Creative Sound Blaster E5

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Ropay
Posts: 14
Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 12 Oct 2018

I am a casual user of Reason and am looking to upgrade to a 'once size fits all' device that also caters to music listening and gaming. For the last decade I've been using a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi which seemed to have decent latency for my midi keyboard and Yeti microphone (plugged into the line in port on the sound card via the headphone output of the Yeti). Creative gets an absolute thrashing when it comes to 'enthusiast' setups but I've never quite understood it based on my experience.

Anyway, I have considered doing a proper upgrade to something like the Steinberg UR22, Mackie Onyx Producer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Presonus AudioBox 96, M-Audio M-Track 2x2M. I basically want something that allows me the option of connecting a STEREO microphone (which the Yeti is) for recording guitar which I then mix in with a few virtual instruments. With my current setup using the Yeti's headphone output I would need a splitter adapter to send each channel to the respective inputs but this just seems cumbersome and a waste of the mic-preamps which I wouldn't use anyway. It is for this reason that, despite the above interfaces being roughly the same price as the Creative Sound Blaster E5, I keep being drawn back to the E5 for its simplicity (3.5mm connectors) and compact size along with the previously mentioned gaming and music listening needs.

I guess what I'm asking is, in a very convoluted way, if anyone has used the Sound Blaster E5 as an ASIO audio interface when using Reason, please could you share your experiences.
Even if not, given what I've said above, could anyone convince me of going the proper audio interface route or even suggest a compact audio interface that essentially just has line in and out, headphone out AND a dedicated ASIO driver (i.e. the Behringer UCA202 fails in the ASIO department as it seems to rely on ASIO4ALL which I'm not interested in).

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splangie
Posts: 167
Joined: 21 Dec 2017
Location: Park County, Colorado

Post 12 Oct 2018

I am using the Tascam US-2x2 and I really like it.

https://tascam.com/us/product/us-2x2/feature
Reason 12.7.1xx73391 beta

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Loque
Posts: 4665
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 13 Oct 2018

What's wrong with ASIO4ALL? You could try this with your current soundcard too.

What latency do you have atm and what do you need?
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

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QVprod
Posts: 2098
Joined: 15 Jan 2015

Post 13 Oct 2018

Proper audio interfaces work just fine for games. You'll get far better ease of use in recording if you're using something that actually built for it. Not sure why you're against Asio4all as it's pretty much the solution to your problem. With it you can configure the Yeti to record straight to Reason (via usb) as well as have the audio output routed to a different interface, perhaps even the one you're already using. If your current soundblaster card has decent latency with Asio4all then you don't actually need to buy anything for your setup to work as intended.

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bxbrkrz
Posts: 920
Joined: 17 Jan 2015

Post 13 Oct 2018

Ropay wrote:
12 Oct 2018
I am a casual user of Reason and am looking to upgrade to a 'once size fits all' device that also caters to music listening and gaming. For the last decade I've been using a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi which seemed to have decent latency for my midi keyboard and Yeti microphone (plugged into the line in port on the sound card via the headphone output of the Yeti). Creative gets an absolute thrashing when it comes to 'enthusiast' setups but I've never quite understood it based on my experience.

Anyway, I have considered doing a proper upgrade to something like the Steinberg UR22, Mackie Onyx Producer, Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, Presonus AudioBox 96, M-Audio M-Track 2x2M. I basically want something that allows me the option of connecting a STEREO microphone (which the Yeti is) for recording guitar which I then mix in with a few virtual instruments. With my current setup using the Yeti's headphone output I would need a splitter adapter to send each channel to the respective inputs but this just seems cumbersome and a waste of the mic-preamps which I wouldn't use anyway. It is for this reason that, despite the above interfaces being roughly the same price as the Creative Sound Blaster E5, I keep being drawn back to the E5 for its simplicity (3.5mm connectors) and compact size along with the previously mentioned gaming and music listening needs.

I guess what I'm asking is, in a very convoluted way, if anyone has used the Sound Blaster E5 as an ASIO audio interface when using Reason, please could you share your experiences.
Even if not, given what I've said above, could anyone convince me of going the proper audio interface route or even suggest a compact audio interface that essentially just has line in and out, headphone out AND a dedicated ASIO driver (i.e. the Behringer UCA202 fails in the ASIO department as it seems to rely on ASIO4ALL which I'm not interested in).
https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/a ... r_rt2.html

Ropay
Posts: 14
Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 13 Oct 2018

Thanks for the recommendations guys, I've added them to the pile.

@Loque, Latency figures in my Reason/Creative ASIO control panel are +-10ms roundtrip with a 176 buffer size at 44.1khz.
That's probably not good right in terms of the buffer size as I'm sure I'll probably start hearing crackling if I get too carried away with rack extensions?

I just didn't want to to use ASIO4ALL as my sound card has a dedicated ASIO driver and if I'm to replace it (it's starting to fail I think, rusted connectors etc.), I would like its replacement to have a dedicated ASIO driver as well.

