Sound cards are pretty much gone but despite this, the market for high-end PC audio continues to thrive. You’ll find most of the action in USB DACs that are joined with headphone amps; so of course, Creative added their own device to the mix that can sure fill this role.
The Sound Blaster X7 from Creative is a device not only limited to personal computers since it can also be used with smartphones, gaming consoles, DVD players, tablets, and a whole lot more. It is a compact DAC amp that aims to give you all the things that you’d need and want in a single package, displaying connection options like NFC, Bluetooth, USB, and all other originals such as optical and a lot more.
With this speaker and amp combination making itself known in the audiophile Hi-Fi market, would it also be something that you’d need considering your love and enthusiasm for great technology? Let’s learn more about this device and see if it’s worth investing in.
Creative Sound Blaster X7 Review- What’s in the Box?
When you look at the packaging of the Sound Blaster X7, you automatically think that it’s something out of a Star Wars film. Its design is truly unique so it’s really a head turner.
The exterior of the package is vibrant and filled with detail, and considering that the Sound Blaster X7 has tons of features, Creative sure wants you to see and learn about all of them.
The sides display more technical specs and features about the device; there are basically too many things going on, but to name a few, the primary ones include the power ratings, multi-platform support, playback specifications, as well as an overview of each of the ports present on the unit. A large part of the package is utilized to highlight the audiophile-grade components of the Sound Blaster X7.
Now once you check inside the box, you will see all sorts of AC power cords. It seems like Creative wants to ensure that their device will be used no matter where you are in the world. Aside from these, other items included are the headphone stand, micro USB cable, 3.5-millimeter stereo male to RCA cable, and a 3.5-millimeter stereo female to RCA cable.
Creative Sound Blaster X7 Review
The front area of this Creative Sound Blaster X7 sports a big volume knob made of metal to control the volume levels. You can also press on this knob if you want to unmute or mute the sounds. The knob is light and easy to turn without any feel of resistance. This will allow you to further modify the current range of volume.
Beneath the knob, you will find an integrated microphone array for recording and voice calls. Below this, there’s a Bluetooth / power button, an SBX button for toggling the SBX Pro Studio audio improvements, the Dolby Digital indicator, the mic-in jack, plus a 3.5-millimeter and 6.3-millimeter headphone jack.
On the left portion, a USB port is present for linking to smartphones whenever you need to audio stream or charge the device. Thing is, that isn’t the only port available; you’ll see all other vital connections that you will need at the back.
There is also an impedance switch (4 to 8 Ohm), RCA line-out jack (front & right), speaker output terminals, RCA line-in (left), 3.5-millimeter line-out jack (rear R / L), RCA line-in jack (right), 3.5-millimeter line-out jack (center / subwoofer), the TOSLINK optical-out jack, TOSLINK optical-in jack, and the micro USB port.
You’ll get to play any tune of your choice from any audio source using the Sound Blaster X7. This can be an excellent upgrade for speakers that you’ve purchased ages ago because it’ll turn your audio system into a better, wireless one. You can easily and wirelessly stream audio from your smart devices via Bluetooth.
Another cool thing about this device is that you can use it as a headphone amp like the Texas Instruments TPA-6120-A2 headphone amplifier chip. With this, you’ll be able to drive high-end 600 Ohm headphones without having any issues.
The Sound Blaster X7 also sports the Burr Brown PCM-1794 DAC, as well as an integrated Dolby Digital decoder for a 5.1-channel playback. If you plan to use a subwoofer / center & rears, you’ll need to use separate amps for those specific channels; or, you’ll need some power speakers around. So, the smartest way to enjoy excellent surround sounds with the X7 is by connecting this to a receiver that is highly capable.
Generally, the Sound Blaster X7 from Creative is a very versatile desktop amplifier that can readily play music from a variety of audio sources, then stream this to the headphones or speakers.
Just remember that there aren’t any means to switch among the inputs and outputs. You’ll have to do things manually. It’s be really convenient if Creative added a remote control to make things easier, but generally, it’s completely fine for us.
There’s also a Sound Blaster X7 Control application that aids in switching between speakers and headphones; but really, it’s too simple a process to even bother with using the app. Don’t get us wrong. The app is really useful and convenient, but it’ll better for use in tasks like EQ settings and audio improvements.
The Sound Blaster X7 is packed with input connections that include the 3.5-millimeter mic, micro USB port, NFC, RCA, Optical, and Bluetooth. When it comes to the outputs go, expect to see two binding-post passive speakers (right / left), optical, AUX 6.3-millimeter headphones RCA front / line speaker, AUX 3.5-millimeter headphones, 3.5-millimeter sub / center speaker, plus one USB Type-A USB host port for charging and streaming your mobile phone.
It gives you a headphone output that reaches 600 Ohms or 4 / 8 on the speaker side, plus a maximum audio technology and 5.1 channel output. The audio technology includes the Scout Mode, SBX Pro Studio, Crystal Voice, and Dolby Digital Technology.
The Sound Blaster X7 is compatible with Apple MAC OS x 10.6.8 & higher, Windows, iOS or higher, as well as Android 2.3 as a minimum. The amplifier is marketed as a single product as a host to a number of different devices, whether these be a full hi-fi setup like TV’s, Blu-ray players, consoles, or even a simple home PC station consisting of a computer, speaker, headphones, and a smartphone.
