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Sound Blaster Play! 2
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Average Customer Review:
( 12 customer reviews )
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Great sounding with no feedback issues or driver install out of the box...Jan 15, 2015
By CE from CA
tl;dr great sound without feedback & no driver needed
Some background first... I have a Gigabye BRIX gaming machine i purchased as a door buster in December 2014. The machine is really cool and super small for what it is. Anyhow, I was listing to some music with earbuds, got up from my desk after removing the earbuds and they caught on my chair, ripping the earbuds in half. I didn't think anything of it other then loosing my earbuds until i tried to plug another pair in and realized something was wrong. Unplugged the earbuds and plugged them back in and the phono plug (that is soldered to the motherboard) releases its hold and breaks free :( Now i have a box that sounds like a mystery present being shaken by the kids on Christmas morning... "OK, sure, I can fix that" I say to myself. Take the BRIX apart and see parts of the circuit board still attached to the phono jack and then realize that it's probably not worth the risk. I even asked my brother who builds robots and electronic circuits and he looks at me like, well, yeah, probably could fix it soldering surface mount wires to the circuit board....so i disappointingly turn to amazon to look for a usb soudcard...
I should also say that I'm usually brand loyal when i find a company that makes a great product for a great price. Sometimes I might even pay a few dollars more for a brand I know will be good and have had great past experiences with. Not owning a creative labs sound card since my sound blaster 16 days of the 90's, I think, well, if the company is still making sounds cards, and that card outlived my PC of the day,...I should give it a try? The first usb sound cards I came across on Amazon were under 10$ and although mostly positive reviews, a lot of them talked about minor buzzing and other sound issues that took "tuning" settings before they worked correctly. I was a bit sceptical of the 10 sound cards. After searching for a bit, I found this usb sound card from Creative Labs for 20$ and it has 0 reviews? That also seemed odd to me.
With the somehow long drawn-out struggle of loosing 10 or even 20$ (lol) I reluctantly purchased the 20$ Sound Blaster Play 2 over the cheaper alternative...
Received the sound blaster play! 2 at Prime speed :) Packaging looks fine, etc. although the first thought is that they are really aiming for a world wide audience with this product. Included in the box is the small sound card, small adaptor for mic & headphones, install cd, and a bunch of paperwork....most of which I immediately threw in the recycle bin...
I'm running Windows 8.1 x64 with the latest updates. I should also note that my system itself only has one manually installed driver for the WiFi card and aside from the AMD video card drivers, all are stock windows hardware drivers. The soundcard comes with a bunch of software drivers, and tuning tools, (SBX Prostudio), etc. I immediately skip any sort of install and plug the USB soundcard into my computer because, hey, I don't have time to be bothered with such details... After about 40 seconds, windows has already installed the sound card drivers and I immediately have access to the sound card device/volume.
Tested this sound card without changing any settings in windows and it has performed great. I have yet to encounter any feedback or hissing as a lot of reviewers have stated with other less expensive USB soundcards. After testing with Pandora using my cheaper Panasonic earbuds (# 1 seller on Amazon), I did notice a very small amount of hiss when the music is stopped. If i close the Pandora page this noise goes away and thinking it may be do to Pandora? I haven't noticed this issue with any other game, etc. Also, I have yet to install any other software or bloatware as I really like to have a clean version of windows with the least amount of drivers and 3rd party drivers, etc.
I definitely recommend this USB sound card over other USB sound cards in the price range based on my experience vs other reviews for the 10$ Syba & 8$ Sabrent.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Works, but sounds like garbage with good headphonesJan 29, 2015
By Thomas F. Beauchamp
I had high hopes for this, but was very disappointed with the audio quality. There is a distinct background hiss whenever the device is enabled for sound output. The hiss is especially noticeable on the Sony MDR-7506 headphones that I used for testing. By comparison, it is better than the on-motherboard audio outputs but far worse than the headphone output on a Dell U2713HM Monitor (which is by no regards a high end headphone amp).
