Audio/Visual

Creative X3 Hi-Res 7.1 SXFI USB DAC and Amplifier Review

Creative were once gods of PC audio, they’ve been around longer than many of our readers! However, a couple of years ago they stopped mucking about with a few gaming headsets and really put their foot back in the door. Super XFI, monster-sized and genuinely innovative soundbars, new amplifiers and DACs, and what I now think is the best range of consumer headphones on the market right now. They’re kicking ass, and that’s a fact. I already use their SXFI Theater Headphones daily, their SXFI Amp + Aurvana Earphones with my mobile and I still have my beaten up and dusty Creative T20 speakers on my desktop for the last 8 years or so. So when the Creative X3 was put on my desk, I feel I’ve got a pretty good grip on what it needs to deliver to outshine what I already use.

Creative X3 Hi-Res 7.1 SXFI

This is a really beefed-up version of a lot of existing Creative products. Their SXFI Amp is great, but it’s very small and has limitations, not many, but it does have them. The X3 has a lot more input and output options, it’s bigger, it’s easily placed on your desktop, it has larger tactile controls. Of course, it also has amped up processing abilities for mixing, recording and more. Via USB it’ll process high-res audio, at 115 dB DNR/SNR, 32-bit/192 kHz playback and drive headphones of up to 600Ω. Plus you get custom audio profiles, EQ, SXFI Holography, Dolby and more thrown in for good measure.

Features

  • SUPER X-FI TECHNOLOGY CINEMATIC AUDIO HOLOGRAPHY | Sound Blaster X3 is the world’s first multi-channel USB DAC with Super X-Fi technology. For movie buffs, this is the perfect desktop audio upgrade that delivers cinematic audio at the comfort of your home. Simply set up your Super X-Fi profile via a Head and Ear-Mapping process, and experience personalized audio holography directly in your headphones. You can conveniently toggle Super X-Fi on / off directly on the device to hear the difference
  • 7.1 DISCRETE, VIRTUAL SURROUND, AND DOLBY DIGITAL LIVE ENCODING | Surround immersion makes up a big part of the movie experience; X3 supports up to 7.1 discrete surround for speakers, and 7.1 virtual surround for headphones to deliver audio realism with spatialized effect that evokes emotions in your cinematic experience. For Windows users, X3 also supports Dolby Digital Live Encoding for your external audio devices
  • VARIOUS CONNECTIVITY OPTIONS | The X3 is highly versatile and is compatible with many devices. It features a myriad of connectivity options – from the latest USB-C port for PC and Mac to Optical-out, and Line-in for your AV receivers and digital audio players. X3 is also specially designed with a large volume control knob, headphone and mic jacks, three direct access buttons, and LED indicators to provide extra convenience
  • CUSTOMIZABLE EQ PRESETS WITH BUILT-IN AUDIO BALANCE FEATURE | The X3 comes with three customizable EQ presets for different usages –Movies Mode, Music Mode and Footsteps Enhancer Mode. You can also find the perfect audio and chat volume level with X3’s Audio Balance feature – simply toggle amongst 2 audio sources via the Volume Control Knob to optimize the balance between game and chat with your teammates
  • AMPLIFY AND ENHANCE YOUR AUDIO | Featuring high-res 115 dB DNR/SNR, 32-bit/192 kHz playback for pristine audio, the X3 doubles up as a headphone amplifier, and supports studio-grade headphones of up to 600Ω. It is also equipped to further enhance your audio experience with the redesigned Sound Blaster Command Software on PC and Mac, with full access to Sound Blaster Acoustic Engine’s suite of audio enhancements, including Dialog+ for clearer dialogues, and Surround Virtualization

Specifications

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Peter Donnell

As a child still in my 30's, I spend my day combining my love of music and movies with a life-long passion for gaming, from arcade classics and retro consoles to the latest high-end PC and console games. So it's no wonder I write about tech and test the latest hardware while I enjoy my hobbies!

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