In this review, we take a look at an older product from Creative, the Sound Blaster X7, and whether it’s still worth incorporating in your setup.
Do you want an audiophile-quality experience without having to pay prices that extend well into the triple digits? The Sound Blaster X7 from Creative promises to do just that. It’s a high-resolution, 127db USB DAC with a 600 Amp audio amplifier and a 24bit audio processor.
It promises to amplify the quality of your sound system, whether you’re using speakers or headphones. Creative sent us one to review so we could give you our honest opinion and let you know whether this DAC lives up to its mighty claims.
It must be pretty good to be part of Ninja’s setup, though, right?
Zoom In: Specs
- High resolution 127dB USB DAC
- 600 Amp audio amplifier
- Proprietary 24bit audio processor
- 5.1 Dolby digital decoding
- ¼” and 3.5mm headphone jacks
- Dual Mic
- NFC and Bluetooth 4.1
- PS4 and Xbox One support
- Price: $299.99
Creative Sound Blaster X7 Video Review
Prefer a video instead? See the unboxing and review video from Cody below.
Unboxing and Setup
In the box, you’ll find an attachable wire headphone stand, the Sound Blaster unit, and another box containing:
- Power chords for power systems in 7 different countries (including the US)
- AC brick
- USB to Micro-USB cable
- RCA to female 3.5mm jack
- RCA to male 3.5mm jack
The Sound Blaster X7 itself is an attractive matt black with gold accents and a large chrome volume dial in the center. It has two headphone jacks and a mic input at the front. The back has left, right, rear, and sub passive outputs; left and right speaker wire inputs; RCA line-in, and both optical in and out.
Setup is different depending on how you use it. When using it with my PC, I used the included USB cable to connect it directly to my IO panel and then used the provided RCA to 3.5mm female jack to connect my speakers. It wasn’t plug-and-play, though. My PC didn’t recognize it until I downloaded the software.
Using it with my TV required a slightly different setup. I had to get two different optical cables that weren’t included with the device. One connected my television to the Sound Blaster’s Optical input while the other ran to my soundbar. I also tried connecting two additional passive speakers to this setup, but I found that the timing was slightly off between the two.
Headphones simply plug into either the 3.5mm or ¼” jacks at the front of the unit.
Feature Rich Software
The Sound Blaster X7 software was difficult to find. The link provided in the instructions was dead, and their website isn’t the easiest thing in the world to navigate. I finally found it, however, and it was simple to install once I did.
The software is where the real power lies. It has several features that audiophiles are sure to enjoy (and one that gamers will absolutely love).
- SBX Pro Studio: SBX Pro Studio is where you’re going to do most of your surround sound and bass control. It also has “Smart Volume” and “Dialogue Plus.”
- CrystalVoice: This is your mic control. There are several helpful filters like noise reduction and acoustic echo cancellation, but there are also plenty of fun voice effects to play with, like Alien Brute, Orc, and Robot.
- Scout Mode: This is the big one for gamers. “Scout Mode” allows you to hear footsteps from farther away in competitive shooters like CS:GO and Apex Legends. This one feature is probably the X7’s biggest selling point for gamers.
- Speakers: Fine-tune control of your speakers’ acoustics by calibrating their placement and deciding how much power goes where.
- Headphones: Set gain and direct mode for headphones.
- Cinematic: Set dynamic range control.
- Mixer: Set volume levels and left/right balance for each input and output.
- Equalizer: EQ allows you to mess with individual frequency ranges and has presets for popular genres for music like rock, pop, and country.
The smartphone app was easy to find. Unfortunately, I never got it to work. I’m not alone either. The app has a 1.9/5 on the Apple App Store, largely due to users like me who couldn’t get it to recognize the device even after the phone was connected via Bluetooth.
Gaming, Music, and Cinema
I played some Valorant to test out the Scout Mode, and the difference was immediately apparent. I get why people question the fairness of it. (Not that it helped me much. I still suck.) The game’s sound was also much fuller and more immersive with SBX turned on.
Music was this thing’s real selling point for me, though. I don’t have a quality set of audiophile cans to really test the limits of the Sound Blaster X7. I had to make do with a pair of HyperX Cloud IIs (cringe, I know). The experience was still significantly better when they were plugged into the Sound Blaster. Each instrument sounded cleaner and more distinct.
TV and Film is where I noticed the least difference. There was greater clarity, especially with more cinematic media, but I probably wouldn’t have noticed if I wasn’t looking for it.
Blasting Your Ears… and Your Wallet?
$299 might not seem all that affordable to some of you. There are certainly some more affordable USB DAC amps out there, but none with this many connectivity options and features or with this degree of control. To be honest, the Sound Blaster X7 is hitting closer to the weight class of more expensive, enthusiast-grade hi-fi amplifiers, while scout mode makes it particularly viable for gamers.
Many of the Sound Blaster X7s individual features can be found on cheaper products. But no other DAC amp has them all-in-one like this. We hope you enjoyed our Creative Sound Blaster X7 review and can now decide if it’s right for you and your setup. Don’t forget to check out our video review and like us on social. Happy gaming!
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Sound Blaster X7 is a pricy but feature-rich all-in-one audio center. Its build quality leaves a little to be desired, and the app doesn’t work for many users, but it generates a quality audio experience. Scout Mode is a massive selling point for gamers looking to get an edge in competitive shooters.
- Powerful, 600 Amp audio amplifier
- Scout mode
- Software offers tons of customization options
- Unreliable app
- Difficult to find software on their website
- Plastic housing and cheap wire headphone hanger