This would probably work fine with cheap headphones or earbuds (or if you are half deaf and can't hear the high end hiss). But with a good setup, it's really annoying. I am surprised that SoundBlaster would put their name on something that sounds so poor.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Too much Hiss spoils a great productFeb 25, 2015
By Mike Palmer
Excellent sound quality EXCEPT for a very annoying and persistent hiss that is clearly audible in quieter music tracks. I can hear it quite clearly with $15 headphones. There is no such hiss on the built-in sound card. Sound output is loud of good quality and has good bass, Would be perfect except for the annoying hiss.
to the n00bs complaining about hissApr 07, 2015
n00bs complaining about hiss & calling themselves audiophiles??
The joke is not on this baby but on YOU!
Any & EVERY USB sound card without an external power source will give you HISS = FACT
This is not the fault of the sound card but USB itself. USB wasn't designed for high end audio.
USB = Universal Serial Bus = Do you understand the meaning of this?
Where does it say High end sound Bus? n00bs!
To get pure USB sound output without hiss you need a sound card with an external power source with a usb cable which has minimal electrical noise.
There are a couple of other ways to minimize HISS on the cheap & expensive side
1. Connect the sound card to an external USB HUB. Easiest & cheapest way to minimize hiss with excellent results. Every USB soundcard company will answer your solution on HISS with this method. Don't believe me? Go ahead ask them..ask FiiO, iBasso, Mayflower, Asus, Creative..ANYONE!
2. Get one of those Gigabyte USB DAC port motherboards.
3. Get a thing called USB Isolator. Google it.
Seriously I can't believe people call themselves audiophiles & don't know this simple fact about USB?
My way of using this sound card on my Mac Mini is connecting it to my Apple Keyboard which has 2 USB Ports = Hub = Minimal Hiss.
Just make sure you don't connect anything else to the HUB.
P.S to the n00b who called himself an audiophile & said Dell Monitor gives better sound output coz its circuit is outside & monitor power supply/circuitry is different compared to a motherboard USB port.
Seriously stop posting misleading reviews about a good product.
Regarding this product it SURPASSES my expectations - it can drive 80 ohm headphones with decent volume output.
I'm guessing the headphone amp in it throws around 90-95 mW into 32 ohms. Which is very decent almost as much as iPad Air 2 pumps out from its headphone output.
Here's the thing 0 distortion at high volume. Give it a burn in of 2 hours.
Thanks to this puppy I'm just figuring out the value of fiddling with EQ settings - I can hear things in tracks which I didn't hear before on my iBasso D42 Mamba.
The software suite is worth it & very simple.
For movies enable the SBX Pro Studio. Keep everything on default just enable Dialogue clarity & slide it to 100. Don't enable EQ for movies.
For games enable Scout mode - you can assign a key map shortcut for it. it will automatically disable SBX & EQ if you enable it. Just perfect multi kills in Counter Strike Global Offensive definitely makes a difference.
For music - Disable SBX & just enable EQ depending on genre.
I'm so impressed with this I might shell out some on high end stuff like E5 or E3 in the future.
Before I was a stock EQ guy after getting this..now I realize there is definitely improvements in EQ fiddling.
This is not a high end DAC but a great entry into the world of dedicated audio solutions.
Playback is distorted and with an audible hiss. Recording works fine.Feb 24, 2015
By Jesse Schalken
There is an audible hiss in the background while the device is playing sound, making it unusable for my purposes. There is also obvious distortion for approx 1-2 seconds whenever sound first starts playing. This was most noticeable when adjusting the volume slider in Windows 7 with the "ding" sound it makes every time you release the slider. Even the demo in the bundled software has distorted sound for the first second or two.
Recording audio, on the other hand, worked great. After increasing the recording volume to 100% it picked up sound with good clarity and much better than the microphone port on my computer (which has an unusable amount of noise).
But I need usable recording *and* playback, so I hope where I bought this from will accept a return.
See all 12 customer reviews on Amazon.com