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Creative Sound Blaster E3 Portable USB DAC Headphone Amplifier with Bluetooth and NFC
- High quality headphone amplification for headphones up to 600 ohm and 112dB DAC
- Connect the Sound Blaster E3 to your smart phone or tablets via USB for incredibly high audio streaming quality
- Conveniently connect to smart phones or tablets via Bluetooth
- Users with NFC-enabled phones can pair and connect to the Sound Blaster E3 by simply tapping the two together
- Up to 8 hours of Bluetooth audio streaming or 17 hours of analog audio playback (varies with use, settings and environment)
- Connectivity: Dual Headphone-Out, Mic In (applicable on desktop mode Only), Line In, USB
- Built-in Microphone
- Buttons Control: Power/Bluetooth, Volume, Next track/Forward, Previous track/Rewind, Call Answer/Play/Pause
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From the manufacturer
HD Headphone Amplifier with Enhanced Audio Quality via Bluetooth!
The Sound Blaster E3 is a headphone amplifier that gives you high audio quality performance with music streaming wirelessly to your smart mobile devices. It supports USB audio streaming from the smart mobile devices as well, providing a higher grade of quality than Bluetooth.
Enjoy Wireless Freedom via Bluetooth
Free up your phone. Music is streamed via Bluetooth (without wires) to the Sound Blaster E3. So even if you chuck your phone into your bag, you can control the music playback, as well as the volume, remotely via the Sound Blaster E3. When a phone call comes in, a simple press of a button on the Sound Blaster E3 allows you to answer the call.
Studio Quality Audio - with 600ohm Headphone Support
The built-in headphone amplifier supports up to 600ohm, so there are no limits to the type of headphones you can pair with the Sound Blaster E3.
What's in the Box
- Sound Blaster E3
- Micro USB-to-USB cable (length 3.28ft)
- 4-Pole analog cable (length 2.62 ft)
- Quickstart leaflet
- Warranty leaflet
- On-the-go cable
For Quality Digital Audio On-the-Go!
Sound Blaster E3 functions as a portable USB DAC, which means you can connect it to selected smartphones or tablets via USB cable (OTG cable required) for uncompressed digital audio streaming.
iOS: iPhones/iPads running iOS 5.0 or higher for Bluetooth, iPhones/iPads running iOS 7.0 or higher for USB Host, Audio streaming via Lightning port
Android: Phones/Tablets running Android 2.3 or higher for Bluetooth
On PC platform: Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD equivalent processor at 2.8 GHz, Microsoft Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows Vista, 1GB RAM, 600MB free hard disk space, Internet connection, USB2.0 port
On Mac Platform: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.8GHz, Mac OS 10.6 & above, 1GB RAM, 600MB free hard disk space, Internet connection, USB2.0 port
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|Item Dimensions||4.13 x 1.85 x 5.51 in||1 x 2 x 0.5 in||0.94 x 0.63 x 1.97 in||3.11 x 1.26 x 0.43 in||1.57 x 0.39 x 1.57 in||6.5 x 5.12 x 3.94 in|
The Sound Blaster E3 is a USB DAC and headphone amplifier with Bluetooth that connects to smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth or NFC. It also supports high quality audio streaming from smartphones via USB. It has a 600ohm headphone amplifier, a 112dB DAC, and users can access the advanced SBX Pro Studio suite of audio enhancement technologies when connected to PCs and Macs. Enjoy a previously unreachable audio listening experience from your smartphones and PCs. The Sound Blaster E3 features amplification for headphones up to 600ohm and 112dB DAC, so you're ensured audio fidelity of the highest grade. Users can connect the Sound Blaster E3 to their smart phones or tablets via USB for incredibly high audio streaming quality, plus enjoy the freedom of wireless connectivity! The Sound Blaster E3 can conveniently connect to smart phones or tablets via Bluetooth, and users with NFC-enabled phones can pair and connect to the Sound Blaster E3 by simply tapping the two together.
Top customer reviews
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The E3 is a great and versatile device. I use it with my computer via USB and with my smartphone via Bluetooth. As my V10 supports aptx, I can't tell much difference between using the USB OTG cable and bluetooth. Although, from prior experience, bluetooth without aptx is not as good as OTG USB. The device is so small and light that it can clip to my shirt or my jeans and I barely notice it. In fact, I have more problems with deciding what to do with the headphone cord than the device itself.
Regarding sound quality, I'm impressed. The E3 sounds just as good as my V10, which, if you read the headfi forums, is lauded for sounding almost as good as audiophile portable players. The bass is strong and the sound balanced across the spectrum and the soundstage spacious (especially compared to the sound from my laptop). The E3 also drives DT 880 250 Ohm easily (which some smartphones amps can't do). But I listen on lower volumes typically and don't think I even have it at half volume most of the time.