I'm actually realising that my main concern is just LATENCY as I don't care about the mic preamps and fancy stuff that comes with dedicated audio interfaces. The Yeti has its own preamp I guess and I get to bypass its A to D conversion by using the analogue headphone output to my sound card. I would like to do the same with the replacement sound card/interface in which case, yes, the A/D conversion will be important.

However, returning to the Sound Blaster E5, the ADC and DAC seem to be pretty good spec wise and I probably wouldn't be any wiser when comparing to a 'proper' interface. Also, I like the fact that the headphone output impedance on the E5 is only 2.2 Ohms which goes nicely with my Denon AH-D1001 32 Ohm headphones. Not a single interface I've come across has anything less than 10 Ohms which is clearly geared towards higher impedance headphones that enthusiasts use.

Just to reiterate about the Yeti, I bought it because it seemed to get good reviews regarding the actual sound of the microphone itself AND the fact that it had a STEREO mode which is easily passed down a stereo 3.5mm connector to the 3.5mm connector on my sound card. Reason then allows me to select it as a SINGLE stereo source and bob's your uncle. The only other single stereo mic I could find at the time was the expensive Rode NT4.
I literally power the Yeti off a random USB port on my monitor so as not to even show up in Windows 10. I'm basically just using the hardware side of the Yeti and it seems to work great with more than enough gain and SNR etc. for me.

Anyway, I can make the Yeti work with a dual 1/4 inch line input audio interface (via the pre-mentioned stereo splitter to 2x mono) so I'm not worried about that.
I guess it's just the latency of using something like the Sound Blaster E5 over USB (my current card is PCI-E) that I'm hoping would be okay?

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Loque
Posts: 4665
Joined: 28 Dec 2015

Post 13 Oct 2018

I am not the super geek, but imo a decent sound card may help a little bit with latency, mostly in recording and sending it back to the speaker, headphone or have a direct-through. Yea, they may be faster here and there, have pre-amps, better AD/DA converter, standardized in/outputs, maybe more stuff. But imo a decent soundcard wont help that much with crackling if you use a lot of RE. The main thing is using a ASIO driver, because it is somehow closer to the hardware and therefore faster. There is nothing wrong with ASIO4ALL, and at some point i might using it again, because my Focusrite wont get driver updates anymore (yea, Focusrite that finger on my hand is for you) since they release a new device one month after i bought it...

+-10ms with 176 buffer on 44khz is quite good. The rest of your machine might be interesting. In Reason you cannot go lower than 64 samples AFAIK, which makes Reason somehow slower than other applications. I just did a quick test a few days ago with Diversion and that thing went several times faster with a less samples.

So IMO, your main limtations atm are Reason, your CPU+mainboard, your audio driver (if not using ASIO) and maybe your soundcard.

Again, i am not a geek. Maybe some otheres have more experience with different soundcards on the same machine. Maybe you can borrow a USB sound card from a friend to test it, if it is worth spending money for just a bit lower sample buffer and a few ms on playback.
:reason: 10, Win10 64Bit.

Ropay
Posts: 14
Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 13 Oct 2018

I think what I might just do is order in the Sound Blaster E5 from Creative/Amazon and if its latency/buffering in Reason is bad then I'll just return it (hopefully they reimburse postage!).
I think this is the only way I'm going to find out if it will suffice for my humble setup.
I just want something compact like and this thing looks perfect.
Thanks for the replies guys.

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bxbrkrz
Posts: 920
Joined: 17 Jan 2015

Post 13 Oct 2018

Ropay wrote:
13 Oct 2018
I think what I might just do is order in the Sound Blaster E5 from Creative/Amazon and if its latency/buffering in Reason is bad then I'll just return it (hopefully they reimburse postage!).
I think this is the only way I'm going to find out if it will suffice for my humble setup.
I just want something compact like and this thing looks perfect.
Thanks for the replies guys.
Let us know how it went. You could help someone else with your final decision. :thumbs_up:

Ropay
Posts: 14
Joined: 23 Sep 2017
Location: Chester, United Kingdom

Post 08 Feb 2019

Just to put a line under this, I did end up trying the E5 as an audio interface for Reason and the latency wasn't actually a problem at all. In fact, the good ol' Creative ASIO driver worked fine, my Yeti microphone headphone output into the line in on the E5, two sets of headphones on the dual headphone out, it all seemed too good to be true.

The problem in the end was USB noise making its way into the analogue circuitry. I could hear a high pitched whistle/noise (around 1.5kHz) coming through the line output when connected to my hi-fi system with the volume on the hi-fi turned up.
This also then made its way into the headphone output but only when I had the Yeti plugged in via its headphone output (and powered by my computer).

I'm in the process of returning the E5 (otherwise it's great little device!) and have bought myself a Zoom U-22 interface which works perfectly and was half the price.

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