The X7 is able to provide great power output to speakers of 38 W + 38 W or 27 W + 27 W at 8 Ohms, a 2.2 Ohm headphone output, plus a great playback quality of 24-bit, 192 kHz via direct stereo playback. Other specifications include the 127 dB signal to noise ratio and integrated mic that can record at 24-bit, 192 kHz. When we’re having a more technical look at what makes this device function excellently, the primary stereo line output is managed by the Burr Brown PCM 1794 plus the surround channels which are the Burr Brown PCM 1793.
Extremely High Fidelity Digital Audio Super Highway
Just as HDTVs let you see more intricate details in your favorite shows or movies, the Sound Blaster X7’s high-resolution audio lets you hear clearer sounds, more nuances and details during audio listening, may it be in games, music, or movies.
The Sound Blaster X7 gives you smooth and seamless digital audio super highway that maintains the fidelity of audio beginning from the freshest uncompressed audio found on your MAC / PC, via high-speed USB 2.0 digital audio path to high-resolution 24-bit, 192 kHz 127 dB DAC, promptly joining a powerful 100-Watt integrated amplifier.
Lastly, it all ends with your favorite speakers, giving you high-quality and an unadulterated audio experience.
Unparalleled Quality DAC
This Sound Blaster X7 sports the Burr Brown PCM 1794 127 dB digital to analog converter that backs high-resolution audio playback that reaches 24-bit 192 kHz when you link this to a MAC / P. This includes the 24-bit 88.2 kHz & 24-bit 176.4 kHz.
Joined with an integrated Dolby Digital decoder, this Sound Blaster X7 from Creative allows you to enjoy cinematic, realistic 5.1 channel playback.
Top Notch Audiophile-Grade Elements
This device is packed with Nichicon Fine class Gold capacitors; plus, zero effort was spared in the choices of the best audiophile-grade element to compliment the company’s renowned internal audio technology.
The Sound Blaster X7 is a largely customizable audio product that has the option to change op amps. Op amps play a big role when it comes to amplifying and enhancing the analogies signals which influence the overall texture and quality of your listening enjoyment. And for a personalized touch, discerning audiophiles would be highly delighted to learn that they’ll be able to change the op amps for a tonal element of their preference.
24-bit Audio Processor
This desktop amplifier also comes with the SB Axx1 multi-core DSP (Digital Signal Processor) which has the ability of audio restoration, voice processing, proprietary effects processing plus, it is also an accredited Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder. In addition to this, a proprietary audio chip aids the Sound Blaster X7 to achieve an audiophile-grade audio playback from stereo to 5.1 arrangements of up to 24-bit 192 kHz.
Enjoy 5.1 Surround-Sound with Dolby Digital Decoding
This product from Creative supports Dolby Digital which is an audio compression that is present in almost all HQ and DVD formats globally. It allows the delivery of 5.1 individual channels at very low data rates. Not only that, but you’ll also get to experience and enjoy clean, crisp dialogue, as well as detailed placement of on-screen sounds.
Using the Product
Just like every other product we get our hands on, we tried and tested the Sound Blaster X7 to see just how well it performs. Generally, it’s the best version of the X7 to purchase since it’s packed with all the quality components that any audiophile would dream to have.
It’s basically an amplifier that would work as a perfect addition to your home; if you’re a gamer or audiophile, you can set it on your desk close to your console or computer devices. It is also on the pricier side but what this device has to offer highly competitive and presents much better elements compared to other similar items around.
Out of the box, the device gives you a great audio boost that pushed the headphones we were using to a whole new level. These aren’t high impedance headphones, but the additional juice allowed the device to fill out and sound extremely great without taking away any of the crispness and clarity in its highs and mids. During gaming, the sound was really full, rich, and solid.
While audiophiles aim to have a flat EQ curve, simply to clear away any colorations from the sounds, the device features a ton of presets to suit your exact needs and preferences. You can also use your own by customizing one of the presets that can be saved for some other time.
The Sound Blaster X7 sounds excellent as is, and it can sound even better once you add in your own customizations.
If you have already utilized a specific hardware from Creative in the last few years, then you’ll surely be familiar with their collection of Sound Blaster control center applications for MAC, PC, Android, and iOS. The Sound Blaster X7’s desktop application is cleaner and neater than most of the similar applications around; plus, their mobile applications are also very easy to use and navigate through.
With the company’s software, you can manually modify your speaker’s configuration, run a couple of fast diagnostic checks, as well as turn on the Scout Mode – a specific effect that augments sounds like footsteps in FP shooters, as well as tinker with the device’s equalizer. Overall, the Creative software is extremely useful, easy to use, and quick to configure, so we very much liked how it was made.
If you’re new to the audio game and prefer having easier or more manageable setups, then you will surely enjoy the Sound Blaster since Creative has done an excellent job in allowing the device to make things easier.
All the connections are explained clearly via manuals which are very easy to understand. Not only that, but the software setup wizard is also easy to follow, plus all the tweaks to the sound are displayed in a finely-constructed PC application or program.
At its finest, the Creative Sound Blaster X7 can be utilized together with bookshelf speakers or even the full 5.1 home theater in a box system to greatly enhance your experience.
It is clear that the device is packed with tons of other features that is rather impossible to enjoy in your regular sound cards. And since the Sound Blaster X7 combines a Bluetooth receiver, DAC, headphone amp, and amplifier in just one box, it is sure to save you a lot of space on your shelf.
The Sound Blaster X7 is a jam-packed quality amplifier; and because of its wide collection of in and out connections, controls available via computers or smartphones, easy to understand and navigate layout, fail safe equalizer presets for newbies, plus the addition of NFC / Bluetooth only means that we highly recommend the Creative Sound Blaster X7 to everyone who’s entering the audiophile game.