In conclusion, not sure if I could do without this now. Hope this helps!
As usual, Creative's software is fast, bug-free and adds meaningful value to the product. The "Surround" effect adds a weird high-frequency whining sound, but the other settings awesome (most notably, a bass boost with configurable crossover frequency, a 10-band equalizer, and adjustable gain disguised as a "level" slider in the EQ settings)
The bass is definitely a tad recessed, but the DSP settings make it an easy problem to fix. This is also a byproduct of the high-impedance headphones I'm using- lower impedance headphones generally don't affect frequency response as much.
I have powerful DAC/Headphone amp, and a simple but effective and beneficial DSP. For $40. That's pretty good.
I've got three devices I've tried this with so far… my main phone, a Motorola Droid Turbo, my old phone (HTC Droid DNA) that I keep around as a wi-fi only music player/bedside toy and an Nvidia Shield tablet. And with each device, the audio quality is vastly different when listening to each gadget directly, and also through this E3 DAC. I'm using Neutron Music Player on Android to output audio in USB DAC mode and listening on Sennheiser HD600 headphones.
The Droid Turbo just sounds BAD, with lifeless mid-rangey audio that easily distorts, and unfortunately even when using the USB DAC connection feature to play music via the E3, the distortion and lifeless audio are still there. Neutron Music Player has a built-in and very flexible EQ but it's almost useless because of the distortion. So at least with this phone, the E3 really adds nothing but extra volume to the party.
The Sound Blaster E3 fits the HTC Droid DNA, on the other hand, like a faithful companion. In USB DAC mode it passes through some noticeably better quality audio just "as-is", but it can be tweaked endlessly in Neutron for extra oomph or sparkle or whatever the music calls for and the E3 amplifies and plays it clearly and distortion-free. (I understand this device does employ a 24-bit 38 kHz DAC internally, versus the Android-standard 16-bit 44.1 kHz DAC in other devices, which may explain the difference.)
The Nvidia Shield sits somewhere between the other two devices. It's already plenty strong enough to drive a set of home audio type headphones on its own at reasonable volume, but the E3 still ads extra headroom for listening to extra quiet passages. The caveat seems to be that USB DAC does not work on the tablet at all, requiring the lower fidelity of a Bluetooth connection to work. So it appears not all Android phones will work or work right out of the box with this. I'm still trying to figure out if there's a switch somewhere that can be changed to make it work.
Speaking of Bluetooth, I had zero issue pairing this unit to my devices and the range seems to be quite good, easily working across multiple rooms as long as both devices are within "RF line of sight" of one another. Pairing is easy thanks to built-in NFC.
Battery life seems adequate, but considering how much bigger this device is compared to regular Bluetooth dongles, I was hoping it would be even longer than it is. I get roughly 8 hours of playback in mixed Bluetooth/USB modes. I don't use the line in feature but I reckon it would last even longer in that mode, depending on volume level.
I haven't had a phone call yet to test the mic, but who makes phone calls anymore?
There are a few negatives associated with this device. As some others have noted, there is some audible popping and clicking when there is no audio being passed to the device. It almost sounds like it's switching the amp on and off internally to save battery during quiet moments. Of course, if you're listening to classical music, quiet passages could trigger those clicks, I think, which may annoy some users. I don't really mind it, but I'm aware that "noises are happening" that shouldn't.
The button layout leaves a lot to be desired. The volume and track buttons are identical and both on the same side of the device, making it impossible to tell which is which in the dark. The play/pause/answer phone and power buttons are on the other side and are also the same shape and size. Because they line the edge of the device, they are easily pressed while grasping the device or trying to hit other buttons. The buttons themselves offer almost no haptic feedback so it's hard to tell if one has actually been pressed sometimes. The power button's multiple functions are also kind of unnerving. A short press powers on the device; hold it down an extra second and it enters BT pairing mode. A second more and it does a factory reset!
Finally, there is no audible alert of any kind to let you know when the battery is low. The LED light merely changes from blue (or white, depending on mode) to red. And once it's red it only seems to last about 10 minutes before shutting down. So if you can't see the light, expect to suddenly lose audio when the battery dies, out of the blue.
I'm keeping this device because it works well enough as a Bluetooth dongle with my high impedance headphones to help me enjoy podcasts and casual music listening on my portable electronics. But it's not without faults and limitations, so it's probably not for everyone. In my early experience, USB DAC doesn't always give improved audio quality, nor does it seem to work seamlessly on every device. (And for that matter, it doesn't seem to play audio from every Android app even if it does work on some other apps. Neutron will play audio through it, but not YouTube, for example.) Whether that's an app issue, Android issue or Sound Blaster E3 issue, I don't know, but it is worth noting regardless.
Most recent customer reviews
the only problem is that the bass is so strong when using the equalizer that it can drown out outer sounds
On a side note I...Read more