updated 07:47 pm EDT, Thu May 15, 2014
E series amps offer high quality, external sound solutions on the go, in home
Two new inline audio solutions are coming from the audio solutions manufacturer Creative. The Sound Blaster E series devices offer sound options in small packages, intended to be used as headphone amplifiers and sound card solutions across several types of electronics including PCs, Macs and mobile devices. Both devices are compact, but feature two headphone inputs, built-in microphones, and feature battery life up to 25 hours depending on the model.
Both devices act as 600 ohm headphone amplifiers, with high signal-to-noise ratios to deliver more power than a typical 3.5mm headphone jack. Both models make use of USB connections to PCs and Macs, making their use outside of the mobile areas possible in more than one way. Internal, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries mean the amplifiers aren't limited to where they are used either.
The smaller model, the E1, works as an external sound card when plugged directly into a computer through USB. For mobile devices, the functionality is slightly limited, as it becomes a simple headphone amplifier. It contains a signal-to-noise ratio of 106 dB, and makes use of audio steam input/output (ASIO) to allow high-quality playback with a low latency. Battery life is able to stretch out to 25 hours, says Creative.
Building upon the features of the E1, the Sound Blaster E3 adds Bluetooth functionality to the equation, bringing audio playback to the device without the need to connect headphones to a smartphone or tablet. The E3 also functions as a digital-to-analog converter (DAC), allowing a USB connection for uncompressed audio streaming. Signal-to-noise ratio for the E3 is 110 dB, and makes use of the same ASIO. Battery life for the device is said to last up to eight hours with Bluetooth enabled, or 17 hours in analog mode.
"With the Sound Blaster E Series, we are not only able to enhance the PC audio experience, but have gone beyond it," say Long Chye Low, general manager for Sound Blaster at Creative. "These devices capitalize on our high-end audio expertise, and give smartphone and tablet users the opportunity to experience uncompressed audio quality while on the go."
Pricing for the Sound Blaster E1 and E3 won't be out of line from what other amplifiers either, with the E1 priced at $50 and the E3 at $130 when it releases in July.