
I love music plain and simple. When people ask me what kind of music I like I answer ‘I like just about everything’. And for the most part that is true. I enjoy Blues (just about all varieties, Delta is my favorite though), Classical, R&B, Rap (old school, not this crap now days), Some Country (mostly the ‘rock’ country, can’t hang with Bluegrass though), Metal (not death), Alternative, Rock, Rock n’ Roll (yes it’s different than rock), and creative DubStep. I say creative Dubstep because most of that shit sounds the same Black Hole by Skism is good. Anyway I like what I like and it’s a very eclectic mix. I have different headphones that work well with different kinds of music. My M6 Pro’s are great for Classical and Blues, not so great for Rap and Dubstep. On the other hand my Sony XB950’s are perfect for more bassy songs. I say all this and just know I’m no audiophile, if it sounds good it sounds good…
When I started researching a portable amp about a year ago I found a bunch that would definitely do the job. I want to say the E5 came out right around the time I started my research. It was bigger than most but still portable. The other amps I was looking at mostly came from Fiio. Just so everyone knows I had a budget under $150 would have been great, but under $200 was doable. The more and more reading I did the more I wanted the E5. The many many features just set this thing apart, plus it can push 600ohm headphones. I don’t have any that require that kind of power…yet.
First you almost have to get this thing set up on your computer. I didn’t have a Mac to try it on so everything was done on a Windows 8.1 machine. Notice I said almost earlier, well that’s because the first thing I did was hook this up to my phone. I downloaded the app and had some fun. Right away I could tell a difference, before even getting everything set up my music just ‘came alive’. Everything just sounded brighter and crisper. Once I actually got around to plugging it into my computer I didn’t really notice any difference, still sounded great.
Creative claims 8 hour battery life, I’m not quite sure how to even start testing this. Maybe over Bluetooth? Yes this amp has Bluetooth. Anyway the reason I’m not sure how to test is because when it’s connected to the computer, that charges the internal battery. When it is connected to my phone, it charges my phone’s battery. Maybe I’ll update this later when I’ve had the chance to test the battery over Bluetooth.
Speaking of Bluetooth, one of the most amazing features of this thing. I paired it to my phone using NFC, that made it really easy. If you don’t have NFC on your phone you just hold the power button down on the amp until the light flashes white/blue, that puts it in pairing mode. While listening on Bluetooth I didn’t notice any degradation in music quality, which I was actually expecting. Something I haven’t been able to try yet were the microphones. Long story short the software can actually change your voice while using the on board mics. It’s a cool feature that I will try, just haven’t gotten around to it yet
Would I recommend this to everyone? No. Most people, including myself at the moment, don’t need a headphone amp. I’m damn glad I bought it though. If you love music you probably have more than 1 pair of headphones, and more importantly they probably cost more than 50 bucks. If you do then I would recommend this amp for you. If you like music, but you’re good with the earphones that came with your phone, then you would be better off spending your $200 elsewhere.
I know I missed some stuff, there’s just so much that this amp can do, but the main purpose is the amp and it does that job quite well.